Monday, August 31, 2015

Update from the Edge

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a "enhanced color" image of Pluto, courtesy of the ever-receding New Horizons vehicle (now ready to be targeted to it's next destination).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Collison Course

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 31, the Great Andromeda Nebula. Mark your calendar for that future date when the Milky Way and the Andromeda Nebula collide (or not).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spilled Ink

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows The Seagull Nebula, NGC 2327, near Sirius in Canis Major. Clouds glowing red thanks to atomic hydrogen, split by a dark river of cosmic ink leading to one bright star.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Embedded Shocks

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the echoes of supernova Puppis A, still blasting into the surrounding interstellar medium thousands of years after the actual event.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Large Cloud of Magellan, forever hidden (along with many other cosmic gems) from us poor northern sky dwellers. Robert A. Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel introduced me to this object (along with getting me hooked on slide rules).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Asterism

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Collinder 399, The Coat Hanger. Is it an accidental pattern in the sky or an actual open cluster? ("Mouseover" the image to get a guide to the pattern.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dusting

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Perseid meteors falling over Mount Rainier, streaks caught during a time-lapse exposure.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Saturn and Beyond the Infinite

For more than a decade, the Cassini vehicle has been studying Saturn, the rings of Saturn and the many moons that circle that gas giant. The mission is winding towards a close (and no replacement vehicle is waiting in the wings, which is a shame) but still returning data and stunning views such as today's Astronomy Picture of the Day, this image of Dione, taking during Cassini's last planned flyby of that close-in body.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fractured Lenses

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows multiple occurrences of a single galaxy that is being "lensed" by the affect of gravity on light emanating from that galaxy (in fact, it is postulated that 11 galaxies are being lensed here!).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dancing at the Edge

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a view from the International Space Station, a snapshot of the stars, cities, the atmosphere and rarely-seen red sprites dancing above a thunderstorm.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Catalog Entry

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows one of astronomer Charles Messier's entries in his list of non-cometary objects. Once known as the "ferret of comets", Messier's comets have all been forgotten but his list of non-comets brings joy to amateurs around the world, especially during the time of the so-called "Messier Marathon".

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Swanscape

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings a deep look in the star fields and star-forming regions of Cygnus the Swan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Potential Sky Show

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day introduces us to Comet C/2013 (Catalina). Will this become our next great naked-eye comet? Stay tuned!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Faint Fuzzy

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 31, The Great Galaxy of Andromeda, rising over the Alps. Once upon a time I could easily detect M31 from my backyard. Thanks to encroaching light domes from New Brunswick and Princeton, as well as out of control lighting in parking lots and streets, I'm lucky if I see the stars these days.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Crab Canon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings Messier 1, the Crab Nebula, into full glory courtesy of this Hubble Space Telescope image.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sunward

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a view from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from the ESA's Rosetta probe. The comet is at it's closest approach to the sun (perihelion) and activity is picking up. What of Philae?

Friday, August 14, 2015

They All Fall Down

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas (shame about those city-generated light domes!) with a sprinkling of comet debris.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Flash

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short sequence that caught an unexpected event: while imaging the Milky Way, an amateur astronomer luckily caught an falling meteor which disintegrated in his field of view.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Saggittarius Core View

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 8, Messier 20 and NGC 6559 in the constellation of Sagittarius. The wonders of the summer night!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Clusters

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a "compact" (think of how much space is depicted here!) group of galaxies, HGC 87.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Double Double

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of a pair of Plutonian images, slightly shifted. Combined (crossing your eyes, perhaps) you can see a stereo view of Pluto.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Place of Good Fishing

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Virgo (super!) Cluster of Galaxies. This is a excellent place to observe for amateurs using almost any decent telescope. "Mouseover" the image for a guide.

Monday, August 3, 2015

ARC Strike!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a rare proton arc over Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan (my first view of an aurora was in the Upper Peninsula region, but I never have seen anything like this!).

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Stopover at Shorty

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Lunar Roving Vehicle carried on Apollo 17 parked at Shorty Crater in the Taurus-Littrow valley of our Moon. This week we're celebrating the anniversary of the first mission to carry the LRV, Apollo 15, which landed in a similarly striking region of the Moon.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Stacked and Stripped

By stacking multiple images (in multiple wavelengths of light) in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day, ESO 137-001 (near the constellation of Triangulum Australe) reveals that it is being stripped of gas and dust as it speeds on its way.