Sunday, December 31, 2017

Free Falling



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Astronaut Bruce McCandless II testing the Manned Maneuvering Unit during a mission of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The closest we came to a Robert McCall orbital work site?


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dream Mighty Things



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a color anaglyph of the Apollo 17 Lunar Module and Lunar Roving Vehicle in the Taurus-Littrow valley on the Moon. Yes, once we visited other worlds.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Reds and Blues



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 78 in the constellation of Orion. Embedded within are hot young stars, clusters of matter that may become stars and even a separate variable nebula. A nice place for even modest "amateur" instruments to explore this time of the year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Horsehead Closeup



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a closeup look at the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation of Orion. This is one of the hardest backyard objects for me, requiring both dark and clear skies plus a special filter in order to help highlight the object.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Green Flash



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a spectacular green-tinted Geminid over the Arctic skies of Russia. Beware the Cometeers!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Beautiful Plumage



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the wonderful plume left by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launched from the USAF's Vandenberg launch site in California.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Children of Phaethon



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Earth-crossing asteroid Phaethon and the traces of two Geminid meteors. It's generally thought that the Geminids are debris from and about that asteroid.

Friday, December 22, 2017

High Radiant



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a time lapse showing the Geminids. Notice how they all seem to come from a central point (the radiant)? In this case, the radiant is centered about the constellation of Gemini, giving the shower it's name. Where do "showers" come from? Asteroids and comets that cross the orbit of the Earth.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Microcleansing



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing how one washes one's hair in microgravity. Personal hygiene is complicated in that environment (and leads to wider issues from plumbing to supplies to recycling). Something mundane can have wide-ranging implications for an extended mission (long term stays on the Moon or a journey to Mars).

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Polar Spiral



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a view generated from images provided by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (still going!) and ESA's Mars Express. "Dry ice" (frozen carbon dioxide) and "water ice" (what you are more

Monday, December 18, 2017

Earthlike is not Earth



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows (hypothetical) images of the Kepler-90 planetary system compared to (actual) images of our system. How "earthlike" are any of the bodies in the Kepler-90 system? Could any support life?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cold Shower



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings another image of the Geminid meteor shower. The Canadian Rockies are the scene where four infalling Geminids were captured in rapid succession.

Friday, December 15, 2017

By Gemini!



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a winter falling of Geminids over MUSER, a radio telescope located in Inner Mongolia, China.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Space Skimmer

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video taken from the JunoCam and other instruments on the Juno spacecraft currently surveying Jupiter. What a view!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Falling Falling



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a meteor storm over the skies of Mongolia. Up and down mix as the falling stars are reflected back from a lake surface.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Milky Way's Attic



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows some of the sights you can see on clear nights this winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Close Approach to the Iron World

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video made up of images from the Mercury MESSENGER vehicle. What would a flyover of the iron planet be like?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Subtle Mixes



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows dusty nebula covering eight degrees of the sky. Protostars, molecules of all sorts and sheer beauty all in one.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Shadows



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us lunar and solar eclipses of the year. There was more than that "Great American"!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lunar Cycle

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video taken by the Galileo vehicle on one of its gravity-assist passages past Earth on the way to Jupiter. The video shows the Moon's journey around our Earth.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

On the Rise

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video that shows the full Moon rising over New Zealand at Mount Victoria.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stereo Messier



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a stereo image of the Messier craters as imaged by Apollo 11. Get out your classic red/blue glasses to make the image "pop"!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fish and Continent



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day covers two emission nebula: The North American Nebula (NGC 7000) and The Pelican Nebula (IC 5070). The collected regions of gas and dust cover over 150 light years (6 degrees) of the sky.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pinwheel



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 33, the Triangulum or Pinwheel Galaxy, in the constellation of (surprise) Triangulum.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Great Nebula



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us my favorite winter observing object, certainly not as I have ever seen it! Messier 42, The Great Nebula of Orion.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Jovian Superstorms



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us an image from the Juno orbiter, currently on a (alas) short-term mission around Jupiter. What a picture!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Seconds

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video depicting human existence. Timespan: a few beats of the cosmic heart.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gems of the Belt



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us to the jewels that make up the Belt of Orion: Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.

What else can you spot in this image? The Horsehead? Pillars of Creation? Bubbles?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dipping In



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Ursus Major, The Big Bear, The Plough, call it what you will: The Big Dipper. "Mouseover" the image in the link for a guide.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Red Rover



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a "selfie" courtesy of one of the two working rovers on the surface of Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity, working it's way to Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Sky Fall



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a fireball over the skies of Italy. The dinosaurs, luckily, were spared this time.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Boris the Spider



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day spins a web of gas and dust across more than a thousand light-years. Would a ship be ensnared in the tendrils of The Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Rose of Caroline



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 7789, discovered by Caroline Lucretia Herschel. Caroline is often overshadowed by her brother, which is a shame, as she not only was a fine observational astronomer, but carried the burden of the household in many ways. Could William functioned as he did without her help?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Than Meets the Eye



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows one of our familiar (northern hemisphere) winter sights: Messier 45), but gives us a deeper look than our naked (or assisted) eye can see: the Pleiades with the dust and debris that we normally miss.

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.

(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sun Diver



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet 96P/Machholz as it dives towards our home star. There are swarms of comets who do the suicide run (for a icy body, making a close approach to a fusion furnace should not be a life goal!) like this yearly. The venerable SOHO spacecraft helps us to study these cosmic Icarus's.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

False Moon



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day sheds a new light on an familiar face: our Moon, color enhanced in order to highlight mineral deposits. Such maps may lead us to target areas of interest for future exploration (and actual use).

Friday, November 10, 2017

Extended Wisp



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day show the remnants of a star's final fury: after effects of a supernova that stretch across the constellation of Cygnus. Williamina Fleming discovered the nebula, so it is tagged as Williamina's Triangular Wisp.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cetan Spiral



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 1055 in Cetus. This image shows much fine detail that reveals star-forming regions, dust lanes and even a halo around the galaxy.