Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dark Web



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a simulation of our universe. What is dark matter? Where is dark matter? This simulation takes a look at this possible explanation for why we can't seem to match up observations with what the universe "should weigh". Calling Stephen Baxter...calling Stephen Baxter...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Haunted Planetscape



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day combines geyser activity with auroral activity. Ridley Scott's latest attempt to ruin the Aliens franchise? An actual alien landscape like Titan? Enceladus? No...Earth!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ghosts in Spaaaaccce!



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 6369, The Little Ghost Nebula. A planetary nebula (that is not a planet) but a graveyard. How spooky!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Space Ghost



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day depicts an accidental astronomical pair. Mirach, a star in the Big Dipper dominates this field of view. Overwhelmed by both distance and the apparent magnitude of Mirach is NGC 404, a galaxy that is popularly known as Mirach's Ghost.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Bubble Nebula



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 7635, popularly known as The Bubble Nebula. In addition to this object, a long exposure over the wide field shows additional objects of interest, such as Messier 52, a open cluster of stars.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Hole in the Moon



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Marius Hills region of our own Moon. This classic Lunar Orbiter 2 image (with an insert courtesy of the current Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) shows this fascinating region of the Moon, home of signs of volcanic activity (volcanic domes). Further examination appears to have discovered what appears to be a "skylight" (hole) into a lava tube. Could this be utilized for a future base or colony on the Moon?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Origin Stories



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a familiar chart: the Periodic Table of the Elements. It's been modified to show where each element was created. You know the Carl Sagan phrase...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Optical Link



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day might be visual proof of an event in another spectrum. Is the fading dot in this far galaxy the light generated by what was first detected through gravitational waves?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dance of the Schwarzchild Radius



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day peers into the heart of active galaxy 3C 75. Two supermassive black holes do a gravitational dance that probably will not end well for the parent galaxy.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Full Trifid



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Trifid Nebula, Messier 20, in the constellation of Sagittarius. "Mouseover" the image in the link to compare this astronomical object to a Full Moon.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Classic Messier



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 51 (known separately as NGC 5194 and NGC 5195). This astronomical wonder is relatively easy to find (see the text in the link) and a nice target for even small astronomical refractors.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dusty Chambers



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day peers into the birthing chambers of Corona Australis and the several reflection nebula of the region.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Fifth Dwarf



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an artistic depiction of Haumea, the fifth object in our solar system to be designated as a "dwarf planet" (along with Pluto, Ceres, Eris and Makemake). Haumea was recently found to have not only a ring, but two moons of it's own (Hi'iaka and Namaka).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Echoes

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short conceptual video showing the death spiral of two neutron stars. The echoes of such an event—ripples of both gravity and electromagnetic radiation—were recently detected.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Make New Friends



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day examines the origin of gold (and other "heavy" metals) on our planet. Could the gold you wear as jewelry be a lucky accident of astronomical coordinates?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Around the Horizon



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a "all-sky" image of what appears to be auroral activity. Called Steve Arcs, they are less emissions from energetic electrons than thermal emissions from flowing gas. Steve Arcs are a good example of "citizen science" as the description in the link shows.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Under the Chilean Skies



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows The Large Magellanic Cloud over a cluster of instruments at the Las Campanas Observatory (did you know that Chile is home to the overwhelming bulk of ground-based aperture at this point—with those skies you can see why!). Oh, to be able to observe there even with my traveling refractor!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spiral Standard



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a barred spiral galaxy (called because of the so-called "bar" that stretches across the nucleus) NGC 1365 in Fornax. Most galaxies are not as spectacular in binoculars or small telescopes, but are still worth seeking, especially if you are in a dense concentration and can "hop" from one to the other, endlessly revealing new astronomical delights.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cluster and Jewels



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a jeweled globular cluster in Tucanae (NGC 362), in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. Globular clusters are beautiful sights even in binoculars or small telescopes, appearing as a sprinkling of tiny crystals across a rich velvet background.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Arch and Pinnacles



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a spectacular view of the Milky Way stretching over rock spires in Nambung National Park in Australia. To live under such skies! "Mouseover" the image in the link for a guide.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tales of the Flying Mountains



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a mountain on an asteroid. But aren't asteroids just small rocks? Not all: Ceres (pictured here) and a few others were large enough that they were mistaken for planets and rival some other objects in our system.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

No, Not Right Before the Comet Killer



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day could be the last few seconds before the dinosaur killer hit, but is instead the recent solar eclipse in the sky over the Tate Geological Museum!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Solar Impact



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the results of a solar storm around Mars. Astronauts on the surface would have experienced double the "normal" exposure to radiation during such an event. Did solar activity help to strip away the earlier atmosphere of Mars?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Plaster Pluto



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a lovely closeup of Pluto, as imaged by the New Horizons 2015 probe. Is it just me, or does it look like a plaster model?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Galactic Ring



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a ring around the star known as Fomalhaut. In a crazy sky of Dagon (a planet), dust disks and possibly more planets, comets and planetesimals add to a ring system that puts Saturn to shame.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Night Ghosts



Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows two comets moving "together" in the sky. "Mouseover" the image in the link to get a constellation guide.

Sunday, October 1, 2017