Thursday, May 24, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a good example of some of the wonders that are hidden in our night sky. The Gum Nebula, covering areas of the constellations of Vela and Puppis, covers such a large field of view that it ought to be visible to the unaided eye, but is so dim that it needs to be teased out with aid.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 4038 and NGC 4039. Two spiral galaxies are in the process of a very slow collison (or an aggressive merger). More popularly known as The Antennae, it can be found in the constellation of Corvus.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a waning last quarter Moon. The terminator (the line between day and night) shows the jagged surface into sharp detail thanks to shadows. Is the Moon grey? Is the Moon white? Look carefully and you'll see a variety of colors in this image.
Is the Moon a boring object in the night sky? Not at all! It's a great target for the backyard amateur. As the level of light changes, different details appear and change. The Moon "rocks" slightly, so from time to time you'll see objects on the edge (or limb) that are normally hidden. Give it a try!
Monday, May 21, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video taken from the Juno Orbiter. The clouds of Jupiter: infinite patterns and fractals. Makes you wish for a continuous feed along with an ambient Brian Eno soundtrack!
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the European Southern Observatory apparently firing lasers into the sky. Yes, that's what is happening: the observatory is employing a method of firing a laser at the sky in order to determine sky conditions and allow for adjustment of atmospheric blurring.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope image of the Red Rectangle Nebula in Monoceros. We're looking at a short-lived (only a few million years) phenomena, down the timestream we will probably see it blossom into a more "ordinary" planetary nebula.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Monday, May 7, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wonderful image courtesy of the overlooked Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched to pave the wave for one of the previous returns to the Moon, which then was backwatered because we were going to Mars, then we were going to capture an asteroid, but now we're going back to the Moon, but let's not mention the cancellation of a mission which could have been a key to a sustained effort there...). We zoom in on Tycho, one of the easiest to spot of craters (you see it every time you look at the Moon near at at full phase). What's that sitting there in Tycho? One heck of a boulder!
Sunday, May 6, 2018
On Episode 49 of The Three Hoarsemen, Jeff Patterson (in person), John Stevens (in spirit) and I talk to returning guests Paul Weimer and Patrick Hester about what they've been up to since they last appeared on the podcast.
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an image of Phobos, one of the tiny moons of Mars, centering on Stickney Crater. Named for Chloe Angeline Stickney, mathematician, it was imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings a new perspective to auroral activity. From the perch of the International Space Station, astronauts and cosmonauts can look down at the thin layer of atmosphere and the play of the aurora.
Monday, April 30, 2018
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Friday, April 27, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a photograph representing data on 1.7 billion stars. The ESA's Gaia satellite has been making measurements and has accumulated so much data that it is being released in order to take care of the wider scientific resources of those trained—but also to enable citizen-scientists to work with the data as well.
Coming down the road: an even bigger data dump!
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of a very rarely caught snow event. It's a view from the ESA's Rosetta vehicle of "snow" around Comet 67P, Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Click on the image in the link to see a short loop of the snowfall.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a detailed view (courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope, long may it operate!) of Jupiter. What's that blemish on the face? It's the Great Red Spot, a massive storm system that has been observed for 150 years. Alas, of late, the Great Red Spot has faded and shrunk and seems to be going away. As you can see from the image, it is not the only storm that you can see when observing Jupiter (and maybe one of them would grow), but the loss of the GRS would be a sad thing for all of us who have observed it.
One of my most intense times observing as an amateur was a night when the atmosphere on our planet coincided with a observation of Jupiter that included the GRS transiting the face of Jupiter with bonus appearances of both moons and moon shadows across the face. I watched, fascinated, and then wondered why I was so cold and my legs were so stiff. It turned out that I had spent most of a cold January night outside, watching the skies.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an interactive look at data collected by the Cassini Orbiter during the epic exploration of the mini planetary system that is Saturn. "Mouseover" the image in the link to "play" the rings (!).
Monday, April 23, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day peeks with the infrared end of the spectrum at the Horsehead Nebula (IC 4592) in the constellation of Orion. The normally blue-tinted nebula takes on distinctly "warmer Fall" colors as a result.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station earlier in the week. The launch was to deliver the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) into space to begin checkout and movement to science operations.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a detailed look at NGC 7635, The Bubble Nebula. Wisps of red and white against a red-black background. Imagine cruising the interstellar void and chancing upon such a sight!
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope look at Messier 57, The Ring Nebula (found in the constellation of Lyra. Visible even in small telescopes (the view is enhanced with a special filter), along with others such as the Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 27), it is a favorite target of mine.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Friday, April 13, 2018
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows you my early morning view as I walk our (still new) dog, Mr. Jasper. Saturn and Mars are passing through the densest part of the night sky, the region of Sagittarius (with a view towards the galactic center). Also visible is one of the real treasures in a region full of treasures, Messier 22, a globular cluster.
Whether it is with a low-power, rich-field telescope or "just" a pair of binoculars, this region of the sky is worth exploring. A higher power telescope will bring out details of the planets passing through (even a modest scope will bring a view of the rings of Saturn that will take your breathe away), but a low power view can bring you hours of delight.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Does today's Astronomy Picture of the Day show us the furthest star ever detected? Thanks to gravitational lensing, the Hubble Space Telescope (still ticking along!) may have spotted a supergiant 100 times further away than any previously detected star.
Note the dates: first image on the right, 2011. Second image on the right, 2016. Astronomers are swimming in data. Perhaps this is another case where "citizen science" as well as AI would be of assistance?
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Monday, April 9, 2018
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 6960, more popularly known as the Witch's Broom Nebula. This nebula is part of the much larger Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant that provides many nooks and crannies such as this for astronomers to seek out.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a JunoCam image that has been processed to make it more "artlike". With or without enhancement, the images coming from the Juno orbiter are pretty amazing.
Friday, April 6, 2018
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Pictured in the current Astronomy Picture of the Day is Intrepid Crater on Mars. This was imaged in 2010 by Mars Rover Opportunity. Originally planned as a 90 day mission, Opportunity recently passed 5,000 (!!!) days of operations on Mars.
Five thousand days into a ninety day mission. What an achievement!
Click on that image in the link. It's worth a long look.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Seven Strong Men in the Ural Mountains. However, if you look at what lies beyond, the Seven Strong Men are actually seven very small men compared to the rest of the universe.