Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Ringed Spiral


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope image of Messier 95 in the constellation of Leo. The spiral galaxy has a faint ring running around the core, the origin and duration of which is still under investigation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Clouds of Creation


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a pretty astounding image of NGC 3572, showing rich nebular clouds and young energetic stars in a slowly dispersing cluster.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Another Quiet Night


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the night skies of Guatemala. A quiet scene with the Milky Way and Jupiter overhead, the transient streaks of a meteor and a satellite and the rumblings of an active volcano.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Weird Planet


What strange planet are we seeing in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day? Why, it's Earth! A panoramic fish-eye lens is used to make a terrestrial landscape look like something out of a science fiction production.

Friday, May 24, 2019

To a Rocky Moonlet


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us close to the surface of asteroid 101955 Bennu, courtesy of the OSIRIS-REx vehicle. The probe is preparing for a touchdown on the surface of the asteroid in order to collect a sample on July 20, 2019.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Moon Near, Moons Far


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows two astronomical sights under a cloud-decked sky: our Moon and Jupiter with three of its moons.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Red Red Dwarf


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows 2014 MU69, popularly known as Ultima Thule. This dwarf planet was visited by the New Horizons vehicle on January 1, 2019. Data is still being downloaded, months after the flyby, so more surprises may yet be revealed!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

In the Depths of the Archer


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows nebulas and star fields around Messier 8, Messier 20 and NGC 6559 in the constellation of Sagittarius, the Archer. Even with a pair of binoculars, the region around Sagittarius (and neighboring constellation Scorpius) are wonderful places to explore.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Planes and Planets

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing the relative tilts and spins of the major planets of our local system. Take a careful look at Uranus compared to the rest of the system. What happened there?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Three Shepherds


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Atlas, Daphnis and Pan, three of the "shepherd" or inner ring moons that orbit around Saturn and affect that planet's rings.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Waning Skies


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the effect of ground lights on the night skies. In addition to ruining our views of the sky, excessive use of ground lights can affect animals and people, waste energy and quite possibly do little to deter crime.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Young Cluster


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a Hubble Space Telescope image of young star cluster Trumpler 14. Is that a planetary system being created or destroyed there (middle left)? What about that arc of gas near the bottom?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Sky Streak


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the path of a Falcon 9 rocket (launch, MECO, staging, and even the return of the first stage) on May 4, 2019.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Streaks Across the Galaxy


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the arch of the Milk Way crossed by the transient streaks of the Eta Aquarids (which are debris left by Comet Halley).

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Into the Cluster


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us an image of Messier 5, a globular cluster between the constellations of Libra and the Serpent. One of my most immersive experiences as an amateur astronomer was observing a globular cluster while Stephen Roach's The Magnificent Void.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Stormy Jove


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a image from the Juno Orbiter of Jupiter. Note the Great Red Spot. It's possible that the storm is "unraveling" as we watch and may soon be gone. Will something as large (and long-lasting) appear in the future?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Carina Tapestry


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us The Great Nebula in the constellation of Carina. Star creation and impending star destruction in one view.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Flyby


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video depicting a flyby of Messier 51, The Whirlpool Galaxy. Imagine being able to do this for real!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Saturn Space


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is not a scene from a movie. It is the reality of Saturn, brought to us by the Cassini Orbiter. Jaw-dropping stuff.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Morning Wisps


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us the pre-dawn sky and a waning Moon, also dimly illuminated by Earthshine ("the da Vinci glow").

Friday, May 3, 2019

Thursday, May 2, 2019

In the Bullseye


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day: Riding over our blue planet, the International Space Station spots the ancient site of an impact site. Watch the skies.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Layers of the Cat


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day combines images in different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (and collected by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory) to bring this picture of the Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543).

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Perspective


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day appears to depict a near miss between an infalling meteor and Messier 33. Even more interesting is what is happening to the trail of that meteor along it's trail!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Iron World


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing the color-enhanced full globe of our innermost planet: Mercury, as imaged by the MESSENGER vehicle after it's very successful mission.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

Southern Reaches


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day takes a wide look at a rich field: Across the southern sky, from the bejeweled Southern Cross to the enigmatic Eta Carinae.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Panning Across the Lagoon


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a Pan-STARRS view of the Lagoon Nebula, Messier 8, in the constellation of Sagittarius. Peering towards the galactic center, this region (well suited for Spring and Summer viewing in the Northern Hemisphere) is a wonderful place just to roam around in: there are endless wonders here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Cows of Barsoom

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video that shows a martian mystery. Is there methane being produced on Mars? Or not? If there is...what causes it? Some sort of underground chemistry? Hidden reserves of life in a warm cave? Martian...cows?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Northern Spirals


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows auroral activity in the skies of Iceland. I've been lucky enough to see spirals and curtains exactly once in my mid-latitude skies. Even washed out as they were due to light pollution it was one of the most astounding things I've ever seen.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Trio


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Leo Triplet, Messier 65 and 66 plus NGC 3628 in the constellation of Leo Major.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Northern Spiral


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 81 (NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy), a bright spiral galaxy found in the northern hemisphere constellation of Ursa Major. Messier 81 made headlines recently, when an image was produced of the area around the black hole at the center of the galaxy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Airbrushed Universe


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us rich textures and deep colors in nebula complexes found in the constellation of Monoceros.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Owen Garriott


Reports are coming in that Owen Garriott, member of the crew of Skylab 3, has passed away. Skylab was one of my favorite missions growing up; Apollo took us to the Moon (but we were really only getting started there when it was pulled away), Skylab started us on the path of living in space.

Good journey, starfarer.


Gene Wolfe


Just as I am starting a re-read of The Book of the New Sun comes the news that Gene Wolfe has passed away. My first Gene Wolfe story was Trip, Trap, which appeared in Orbit 2, an annual anthology from Damon Knight that my local library acquired upon publication each year (Orbit and the various Hugo and Nebula anthologies were most of my new short story reading for years until I could afford to start buying magazines).

Thank you, Gene, for many years of interesting reading. You've never read Gene Wolfe? Here's some advice on how to start.

With his passing, that leaves one author alive that I can say I have read for most of my life. This century is really starting to stink.


Jovian Porpoise


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a enhanced image from the Juno Orbiter (which has been returning astounding pictures of Jupiter) showing the cloud formation which resembles a earthly porpoise. Click on the image in the link and zoom in there and elsewhere. Jaw-dropping stuff!