Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Carbon Crimson Vampire

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows variable star R Leporis, better known as Hind's Crimson Star, in the constellation of Lepus. Hind's Crimson Star is a variable star, a star that varies in brightness over a period of time.

There are many variables in the sky, far more than can be observed with professional instruments. For over one hundred years, amateur astronomers, many with very modes instruments, have contributed reams of data for use by professionals, through such organizations as the AAVSO. Take a look, it might be a place for you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

Concentric Ellipse

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows PGC 42871, an elliptical galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus. The galaxy is surrounded by shells of stars (and globular clusters within the layers of shells). What is causing this?

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dark Clouds

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is Barnard 150 in the constellation of Cepheus. This dusty nebula appears black against a rich starfield and is known popularly as the Seahorse Nebula. Maybe if you squint?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Hyperion, an example of the early formation of stars into galaxies, of galaxies into clusters, and clusters into super-clusters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Four Visitors

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the astronauts of Apollo 12, with their Lunar Module in the background, visiting a retired veteran on the surface of the Moon.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Crowded Skies

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a very busy sky. Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner shares the skies with a transient meteor, backed by the galactic magnificence of The Seagull Nebula.

Space Cat

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a image from the Hubble Space Telescope brining us NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye Nebula. This composite image combines the more familiar central planetary nebula with expanding shells of gas that are expanding out from the central star.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Following the Arch of the Seasons

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us the path of the Milky Way from Summer into Fall across the night sky. On my morning walk we've brought it around to mid-Winter to early Spring with the rise of the Spring Milky Way in the East. "Mouseover" the image in the link for a constellation guide.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Where's the Dome?

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an odd looking telescope located at the Roque del Los Muchachos Observatory at La Palma (in the Canary Islands). Where's the dome? This instrument is the first of many planned, to observe high-energy gamma rays that are visible thanks to the atmosphere.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dense Packing

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 15, a globular star cluster which circles the Milky Way, out in the direction of the constellation of Pegasus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

King of the System

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a view of Jupiter (and moons) courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope (knock on astronomical wood that it may long continue!).

Monday, October 15, 2018

Great Bird

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a colorful image of Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula (found in the constellation of Serpens).

Sunday, October 14, 2018


Long-time readers will know that The Great Nebula in Orion is one of my all-time favorite sights in the sky. So, I take particular pleasure whenever the Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a new view of a familiar, yet unfamiliar, friend.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Launch to Orbit

Today's Astronomy  Picture  of the Day shows a view from a beach walk: the recent launch of a Falcon 9 from Vandenburg Air Force Base is caught by a dog (and a couple of human types).

Friday, October 12, 2018


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the exhaust cloud from this week's launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9. Amazing sight in the night sky!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I Will Never Not Be Astounded

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an image that has become, to many, routine. SpaceX is shown here, in a timelapse image, launching and recovering the first stage of a Falcon 9. I will never not be astounded to see these images and view footage of launches (especially from the actual vehicle involved).

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

It's a Gas Gas Gas

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video that shows the odd behavior of a solar prominence as observed by the Solar Dynamic Observatory vehicle. Dig around for more video: prominences seem to flow up, flow down, appear from nowhere and shoot sideways or down, loop around and more. What an odd thing our Quiet Sun is!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Between the Nebula

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an interloper, Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner passing between the Rosette Nebula and the Cone Nebula.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pond Life

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a frog's-eye view of the night sky over a pond in Kiruna, Sweden. Nice observatory! Nice auroral activity!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Heading to Conjunction

That's no Moon, that's a planet! Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day captures a crescent Venus as it moves ever closer to conjunction and an eventual shift from being the "Evening Star" to being the "Morning Star".

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Sleeping Rover

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is brought to us by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and shows the MER Opportunity. Opportunity was caught in the recent globe-girdling dust storms which cut the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of Mars effectively to zero. As a result, the rover was put in sleep mode in the hopes that its solar panels would be brushed clean by the wind (as has happened in the past), allowing the rover to recover as power was again generated. Mission controllers are both signaling to and listening for the rover in the hopes that this "90 day mission" can continue even longer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows multiple rainbows appearing in the skies of New Jersey as Hurricane Florence passed by.

Monday, October 1, 2018

To the Edge of Space

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the first launch from Cape Canaveral in 1950. Project Bumper combined "liberated" V-2 rockets with the U.S. Army's WAC Corporal to create a two-stage vehicle to touch the edge of space.