Tuesday, April 30, 2019


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


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!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Holes in Collison

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video simulating what happens when two black holes merge. (Which is a nice way of saying...collide...)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing Phobos crossing the face of the Sun (causing a partial eclipse on Mars). The event was observed by Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity in Gale Crater.

Maybe some day an explorer on Mars will sit down to watch this!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Saucer Over the Moon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Saturn as it approaches the limb (edge) of our Moon, to be occulted (hidden), to appear some hours later. Lovely banding on Saturn and distinct colors and gaps in the rings, plus beautiful and subtle color on the Moon.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Sky Painting

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us the skies of Norway, where auroral activity combines with an experiment released by sounding rockets to paint the sky.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

In the Presence of the Scorpion

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us the plane of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, in the region of the constellation of the Scorpion. "Mouseover" the image in the link for a constellation diagram.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Outpost in Space

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows four views of the International Space Station as captured by a "amateur" on the ground. The ISS is one of the easiest things that you can observe, you can sign up for e-mail or text alerts as to when it can be seen from your location and viewing can reward you with changes in brightness and color. I've even been lucky enough (on several occasions) to catch glimpses of arriving or departing shuttles (when they were flying) or cargo vehicles!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Dense Globular

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope peek at Messier 2, a globular cluster in the constellation of Aquarius. Even in a small telescope (especially a refractor), globular clusters are a wonder to behold, like spilled sugar or diamonds on a black background.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Horse of a Different Color

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a familiar (if elusive) part of the Orion constellation: the so-called Horsehead Nebula in a new light.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

Field Drills

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Apollo 15 Astronaut David Scott working to emplace a drill to measure the interior temperature of the Moon while exploring the region of the Hadley Mountain Delta (see the text in the link for the "holiday"-related version).