A Rorschach Aurora

APOD: 2021 October 30 - A Rorschach Aurora Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 30 A Rorschach Aurora Image Credit &Copyright:Göran Strand Explanation: If you see this as a monster's face, don't panic.It's only pareidolia,often experienced as the tendency to see faces inpatterns of light and shadow.In fact, the startling visual scene is actually a 180 degree panorama ofNorthern Lights,digitally mirrored like inkblots on a folded piece of paper.Frames used to construct it were captured ona September night from themiddle of a waterfall-crossing suspension bridgein Jamtland, Sweden.With geomagnetic storms triggered byrecent solar activity,auroral displays could be very active atplanet Earth's high latitudes in the coming days.But if you see a monster's face inyour own neighborhoodtomorrow night, it might just be Halloween. Tomorrow's picture: The Dark Matter of Halloween<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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Haunting the Cepheus Flare

APOD: 2021 October 29 - Haunting the Cepheus Flare Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 29 Haunting the Cepheus Flare Image Credit &Copyright:Leo Shatz Explanation: Spooky shapesseem to haunt this dusty expanse,drifting through the night in the royal constellationCepheus.Of course, the shapes are cosmic dust clouds visiblein dimly reflected starlight.Far fromyour own neighborhood,they lurk above the plane of the Milky Way at the edge of theCepheus Flaremolecular cloud complex some 1,200 light-years away.Over 2 light-years across and brighter than most of the other ghostlyapparitions, vdB 141 or Sh2-136 is also known as theGhost Nebula,seen at the right of the starry field of view.Inside the nebula are the telltale signs of dense corescollapsing in the early stagesof star formation.With the eerie hue of dust reflecting bluish light from hot young stars ofNGC 7023, the Iris Nebulastands out against the dark just left of center.In the broad telescopic frame,these fertile interstellar dust fields stretchalmost seven full moons across the sky. Tomorrow's picture: of light and shadow<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU)...

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Mirach's Ghost

APOD: 2021 October 28 - Mirach's Ghost Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 28 Mirach's Ghost Image Credit &Copyright:John Chumack Explanation: As far asghosts go, Mirach's Ghost isn't really thatscary.Mirach's Ghost is just a faint, fuzzy galaxy, well known to astronomers,that happens to be seen nearly along the line-of-sight toMirach,a bright star.Centered in this star field,Mirach is also called Beta Andromedae.About 200 light-years distant, Mirach is a redgiant star, cooler than the Sun butmuch larger and so intrinsically much brighter than ourparent star.In most telescopic views, glare anddiffractionspikes tend to hide things that lie near Mirach and make thefaint, fuzzy galaxylook like a ghostly internal reflection of the almostoverwhelming starlight.Still, appearing inthis sharp imagejust above and to the right of Mirach,Mirach's Ghost is cataloged asgalaxy NGC 404and is estimatedto be some 10 million light-years away. Tomorrow's picture: just the dust<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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NGC 6995: The Bat Nebula

APOD: 2021 October 27 - NGC 6995: The Bat Nebula Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 27 NGC 6995: The Bat Nebula Image Credit & Copyright: Howard Trottier Explanation: Do you see the bat? It hauntsthis cosmic close-up of the eastern Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is alarge supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star.While the Veil is roughly circular in shape and covers nearly 3 degreeson the sky toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus), NGC 6995, known informally as the Bat Nebula, spans only 1/2 degree, about the apparent sizeof the Moon.That translates to 12 light-years at the Veil'sestimated distance, a reassuring 1,400 light-years from planet Earth.In the composite of image data recorded through narrow band filters, emission from hydrogen atoms in the remnant is shown in red with strong emission from oxygen atoms shown in hues of blue.Of course, in the western part of the Veil lies another seasonal apparition:the Witch's Broom Nebula. Explore Your Universe: Random APOD Generator Tomorrow's picture: Mirach's Ghost <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar|...

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Jupiter Rotates

APOD: 2021 October 26 - Jupiter Rotates Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Jupiter Rotates Video Credit & Copyright: JL Dauvergne; Music: Oro Aqua (Benoit Reeves) Explanation: Observe the graceful twirl of our Solar System's largest planet.Many interesting features ofJupiter's enigmatic atmosphere, including dark belts and light zones, can be followed in detail.A careful inspection will reveal that different cloud layers rotateat slightly different speeds.The famous Great Red Spot is not visible at first -- but soon rotates into view.Other smaller storm systems occasionally appear.As large as Jupiter is, it rotates in only 10 hours.Our small Earth, by comparison, takes 24 hours to complete aspin cycle.The featured high-resolution time-lapse video wascaptured over five nights earlier this month by amid-sized telescope on an apartment balcony in Paris, France. Sincehydrogen andhelium gas are colorless, and those elements compose most of Jupiter's expansiveatmosphere, what trace elements create the observedcolors of Jupiter's clouds remains a topic of research. Discovery + Outreach: Graduate student research position open for APOD Tomorrow's picture: veil the bat <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors...

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Road to the Galactic Center

APOD: 2021 October 25 - Road to the Galactic Center Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 25 Road to the Galactic Center Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Abramyan Explanation: Does the road to our galaxy's center go through Monument Valley?It doesn't have to, but if your road does -- take a picture.In this case, the road is US Route 163 and iconic buttes on the Navajo National Reservation populate the horizon. The band of Milky Way Galaxy stretches down from the sky and appears to be a continuation of the road on Earth.Filaments of dust darken the Milky Way, in contrast to billions of bright stars and several colorful glowing gas clouds including the Lagoon and Trifid nebulas.The featured picture is a composite of images taken with the same camera and from the same location -- Forest Gump Point in Utah, USA.The foreground was taken just after sunset in early September during the blue hour, while the background is a mosaic of four exposures captured a few hours later. Discovery + Outreach: Graduate student research position open for APOD Tomorrow's picture:...

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Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula

APOD: 2021 October 24 - Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 24 Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula Image Credit: Mohammad Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris) et al.,ESA,NASA Explanation: Halloween's origin is ancient and astronomical. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day / maximum night in the northern hemisphere). With amodern calendar however, even though Halloween occurs next week,the real cross-quarter day will occur the week after. Another cross-quarter day is Groundhog Day.Halloween's modern celebration retains historic roots in dressing to scare away the spirits of the dead. Perhaps a fitting tribute to this ancient holiday is this view of theGhostHead Nebula taken with theHubble Space Telescope. Similar to the icon of afictional ghost, NGC 2080 is actually a star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way Galaxy. The Ghost Head Nebula (NGC 2080) spans about 50 light-years and is shown in representative colors. Tomorrow's picture:...

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3D Bennu

APOD: 2021 October 23 - 3D Bennu Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 23 3D Bennu Image Credit: NASA, GSFC, U. Arizona -Stereo Image Copyright:PatrickVantuyne Explanation: Put on your red/blue glasses and float next to asteroid101955 Bennu.Shaped like a spinning toy topwith boulderslittering its rough surface,the tiny Solar System world is aboutone Empire State Building(less than 500 meters) across.Frames used to construct this 3D anaglyph were taken by PolyCam on theOSIRIS_REx spacecrafton December 3, 2018 from a distance of about 80 kilometers.With a sample from the asteroid'srocky surface on board,OSIRIS_REx departed Bennu's vicinity this May and isnow enroute to planet Earth.The robotic spacecraft is scheduled to return the sample to Earthin September 2023. Tomorrow's picture: a cross-quarter day<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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A Comet and a Crab

APOD: 2021 October 22 - A Comet and a Crab Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 22 A Comet and a Crab Image Credit &Copyright:Jose Mtanous Explanation: This pretty field of view spans over 2 degreesor 4 full moons on the sky,filled with stars toward the constellation Taurus, the Bull.Above and right of center in the frame you can spot the faint fuzzy reddishappearance of Messier 1 (M1),also known as the Crab Nebula.M1 is the first object in 18th century comet hunterCharles Messier's famous catalog of things which aredefinitely not comets.Made from image data captured this October 11,there is a comet in the picture though.Below center and left lies the faint greenish coma and dustytail of periodic comet67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko,also known as Rosetta's comet.In the 21st century, it became thefinal resting place ofrobots from planet Earth.Rosetta's comet isnow returning to the inner solar system, sweepingtoward its next perihelion or closest approach to the Sun, on November 2.Too faint to be seenby eye alone, the comet's next perigee or closestapproach to Earth will be November 12. Tomorrow's picture: stereo saturday<| Archive| Submissions |...

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Sharpless 308: The Dolphin-head Nebula

APOD: 2021 October 21 - Sharpless 308: The Dolphin-head Nebula Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 21 SH2-308: The Dolphin-head Nebula Image Credit &Copyright:Nik Szymanek Explanation: Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star,this cosmic bubble is huge.Cataloged asSharpless2-308 it lies some 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation ofthe Big Dog(CanisMajor) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon.Thatcorrespondsto a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance.The massive star that created the bubble, aWolf-Rayet star,is the bright onenear the centerof the nebula.Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sunand are thought to be in a brief,pre-supernova phaseof massive star evolution.Fast winds from this Wolf-Rayet starcreate the bubble-shaped nebula as they sweep up slower moving material from an earlier phase of evolution.The windblown nebula has an age of about 70,000years.Relatively faint emission captured by narrowband filters in the deep imageis dominated by the glow of ionized oxygen atomsmapped toa blue hue.Presenting amostly harmlessoutline, SH2-308 is also known as The Dolphin-head Nebula. Tomorrow's picture: it's a comet<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education|...

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Lucy Launches to Eight Asteroids

APOD: 2021 October 20 - Lucy Launches to Eight Asteroids Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 20 Lucy Launches to Eight Asteroids Image Credit & Copyright: John Kraus Explanation: Why would this mission go out as far as Jupiter -- but then not visit Jupiter?Lucy's plan is to follow different leads about the origin of our Solar System than can be found at Jupiter -- where Juno now orbits.Jupiter is such a massive planet that its gravity captures numerous asteroids that orbit the Sun ahead of it -- and behind.These trojan asteroids formed all over our Solar System and some may have been trapped there for billions of years.Flying by these trojan asteroids enables studying them as fossils that likely hold unique clues about our early Solar System.Lucy, named after a famous fossil skeleton which was named after a famous song, is scheduled to visit eight asteroids from 2025 to 2033. Pictured, Lucy's launch was captured with reflection last week aboard a powerful Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. Tomorrow's picture: mostly harmless <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search|...

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Palomar 6: Globular Star Cluster

APOD: 2021 October 19 - Palomar 6: Globular Star Cluster Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 19 Palomar 6: Globular Star Cluster Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, R. Cohen Explanation: Where did this big ball of stars come from?Palomar 6 is one of about 200 globular clusters of stars that survive in our Milky Way Galaxy.These spherical star-balls are older than our Sun as well as older than most stars that orbit in our galaxy's disk. Palomar 6 itself is estimated to be about 12.5 billion years old, so old that it is close to -- and so constrains -- the age of the entire universe. Containing about 500,000 stars, Palomar 6 lies about 25,000 light years away, but not very far from our galaxy's center. At that distance, this sharp image from the Hubble Space Telescope spans about 15 light-years. After much study including images from Hubble, a leading origin hypothesis is that Palomar 6 was created -- and survives today -- in the central bulge of stars that surround the Milky Way's center, not in the distant galactic halo...

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Earthshine Moon over Sicily

APOD: 2021 October 18 - Earthshine Moon over Sicily Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 18 Earthshine Moon over Sicily Image Credit & Copyright: Dario Giannobile Explanation: Why can we see the entire face of this Moon? When the Moon is in a crescent phase, only part of it appears directly illuminated by the Sun. The answer is earthshine, also known as earthlight and the da Vinci glow. The reason is that the rest of the Earth-facing Moon is slightly illuminated by sunlight first reflected from the Earth. Since the Earth appears near full phase from the Moon -- when the Moon appears as a slight crescent from the Earth -- earthshine is then near its brightest. Featured here in combined, consecutively-taken, HDR images taken earlier this month, a rising earthshine Moon was captured passing slowly near the planet Venus, the brightest spot near the image center. Just above Venus is the star Dschubba (catalogued as Delta Scorpii), while the red star on the far left is Antares.The celestial show is visible through scenic cloud decks.In the foreground are the lights...

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The Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens

APOD: 2021 October 17 - The Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 17 The Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens Image Credit & License: J. Rhoads(Arizona State U.) et al.,WIYN,AURA,NOIRLab,NSF Explanation: Most galaxies have a single nucleus -- does this galaxy have four? The strange answer leads astronomers to conclude that the nucleus of the surrounding galaxy is not even visible in this image. The central cloverleaf is rather light emitted from a background quasar. The gravitational field of the visible foreground galaxy breaks light from this distant quasar into four distinct images. The quasar must be properly aligned behind the center of a massive galaxy for a mirage like this to be evident. The general effect is known as gravitational lensing, and this specific case is known as the Einstein Cross. Stranger still, the images of the Einstein Cross vary in relative brightness, enhanced occasionally by the additional gravitational microlensing effect of specific stars in the foreground galaxy. Tomorrow's picture: earthshine fireworks <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors:...

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The Moona Lisa

APOD: 2021 October 16 - The Moona Lisa Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 16 The Moona Lisa Image Credit &Copyright:Gianni SarconeandMarcella Giulia Pace Explanation: Only natural colorsof the Moon in planet Earth'ssky appear in this creative visual presentation.Arrangedas pixelsin a framed image, the lunar disks were photographed at different times.Their varying hues are ultimately due to reflected sunlightaffected by changing atmospheric conditions and thealignmentgeometry of Moon, Earth, and Sun.Here, the darkest lunar disks are thecolors of earthshine.A description of earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth'soceans illuminating the Moon's dark surface, was written over 500 yearsago by Leonardo da Vinci. But stand farther back from your monitor or just shift your gaze to the smallerversions of the image.You might also see one of da Vinci's most famousworks of art. Tonight:International Observe the Moon Night Tomorrow's picture: looking through gravity's lens<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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NGC 289: Swirl in the Southern Sky

APOD: 2021 October 15 - NGC 289: Swirl in the Southern Sky Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 15 NGC 289: Swirl in the Southern Sky Image Credit &Copyright:Mike Selby Explanation: About 70 million light-years distant, gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 289 islarger than ourown Milky Way.Seen nearly face-on, its bright core and colorful central disk give wayto remarkably faint, bluish spiral arms.The extensive armssweep well over 100 thousand light-years from the galaxy's center.At the lower right in this sharp,telescopic galaxy portraitthe main spiral arm seems toencounter a small, fuzzy ellipticalcompanion galaxy interacting with enormous NGC 289.Of course spiky stars are in the foreground of the scene.They lie within the Milky Way toward the southern constellationSculptor. Tomorrow's picture: Pixel in Space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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NGC 7293: The Helix Nebula

APOD: 2021 October 14 - NGC 7293: The Helix Nebula Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 14 NGC 7293: The Helix Nebula Image Credit &Copyright:Ignacio Diaz Bobillo Explanation: A mere seven hundred light years from Earth, toward the constellationAquarius,a sun-like star is dying.Its last few thousand years have produced theHelixNebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of aPlanetaryNebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution. A total of 90 hours of exposure time have gone in to creatingthis expansive view of the nebula.Combining narrow band image data from emission lines of hydrogen atomsin red and oxygen atoms in blue-green hues,it shows remarkable details of theHelix's brighter inner region about 3light-years across.The white dot at the Helix's center is this Planetary Nebula's hot,central star.A simple looking nebula at first glance,the Helix is now understood to have a surprisinglycomplex geometry. Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan...

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NGC 7822: Cosmic Question Mark

APOD: 2021 October 13 - NGC 7822: Cosmic Question Mark Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 13 NGC 7822: Cosmic Question Mark Image Credit & Copyright: Yizhou Zhang Explanation: It may look like a huge cosmic question mark, but the big question really is how does the bright gas and dark dust tell this nebula's history of star formation. At the edge of a giantmolecular cloud toward the northernconstellation Cepheus, the glowing star forming region NGC 7822 lies about 3,000 light-years away.Within the nebula, bright edges and dark shapes stand out in thiscolorful and detailed skyscape.The 9-panel mosaic, taken over 28 nights with a small telescope in Texas,includes data from narrowband filters,mapping emission from atomic oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur into blue,green, and red hues.The emission line and color combination has become well-known as theHubble palette.The atomic emission is powered by energetic radiation from the central hot stars.Their powerful winds and radiation sculpt and erodethe denser pillar shapes and clear out acharacteristic cavity light-years acrossthe center of the natal cloud.Stars could still be forming inside the pillars bygravitational collapse but as the...

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Fireball over Lake Louise

APOD: 2021 October 12 - Fireball over Lake Louise Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 October 12 Fireball over Lake Louise Image Credit & Copyright: Hao Qin Explanation: What makes a meteor a fireball? First of all, everyone agrees that a fireball is an exceptionally bright meteor.Past that, the International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as a meteor brighter than apparent magnitude -4, which corresponds (roughly) to being brighter than any planet -- as well as bright enough to cast a human-noticeable shadow. Pictured, an astrophotographer taking a long-duration sky image captured by accident the brightest meteor he had ever seen. Clearly a fireball, the disintegrating space-rock created a trail so bright it turned night into day for about two seconds earlier this month. The fireball has been artificially dimmed in the featured image to bring up foreground Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. Although fireballs are rare, many people have been lucky enough to see them. If you see a fireball, you can report it. If more than one person recorded an image, the fireball might be traceable back to the Solar...

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Juno Flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter

APOD: 2021 October 11 - Juno Flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Juno Flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter Video Credit: Images: NASA,JPL-Caltech,SWRI,MSSS; Animation: Koji Kuramura, Gerald Eichstädt, Mike Stetson; Music: Vangelis Explanation: What would it be like to fly over the largest moon in the Solar System?In June, the robotic Juno spacecraft flew past Jupiter's huge moon Ganymede and took images that have been digitally constructed into a detailed flyby.As the featured video begins, Juno swoops over the two-toned surface of the 2,000-km wide moon, revealing an icy alien landscape filled with grooves and craters.The grooves are likely caused by shifting surface plates, while the craters are caused by violent impacts.Continuing on in its orbit, Juno then performed its 34th close pass over Jupiter's clouds.The digitally-constructed video shows numerous swirling clouds in the north, colorful planet-circling zones and bands across the middle -- featuring several white-oval clouds from the String of Pearls, and finally more swirling clouds in the south. Next September, Juno is scheduled to make a close pass over another of Jupiter's large moons: Europa. Tomorrow's picture: fireball...

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