The Snows of Churyumov Gerasimenko

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. The Snows of Churyumov-Gerasimenko Images Credit: ESA, Rosetta, MPS, OSIRIS;UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA; Animation: Jacint Roger Perez Explanation: You couldn't really be caughtin this blizzard while standing by a cliff onperiodic comet67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.Orbiting the comet in June of 2016, the Rosettaspacecraft's narrow angle camera did record streaks of dustand ice particles similar to snow as they drifted across thefield of view close to the camera andabove the comet's surface.Still, some of thebright specksin the scene are likely due to a rainof energetic charged particles orcosmic rayshitting the camera, and the dense background ofstars in the direction of the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major).In the video, the background stars are easy to spot trailing from top to bottom.The stunning movie was constructed from 33consecutive imagestaken over 25 minutes while Rosetta cruised some 13 kilometers from the comet's nucleus.In September 2016, the nucleus became the finalresting place for the Rosetta spacecraft after itsmission was ended with a successful controlled impact on67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Tomorrow's picture: cats in space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD|...

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Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

APOD: 2024 January 4 - Zeta Oph: Runaway Star 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. 2024 January 4 Zeta Oph: Runaway Star Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech,Spitzer Space Telescope Explanation: Like a ship plowing through cosmic seas,runaway star Zeta Ophiuchiproduces the arcing interstellar bow wave or bow shock seen in this stunning infrared portrait.In the false-color view, bluish Zeta Oph, a star about 20 times moremassive than the Sun, lies near the center of the frame, movingtoward the left at 24 kilometers per second.Its strong stellar wind precedes it, compressing and heating the dustyinterstellar materialand shaping the curved shock front.What set this star in motion?Zeta Oph was likely once a member of abinary star system, itscompanion star was more massive and hence shorter lived.When the companionexploded as a supernovacatastrophically losing mass, Zeta Oph was flung out of the system. About 460 light-years away, Zeta Ophis 65,000 times more luminous than theSun and would be one of the brighter starsin the sky if it weren't surrounded by obscuring dust.The image spans about 1.5 degrees or 12 light-yearsat the estimated distance ofZeta Ophiuchi.In January 2020, NASA...

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Trapezium: At the Heart of Orion

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2024 January 5 Trapezium: At the Heart of Orion Image Credit &Copyright: Fred Zimmer,Telescope Live Explanation: Near the center ofthis sharp cosmic portrait, atthe heart of the Orion Nebula,are four hot, massive starsknown asthe Trapezium.Gathered within a region about 1.5 light-years in radius,they dominate the core of the dense Orion Nebula Star Cluster.Ultravioletionizing radiation from the Trapezium stars,mostly from the brightest starTheta-1 Orionis Cpowers the complex star forming region's entire visible glow.About three million years old, the Orion Nebula Cluster waseven more compact in its younger years and adynamical studyindicates thatrunaway stellar collisionsat an earlier age may have formed ablack holewith more than 100 times the mass of the Sun.The presence of a black hole within the clustercould explain the observed high velocities of theTrapezium stars.The Orion Nebula's distance of some 1,500 light-years would make it oneof theclosest known black holesto planet Earth. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend <| 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...

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Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2024 January 4 Zeta Oph: Runaway Star Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech,Spitzer Space Telescope Explanation: Like a ship plowing through cosmic seas,runaway star Zeta Ophiuchiproduces the arcing interstellar bow wave or bow shock seen in this stunning infrared portrait.In the false-color view, bluish Zeta Oph, a star about 20 times moremassive than the Sun, lies near the center of the frame, movingtoward the left at 24 kilometers per second.Its strong stellar wind precedes it, compressing and heating the dustyinterstellar materialand shaping the curved shock front.What set this star in motion?Zeta Oph was likely once a member of abinary star system, itscompanion star was more massive and hence shorter lived.When the companionexploded as a supernovacatastrophically losing mass, Zeta Oph was flung out of the system. About 460 light-years away, Zeta Ophis 65,000 times more luminous than theSun and would be one of the brighter starsin the sky if it weren't surrounded by obscuring dust.The image spans about 1.5 degrees or 12 light-yearsat the estimated distance ofZeta Ophiuchi.In January 2020, NASA placed the Spitzer Space...

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Shakespeare in Space

APOD: 2023 December 29 - Shakespeare in Space 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. 2023 December 29 Shakespeare in Space Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA,STScI Explanation: In 1986, Voyager 2 became the only spacecraftto exploreice giant planet Uranusclose up.Still, this newly released imagefrom the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera)on the James Webb Space Telescope offers adetailed look at the distant world.The tilted outer planet rotates on its axis once in about 17 hours.Its north pole is presently pointed near our line of sight,offering direct views of its northern hemisphere and afaint but extensive system of rings.Of the giant planet's 27 known moons, 14 areannotated in the image.Mixed with fuzzy background galaxies,the brighter moons show hints of Webb's characteristicdiffraction spikes.And though these worlds of the outer Solar Systemwere unknown inShakespearean times,all but two of the 27 Uranian moons arenamedfor characters in the English bard's plays. Tomorrow's picture: the cold and tired moon <| 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...

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The Last Full Moon

Known to some in the northern hemisphere as

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Jupiter and the Geminid

APOD: 2023 December 28 - Jupiter and the Geminid 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. 2023 December 28 Jupiter and the Geminid Image Credit &Copyright:Gaurav Singh Explanation: For a brief moment,this brilliant fireball meteor outshoneJupiter in planet Earth's night.The serendipitous image was captured while hunting meteors undercold Canadian skies with a camera intimelapse mode on December 14,near the peak of theGeminid meteor shower.The Geminid meteor shower,asteroid 3200 Phaethon's annual gift,always arrives in December.Dust shed along the orbit of the mysterious asteroidcauses the meteor streaks, as the vaporizing grainsplow through our fair planet's upper atmosphereat 22 kilometers per second.Of course Geminid shower meteorsappear to radiatefrom a point in the constellation of the Twins.That's below and left of this frame.With bright Jupiter on the right, also in theDecember nightskyview are thePleiades andHyadesstar clusters. Tomorrow's picture: Shakespeare 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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Shakespeare in Space

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 29 Shakespeare in Space Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA,STScI Explanation: In 1986, Voyager 2 became the only spacecraftto exploreice giant planet Uranusclose up.Still, this newly released imagefrom the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera)on the James Webb Space Telescope offers adetailed look at the distant world.The tilted outer planet rotates on its axis once in about 17 hours.Its north pole is presently pointed near our line of sight,offering direct views of its northern hemisphere and afaint but extensive system of rings.Of the giant planet's 27 known moons, 14 areannotated in the image.The brighter ones show hints of Webb's characteristicdiffraction spikes.And though these worlds of the outer Solar Systemwere unknown inShakespearean times,all but two of the 27 Uranian moons arenamedfor characters in the English Bard's plays. Tomorrow's picture: the cold and tired moon <| 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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Jupiter and the Geminid

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 28 Jupiter and the Geminid Image Credit &Copyright:Gaurav Singh Explanation: For a brief moment,this brilliant fireball meteor outshoneJupiter in planet Earth's night.The serendipitous image was captured while hunting meteors undercold Canadian skies with a camera intimelapse mode on December 14,near the peak of theGeminid meteor shower.The Geminid meteor shower,asteroid 3200 Phaethon's annual gift,always arrives in December.Dust shed along the orbit of the mysterious asteroidcauses the meteor streaks, as the vaporizing grainsplow through our fair planet's upper atmosphereat 22 kilometers per second.Of course Geminid shower meteorsappear to radiatefrom a point in the constellation of the Twins.That's below and left of this frame.With bright Jupiter on the right, also in theDecember nightskyview are thePleiades andHyadesstar clusters. Tomorrow's picture: Shakespeare 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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183 Days in the Sun

APOD: 2023 December 22 - 183 Days in the Sun 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. 2023 December 22 183 Days in the Sun Image Credit &Copyright:José Zarcos Palma Explanation: A single 183 day exposure with a pinhole camera and photographic paperresulted in this long-durationsolargraph.Recorded fromsolstice to solstice,June 21 to December 21, in 2022,it follows the Sun's daily arcing paththrough planet Earth's skies from Mertola, Portugal.On June 21,the Sun's highest point and longest arc represents the longestday and the astronomical beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.The solstice date with the fewest hours of daylight is atthe beginning of winter in the north,corresponding to the Sun's shortest and lowest arc in the 2022 solargraph.For 2023, the northern winter solstice was on December 22 at 3:27 UTC.That's December 21for North America time zones. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend <| 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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A December Summer Night

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 23 A December Summer Night Image Credit &Copyright:Ian Griffin(Otago Museum) Explanation: Colours of a serene evening sky are captured in this8 minute exposure, made nearthis December's solsticefrom New Zealand, southern hemisphere,planet Earth.Looking south, star trails form the short concentric arcs aroundthe rotating planet's south celestial polepositioned just off the top of the frame.At top and left of center are trails of the Southern Cross starsand a dark smudge from theMilky Way's Coalsack Nebula.Alpha and BetaCentauri make the brighter yellow and blue tinted trails,reflected below in the waters of Hoopers Inlet in the Pacific coast of the South Island'sOtago Peninsula.On that short December summer night,aurora australis alsogave luminous, green and reddish hues to the sky above the hills.An upper atmospheric glowdistinct from the auroraexcited by collisions with energetic particles,pale greenish bands of airglow caused bya cascade of chemical reactionsexcited by sunlightcan be traced in diagonal bands near the top left. Tomorrow's picture: a cosmic cocoon <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors:...

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Three Galaxies and a Comet

APOD: 2023 December 21 - Three Galaxies and a Comet 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. 2023 December 21 Three Galaxies and a Comet Image Credit &Copyright:Dan Bartlett Explanation: Distant galaxies abound in thisone degree wide field of view towardthe southern constellation Grus (The Crane).But the three spiral galaxies at the lower right are quite striking.In fact, all three galaxies are grouped about 70 million light years awayand sometimes known asthe Grus Triplet.They share the pretty telescopic frame, recorded on December 13,with thecometdesignatedC/2020 V2 ZTF.Now outbound from the inner Solar System and swinging belowthe ecliptic plane in ahyperbolicorbit, the comet was about 29 light-minutes from our fair planet in this image.And though comet ZTF was brighter when it wasclosest to the Sun last May and closest to Earth in September of 2023,it still shines in telescopes pointed toward southern night skies,remaining almost as bright as the Grus Triplet galaxies. Tomorrow's picture: solstice solargraphy <| 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...

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183 Days in the Sun

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 22 183 Days in the Sun Image Credit &Copyright:José Zarcos Palma Explanation: A single 183 day exposure with a pinhole camera and photographic paperresulted in this long-durationsolargraph.Recorded fromsolstice to solstice,June 21 to December 21, in 2022,it follows the Sun's daily arcing paththrough planet Earth's skies from Mertola, Portugal.On June 21,the Sun's highest point and longest arc represents the longestday and the astronomical beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.The solstice date with the fewest hours of daylight is atthe beginning of winter in the north,corresponding to the Sun's shortest and lowest arc in the 2022 solargraph.For 2023, the northern winter solstice was on December 22 at 3:27 UTC.That's December 21for North America time zones. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend <| 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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Three Galaxies and a Comet

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 21 Three Galaxies and a Comet Image Credit &Copyright:Dan Bartlett Explanation: Distant galaxies abound in thisone degree wide field of view towardthe southern constellation Grus (The Crane).But the three spiral galaxies at the lower right are quite striking.In fact, all three galaxies are grouped about 70 million light years awayand sometimes known asthe Grus Triplet.They share the pretty telescopic frame, recorded on December 13,with thecometdesignatedC/2020 V2 ZTF.Now outbound from the inner Solar System and swinging belowthe ecliptic plane in ahyperbolicorbit, the comet was about 29 light-minutes from our fair planet in this image.And though comet ZTF was brighter when it wasclosest to the Sun last May and closest to Earth in September of 2023,it still shines in telescopes pointed toward southern night skies,remaining almost as bright as the Grus Triplet galaxies. Tomorrow's picture: solstice solargraphy <| 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,NASA...

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Betelgeuse Eclipsed

APOD: 2023 December 15 - Betelgeuse Eclipsed 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. 2023 December 15 Betelgeuse Eclipsed Image Credit &Copyright:Sebastian Voltmer Explanation: Asteroid 319 Leonacast a shadow across planet Earth on December 12, as itpassed in front of bright star Betelgeuse.But to see everyone'sfavorite red giant star fadethis time, you had to standnear the centerline of the narrow shadow path starting in central Mexico and extending eastwardacross southern Florida, the Atlantic Ocean, southern Europe, and Eurasia.The geocentric celestial event was captured in these two panels taken atAlmodovar del Rio, Spain from before (left) and duringthe asteroid-star occultation.In both panels Betelgeuse is seen above and left, at the shoulder ofthe familiar constellation Orion.Its brightness diminishesnoticeably during the exceedingly rareoccultation when, for several seconds, the giant starwas briefly eclipsed by a roughly 60 kilometer diametermain-belt asteroid. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend <| 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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Crescent Enceladus

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 16 Crescent Enceladus Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA,NASA Explanation: Peering from the shadows, theSaturn-facing hemisphere oftantalizing inner moon Enceladusposes in this Cassini spacecraft image.North is up inthedramatic scene captured during November 2016 asCassini's camera was pointed in a nearly sunward directionabout 130,000 kilometers from the moon's bright crescent.In fact, the distant world reflects over 90 percent of the sunlightit receives, giving its surface about the same reflectivity asfresh snow.A mere 500 kilometers in diameter,Enceladus is a surprisinglyactive moon.Data and images collected during Cassini's flybys have revealedwater vapor and ice grains spewingfrom south polar geysers and evidence of anocean of liquid water hidden beneaththe moon's icy crust. Tomorrow's picture: the same color <| 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

APOD: 2023 December 14 - Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A 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. 2023 December 14 Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA,STScI;D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University),T. Temim (Princeton University),I. De Looze (University of Gent) Explanation: Massive starsin our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnacesignite and create heavy elements in their cores.After only a few million years for the most massive stars, theenriched material is blastedback into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew.The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an exampleof this final phase of thestellar life cycle.Light from the supernova explosion that created this remnantwould have been firstseen in planet Earth's skyabout 350 years ago,although it took that light 11,000 years to reach us.This sharp NIRCam imagefrom the James Webb Space Telescopeshows the still hot filaments and knots in the supernova remnant.The whitish, smoke-like outer shell of the expanding blast waveis about 20 light-years across.Light echoes from the massive star's cataclysmic explosion are alsoidentified in Webb's detailed imageof supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. Tonight watch:The Geminids Tomorrow's picture:...

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Betelgeuse Eclipsed

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 15 Betelgeuse Eclipsed Image Credit &Copyright:Sebastian Voltmer Explanation: Asteroid 319 Leonacast a shadow across planet Earth on December 12, as itpassed in front of bright star Betelgeuse.But to see everyone'sfavorite red giant star fadethis time, you had to standnear the centerof the narrow shadow path starting in central Mexico and extending eastwardacross southern Florida, the Atlantic Ocean, southern Europe, and Eurasia.The geocentric celestial event is captured in these two panels taken atAlmodovar del Rio, Spain from before (left) and duringthe asteroid-star occultation.In both panels Betelgeuse is seen above and left, at the shoulder ofthe familiar constellation Orion.Its brightness diminishesnoticeably during the exceedingly rareoccultation when, for several seconds, the giant starwas briefly eclipsed by a roughly 60 kilometer diametermain-belt asteroid. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend <| 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,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

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Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 December 14 Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA,STScI;D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University),T. Temim (Princeton University),I. De Looze (University of Gent) Explanation: Massive starsin our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnacesignite and create heavy elements in their cores.After only a few million years for the most massive stars, theenriched material is blastedback into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew.The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an exampleof this final phase of thestellar life cycle.Light from the supernova explosion that created this remnantwould have been firstseen in planet Earth's skyabout 350 years ago,although it took that light 11,000 years to reach us.This sharp NIRCam imagefrom the James Webb Space Telescopeshows the still hot filaments and knots in the supernova remnant.The whitish, smoke-like outer shell of the expanding blast waveis about 20 light-years across, while thebright specknear center is a neutron star,the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of the massive stellar core.Light echoes from the massive star's cataclysmic explosion are alsoidentified...

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Vega and Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

APOD: 2023 December 8 - Vega and Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks 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. 2023 December 8 Vega and Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Image Credit &Copyright:Dan Bartlett Explanation: On December 4, periodicComet 12P/Pons-Brooksshared thistelescopic field of viewwith Vega, alpha star of the northern constellation Lyra.Fifth brightest star in planet Earth's night,Vega is some 25light-years distant whilethe much fainter comet was about 21 light-minutes away.In recent months,outbursts have caused dramatic increasesin brightness for Pons-Brooks though.Nicknamed the Devil Comet for its hornlike appearance,fans of interstellar spaceflight have also suggestedthe distorted shape of this large comet's central coma looks like theMillenium Falcon.A Halley-type comet, 12P/Pons-Brookslast visited the innerSolar System in 1954.Its next perihelion passage or closest approach to the Sunwill be April 21, 2024.That's just two weeks after the April 8 totalsolar eclipse path crosses North America.But, highly inclined to the Solar System's ecliptic plane,the orbit of periodicComet 12P/Pons-Brookswill never cross the orbit of planet Earth. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend <| 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...

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