Northern Lights from the Stratosphere

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 18 Northern Lights from the Stratosphere Image Credit &Copyright: Ralf Rohner Explanation: Northern lights shine inthis night skyview from planet Earth's stratosphere,captured on January 15.The single, 5 second exposure was made with ahand-held camera on board anaircraft above Winnipeg, Canada.During the exposure, terrestrial lights below leave colorful trails alongthe direction of motion of the speeding aircraft.Above the more distant horizon,energetic particles acceleratedalong Earth's magnetic field at theplanet's polar regionsexcite atomic oxygen to create the shimmeringdisplay of Aurora Borealis.The aurora's characteristic greenish hue is generated at altitudesof 100-300 kilometers and red at even higher altitudes andlower atmospheric densities.The luminous glow of faint stars along the plane of our Milky Way galaxyarcs through the night,while the Andromeda galaxy extends this northern skyview toextragalactic space.A diffuse hint of Andromeda,the closest large spiral to the Milky Way, can just be seento the upper left. Tomorrow's picture: shortest day in the Solar System <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official:...

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America and the Sea of Serenity

APOD: 2024 January 17 - America and the Sea of Serenity 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 17 America and the Sea of Serenity Image Credit &Copyright: Gene Cernan,Apollo 17,NASA;Anaglyph byPatrick Vantuyne Explanation: Get out yourred/blue glassesand check out this stereo view of another world.The scene was recordedby Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene Cernan on December 11, 1972,one orbit before descending to land on the Moon.The stereo anaglyph was assembled from two photographs(AS17-147-22465, AS17-147-22466)captured from his vantage point on board the Lunar Module Challenger as heand Dr. Harrison Schmitt flew over Apollo 17'slanding site in theTaurus-Littrow Valley.The broad, sunlit face of the mountain dubbedSouth Massif rises near the centerof the frame,above the dark floor of Taurus-Littrow to its left.Piloted by Ron Evans, the Command Module America isvisible in orbit in the foreground against theSouth Massif's peak.Beyond the mountains, toward the lunar limb, lies the Moon'sMare Serenitatis.Four astronauts will venture around the Moon and back again on theArtemis II mission,scheduled for launch no earlier than September 2025. Tomorrow's picture: geomagnetic stormy weather <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About...

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America and the Sea of Serenity

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 17 America and the Sea of Serenity Image Credit &Copyright: Gene Cernan,Apollo 17,NASA;Anaglyph byPatrick Vantuyne Explanation: Get out yourred/blue glassesand check out this stereo view of another world.The scene was recordedby Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene Cernan on December 11, 1972,one orbit before descending to land on the Moon.The stereo anaglyph was assembled from two photographs(AS17-147-22465, AS17-147-22466)captured from his vantage point on board the Lunar Module Challenger as heand Dr. Harrison Schmitt flew over Apollo 17'slanding site in theTaurus-Littrow Valley.The broad, sunlit face of the mountain dubbedSouth Massif rises near the centerof the frame,above the dark floor of Taurus-Littrow to its left.Piloted by Ron Evans, the Command Module America isvisible in orbit in the foreground against theSouth Massif's peak.Beyond the mountains, toward the lunar limb, lies the Moon'sMare Serenitatis.Four astronauts will venture around the Moon and back again on theArtemis II mission,scheduled for launch no earlier than September 2025. Tomorrow's picture: geomagnetic stormy weather <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors:...

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Good Morning Moon

APOD: 2024 January 12 - Good Morning Moon 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 12 Good Morning Moon Image Credit &Copyright: Michael Luy,Trier Observatory,TWAN Explanation: Yesterday, theMoon was New.But on January 9, early morning risers around planet Earth were treatedto the sight of an old Moon, low in the east as the sky grewbright beforedawn.Above the city of Saarburg inRhineland-Palatinate, western Germany,this simple snapshot found the waning Moon'ssunlit crescentjust before sunrise.But also never wandering far from the Sunin Earth's sky,inner planets Venusand Mercury shared thecold morning skyview.In the foreground are the historic city's tower and castlewith ruins from the 10th century. Tomorrow's picture: circle around the Sun <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Ryan SmallcombSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

Circling 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. 2024 January 13 Circling the Sun Image Credit &Copyright: Radoslav Zboran Explanation: Earth's orbit around the Sunis not a circle, it's an ellipse.The point along its elliptical orbit where our fair planet isclosest to the Sunis called perihelion.This year, perihelion was on January 2 at 01:00 UTC, withthe Earth about 3 million milescloser to the Sun than it was at aphelion (last July 6),the farthest point in its elliptical orbit.Of course, distance from the Sundoesn't determine the seasons,and it doesn't the determine size of Sun halos.Easier to seewith the Sun hidden behind a tall tree trunk,this beautiful ice halo forms a 22 degree-widecircle around the Sun,recorded while strolling through the countrysidenear Heroldstatt, Germany.The Sun halo's 22 degree angular diameter isdetermined by the six-sided geometryof water ice crystalsdrifting high in planet Earth's atmosphere. Tomorrow's picture: there be dragons <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Ryan SmallcombSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC,NASA...

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Quadrantids of the North

APOD: 2024 January 11 - Quadrantids of the North 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 11 Quadrantids of the North Image Credit &Copyright: 염범석 Yeom Beom-seok Explanation: Named for aforgotten constellation, theQuadrantid Meteor Showerputs on an annual show for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers.The shower's radiant on the skylies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellationQuadrans Muralis.That location is not far from the Big Dipper asterism,known to some as the Plough,at the boundaries of the modern constellations Bootes and Draco.The Big Dipper "handle" stars are near the upperright corner in this frame, with the meteor shower radiant just below.North star Polaris is toward the top left.Pointing back toward the radiant,Quadrantid meteors streak through the night inthis skyscape from Jangsu, South Korea.The composite image was recorded in the hours aroundthe shower's peak on January 4, 2024.A likely source of the dust stream that producesQuadrantid meteors was identifiedin 2003as an asteroid. Tomorrow's picture: good morning moon <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Ryan SmallcombSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy...

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Good Morning Moon

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 12 Good Morning Moon Image Credit &Copyright: Michael Luy,Trier Observatory,TWAN Explanation: Yesterday, theMoon was New.But on January 9, early morning risers around planet Earth were treatedto the sight of an old Moon, low in the east as the sky grewbright beforedawn.Above the city of Saarburg inRhineland-Palatinate, western Germany,this simple snapshot found the waning Moon'ssunlit crescentjust before sunrise.But also never wandering far from the Sunin Earth's sky,inner planets Venusand Mercury shared thecold morning skyview.In the foreground are the historic city's tower and castlewith ruins from the 10th century. Tomorrow's picture: circle around the Sun <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Ryan SmallcombSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC,NASA Science Activation& Michigan Tech. U.

The Light, the Dark, and the Dusty

APOD: 2024 January 10 - The Light, the Dark, and the Dusty 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 10 The Light, the Dark, and the Dusty Image Credit &Copyright: Gábor Galambos Explanation: This colorful skyscapespans about three full moons across nebula richstarfields along the plane ofour Milky Way Galaxy toward the royal northern constellationCepheus.Near the edge of the region's massive molecular cloud some 2,400light-years away, bright reddish emission regionSharpless(Sh)2-155 is at the center of the frame, also known as theCave Nebula.About 10 light-years across the cosmic cave's bright walls ofgas are ionized by ultraviolet light from the hot young stars around it.Dusty bluish reflection nebulae,like vdB155 at the left, and dense obscuring clouds of dust also abound on theinterstellar canvas.Astronomicalexplorations haverevealed otherdramatic signs of star formation,including the bright reddish fleck ofHerbig-Haro (HH) 168.At the upper left in the frame, the Herbig-Haro object emission isgenerated by energetic jets from anewborn star. Tomorrow's picture: unforgotten <| 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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Quadrantids of the North

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 11 Quadrantids of the North Image Credit &Copyright: 염범석 Yeom Beom-seok Explanation: Named for aforgotten constellation, theQuadrantid Meteor Showerputs on an annual show for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers.The shower's radiant on the skylies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellationQuadrans Muralis.That location is not far from the Big Dipper asterism,known to some as the Plough,at the boundaries of the modern constellations Bootes and Draco.In fact the Big Dipper "handle" stars are near the upperright corner in this frame, with the meteor shower radiant just below.North star Polaris is toward the top left.Pointing back toward the radiant,Quadrantid meteors streak through the night inthis skyscape from Jangsu, South Korea.The composite image was recorded in the hours aroundthe shower's peak on January 4, 2024.A likely source of the dust stream that producesQuadrantid meteors was identifiedin 2003as an asteroid. 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...

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The Light, the Dark, and the Dusty

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 10 The Light, the Dark, and the Dusty Image Credit &Copyright: Gábor Galambos Explanation: This colorful skyscapespans about three full moons across nebula richstarfields along the plane ofour Milky Way Galaxy toward the royal northern constellationCepheus.Near the edge of the region's massive molecular cloud some 2,400light-years away, bright reddish emission regionSharpless(Sh)2-155 is at the center of the frame, also known as theCave Nebula.About 10 light-years across the cosmic cave's bright walls ofgas are ionized by ultraviolet light from the hot young stars around it.Dusty bluish reflection nebulae,like vdB155 at the left, and dense obscuring clouds of dust also abound on theinterstellar canvas.Astronomicalexplorations haverevealed otherdramatic signs of star formation,including the bright reddish fleck ofHerbig-Haro (HH) 168.At the upper left in the frame, the Herbig-Haro object emission isgenerated by energetic jets from anewborn star. Tomorrow's picture: unforgotten <| 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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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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Trapezium: At the Heart of Orion

APOD: 2024 January 5 - Trapezium: At the Heart of Orion 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: snow day <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry...

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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

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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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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