In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster

APOD: 2022 June 15 - In the Heart of the Virgo 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. 2022 June 15 In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster Image Credit & Copyright: Saulius Adomaitis Explanation: The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is the closest cluster of galaxies to our Milky Way Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is so close that it spans more than 5 degrees on the sky - about 10 times the angle made by a full Moon.With its heart lying about 70 million light years distant, the Virgo Cluster is the nearest cluster of galaxies, contains over 2,000 galaxies, and has a noticeable gravitational pull on the galaxies of the Local Group of Galaxies surrounding our Milky Way Galaxy. The cluster contains not only galaxies filled with stars but also gas so hot it glows in X-rays. Motions of galaxies in and around clusters indicate that they contain more dark matter than any visible matter we can see. Pictured here, the heart of the Virgo Cluster includes bright Messier galaxies such asMarkarian's Eyes on the upper left, M86 just to the upper...

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Satellites Behind Pinnacles

APOD: 2022 June 14 - Satellites Behind Pinnacles 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. 2022 June 14 Satellites Behind Pinnacles Image Credit & Copyright: Joshua Rozells Explanation: What are all those streaks across the background?Satellite trails.First, the foreground features picturesque rock mounds known as Pinnacles. Found in the Nambung National Park in Western Australia, these human-sized spires are made by unknown processes from ancient sea shells (limestone).Perhaps more eye-catching, though, is the sky behind.Created by low-Earth orbit satellites reflecting sunlight, all of these streaks were captured in less than two hours and digitally combined onto the single featured image, with the foreground taken consecutively by the same camera and from the same location. Most of the streaks were made by the developing Starlink constellation of communication satellites, but some are not.In general, the streaks are indicative of an increasing number of satellites nearly continuously visible above the Earth after dusk and before dawn. Understanding and removing the effects of satellite trails on images from Earth's ground-based cameras and telescopes is now important not only for elegant astrophotography, but for humanity's scientific understanding of...

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M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy from Hubble

APOD: 2022 June 13 - M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy from Hubble 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. 2022 June 13 M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy from Hubble Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA;Processing & Copyright: Bernard Miller Explanation: The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy.At only 30 millionlight years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. The featured imageis a digital combination of images taken in different colors by the Earth-orbitingHubble Space Telescope, highlighting many sharp features.Anyone with a good pair ofbinoculars, however, can see thisWhirlpool toward the constellation of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici).M51 is aspiral galaxy of type Scand is the dominant member of awhole group of galaxies. Astronomers speculate that M51'sspiral structure is primarily due to its gravitational interaction with thesmaller galaxy on the image left. Tomorrow's picture: pinnacle satellites <| 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...

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Find the Man in the Moon

APOD: 2022 June 12 - Find the Man in the 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. 2022 June 12 Find the Man in the Moon Image Credit & Copyright: Dani Caxete Explanation: Have you ever seen the Man in the Moon?This common question plays on the ability of humans to see pareidolia -- imagining familiar icons where they don't actually exist.The textured surface of Earth's full Moon is home to numerous identifications of iconic objects, not only in modern western culture but in world folklore throughout history.Examples, typically dependent on the Moon's perceived orientation, include the Woman in the Moon and the Rabbit in the Moon.One facial outline commonly identified as the Man in the Moon starts by imagining the two dark circular areas -- lunar maria -- here just above the Moon's center, to be the eyes. Surprisingly, there actually is a man in this Moon image -- a close look will reveal a real person -- with a telescope -- silhouetted against the Moon.This featured well-planned image was taken in 2016 in Cadalso de los Vidrios in Madrid, Spain.Do you...

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The Road and the Milky Way

APOD: 2022 June 11 - The Road and the Milky Way 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. 2022 June 11 The Road and the Milky Way Image Credit &Copyright: David Cruz Explanation: At night you can follow this road as itpasses through the Dark Sky Alqueva reserve not toofar from Alentejo, Portugal.Or you could stop,look up,and follow the Milky Way through the sky.Both stretch fromhorizon to horizon in this180 degree panoramarecorded on June 3.Our galaxy's name, the Milky Way, doesrefer to its appearance as a milky path in the sky.The word galaxy itself derives from the Greek for milk.From our fair planetthe arc of the Milky Way is most easily visible on moonless nightsfrom dark sky areas, though not quite so bright or colorful as in this image.The glowing celestial band is due to the collective light ofmyriad stars along the galactic plane too faint to bedistinguished individually.The diffuse starlight is cut by dark swathsof the galaxy's obscuring interstellar dust clouds.Standing above the Milky Way arc near the top of thispanoramic nightscape isbright star Vega, with the galaxy'scentral bulgenear the horizon at the...

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Arp 286: Trio in Virgo

APOD: 2022 June 10 - Arp 286: Trio in Virgo 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. 2022 June 10 Arp 286: Trio in Virgo Image Credit &Copyright: Nicolas Rolland,Telescope.Live Explanation: This colorful telescopic fieldof view features a trio of interacting galaxies almost 90 millionlight-years away, toward theconstellation Virgo.On the right twospiky,foreground Milky Way stars echo the extragalactic hues,a reminder that stars in our own galaxy are like those in distantisland universes.With sweeping spiral arms and obscuring dust lanes,the dominant member of the trio,NGC 5566, is enormous, about 150,000 light-years across.Just above it lies smaller, bluish NGC 5569.Near center a third galaxy, NGC 5560,is apparentlystretched and distorted by its interaction with massive NGC 5566.The trio is also included in Halton Arp's 1966Atlasof Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 286.Of course, suchcosmic interactionsare now appreciated as part of theevolution ofgalaxies. 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& Michigan Tech. U.

Cosmic Clouds in Cygnus

APOD: 2022 June 9 - Cosmic Clouds in Cygnus 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. 2022 June 9 Cosmic Clouds in Cygnus Image Credit &Copyright: Wolfgang Zimmermann Explanation: These cosmic clouds of gas and dust driftthrough rich star fields along theplane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the high flying constellationCygnus.They're too faint to be seen with the unaided eye though, even on aclear, dark night.Image data from acamera and telephoto lensusing narrowband filterswas used to construct this 10 degree wide field of view.The deep mosaic reveals a region that includes star forming dust clouds seen in silhouette against thecharacteristic glow of atomic hydrogen and oxygen gas.NGC 6888 is the standout emission nebula near the top.Blown by winds from a massive Wolf-Rayet star it'sabout 25 light-years across and known as theCrescent Nebula.A faint bluish curl just below center in the frame is also thesignature of a Wolf-Rayet star.Burning fuel at a prodigious rate and near the end of their stellarlives, both stars will ultimately go out with a bang in a spectacularsupernova explosion.Toward the right, a massive, young O type star powers the...

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Ship Tracks over the Pacific Ocean

APOD: 2022 June 8 - Ship Tracks over the Pacific Ocean 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. 2022 June 8 Ship Tracks over the Pacific Ocean Image Credit: NASA, Terra, MODIS; Text: Raymond Shaw (MTU) Explanation: What are those unusual streaks?Some images of planet Earth show clear bright streaks that follow the paths of ships. Known as ship tracks, these low and narrow bands are caused by theship's engine exhaust.Water vapor condenses around small bits of exhaust known as aerosols, which soon grow into floating water drops that efficiently reflect sunlight.Ship tracks were first discovered in 1965 in Earth images taken by NASA's TIROS satellites. Multiple ship tracks are visible across the featured image that was captured in 2009 over the Pacific Ocean by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite.Inspired by ship-tracks, some scientists have suggested deploying a network of floating buoys in the worlds' oceans that spray salt-aerosol containing sea-water into the air so that, with the help of the wind, streams of sunlight-reflecting clouds would also form. Why do this? These human-made clouds could reflect so much sunlight they might...

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NGC 6188: Dragons of Ara

APOD: 2022 June 7 - NGC 6188: Dragons of Ara 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. 2022 June 7 NGC 6188: Dragons of Ara Image Credit & Copyright: Shaun Robertson Explanation: Do dragons fight on the altar of the sky? Although it might appear that way, these dragons are illusions made of thin gas and dust.The emission nebula NGC 6188, home to the glowing clouds, is found about 4,000 light years away near the edge of alarge molecular cloud unseen at visible wavelengths, in the southernconstellationAra (the Altar).Massive, youngstars of the embedded AraOB1 associationwere formed in that region only a few million years ago,sculpting the dark shapes andpowering the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation.The recentstar formation itself was likely triggered bywinds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massivestars, that swept up and compressed the molecular gas.Joining NGC 6188 on this cosmic canvas, visible toward the lower right, is rare emission nebula NGC 6164,also created by one of the region's massive O-type stars.Similar in appearance to manyplanetary nebulae, NGC 6164's striking,symmetric gaseous shroud and faint halo surround its bright...

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Milky Way Galaxy Doomed: Collision with Andromeda Pending

APOD: 2022 June 6 - Milky Way Galaxy Doomed: Collision with Andromeda Pending 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. 2022 June 6 Milky Way Galaxy Doomed: Collision with Andromeda Pending Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI); T. Hallas; andA. Mellinger Explanation: Will our Milky Way Galaxy collide one day with its larger neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy?Most likely, yes. Careful plotting of slight displacements of M31's stars relative to background galaxies on recent Hubble Space Telescope images indicate that the center of M31 could be on a direct collision course with the center of our home galaxy.Still, the errors in sideways velocity appear sufficiently large to admit a good chance that the central parts of the two galaxies will miss, slightly, but will become close enough for their outer halos to become gravitationally entangled.Once that happens, the two galaxies will become bound, dance around, and eventually merge to become one large elliptical galaxy -- over the next few billion years.Pictured here is a combination of images depicting the sky of a world (Earth?) in the distant future when...

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Two Black Holes Dancing in 3C 75

What's happening at the center of active galaxy 3C 75?

Tau Herculids from Space

APOD: 2022 June 4 - Tau Herculids from 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. 2022 June 4 Tau Herculids from Space Image Credit &Copyright: Zhuoxiao Wang, Yangwang-1 Space Telescope,Origin.Space Explanation: On May 31 tens of parallel meteor streaks were recorded in this8 degree wide field of view of planet Earth's limb from space.The image is one of a series of 5 minute long observationsby the orbitingYangwang-1 space telescope.It was captured at 03:43 UT, near the peak of theTau Herculidmeteor shower.As predicted,the meteor shower was an active one this year,caused as Earth swept through a relativelydense stream of debris fromdisintegratingComet73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3,but waslacking bright meteors.Nearly all of the Tau Herculid meteors in the Yangwang-1 image are too faintto be detected by groundbased instruments.But on that datepatient earthboundskywatchers under clear skiesstill enjoyed a memorableshowing of the Tau Herculids. Tomorrow's picture: gravity's dance<| 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.

A 10 000 Kilometer Galactic Bridge

APOD: 2022 June 3 - A 10 000 Kilometer Galactic Bridge 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. 2022 June 3 A 10,000 Kilometer Galactic Bridge Image Credit &Copyright: Maxime Oudoux,Jean-Francois GELY Explanation: With this creative astro-collaboration you can follow the plane ofour Milky Way Galaxy as it bridges northern and southernhemisphere skies.To construct the expansive composite nightscape,skies over Observatorio El Sauce in Chile (top)were imaged on the same date but 6 hours later thanthe skies over the Saint-Veran observatory in the French Alps.The 6 hour time-lag allowed Earth's rotation to alignthe Milky Way abovedomes at the two sites.All exposures were made with similar cameras and lenses mounted on simpletripods.A faint greenish airglow is visible in thedark Chilean sky that also features the Largeand Small Magellanic Clouds near the observatory dome.In the French Alps light pollution is apparent,but the distant Andromeda Galaxy can still be spotted near the horizonin the northern night.Onplanet Earththe two observatories are separated by about 10,000 kilometers. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA...

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Lunar Occultation of Venus

APOD: 2022 June 2 - Lunar Occultation of Venus 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. 2022 June 2 Lunar Occultation of Venus Image Credit &Copyright: Quentin Gineys Explanation: On May 27 Venus rose as the morning star, near thewaning crescent Moonin a predawn skyalready full of planets.It was closeon the sky to the Moon's crescent and aconjunction of the second and third brightest celestial beaconswas enjoyed by skygazers around the world.But seen from locations along a track through southeast Asiaand the Indian Oceanthe Moon actually passed in front of Venus ina lunar occultation.In this animated gif the 75 percent illuminated disk ofVenus approachesand just begins to disappear behind the sunlit southwestern lunar limb.The telescopic framesused to construct it were capturedfrom Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean around 4:50am local time,with the Moon and Venus very close to the eastern horizon.At the time Venuswas over 180 million kilometers from Reunion Island,compared to a lunar distance of a mere 400 thousand kilometers or so.About 50 minutes later Venus emerged frombehind the Moon. Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education|...

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Tau Herculids Meteors over Kitt Peak Telescopes

APOD: 2022 June 1 - Tau Herculids Meteors over Kitt Peak Telescopes 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. 2022 June 1 Tau Herculids Meteors over Kitt Peak Telescopes Image Credit & Copyright: Jianwei Lyu (Steward Obs., U. Arizona) Explanation: It wasn't the storm of the century -- but it was a night to remember.Last night was the peak of the Tau Herculids meteor shower, a usually modest dribble of occasional meteors originating from the disintegrating Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3.This year, calculations showed that the Earth might be passing through a particularly dense stream of comet debris -- at best creating a storm of bright meteors streaking out from the constellation of Hercules.What actually happened fell short of a meteor storm, but could be called a decent meteor shower.Featured here is a composite image taken at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA accumulated over 2.5 hours very late on May 30. Over that time, 19 Tau Herculids meteors were captured, along with 4 unrelated meteors. (Can you find them?) In the near foreground is the Bok 2.3-meter Telescope with the 4.0-meter Mayall Telescope just...

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Rocket Transits Rippling Sun

The launch of a rocket at sunrise can result in unusual

Red Crepuscular Rays from an Eclipse

APOD: 2022 May 30 - Red Crepuscular Rays from an Eclipse 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. 2022 May 30 Red Crepuscular Rays from an Eclipse Image Credit & Copyright: Fefo Bouvier Explanation: What's happening behind that island?Things both expected and unexpected.Expected, perhaps, the pictured rays of light -- called crepuscular rays -- originate from the Sun.Unexpected, though, the Sun was being partially eclipsed by the Moon at the time -- late last month.Expected, perhaps, the Sun's rays are quite bright as they shine through gaps in below-horizon clouds.Unexpected, though, the crepuscular rays are quite red, likely the result an abundance of aerosols in Earth's atmosphere scattering away much of the blue light. Expected, with hope, a memorable scene featuring both the Moon and the Sun, superposed.Unfortunately, from this location -- in Uruguay looking toward Argentina -- clouds obscured the eclipse -- which wasn't completely unexpected. However, after packing up to go home, the beauty of bright red crepuscular rays emerged -- quite unexpectedly. Oh -- and that island on the horizon -- it's really two islands. Tomorrow's picture: yellow liquid sun <|...

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Simulation TNG50: A Galaxy Cluster Forms

APOD: 2022 May 29 - Simulation TNG50: A Galaxy Cluster Forms 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. Simulation TNG50: A Galaxy Cluster Forms Video Credit: IllustrisTNG Project;Visualization: Dylan Nelson (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics) et al. Music: Symphony No. 5 (Ludwig van Beethoven), via YouTube Audio Library Explanation: How do clusters of galaxies form? Since our universe moves too slowly to watch, faster-moving computer simulations are created to help find out.A recent effort is TNG50 from IllustrisTNG, an upgrade of the famous Illustris Simulation.The first part of the featured video tracks cosmic gas (mostly hydrogen) as it evolves into galaxies and galaxy clusters from the early universe to today, with brighter colors marking faster moving gas. As the universe matures, gas falls into gravitational wells, galaxies forms, galaxies spin, galaxies collide and merge, all while black holes form in galaxy centers and expel surrounding gas at high speeds.The second half of the video switches to tracking stars, showing a galaxy cluster coming together complete with tidal tails and stellar streams.The outflow from black holes in TNG50 is surprisingly complex and details are being...

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RCW 86: Historical Supernova Remnant

APOD: 2022 May 28 - RCW 86: Historical Supernova Remnant 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. 2022 May 28 RCW 86: Historical Supernova Remnant Image Credit &Copyright: Martin Pugh Explanation: In 185 AD,Chinese astronomersrecorded the appearance of a new star in the Nanmen asterism.That part of the sky isidentified with Alpha and Beta Centauri on modern star charts.The new star was visible for months and is thought to be the earliestrecorded supernova.This deep image shows emission nebula RCW 86,understood to be the remnant of that stellar explosion.The narrowband data trace gas ionized by the stillexpanding shock wave.Space-based imagesindicate an abundance of the element ironand lack of a neutron star or pulsarin the remnant,suggesting that the original supernova was Type Ia.Unlike the core collapsesupernova explosion of a massive star, aType Ia supernovais a thermonucleardetonation on a a white dwarfstar that accretes material from a companion in a binary star system.Near the plane of ourMilky Waygalaxy and larger than a full moon on the sky this supernova remnantis too faint to be seen by eye though.RCW 86 is some 8,000 light-years distant and around 100...

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Titan: Moon over Saturn

APOD: 2022 May 27 - Titan: Moon over Saturn 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. 2022 May 27 Titan: Moon over Saturn Image Credit: NASA,JPL-Caltech, Space ScienceInstitute Explanation: Like Earth's moon,Saturn's largest moon Titanis locked in synchronous rotation.This mosaicof images recorded by the Cassini spacecraft in May of 2012shows its anti-Saturn side, the sidealways facing away from theringed gas giant.The only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere,Titan is the onlysolar system world besides Earth known tohave standing bodies of liquid on its surface and an earthlikecycle of liquid rain and evaporation.Its high altitude layer of atmospheric haze is evident in the Cassiniview of the 5,000 kilometer diameter moon over Saturn's rings and cloudtops.Near centeris the dark dune-filled region known asShangri-La.The Cassini-delivered Huygens probe rests below and left of center,after the most distant landingfor a spacecraft from 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 and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.