Astronomy Picture of the Day (Unofficial) apod@hub.polari.us

SPACE!

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-21 12:30:01.828184

    2018-07-21T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 21
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    Apollo 11 Landing Site Panorama
    Image Credit: Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11, NASA

    Explanation: Have you seen a panorama from another world lately? Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this one sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. The images were taken by Neil Armstrong looking out his window of the Eagle Lunar Module shortly after the July 20, 1969 landing. The frame at the far left (AS11-37-5449) is the first picture taken by a person on another world. Toward the south, thruster nozzles can be seen in the foreground on the left, while at the right, the shadow of the Eagle is visible to the west. For scale, the large, shallow crater on the right has a diameter of about 12 meters. Frames taken from the Lunar Module windows about an hour and a half after landing, before walking on the lunar surface, were intended to initially document the landing site in case an early departure was necessary.

    Tomorrow's picture: microwave universe
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-20 12:30:02.383693

    2018-07-20T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 20
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    The Teapot and the Milky Way
    Image Credit & Copyright: Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn (Weather and Sky Photography)

    Explanation: The recognizable stars of the Teapot asterism in the constellation Sagittarius posed with the Milky Way over Death Valley, planet Earth on this quiet, dark night. The surreal scene was appropriately captured from Teakettle Junction, marked by the wooden sign adorned with terrestrial teapots and kettles on the rugged road to Racetrack Playa. Shining against the luminous starlight of the central Milky Way is bright planet Saturn, just above the star at the celestial teapot's peak. But the brightest celestial beacon, high above the southern horizon, is an orange tinted Mars at upper left in the frame.

    Tomorrow's picture: from another world

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-19 12:30:01.654385

    2018-07-19T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 19
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    Cerealia Facula
    Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS/DLR/IDA

    Explanation: Cerealia Facula, also known as the brightest spot on Ceres, is shown in this stunning mosaic close-up view. The high-resolution image data was recorded by the Dawn spacecraft, in a looping orbit, from altitudes as low as 34 kilometers (21 miles) above the dwarf planet's surface. Cerealia Facula is about 15 kilometers wide, found in the center of 90 kilometer diameter Occator crater. Like the other bright spots (faculae) scattered around Ceres, Cerealia Facula is not ice, but an exposed salty residue with a reflectivity like dirty snow. The residue is thought to be mostly sodium carbonate and ammonium chloride from a slushy brine within or below the dwarf planet's crust. Driven by advanced ion propulsion on an 11-year mission, Dawn explored main-belt asteriod Vesta before traveling on to Ceres. But sometime between this August and October, the interplanetary spacecraft is expected to finally run out of fuel for its hydrazine thrusters, with the subsequent loss of control of its orientation, losing power and the ability to communicate with Earth. Meanwhile Dawn will continue to explore Ceres in unprecedented detail, and ultimately retire in its orbit around the small world.

    Tomorrow's picture: teapots in space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-18 12:30:01.976207

    2018-07-18T17:30:05Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 18
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    Dark Slope Streaks Split on Mars
    Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

    Explanation: What is creating these dark streaks on Mars? No one is sure. Candidates include dust avalanches, evaporating dry ice sleds, and liquid water flows. What is clear is that the streaks occur through light surface dust and expose a deeper dark layer. Similar streaks have been photographed on Mars for years and are one of the few surface features that change their appearance seasonally. Particularly interesting here is that larger streaks split into smaller streaks further down the slope. The featured image was taken by the HiRISE camera on board the Mars-orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) several months ago. Currently, a global dust storm is encompassing much of Mars.

    Tomorrow's picture: open space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-17 12:30:01.715572

    2018-07-17T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 17
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    Moon and Venus over Cannon Beach
    Image Credit & Copyright: James W. Young

    Explanation: What's that spot next to the Moon? Venus. Two days ago, the crescent Moon slowly drifted past Venus, appearing within just one degree at its closest. This conjunction, though, was just one of several photographic adventures for our Moon this month (moon-th), because, for one, a partial solar eclipse occurred just a few days before, on July 12. Currently, the Moon appears to be brightening, as seen from the Earth, as the fraction of its face illuminated by the Sun continues to increase. In a few days, the Moon will appear more than half full, and therefore be in its gibbous phase. Next week the face of the Moon that always faces the Earth will become, as viewed from the Earth, completely illuminated by the Sun. Even this full phase will bring an adventure, though, as a total eclipse of this Thunder Moon will occur on July 27. Don't worry about our Luna getting tired, though, because she'll be new again next month (moon-th) -- August 11 to be exact -- just as she causes another partial eclipse of the Sun. Pictured, Venus and the Moon were captured from Cannon Beach above a rock formation off the Oregon (USA) coast known as the Needles. About an hour after this image was taken, the spin of the Earth caused both Venus and the Moon to set.

    Tomorrow's picture: dark streaks on mars
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-16 12:30:01.559907

    2018-07-16T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 16
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    Neutrino Associated with Distant Blazar Jet
    Illustration Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab

    Explanation: With equipment frozen deep into ice beneath Earth's South Pole, humanity appears to have discovered a neutrino from far across the universe. If confirmed, this would mark the first clear detection of cosmologically-distant neutrinos and the dawn of an observed association between energetic neutrinos and cosmic rays created by powerful jets emanating from blazing quasars (blazars). Once the Antarctican IceCube detector measured an energetic neutrino in 2017 September, many of humanity's premier observatories sprang into action to try to identify a counterpart in light. And they did. An erupting counterpart was pinpointed by high energy observatories including AGILE, Fermi, HAWC, H.E.S.S., INTEGRAL, NuSTAR, Swift, and VERITAS, which found that gamma-ray blazar TXS 0506+056 was in the right direction and with gamma-rays from a flare arriving nearly coincidental in time with the neutrino. Even though this and other position and time coincidences are statistically strong, astronomers will await other similar neutrino - blazar light associations to be absolutely sure. Pictured here is an artist's drawing of a particle jet emanating from a black hole at the center of a blazar.

    Tomorrow's picture: dark streaks on mars
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-15 12:30:01.435673

    2018-07-15T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 15
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    Rings Around the Ring Nebula
    Image Credit: Hubble, Large Binocular Telescope, Subaru Telescope; Composition & Copyright: Robert Gendler

    Explanation: There is much more to the familiar Ring Nebula (M57), however, than can be seen through a small telescope. The easily visible central ring is about one light-year across, but this remarkably deep exposure - a collaborative effort combining data from three different large telescopes - explores the looping filaments of glowing gas extending much farther from the nebula's central star. This remarkable composite image includes narrowband hydrogen image, visible light emission, and infrared light emission. Of course, in this well-studied example of a planetary nebula, the glowing material does not come from planets. Instead, the gaseous shroud represents outer layers expelled from a dying, sun-like star. The Ring Nebula is about 2,000 light-years away toward the musical constellation Lyra.

    Open Science: Browse 1,700+ codes in the Astrophysics Source Code Library
    Tomorrow's picture: cosmological neutrino

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-14 12:30:01.920572

    2018-07-14T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 14
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    A Nibble on the Sun
    Image Credit & Copyright: Padraic Koen, Adelaide, South Australia

    Explanation: The smallest of the three partial solar eclipses during 2018 was just yesterday, Friday, July 13. It was mostly visible over the open ocean between Australia and Antarctica. Still, this video frame of a tiny nibble on the Sun was captured through a hydrogen-alpha filter from Port Elliott, South Australia, during the maximum eclipse visible from that location. There, the New Moon covered about 0.16 percent of the solar disk. The greatest eclipse, about one-third of the Sun's diameter blocked by the New Moon, could be seen from East Antarctica near Peterson Bank, where the local emperor penguin colony likely had the best view. During this prolific eclipse season, the coming Full Moon will bring a total lunar eclipse on July 27, followed by yet another partial solar eclipse at the next New Moon on August 11.

    Tomorrow's picture: rings around the ring
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-13 12:30:02.072615

    2018-07-13T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 13
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    Star Trails and the Bracewell Radio Sundial
    Image Credit & Copyright: Miles Lucas at NRAO

    Explanation: Sundials use the location of a shadow to measure the Earth's rotation and indicate the time of day. So it's fitting that this sundial, at the Very Large Array Radio Telescope Observatory in New Mexico, commemorates the history of radio astronomy and radio astronomy pioneer Ronald Bracewell. The radio sundial was constructed using pieces of a solar mapping radio telescope array that Bracewell orginaly built near the Stanford University campus. Bracewell's array was used to contribute data to plan the first Moon landing, its pillars signed by visiting scientists and radio astronomers, including two Nobel prize winners. As for most sundials the shadow cast by the central gnomon follows markers that show the solar time of day, along with solstices and equinoxes. But markers on the radio sundial are also laid out according to local sidereal time. They show the position of the invisible radio shadows of three bright radio sources in Earth's sky, supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, active galaxy Cygnus A, and active galaxy Centaurus A. Sidereal time is just star time, the Earth's rotation as measured with the stars and distant galaxies. That rotation is reflected in this composited hour-long exposure. Above the Bracewell Radio Sundial, the stars trace concentric trails around the north celestial pole.

    Tomorrow's picture: What the penguins saw.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-12 12:30:02.328520

    2018-07-12T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 12
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    Centaurus A
    Image Credit & Copyright: CEDIC Team at Chilescope, Processing - Bernhard Hubl

    Explanation: Only 11 million light-years away, Centaurus A is the closest active galaxy to planet Earth. Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy also known as NGC 5128, is featured in this sharp telescopic view. Centaurus A is apparently the result of a collision of two otherwise normal galaxies resulting in a fantastic jumble of star clusters and imposing dark dust lanes. Near the galaxy's center, left over cosmic debris is steadily being consumed by a central black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun. As in other active galaxies, that process likely generates the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A.

    Tomorrow's picture: turn your radio on
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-11 12:30:01.457722

    2018-07-11T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 11
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    Symbiotic R Aquarii
    Image Credit: Hubble, NASA, ESA; Processing & License: Judy Schmidt

    Explanation: You can see it change in brightness with just binoculars over the course of a year. Variable star R Aquarii is actually an interacting binary star system, two stars that seem to have a close, symbiotic relationship. About 710 light years away, this intriguing system consists of a cool red giant star and hot, dense white dwarf star in mutual orbit around their common center of mass. The binary system's visible light is dominated by the red giant, itself a Mira-type long period variable star. But material in the cool giant star's extended envelope is pulled by gravity onto the surface of the smaller, denser white dwarf, eventually triggering a thermonuclear explosion and blasting material into space. The featured image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the still-expanding ring of debris which spans less than a light year and originated from a blast that would have been seen in the early 1770s. The evolution of less understood energetic events producing high energy emission in the R Aquarii system has been monitored since 2000 using Chandra X-ray Observatory data.

    Tomorrow's picture: open space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-10 12:30:02.383469

    2018-07-10T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 10

    Noctilucent Clouds over Paris Fireworks
    Video Credit & Copyright: Jean-Luc Dauvergne (Ciel et Espace);

    Explanation: It's northern noctilucent cloud season -- perhaps a time to celebrate! Composed of small ice crystals forming only during specific conditions in the upper atmosphere, noctilucent clouds may become visible at sunset during late summer when illuminated by sunlight from below. Noctilucent clouds are the highest clouds known and now established to be polar mesospheric clouds observed from the ground. Although observed with NASA's AIM satellite since 2007, much about noctilucent clouds remains unknown and so a topic of active research. The featured time-lapse video shows expansive and rippled noctilucent clouds wafting over Paris, France, during a post-sunset fireworks celebration on Bastille Day in 2009 July. This year, several locations are already reporting especially vivid displays of noctilucent clouds.

    Tomorrow's picture: exploding star art
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-09 12:30:02.223100

    2018-07-09T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 9
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    Road to Mars
    Image Credit & Copyright: John Chumack

    Explanation: What's that light at the end of the road? Mars. This is a good month to point out Mars to your friends and family because our neighboring planet will not only be its brightest in 15 years, it will be visible for much of night. During this month, Mars will be about 180 degrees around from the Sun, and near the closest it ever gets to planet Earth. In terms of orbits, Mars is also nearing the closest point to the Sun in its elliptical orbit, just as Earth moves nearly between it and the Sun -- an alignment known as perihelic opposition. In terms of viewing, orange Mars will rise in the east just as the Sun sets in the west, on the opposite side of the sky. Mars will climb in the sky during the night, reach its highest near midnight, and then set in the west just as the Sun begins to rise in the east. The red planet was captured setting beyond a stretch of road in Arches National Park in mid-May near Moab, Utah, USA.

    Tomorrow's picture: noctilucent flashes
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-08 12:30:02.183609

    2018-07-08T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 8
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    The Extraordinary Spiral in LL Pegasi
    Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Processing & Copyright: Domingo Pestana & Raul Villaverde

    Explanation: What created the strange spiral structure on the upper left? No one is sure, although it is likely related to a star in a binary star system entering the planetary nebula phase, when its outer atmosphere is ejected. The huge spiral spans about a third of a light year across and, winding four or five complete turns, has a regularity that is without precedent. Given the expansion rate of the spiral gas, a new layer must appear about every 800 years, a close match to the time it takes for the two stars to orbit each other. The star system that created it is most commonly known as LL Pegasi, but also AFGL 3068. The unusual structure itself has been cataloged as IRAS 23166+1655. The featured image was taken in near-infrared light by the Hubble Space Telescope. Why the spiral glows is itself a mystery, with a leading hypothesis being illumination by light reflected from nearby stars.

    Tomorrow's picture: road to mars
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-07 12:30:01.981135

    2018-07-07T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 7
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    A Northern Summer's Night
    Image Credit & License: Ruslan Merzlyakov (RMS Photography)

    Explanation: Near a summer's midnight a mist haunts the river bank in this dreamlike skyscape taken on July 3rd from northern Denmark. Reddened light from the Sun a little below the horizon gives an eerie tint to low hanging clouds. Formed near the edge of space, the silvery apparitions above them are noctilucent or night shining clouds. The icy condensations on meteoric dust or volcanic ash are still in full sunlight at the extreme altitudes of the mesophere. Usually seen at high latitudes in summer months, wide spread displays of the noctilucent clouds are now being reported.

    Tomorrow's picture: stellar pinwheel
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-06 12:30:01.782123

    2018-07-06T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 6
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    Charon: Moon of Pluto
    Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute, U.S. Naval Observatory

    Explanation: A darkened and mysterious north polar region known to some as Mordor Macula caps this premier high-resolution view. The portrait of Charon, Pluto's largest moon, was captured by New Horizons near the spacecraft's closest approach on July 14, 2015. The combined blue, red, and infrared data was processed to enhance colors and follow variations in Charon's surface properties with a resolution of about 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles). A stunning image of Charon's Pluto-facing hemisphere, it also features a clear view of an apparently moon-girdling belt of fractures and canyons that seems to separate smooth southern plains from varied northern terrain. Charon is 1,214 kilometers (754 miles) across. That's about 1/10th the size of planet Earth but a whopping 1/2 the diameter of Pluto itself, and makes it the largest satellite relative to its parent body in the Solar System. Still, the moon appears as a small bump at about the 1 o'clock position on Pluto's disk in the grainy, negative,telescopic picture inset at upper left. That view was used by James Christy and Robert Harrington at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff to discover Charon 40 years ago in June of 1978.

    Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-05 12:30:01.506042

    2018-07-05T17:30:02Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 5
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    Shadow Rise on the Inside Passage
    Image Credit & Copyright: Steve Cullen

    Explanation: At sunset look east not west. As Earth's dark shadow rises from the eastern horizon, faint and subtle colors will appear opposite the setting Sun. This beautiful evening sea and skyscape records the reflective scene from a cruise on the well-traveled Alaskan Inside Passage in the Pacific Northwest. Along the horizon the fading sunset gives way to the the pinkish anti-twilight arch, more poetically known as the Belt of Venus. Often overlooked at sunset in favor of the brighter western horizon, the lovely arch is tinted by filtered sunlight backscattered in the dense atmosphere, hugging the planet's rising blue-grey shadow.

    Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-04 12:30:02.441324

    2018-07-04T17:30:04Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 4
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    Dawn's Early Light, Rocket's Red Glare
    Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Seeley

    Explanation: If you saw the dawn's early light from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last Friday, June 29, then you could have seen this rocket's red glare. The single 277-second long exposure, made from the roof of NASA's Vehicle Assembly building, shows a predawn Falcon 9 launch, the rocket streaking eastward into the sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. At high altitude, its stage separation plume is brightly lit by the Sun still below the eastern horizon. The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage had been launched before, lofting the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) into orbit on April 18, only 72 days earlier. For this launch of SpaceX Commercial Resupply Service mission 15 (CRS-15) it carried an also previously flown Dragon capsule. But no further reuse of this Falcon 9 was planned so no dramatic first stage landing followed the launch. The Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on July 2.

    Tomorrow's picture: shadowrise
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-03 12:30:02.321086

    2018-07-03T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 3
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    An Airplane in Front of the Moon
    Image Credit & Copyright: Ji-Hoon Kim

    Explanation: If you look closely at the Moon, you will see a large airplane in front of it. Well, not always. OK, hardly ever. Actually, to capture an image like this takes precise timing, an exposure fast enough to freeze the airplane and not overexpose the Moon -- but slow enough to see both, a steady camera, and luck -- because not every plane that approaches the Moon crosses in front. Helpful equipment includes a camera with fast continuous video mode and a mount that automatically tracks the Moon. The featured fleeting superposition was captured from Seoul, South Korea two weeks ago during a daytime waxing gibbous moonrise. Within 1/10th of a second, the airplane crossing was over.

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    Tomorrow's picture: flashy rocket launch

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-07-02 12:30:02.082321

    2018-07-02T17:30:03Z via PyPump To: Public

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 July 2
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    From the Galactic Plane through Antares
    Image Credit & License: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)

    Explanation: Behold one of the most photogenic regions of the night sky, captured impressively. Featured, the band of our Milky Way Galaxy runs diagonally along the far left, while the colorful Rho Ophiuchus region including the bright orange star Antares is visible just right of center, and the nebula Sharpless 1 (Sh2-1) appears on the far right. Visible in front of the Milk Way band are several famous nebulas including the Eagle Nebula (M16), the Trifid Nebula (M20), and the Lagoon Nebula (M8). Other notable nebulas include the Pipe and Blue Horsehead. In general, red emanates from nebulas glowing in the light of exited hydrogen gas, while blue marks interstellar dust preferentially reflecting the light of bright young stars. Thick dust appears otherwise dark brown. Large balls of stars visible include the globular clusters M4, M9, M19, M28, and M80, each marked on the annotated companion image. This extremely wide field -- about 50 degrees across -- spans the constellations of Sagittarius is on the lower left, Serpens on the upper left, Ophiuchus across the middle, and Scorpius on the right. It took over 100 hours of sky imaging, combined with meticulous planning and digital processing, to create this image.

    Tomorrow's picture: plane old moon