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 2019-01-17 12:30:02.255728

    2019-01-17T18:30:03Z 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.

    2019 January 17
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    Cabin under the Stars
    Image Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén (Clear Skies, TWAN)

    Explanation: Gocka's, a family nickname for the mountain cabin, and a wooden sled from a generation past stand quietly under the stars. The single exposure image was taken on January 6 from Tanndalen Sweden to evoke a simple visual experience of the dark mountain skies. A pale band of starlight along the Milky Way sweeps through the scene. At the foot of Orion the Hunter, bright star Rigel shines just above the old kicksled's handrail. Capella, alpha star of Auriga the celestial charioteer, is the brightest star at the top of the frame. In fact, the familiar stars of the winter hexagon and the Pleiades star cluster can all be found in this beautiful skyscape from a northern winter night.

    Tomorrow's picture: night on a rotating planet

    I feel relaxed already! 😌

    JanKusanagi at 2019-01-17T19:03:10Z

    Stephen Sekula likes this.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-15 12:30:01.452282

    2019-01-15T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 15
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    The Heart and Soul Nebulas
    Image Credit & Copyright: Mario Zauner

    Explanation: Is the heart and soul of our Galaxy located in Cassiopeia? Possibly not, but that is where two bright emission nebulas nicknamed Heart and Soul can be found. The Heart Nebula, officially dubbed IC 1805 and visible in the featured image on the bottom right, has a shape reminiscent of a classical heart symbol. The Soul Nebula is officially designated IC 1871 and is visible on the upper left. Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen. Also shown in this three-color montage is light emitted from sulfur, shown in yellow, and oxygen, shown in blue. Several young open clusters of stars are visible near the nebula centers. Light takes about 6,000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years. Studies of stars and clusters like those found in the Heart and Soul Nebulas have focused on how massive stars form and how they affect their environment.

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    Tomorrow's picture: open space
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-14 12:30:02.260530

    2019-01-14T18:30:03Z 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.

    2019 January 14
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    Meteor and Milky Way over the Alps
    Image Credit & Copyright: Nicholas Roemmelt (Venture Photography)

    Explanation: Now this was a view with a thrill. From Mount Tschirgant in the Alps, you can see not only nearby towns and distant Tyrolean peaks, but also, weather permitting, stars, nebulas, and the band of the Milky Way Galaxy. What made the arduous climb worthwhile this night, though, was another peak -- the peak of the 2018 Perseids Meteor Shower. As hoped, dispersing clouds allowed a picturesque sky-gazing session that included many faint meteors, all while a carefully positioned camera took a series of exposures. Suddenly, a thrilling meteor -- bright and colorful -- slashed down right next the nearly vertical band of the Milky Way. As luck would have it, the camera caught it too. Therefore, a new image in the series was quickly taken with one of the sky-gazers posing on the nearby peak. Later, all of the images were digitally combined.

    Tomorrow's picture: heart & soul

    Stephen Sekula likes this.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-13 12:30:01.922288

    2019-01-13T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 13
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    Tycho's Supernova Remnant in X-ray
    Image Credit: NASA / CXC / F.J. Lu (Chinese Academy of Sciences) et al.

    Explanation: What star created this huge puffball? What's pictured is the hot expanding nebula of Tycho's supernova remnant, the result of a stellar explosion first recorded over 400 years ago by the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. The featured image is a composite of three X-ray colors taken by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. The expanding gas cloud is extremely hot, while slightly different expansion speeds have given the cloud a puffy appearance. Although the star that created SN 1572, is likely completely gone, a star dubbed Tycho G, too dim to be discerned here, is thought to be a companion. Finding progenitor remnants of Tycho's supernova is particularly important because the supernova is of Type Ia, an important rung in the distance ladder that calibrates the scale of the visible universe. The peak brightness of Type Ia supernovas is thought to be well understood, making them quite valuable in exploring the relationship between faintness and farness in the distant universe.

    Tomorrow's picture: meteor mountain
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-12 12:30:01.951584

    2019-01-12T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 12
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    Milky Way Falls
    Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory, TWAN)

    Explanation: It can be the driest place on planet Earth, but water still flows in Chile's Atacama desert, high in the mountains. After discovering this small creek with running water, the photographer returned to the site to watch the Milky Way rise in the dark southern skies, calculating the moment when Milky Way and precious flowing water would meet. In the panoramic night skyscape, stars and nebulae immersed in the glow along the Milky Way itself also shared that moment with the Milky Way's satellite galaxies the Large and Small Magellanic clouds above the horizon at the right. Bright star Beta Centauri is poised at the very top of the waterfall. Above it lies the dark expanse of the Coalsack nebula and the stars of the Southern Cross.

    Tomorrow's picture: when stars explode
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-11 12:30:01.696327

    2019-01-11T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 11
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    Partial Eclipse over Beijing
    Image Credit & Copyright: Li Zhaoqi

    Explanation: On January 6 the New Moon rose in silhouette with the Sun seen from northeastern Asia. Near maximum, the dramatic partial solar eclipse is captured in this telephoto view through hazy skies. In the foreground, the hill top Wanchun pavilion overlooking central Beijing's popular Forbidden City hosts eclipse-watching early morning risers. This was the first of five, three solar and two lunar, eclipses for 2019. Next up is a total lunar eclipse during this month's Full Perigee Moon. At night on January 21, that celestial shadow play will be visible from the hemisphere of planet Earth that includes the Americas, Europe, and western Africa.

    APOD Lecture Tonight: Amateur Astronomers Association of New York at American Museum of Natural History, NYC
    Tomorrow's picture: Milky Way Falls

    clacke@libranet.de ❌ likes this.

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    Some giant took a bite out of the Sun!!!!! 😱

    JanKusanagi at 2019-01-11T19:18:58Z

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-10 12:30:02.378132

    2019-01-10T18:30:03Z 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.

    2019 January 10
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    Vela Supernova Remnant Mosaic
    Image Credit & Copyright: Robert Gendler, Roberto Colombari, Digitized Sky Survey (POSS II)

    Explanation: The plane of our Milky Way Galaxy runs through this complex and beautiful skyscape. Seen toward colorful stars near the northwestern edge of the constellation Vela (the Sails), the 16 degree wide, 200 frame mosaic is centered on the glowing filaments of the Vela Supernova Remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. Light from the supernova explosion that created the Vela remnant reached Earth about 11,000 years ago. In addition to the shocked filaments of glowing gas, the cosmic catastrophe also left behind an incredibly dense, rotating stellar core, the Vela Pulsar. Some 800 light-years distant, the Vela remnant is likely embedded in a larger and older supernova remnant, the Gum Nebula. Objects identified in this broad mosaic include emission and reflection nebulae, star clusters, and the remarkable Pencil Nebula.

    Tomorrow's picture: New Moon rise
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-09 12:30:02.075441

    2019-01-09T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 9
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    Quadrantids
    Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias)

    Explanation: Named for a forgotten constellation, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower is an annual event for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers It usually peaks briefly in the cold, early morning hours of January 4. The shower's radiant on the sky lies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis. That position is situated near the boundaries of the modern constellations Hercules, Bootes, and Draco. About 30 Quadrantid meteors can be counted in this skyscape composed of digital frames recorded in dark and moonless skies between 2:30am and local dawn. The shower's radiant is rising just to the right of the Canary Island of Tenerife's Teide volcano, and just below the familiar stars of the Big Dipper on the northern sky. A likely source of the dust stream that produces Quadrantid meteors was identified in 2003 as an asteroid. Look carefully and you can also spot a small, telltale greenish coma above the volcanic peak and near the top of the frame. That's the 2018 Christmas visitor to planet Earth's skies, Comet Wirtanen.

    Tomorrow's picture: southern sails
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-08 12:30:02.296497

    2019-01-08T18:31:06Z 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.

    2019 January 8

    HESS Telescopes Explore the High-Energy Sky
    Video Credit & Copyright: Vikas Chander, H.E.S.S. Collaboration; Music: Emotive Piano by Immersive Music

    Explanation: They may look like modern mechanical dinosaurs but they are enormous swiveling eyes that watch the sky. The High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) Observatory is composed of four 12-meter reflecting-mirror telescopes surrounding a larger telescope housing a 28-meter mirror. They are designed to detect strange flickers of blue light -- Cherenkov radiation --emitted when charged particles move slightly faster than the speed of light in air. This light is emitted when a gamma ray from a distant source strikes a molecule in Earth's atmosphere and starts a charged-particle shower. H.E.S.S. is sensitive to some of the highest energy photons (TeV) crossing the universe. Operating since 2003 in Namibia, H.E.S.S. has searched for dark matter and has discovered over 50 sources emitting high energy radiation including supernova remnants and the centers of galaxies that contain supermassive black holes. Pictured last September, H.E.S.S. telescopes swivel and stare in time-lapse sequences shot in front of our Milky Way Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds -- as the occasional Earth-orbiting satellite zips by.

    Open Science: Browse 1,800+ codes in the Astrophysics Source Code Library
    Tomorrow's picture: forgotten stars
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-07 12:30:02.297540

    2019-01-07T18:30:03Z 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.

    2019 January 7
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    Stars, Meteors, and a Comet in Taurus
    Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, Earth and Stars)

    Explanation: This was an unusual night to look in the direction of the Bull. The constellation Taurus is always well known for hosting two bright star clusters -- the Pleaides, visible on the right, and the comparatively diffuse Hyades, visible on the left. This night last month, however, was atypically the peak of the Geminid meteor shower, and so several meteors were caught shooting through the constellation with parallel trails. More unusually still, Comet Wirtanen was drifting through the constellation, here appearing near the image bottom surrounded by a greenish coma. The comet was near its brightest as it sped past the Earth. The orange star on the upper left is Aldebaran, considered to be the eye of the Bull. Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus and the 15th brightest star in the sky. The featured image is a combination of nearly 800 exposures taken from the Spanish village Albany.

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    Tomorrow's picture: high energy sky
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-06 12:30:02.239879

    2019-01-06T18:30:03Z 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.

    2019 January 6
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    A Laser Strike at the Galactic Center
    Image Credit: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory, TWAN), ESO

    Explanation: Why are these people shooting a powerful laser into the center of our Galaxy? Fortunately, this is not meant to be the first step in a Galactic war. Rather, astronomers at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) site in Chile are trying to measure the distortions of Earth's ever changing atmosphere. Constant imaging of high-altitude atoms excited by the laser -- which appear like an artificial star -- allow astronomers to instantly measure atmospheric blurring. This information is fed back to a VLT telescope mirror which is then slightly deformed to minimize this blurring. In this case, a VLT was observing our Galaxy's center, and so Earth's atmospheric blurring in that direction was needed. As for inter-galaxy warfare, when viewed from our Galaxy's center, no casualties are expected. In fact, the light from this powerful laser would combine with light from our Sun to together appear only as bright as a faint and distant star.

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    Tomorrow's picture: busy bull
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-05 12:30:02.220120

    2019-01-05T18:30:03Z 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.

    2019 January 5
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    Yutu 2 on the Farside
    Image Credit: Chinese National Space Administration

    Explanation: On January 3, the Chinese Chang'e-4 spacecraft made the first successful landing on the Moon's farside. Taken by a camera on board the lander, this image is from the landing site inside Von Karman crater. It shows the desksized, six-wheeled Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2) rover as it rolled down lander ramps and across the surface near local sunrise and the start of the two week long lunar day. Ripe for exploration, Von Karman crater itself is 186 kilometers in diameter. It lies within the Moon's old and deep South Pole-Aitken impact basin with some of the most ancient and least understood lunar terrains. To bridge communications from the normally hidden hemisphere of the Moon, China launched a relay satellite, Queqiao, in May of 2018 in to an orbit beyond the lunar farside.

    Tomorrow's picture: stars and lasers
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-04 12:30:02.139948

    2019-01-04T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 4
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    Ultima Thule Rotation Gif
    Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins University APL, Southwest Research Institute

    Explanation: Ultima Thule is the most distant world explored by a spacecraft from Earth. In the dim light 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun, the New Horizons spacecraft captured these two frames 38 minutes apart as it sped toward the Kuiper belt world on January 1 at 51,000 kilometers per hour. A contact binary, the two lobes of Ultima Thule rotate together once every 15 hours or so. Shown as a blinking gif, the rotation between the frames produces a tantalizing 3D perspective of the most primitive world ever seen. Dubbed separately by the science team Ultima and Thule, the larger lobe Ultima, is about 19 kilometers in diameter. Smaller Thule is 14 kilometers across.

    Tomorrow's picture: on the Far Side

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2019-01-01 12:30:01.884005

    2019-01-01T18:30:02Z 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.

    2019 January 1
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    The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared
    Image Credit: R. Kennicutt (Steward Obs.) et al., SSC, JPL, Caltech, NASA

    Explanation: This floating ring is the size of a galaxy. In fact, it is a galaxy -- or at least part of one: the photogenic Sombrero Galaxy, one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. The dark band of dust that obscures the mid-section of the Sombrero Galaxy in optical light actually glows brightly in infrared light. The featured image, digitally sharpened, shows the infrared glow, recently recorded by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, superposed in false-color on an existing image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in optical light. The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104, spans about 50,000 light years across and lies 28 million light years away. M104 can be seen with a small telescope in the direction of the constellation Virgo.

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    Tomorrow's picture: infrared hunter
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-12-31 12:30:01.922372

    2018-12-31T18:30:02Z 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 December 31
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    The Witch Head Nebula
    Image Credit & Copyright: Digitized Sky Survey (POSS II); Processing: Utkarsh Mishra

    Explanation: Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble .... maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. A frighteningly shaped reflection nebula, this cosmic crone is about 800 light-years away though. Its malevolent visage seems to glare toward nearby bright star Rigel in Orion, just off the upper left edge of this frame. More formally known as IC 2118, the interstellar cloud of dust and gas is nearly 70 light-years across, its dust grains reflecting Rigel's starlight. In this composite portrait, the nebula's color is caused not only by the star's intense bluish light but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth's daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in planet Earth's atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen.

    Free Download: 2019 APOD Calendar (v5)
    Tomorrow's picture: galaxy hat
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-12-30 12:30:02.197932

    2018-12-30T18:30:03Z 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 December 30
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    The Galaxy Tree
    Image Credit & Copyright: Csar Vega Toledano ; Rollover Annotation: Judy Schmidt

    Explanation: First came the trees. In the town of Salamanca, Spain, the photographer noticed how distinctive a grove of oak trees looked after being pruned. Next came the galaxy. The photographer stayed up until 2 am, waiting until the Milky Way Galaxy rose above the level of a majestic looking oak. From this carefully chosen perspective, dust lanes in the galaxy appear to be natural continuations to branches of the tree. Last came the light. A flashlight was used on the far side of the tree to project a silhouette. By coincidence, other trees also appeared as similar silhouettes across the relatively bright horizon. The featured image was captured as a single 30-second frame earlier this month and processed to digitally enhance the Milky Way.

    Free Download: 2019 APOD Calendar (v5)
    Tomorrow's picture: space witch
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-12-29 12:30:01.589759

    2018-12-29T18:30:02Z 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 December 29
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    New Horizons at Ultima Thule
    Illustration Credit: Carlos Hernandez for NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute

    Explanation: When we celebrate the start of 2019, on January 1 the New Horizons spacecraft will flyby Ultima Thule. A world of the Kuiper belt 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun, the nickname Ultima Thule (catalog designation 2014 MU69) fittingly means "beyond the known world". Following its 2015 flyby of Pluto, New Horizons was targeted for this journey, attempting the most distant flyby for a spacecraft from Earth by approaching Ultima Thule to within about 3500 kilometers. The tiny world itself is about 30 kilometers in size. This year, an observing campaign with Earth-based telescopes determined the shape of the object to be a contact binary or a close binary sytem as in this artist's illustration. New Horizons will image close up its unexplored surface in the dim light of the distant Sun.

    Tomorrow's picture: galaxy tree

    Stephen Sekula likes this.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-12-28 12:30:01.830361

    2018-12-28T18:30:02Z 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 December 28
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    NGC 1365: Majestic Island Universe
    Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh

    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This impressively sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the central black hole.

    Tomorrow's picture: beyond the known world
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-12-27 12:30:02.208839

    2018-12-27T18:30:03Z 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 December 27
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    The Great Carina Nebula
    Image Credit & Copyright: Maicon Germiniani

    Explanation: A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, also known as NGC 3372, spans over 300 light-years, one of our galaxy's largest star forming regions. Like the smaller, more northerly Great Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the unaided eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times farther away. This gorgeous telescopic close-up reveals remarkable details of the region's central glowing filaments of interstellar gas and obscuring cosmic dust clouds. The field of view is over 50 light-years across. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the stars of open cluster Trumpler 14 (above and left of center) and the still enigmatic variable Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Eta Carinae is the brightest star, centered here just below the dusty Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324). While Eta Carinae itself maybe on the verge of a supernova explosion, X-ray images indicate that the Great Carina Nebula has been a veritable supernova factory.

    Tomorrow's picture: majestic island universe
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-12-24 12:30:01.915976

    2018-12-24T18:30:03Z 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 December 24
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    Earthrise 1: Historic Image Remastered
    Image Credit: NASA, Apollo 8 Crew, Bill Anders; Processing and License: Jim Weigang

    Explanation: "Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here's the Earth coming up. Wow is that pretty!" Soon after that pronouncement, 50 years ago today, one of the most famous images ever taken was snapped from the orbit of the Moon. Now known as "Earthrise", the iconic image shows the Earth rising above the limb of the Moon, as taken by the crew of Apollo 8. But the well-known Earthrise image was actually the second image taken of the Earth rising above the lunar limb -- it was just the first in color. With modern digital technology, however, the real first Earthrise image -- originally in black and white -- has now been remastered to have the combined resolution and color of the first three images. Behold! The featured image is a close-up of the picture that Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders was talking about. Thanks to modern technology and human ingenuity, now we can all see it. (Historical note: A different historic black & white image of the Earth setting behind the lunar limb was taken by the robotic Lunar Orbiter 1 two years earlier.)

    Tomorrow's picture: hubble wreath

    Look Ma, a planet! 😮

    JanKusanagi at 2018-12-25T02:29:02Z