Nebula with spiral arms

Hubble pictures planetary nebula with spiral arms.Credit:ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Serge Meunier The two spiral arms winding towards the bright centre might deceive you into thinking you are looking at a galaxy a bit like our Milky Way. But the … Continue reading

All the Water on Planet Earth

How much of planet Earth is made of water? Very little, actually. Although oceans of water cover about 70 percent of Earth’s surface, these oceans are shallow compared to the Earth’s radius. The featured illustration shows what would happen if … Continue reading

Light at the End of the Road

The bright light at the end of this country road is actually a remarkably close conjunction of two planets. After sunset on August 27 brilliant Venus and Jupiter almost appear as a single celestial beacon in the night skyscape taken … Continue reading

Perseid Night at Yosemite

The 2016 Perseid meteor shower performed well on the night of August 11/12. The sky on that memorable evening was recorded from a perch overlooking Yosemite Valley, planet Earth, in this scene composed of 25 separate images selected from an … Continue reading

Not Really Starless at Saturn

Saturn’s main rings, along with its and moons, are much brighter than most stars. As a result, much shorter exposure times (10 milliseconds, in this case) are required to produce an image and not saturate the detectors of the imaging … Continue reading

Mercury on the Horizon

Have you ever seen the planet Mercury? Because Mercury orbits so close to the Sun, it never wanders far from the Sun in Earth’s sky. If trailing the Sun, Mercury will be visible low on the horizon for only a … Continue reading

Space Station View of the Full Moon

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA took this photograph on June 21, 2016, from the International Space Station, writing, “A spectacular rise of the full moon just before sunset while flying over western China.”   Source: Nasa    

Paris at Night

Around local midnight time on April 8, 2015, astronauts aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of Paris, often referred to as the “City of Light.” The pattern of the street grid dominates at night, providing a completely different … Continue reading

The stars of the Large Magellanic Cloud

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the globular cluster NGC 1854, a gathering of white and blue stars in the southern constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish). NGC 1854 is located about 135 000 light-years away, in the Large Magellanic … Continue reading

Sagittarius Sunflowers

These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left … Continue reading

NGC 6888: The Crescent Nebula

NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula, is a cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across, blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. This sharp telescopic portrait uses narrow band image data that isolates light from hydrogen and … Continue reading

Sunrise Solstice over Stonehenge

Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in planet Earth’s sky. Called a solstice, the date astronomically marks a change of seasons — from spring to summer in Earth’s Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. … Continue reading