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The Antennae June 30, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Antilhue Observatory, APoD, Deep Space, Space Fotos, Telescopes, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

Daniel Verschatse (Antilhue Observatory)

Explanation:

Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies have collided. But stars in the two galaxies – NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 – don’t collide in the course of the ponderous, billion year or so long event. Instead, their large clouds of molecular gas and dust do, triggering furious episodes of star formation. Spanning about 500 thousand light-years, this stunning view reveals new star clusters and matter flung far from the scene of the accident by gravitational tidal forces. Of course, the visual appearance of the far-flung arcing structures gives the galaxy pair their popular name – The Antennae. Recorded in this deep image of the region at the tip of the upper arc is a tidal dwarf galaxy NGC 4028S, formed in the cosmic debris.

Old Moon and Sister Stars June 29, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Earth, Moon.
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Credit & Copyright:

 Vincent Jacques

Explanation:

An old crescent Moon shares the eastern sky over Menton, France with the sister stars of the Pleiades cluster in this early morning skyscape recorded just last Friday, June 23rd. (Bright Venus was also near the eastern horizon, but is not pictured here.) Astronomical images of the well-known Pleiades often show the cluster’s alluring blue reflection nebulae, but they are washed out here by the bright moonlight. Still, while the crescent Moon is overexposed, surface features can be seen on the dim lunar night side illuminated by earthshine – light from sunlit planet Earth. Of course, you can spot a young crescent Moon in the early evening sky tonight. Having left the Pleiades behind, a lovely lunar crescent now appears in the west, lining up with planets Mars, Saturn, and Mercury along the solar system’s ecliptic plane.

East of Antares June 28, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Deep Space, Space Fotos, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright: Johannes Schedler (

Panther Observatory)

Explanation:

East of Antares, dark markings seem to sprawl through the crowded star fields toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Cataloged in the early 20th century by astronomer E. E. Barnard, the obscuring interstellar dust clouds include B72, B77, B78, and B59, seen in silhouette against the starry background. Here, their combined shape suggests smoke rising from a pipe, and so the dark nebula’s popular name is the Pipe Nebula. This gorgeous and expansive view was recorded in very dark skies over Hakos, Namibia. It covers a full 10 by 7 degree field in the pronounceable constellation Ophiuchus.

The Cat’s Paw Nebula June 28, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Australia, Deep Space, Earth, Nebula, People, Space Fotos, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

Robert Gendler &
Martin Pugh

Explanation:

Nebulae are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps

cats are for getting into trouble. Still, no known cat could have created the vast Cat’s Paw Nebula visible in Scorpius. At 5,500 light years distant, Cat’s Paw is an emission nebula with a red color that originates from an abundance of ionized hydrogen atoms. Alternatively known as the Bear Claw Nebula or NGC 6334, stars nearly ten times the mass of our Sun have been born there in only the past few million years. Pictured above, a deep wide-field image of the Cat’s Paw nebula was photographed from New South Wales, Australia.

The Moving Moons of Saturn June 26, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Cassini, Enceladus, European Space Agency, JPL, Mimas, NASA, Planets, Rhea, Satellite, Saturn, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Space Science Institute, SSI, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit:

Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation:

The moons of Saturn never stop. A space traveler orbiting the ringed giant planet would witness a continuing silent dance where Saturn’s multiple moons pass near each other in numerous combinations. Like a miniature Solar System, the innermost moons orbit Saturn the fastest. The above movie was centered on Saturn’s moon Rhea, so that the moons Mimas and Enceladus appear to glide by. At 1,500 kilometers across, Rhea is over three times larger than the comparably sized Mimas and Enceladus. The Sun illuminates the scene from the lower right, giving all of the moons the same crescent phase. The above time lapse movie was created by the Saturn-orbiting robotic Cassini spacecraft over a period of about 40 minutes.

Hideaway June 20, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Illustration, Space Fotos, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Illustration Credit & Copyright:

Inga Nielsen

Explanation:

Is this a picture of a sunset from Earth's North Pole? Regardless of urban legends circulating the Internet, the answer is no. The above scene was drawn to be an imaginary celestial place that would be calm and peaceful, and therefore titled Hideaway. The scene could not exist anywhere on the Earth because from the Earth, the Moon and the Sun always have nearly the same angular size. This is particularly apparent, for example, during solar eclipses. Still, the scene drawn is quite striking, and the crescent part of the "moon" shown is approximately accurate given the location of the parent star. In reality, the North Pole of Earth looks different. Starting earlier this month, the North Pole even has a web camera returning near-live pictures.

APOD Turns Eleven June 19, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Illustration, People, Space Fotos, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

Herman Serrano

Explanation:

The first APOD appeared eleven years ago today, on 1995 June 16. Although garnering only 14 page views on that day, we are proud to estimate that APOD has now served over 400 million space-related images over the last eleven years. That early beginning, along with a nearly unchanging format, has allowed APOD to be a consistent and familiar site on a web frequently filled with change. Many people don't know, though, that APOD is now translated daily into many major languages. We again thank our readers and NASA for their continued support, but ask that any potentially congratulatory e-mail go to the folks who created the great pictures — many times with considerable effort — that APOD has been fortunate enough to feature over the past year. Many can be contacted by following links found in the credit line under the image. Some of these images are featured in the above spectacular collage of a fantasy sky above Mars submitted by an enthusiastic APOD reader skilled in digital image manipulation. How many APOD images can you identify?


Crescent Neptune and Triton June 19, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, NASA, Neptune, Planets, Space Fotos, Triton, Voyager, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit:

Voyager 2, NASA

Explanation:

Gliding silently through the outer Solar System, the Voyager 2 spacecraft camera captured Neptune and Triton together in crescent phase in 1989. The above picture of the gas giant planet and its cloudy moon was taken from behind just after closest approach. It could not have been taken from Earth because Neptune never shows a crescent phase to sunward Earth. The unusual vantage point also robs Neptune of its familiar blue hue, as sunlight seen from here is scattered forward, and so is reddened like the setting Sun. Neptune is smaller but more massive than Uranus, has several dark rings, and emits more light than it receives from the Sun.

Bright Star Regulus near the Leo 1 Dwarf Galaxy June 19, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Deep Space, Milky Way, Space Fotos, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

Russell Croman

Explanation:

The star on the upper left is so bright it is sometimes hard to notice the galaxy on the lower right. Both the star, Regulus, and the galaxy, Leo I, can be found within one degree of each other toward the constellation of Leo. Regulus is part of a multiple star system, with a close companion double star visible to the upper right of the young main sequence star. Leo I is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy in the Local Group of galaxies dominated by our Milky Way Galaxy and M31. Leo I is thought to be the most distant of the several known small satellite galaxies orbiting our Milky Way Galaxy. Regulus is located about 75 light years away, in contrast to Leo 1 which is located about 800,000 light years away.

Gordel van Venus June 15, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Earth, Planets, Space Fotos, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

W. P. Koorts (SAAO)

Explanation:

Scroll right and enjoy this 180 degree panorama across the South African Astronomical Observatory's hilltop Sutherland observing station. Featured are SAAO telescope domes and buildings, along with the dark, wedge-shaped shadow of planet Earth stretching into the distance, bounded above by the delicately colored antitwilight arch. Visible along the antisunward horizon at sunrise (or sunset), the pinkish antitwilight arch is also known as the Belt of Venus. In order, the significant structures from left to right house; the giant SALT 11-meter instrument, the internet telescope MONET, the 1.9 meter Radcliffe, the 1.0 meter Elizabeth, a 0.75 meter reflector, a 0.5 meter reflector, a garage, YSTAR, BiSON, ACT, IRSF (open), and a storage building. (Note to SAAO fans: in this view the planet-hunter SuperWASP south is hidden behind the IRSF.)

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