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Astronomy Picture of the Day (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Palm Tree Partial Eclipse

    04/13/2024 12:10:00 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | 13 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Lori Haffelt
    Explanation: Only those along the narrow track of the Moon's shadow on April 8 saw a total solar eclipse. But most of North America still saw a partial eclipse of the Sun. From Clearwater, Florida, USA this single snapshot captured multiple images of that more widely viewed celestial event without observing the Sun directly. In the shade of a palm tree, criss-crossing fronds are projecting recognizable eclipse images on the ground, pinhole camera style. In Clearwater the maximum eclipse phase was about 53 percent.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Total Totality

    04/12/2024 5:33:51 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | 12 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel Korona
    Explanation: Baily's beads often appear at the boundaries of the total phase of an eclipse of the Sun. Pearls of sunlight still beaming through gaps in the rugged terrain along the lunar limb silhouette, their appearance is recorded in this dramatic timelapse composite. The series of images follows the Moon's edge from beginning through the end of totality during April 8's solar eclipse from Durango, Mexico. They also capture pinkish prominences of plasma arcing high above the edge of the active Sun. One of the first places in North America visited by the Moon's shadow on April 8, totality in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Eclipse in Seven

    04/11/2024 1:42:55 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | 11 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Xiaofeng Tan
    Explanation: Start at the upper left above and you can follow the progress of April 8's total eclipse of the Sun in seven sharp, separate exposures. The image sequence was recorded with a telescope and camera located within the narrow path of totality as the Moon's shadow swept across Newport, Vermont, USA. At center is a spectacular view of the solar corona. The tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun is only easily visible to the eye in clear dark skies during the total eclipse phase. Seen from Newport, the total phase for this solar eclipse lasted about 3 minutes and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Planets Around a Total Eclipse

    04/10/2024 10:31:36 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | 10 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit: Stéphane Vetter (Nuits sacrées)
    Explanation: What wonders appear when the Moon blocks the Sun? For many eager observers of Monday’s total eclipse of the Sun, the suddenly dark sky included the expected corona and two (perhaps surprise) planets: Venus and Jupiter. Normally, in recent days, Venus is visible only in the morning when the Sun and Jupiter are below the horizon, while Jupiter appears bright only in the evening. On Monday, though, for well-placed observers, both planets became easily visible during the day right in line with the totally eclipsed Sun. This line was captured Monday afternoon in the featured image from Mount Nebo,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Moon's Shadow over Lake Magog

    04/09/2024 12:54:12 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | 9 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Stan Honda
    Explanation: Captured in this snapshot, the shadow of the Moon came to Lake Magog, Quebec, North America, planet Earth on April 8. For the lakeside eclipse chasers, the much anticipated total solar eclipse was a spectacle to behold in briefly dark, but clear skies. Of course Lake Magog was one of the last places to be visited by the Moon's shadow. The narrow path of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse swept from Mexico's Pacific Coast north and eastward through the US and Canada. But a partial eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Changing Ion Tail of Comet Pons-Brooks

    04/08/2024 12:50:58 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | 8 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Shengyu Li & Shaining
    Explanation: How does a comet tail change? It depends on the comet. The ion tail of Comet 12P/Pons–Brooks has been changing markedly, as detailed in the featured image sequenced over nine days from March 6 to 14 (top to bottom). On some days, the comet's ion tail was relatively long and complex, but not every day. Reasons for tail changes include the rate of ejection of material from the comet's nucleus, the strength and complexity of the passing solar wind, and the rotation rate of the comet. Over the course of a week, apparent changes even include a change of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - A Total Solar Eclipse over Wyoming

    04/07/2024 10:24:33 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | 7 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper
    Explanation: Will the sky be clear enough to see the eclipse? This question is already on the minds of many North Americans hoping to see tomorrow's solar eclipse. This question was also on the mind of many people attempting to see the total solar eclipse that crossed North America in August 2017. Then, the path of total darkness shot across the mainland of the USA from coast to coast, from Oregon to South Carolina -- but, like tomorrow's event, a partial eclipse occurred above most of North America. Unfortunately, in 2017, many locations saw predominantly clouds. One location that did...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Unwinding M51

    04/06/2024 5:04:59 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | 6 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Data - Hubble Heritage Project, Unwinding - Paul Howell
    Explanation: The arms of a grand design spiral galaxy 60,000 light-years across are unwound in this digital transformation of the magnificent 2005 Hubble Space Telescope portrait of M51. In fact, M51 is one of the original spiral nebulae, its winding arms described by a mathematical curve known as a logarithmic spiral, a spiral whose separation grows in a geometric way with increasing distance from the center. Applying logarithms to shift the pixel coordinates in the Hubble image relative to the center of M51 maps the galaxy's spiral arms into diagonal straight lines. The transformed image dramatically shows the arms themselves...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Solar Corona Unwrapped

    04/05/2024 1:16:06 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | 5 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory)
    Explanation: Changes in the alluring solar corona are detailed in this creative composite image mapping the dynamic outer atmosphere of the Sun during two separate total solar eclipses. Unwrapped from the complete circle of the eclipsed Sun's edge to a rectangle and mirrored, the entire solar corona is shown during the 2017 eclipse (bottom) seen from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the 2023 eclipse from Exmouth, Western Australia. While the 2017 eclipse was near a minimum in the Sun's 11 year activity cycle, the 2023 eclipse was closer to solar maximum. The 2023 solar corona hints at the dramatically different character...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Comet Pons-Brooks at Night

    04/04/2024 2:44:56 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | 4 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Dan Bartlett`
    Explanation: In dark evening skies over June Lake, northern hemisphere, planet Earth, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks stood just above the western horizon on March 30. Its twisted turbulent ion tail and diffuse greenish coma are captured in this two degree wide telescopic field of view along with bright yellowish star Hamal also known as Alpha Arietis. Now Pons-Brooks has moved out of the northern night though, approaching perihelion on April 21. On April 8 you might still spot the comet in daytime skies. But to do it, you will have to stand in the path of totality and look away from the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Unusual Nebula Pa 30

    04/04/2024 5:00:30 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | 3 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit: NASA, ESA, USAF, NSF; Processing: G. Ferrand (U. Manitoba), J. English (U. Manitoba),
    Explanation: What created this unusual celestial firework? The nebula, dubbed Pa 30, appears in the same sky direction now as a bright "guest star" did in the year 1181. Although Pa 30's filaments look similar to that created by a nova (for example GK Per), and a planetary nebula (for example NGC 6751), some astronomers now propose that it was created by a rare type of supernova: a thermonuclear Type Iax, and so is (also) named SN 1181. In this model, the supernova was not the result of the detonation of a single star, but rather a blast that occurred...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Detailed View of a Solar Eclipse Corona

    04/02/2024 12:18:15 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | 2 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Phil Hart
    Explanation: Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona's brightness, although discernible to the eye, are notoriously difficult to photograph. Pictured here, however, using multiple images and digital processing, is a detailed image of the Sun's corona taken during the April 20, 2023 total solar eclipse from Exmouth, Australia. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Swirling Magnetic Field around Our Galaxy's Central Black Hole

    04/01/2024 1:14:29 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | 1 Apr, 2024 | Image Credit: EHT Collaboration
    Explanation: What's happening to the big black hole in the center of our galaxy? It is sucking in matter from a swirling disk -- a disk that is magnetized, it has now been confirmed. Specifically, the black hole's accretion disk has recently been seen to emit polarized light, radiation frequently associated with a magnetized source. Pictured here is a close-up of Sgr A*, our Galaxy's central black hole, taken by radio telescopes around the world participating in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration. Superposed are illustrative curved lines indicating polarized light likely emitted from swirling magnetized gas that will soon...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Total Solar Eclipse Below the Bottom of the World

    03/31/2024 2:14:45 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | 31 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek (ESO Photo Ambassador, Inst. of Physics in Opava) ; Acknowled
    Explanation: In late 2021 there was a total solar eclipse visible only at the end of the Earth. To capture the unusual phenomenon, airplanes took flight below the clouded seascape of Southern Ocean. The featured image shows one relatively spectacular capture where the bright spot is the outer corona of the Sun and the eclipsing Moon is seen as the dark spot in the center. A wing and engine of the airplane are visible across the left and bottom of the image, while another airplane observing the eclipse is visible on the far left. The dark area of the sky...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey

    03/30/2024 11:19:09 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | 30 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit: Paul Beck (Univ. Vienna), Georg Zotti (Vienna Inst. Arch. Science) Copyright: Library
    Explanation: Discovered by accident, this manuscript page provides graphical insight to astronomy in medieval times, before the Renaissance and the influence of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho de Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo. The intriguing page is from lecture notes on astronomy compiled by the monk Magister Wolfgang de Styria before the year 1490. The top panels clearly illustrate the necessary geometry for a lunar (left) and solar eclipse in the Earth-centered Ptolemaic system. At lower left is a diagram of the Ptolemaic view of the Solar System with text at the upper right to explain the movement of the planets according...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Galileo's Europa

    03/29/2024 11:41:52 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | 29 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SETI Institute, Cynthia Phillips, Marty Valenti
    Explanation: Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft recorded stunning views of Europa and uncovered evidence that the moon's icy surface likely hides a deep, global ocean. Galileo's Europa image data has been remastered here, with improved calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see. Europa's long curving fractures hint at the subsurface liquid water. The tidal flexing the large moon experiences in its elliptical orbit around Jupiter supplies the energy to keep the ocean liquid. But more tantalizing is the possibility that even in the absence of sunlight that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri

    03/28/2024 1:12:27 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | 28 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Massimo Di Fusco and Mirco Turra
    Explanation: Globular star cluster Omega Centauri, also known as NGC 5139, is 15,000 light-years away. The cluster is packed with about 10 million stars much older than the Sun within a volume about 150 light-years in diameter. It's the largest and brightest of 200 or so known globular clusters that roam the halo of our Milky Way galaxy. Though most star clusters consist of stars with the same age and composition, the enigmatic Omega Cen exhibits the presence of different stellar populations with a spread of ages and chemical abundances. In fact, Omega Cen may be the remnant core of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Coma Cluster of Galaxies

    03/27/2024 12:31:51 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | 27 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit & Copyright: Joe Hua
    Explanation: Almost every object in the featured photograph is a galaxy. The Coma Cluster of Galaxies pictured here is one of the densest clusters known - it contains thousands of galaxies. Each of these galaxies houses billions of stars - just as our own Milky Way Galaxy does. Although nearby when compared to most other clusters, light from the Coma Cluster still takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us. In fact, the Coma Cluster is so big it takes light millions of years just to go from one side to the other. Most galaxies in Coma and other...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Comet Pons-Brooks' Ion Tail

    03/26/2024 12:47:45 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | 26 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit & License: James Peirce
    Explanation: Comet Pons-Brooks has quite a tail to tell. First discovered in 1385, this erupting dirty snowball loops back into our inner Solar System every 71 years and, this time, is starting to put on a show for deep camera exposures. In the featured picture, the light blue stream is the ion tail which consists of charged molecules pushed away from the comet's nucleus by the solar wind. The ion tail, shaped by the Sun's wind and the comet's core's rotation, always points away from the Sun. Comet 12P/Pons–Brooks is now visible with binoculars in the early evening sky toward...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Sonified: The Jellyfish Nebula Supernova Remnant

    03/25/2024 1:30:44 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | 25 Mar, 2024 | Image Credit: X-ray (blue): Chandra (NASA) & ROSAT (ESA); Optical (red): DSS (NSF); Radio (green): V
    Explanation: What does a supernova remnant sound like? Although sound is a compression wave in matter and does not carry into empty space, interpretive sound can help listeners appreciate and understand a visual image of a supernova remnant in a new way. Recently, the Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) has been sonified quite creatively. In the featured sound-enhanced video, when an imaginary line passes over a star, the sound of a drop falling into water is played, a sound particularly relevant to the nebula's aquatic namesake. Additionally, when the descending line crosses gas that glows red, a low tone is played,...