Archives » Astronomy Picture of the Day

Stephan’s Quintet

A beautiful picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day for 3/6/2019.

Stephan’s Quintet, five galaxies appearing in close proximity from our perspective. Only the four redder ones are really close to each other though – so close they interfere with each others’ structures.

Stephan's Quintet

Barred Spiral Galaxy M95

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 29/5/19.

M95. A beautiful barred spiral galaxy.

M95

Transit of Phobos

This is a (speeded up) sequence showing the partial eclipse of the Sun by a moon of another planet. From You Tube via Astronomy Picture of the Day for 10/4/19.

The moon is Phobos; the planet, Mars. The sun is the Sun.

A Black Hole?

I suppose everyone’s seen this by now; it’s been on the TV news and in all the newspapers.

Picture from The Daily Galaxy.

A Black Hole

According to Astronomy Picture of the Day on 11/4/19 the black area isn’t the black hole but rather its shadow.

Still, to be able to image it at all is astounding.

A Question Mark?

This is from Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25/3/19. An astonishing photograph of two galaxies in the process of merging after one having passed through the other. The most curious feature is the trail of stars forming in between the upper and lower portions – not a usual consequence of such a situation.

The whole does look, though, a bit like an alien’s head or a slightly distorted question mark.

ARP 194

M106

Another great picture of a galaxy courtesy of NASA – via Astronomy Picture of the Day for 17/3/19.

It’s thought that huge amounts of glowing gas are falling into the galaxy’s central black hole.

This is M106:-

Galaxy M106

A Galaxy’s Magnetic Field

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 11/3/19.

OK, it’s a manipulated image, magnetic field lines superimposed on visible light (grey) and hydrogen gas (red) pictures of the Cigar Galaxy, more systematically known as M82, but this is an amazing sight.

M82's magnetic field

Red Sprites

Weather phenomena can be very strange indeed.

I found this photograph on Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25/2/19 – which sprinkles the odd meteorological image amongst its astronomical ones.

The photograph shows red sprites – a form of lightning that was only recognised as such 30 years ago.

More information about atmospheric sprites can be found here.

Also on that page is an illustration of different atmospheric electrical phenomena which I reproduce below. These appear to take place at different heights abobe the ground. (Image credited to Abestrobi.)

Upperatmoslight1.jpg
By AbestrobiOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Star Eta Carinae

This is from Astronomy Picture of the Day for 20/2/19.

Eta Carinae is set to explode in a supernova – sometime.

Eta Carinae

The unusual nebula that surrounds it puts me in mind of a one of the sets of atomic orbitals wherein electrons occur round the nucleus of an atom. Specifically a p orbital.

p orbital

Ultima Thule Update

According to Astronomy Picture of the Day for 11/2/19 the asteroid Ultima Thule is not two spheres stuck together as it appeared from the angle at which the New Horizons spacecraft approached it but judging from the way stars reappeared from behind it more like a pancake stuck to a walnut, as represented in the graphic below.

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