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Last Updated: added graphics for the 88 constellations under Observation/The Night Sky.

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APOD:Stephan's Quintet from Hubble
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing: Daniel Nobre

Explanation: When did these big galaxies first begin to dance? Really only four of the five of Stephan's Quintet are locked in a cosmic tango of repeated close encounters taking place some 300 million light-years away. The odd galaxy out is easy to spot in this recently reprocessed image by the Hubble Space Telescope -- the interacting galaxies, NGC 7319, 7318B, 7318A, and 7317 (left to right), have a more dominant yellowish cast. They also tend to have distorted loops and tails, grown under the influence of disruptive gravitational tides. The mostly bluish galaxy, large NGC 7320 on the lower left, is in the foreground at about 40 million light-years distant, and so is not part of the interacting group. Data and modeling indicate that NGC 7318B is a relatively new intruder. A recently-discovered halo of old red stars surrounding Stephan's Quintet indicate that at least some of these galaxies started tangling over a billion years. Stephan's Quintet is visible with a moderate sized-telescope toward the constellation of Winged Horse (Pegasus).


APOD:Jupiter Abyss
Image Credit: NASA, Juno, SwRI, MSSS; Processing & License: Gerald Eichstädt & Sean Doran

xplanation: What's that black spot on Jupiter? No one is sure. During the latest pass of NASA's Juno around Jupiter, the robotic spacecraft imaged an usually dark cloud feature informally dubbed the Abyss. Surrounding cloud patterns show the Abyss to be at the center of a vortex. Since dark features on Jupiter's atmosphere tend to run deeper than light features, the Abyss may really be the deep hole that it appears -- but without more evidence that remains conjecture. The Abyss is surrounded by a complex of meandering clouds and other swirling storm systems, some of which are topped by light colored, high-altitude clouds. The featured image was captured last month while Juno passed only about 15,000 kilometers above Jupiter's cloud tops. The next close pass of Juno near Jupiter will be in July.


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Iris Nebula
- Image by Ricky Leon Murphy.

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Observation - This section includes information on coordinate systems, constellations, objects visible in the night sky, and some images of the night sky of the northern and southern hemispheres.

Science - This section includes information on some of the basic science used in astronomy. There is information on the variety of tools used (like telescopes) as well as methods of using them. There is a mathematics primer, introduction to some physical processes, formulas used in astronomy, and information on computer use in Astronomy.

Solar System - As indicated, this section covers our Solar System (See Solar System App) and everything in it. It covers the Sun, planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and exotic objects like TNO's and Kuiper Belt Objects.

Stars - This section covers stars in our own galaxy. It covers the variety of stellar evolution paths. It also covers supernova, black holes, and some of the radiative processes in the interstellar medium.

Our Galaxy - This section covers our galaxy as well as some of the nearby galaxies in our own Local Group. It also covers galaxy evolution.

Cosmology - This section covers other galaxies and galaxies clusters. It also covers the big bang, relativity and dark matter.

Astrobiology - This section covers the relatively new field in astronomy - the possibility of life in our Solar System and the Universe. There is also information on some of the projects dealing with this - like SETI.

Exoplanets - This section covers the study of planets known to exist around other stars. It covers both amateur and professional involvement and shows you how you can get involved with the search as well.

Astrophotography - This section covers the fastest growing hobby of astrophotography. This section offers information and tips on photography and also features and Image Gallery.

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