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Last Updated: added graphics for the 88 constellations under Observation/The Night Sky.
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APOD:The Andromeda Galaxy in Ultraviolet
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, GALEX
Explanation: What does the Andromeda galaxy look like in ultraviolet light? Young blue stars circling the galactic center dominate. A mere 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, really is just next door as large galaxies go. Spanning about 230,000 light-years, it took 11 different image fields from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite telescope to produce this gorgeous portrait of the spiral galaxy in ultraviolet light in 2003. While its spiral arms stand out in visible light images, Andromeda's arms look more like rings in ultraviolet. The rings are sites of intense star formation and have been interpreted as evidence that Andromeda collided with its smaller neighboring elliptical galaxy M32 more than 200 million years ago. The Andromeda galaxy and our own comparable Milky Way galaxy are the most massive members of the Local Group of galaxies and are projected to collide in several billion years -- perhaps around the time that our Sun's atmosphere will expand to engulf the Earth.
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Image Credit & Copyright: Bernard Miller
Explanation: Thor not only has his own day (Thursday), but a helmet in the heavens. Popularly called Thor's Helmet, NGC 2359 is a hat-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor's Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the cosmic head-covering is more like an interstellar bubble, blown with a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble's center. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. NGC 2359 is located about 15,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Great Overdog. This remarkably sharp image is a mixed cocktail of data from broadband and narrowband filters, capturing not only natural looking stars but details of the nebula's filamentary structures. The star in the center of Thor's Helmet is expected to explode in a spectacular supernova sometime within the next few thousand years.
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APOD:Elephant, Bat, and Squid
Image Credit & Copyright: Patrick Hsieh
Explanation: Sprawling emission nebulae IC 1396 and Sh2-129 mix glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds in this 10 degree wide field of view toward the northern constellation Cepheus the King. Energized by its bluish central star IC 1396 (left) is hundreds of light-years across and some 3,000 light-years distant. The nebula's intriguing dark shapes include a winding dark cloud popularly known as the Elephant's Trunk below and right of center. Tens of light-years long, it holds the raw raw material for star formation and is known to hide protostars within. Located a similar distance from planet Earth, the bright knots and swept back ridges of emission of Sh2-129 on the right suggest its popular name, the Flying Bat Nebula. Within the Flying Bat, the most recently recognized addition to this royal cosmic zoo is the faint bluish emission from Ou4, the Giant Squid nebula.
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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.
- As indicated, this section covers our Solar System (See Solar System App, Solar System Scope 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.
- This section covers our galaxy as well as some of the
nearby galaxies in our own Local Group. It also covers
- This section covers other galaxies and galaxies clusters.
It also covers the big bang, relativity and dark matter.
- 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.
- 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.
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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