Nasa Image of the Day

Nebula RCW49

One of the most prolific birthing grounds in our Milky Way galaxy, a nebula called RCW 49, is exposed in superb detail for the first time in this new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Located 13,700 light-years away in the southern constellation Centaurus, RCW 49 is a dark and dusty stellar nursery that houses more than 2,200 stars.

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Sky View Cafe
Sky View Cafe

Sky View Café is a Java applet that lets you use your web browser to see many types of astronomical information, in both graphical and numerical form. You can see which stars and planets will be out tonight in the sky above your home town, see how the next solar or lunar eclipse will look from London, or find out when the Moon rose over Sydney on your birthday ten years ago. Sky View Café includes star charts, a 3-D orrery, displays of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, an astronomical event calendar, an ephemeris generator, and many other features. Enter Sky View Café now!

This Month's Sky Map
This Month's Sky Map

Take a look at this month's Sky Map to help you explore the wonders of the night sky!

Ideal for all sky watchers including beginners to astronomy.

The Sky Map will help you identify planets, bright stars, constellations and nebulae!
Printable version available too!


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Astronomy News
The halo of a galaxy - Read more >
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:24:00 +0200


Hubble takes in-depth look at the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A



Messy peaks of Zucchius - Read more >
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:30:00 +0200


Space Science Image of the Week: ESA’s SMART-1 snaps an unusual view of lunar crater Zucchius



Call for Media: Rosetta’s comet rendezvous - Read more >
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:20:00 +0200


On 6 August, after a decade-long journey through space, ESA’s Rosetta will become the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet. Members of the media are invited to join ESA at its European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, to mark this momentous occasion.




Venus Express rises again - Read more >
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:00:00 +0200


After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to just 130 km from the planet’s surface, ESA’s Venus Express is about to embark on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.




CHEOPS on target - Read more >
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:29:00 +0200


The Characterising ExoPlanet Satellite, ESA's first small Science Programme mission, is ready for construction



Bizarre nearby blast mimics Universe’s most ancient stars - Read more >
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:00:00 +0200


ESA’s XMM-Newton observatory has helped to uncover how the Universe’s first stars ended their lives in giant explosions.




Hubble Sees Spiral Bridge of Young Stars Between Two Ancient Galaxies
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

It seems like our compulsive universe can be downright capricious when it comes to making oddball-looking things in the cosmos. The latest surprise to Hubble astronomers is a 100,000-light-year-long structure that looks like a string of pearls twisted into a corkscrew shape. This Slinky-like structure forms a bridge between two giant elliptical galaxies that are colliding. The "pearls" on the Slinky are superclusters of blazing, blue-white, newly born stars. The whole assembly, which looks like a tug-of-war, must result from the gravitational tidal forces present in the collision.



Forces of martian nature - Read more >
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:00:00 +0200


The surface of Mars is pocked and scarred with giant impact craters and rocky ridges, as shown in this new image from ESA’s Mars Express that borders the giant Hellas basin in the planet’s southern hemisphere.




Rosetta, are we there yet? - Read more >
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0200


After a 10-year journey that has clocked up more than 6 billion kilometres, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is rapidly closing in on its destination comet, and ESA is inviting you along for the ride.




Hubble to Proceed with Full Search for New Horizons Targets
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Planetary scientists have successfully used the Hubble Space Telescope to boldly look out to the far frontier of the solar system to find suitable targets for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. After the marathon probe zooms past Pluto in July 2015, it will travel across the Kuiper Belt a vast rim of primitive ice bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. If NASA approves, the probe could be redirected to fly to a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) and photograph it up close.



Young sun’s violent history solves meteorite mystery - Read more >
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0200


Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory to probe the turbulent beginnings of a Sun-like star have found evidence of mighty stellar winds that could solve a puzzling meteorite mystery in our own back yard.




Rosetta’s comet ‘sweats’ two glasses of water a second - Read more >
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:00:00 +0200


ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found that comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is releasing the equivalent of two small glasses of water into space every second, even at a cold 583 million kilometres from the Sun.




Swiftly Moving Gas Streamer Eclipses Supermassive Black Hole
Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Active galaxies host supermassive black holes in their cores. The intense gravity of the black hole creates a turbulent cauldron of extreme physics. These galaxies, such as NGC 5548 in this study, are too far away for the plasma fireworks to be directly imaged. Therefore astronomers use X-ray and ultraviolet spectroscopy to infer what is happening near the black hole. The new twist is the detection of a clumpy stream of gas that has swept in front of the black hole, blocking its radiation. This deep look into a black hole's environment yields clues to the behavior of active galaxies.



Hubble Finds That Dwarf Galaxies Formed More Than Their Fair Share of the Universe's Stars
Thu, 19 Jun 2014 08:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

They may be little, but they pack a big star-forming punch. Hubble astronomers have found that dwarf galaxies in the young universe were responsible for an "early wave" of star formation not long after the big bang. The galaxies churned out stars at a furiously fast rate, far above the "normal" star formation expected of galaxies. Understanding the link between a galaxy's mass and its star-forming activity helps to assemble a consistent picture of events in the early universe.



NASA's Hubble to Begin Search Beyond Pluto for a New Horizons Mission Target
Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The Kuiper Belt is the final frontier of our solar system, and also the vastest. Stretching from 3 to 5 billion miles from the Sun, it contains myriad primitive icy bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. After passing the dwarf planet Pluto in July 2015, NASA's New Horizons space probe will hurtle deep into the Kuiper Belt at nearly 35,000 miles per hour. The Hubble Space Telescope is being used to search for a suitable Kuiper Belt object that New Horizons could pay a visit to. It would be our first and perhaps last look at such a remote relic from the distant past. The search is very challenging even for Hubble's sharp vision. It has to find something the size of Manhattan Island, as black as charcoal, and embedded against a snowstorm of background stars.



Hubble Team Unveils Most Colorful View of Universe Captured by Space Telescope
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 14:15:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. This study, which includes ultraviolet light, provides the missing link in star formation.



Unveiling Venus - Read more >
Fri, 16 May 2014 15:00:00 +0200


Highlights from ESA’s Venus Express, following end of routine science observations after eight years orbiting the veiled planet



Hubble Shows that Jupiter's Great Red Spot Is Smaller than Ever Seen Before
Thu, 15 May 2014 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Jupiter's monster storm, the Great Red Spot, was once so large that three Earths would fit inside it. But new measurements by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the largest storm in our solar system has downsized significantly. The red spot, which has been raging for at least a hundred years, is only the width of one Earth. What is happening? One possibility is that some unknown activity in the planet's atmosphere may be draining energy and weakening the storm, causing it to shrink. The Hubble images were taken in 1995, 2009, and 2014.



Hubble Astronomers Check the Prescription of a Cosmic Lens
Thu, 01 May 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

If you need to check whether the prescription for your eye glasses or contact lenses is still accurate, you visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. The doctor will ask you to read an eye chart, which tests your visual acuity. Your score helps the doctor determine whether to change your prescription.



Astronomical Forensics Uncover Planetary Disks in Hubble Archive
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Nearly 2,000 planets have been confirmed to be orbiting other stars in our galaxy. But the details of planet birth and formation are sparse. The conventional wisdom, dating back to a hypothesis by philosopher Immanuel Kant in the late 1700s, considered the orbit of the planets in our solar system to be the skeleton of disks of dust and gas that swirled around the newborn sun. The dust particles clumped together to build planets from the ground up.



Hubble Stretches Stellar Tape Measure 10 Times Farther into Space
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers continue refining the precision of distance measurement techniques to better understand the dimensions of the universe. Calculating the age of the universe, its expansion rate, and the nature of dark energy all depend on the precise distance measurements to stars and galaxies. If the astronomical yardsticks are off, the astronomical interpretation may be flawed. The most reliable method for making astronomical distance measurements is to use straightforward geometry where the 186-million-mile diameter of Earth's orbit is used to construct a baseline of a triangle, much as a land surveyor would use. If a target star is close enough, it will appear to zigzag on the sky during the year as a reflection of Earth's orbit about the Sun. This technique is called parallax. The stars are so far away that the angle of this parallax shift is incredibly tiny. An innovative new observing technique has extended Hubble's yardstick 10 times farther into our galaxy, out to a distance of 7,500 light-years from Earth.



Join the adventure - Read more >
Wed, 15 Jan 2014 16:49:00 +0100


Follow news, updates and real-time reporting on ESA's comet mission via the Rosetta blog



Ten years imaging Mars - Read more >
Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:08:00 +0100


Travel across the dramatic flood plains of Mars to celebrate ten years of imaging the Red Planet with Mars Express


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