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.

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The Sky Tonight Astronomy News
Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed - Read more >
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:00:00 +0100


Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood. Thanks to ESA’s Cluster and NASA’s Image satellites working together, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained.




Flying over Becquerel - Read more >
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:00 +0100


This latest release from the camera on ESA’s Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.




Institute Astronomers Share Prize for Discovery of Accelerating Universe
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

It's the stuff of a science fiction movie: a mysterious form of energy that is pulling the universe apart at an ever-faster rate. Astronomers around the world are befuddled and are marshaling the world's most powerful telescopes in their search for clues to understanding what this "dark force" could be. Who knows how the story will end?



Venus Express goes gently into the night - Read more >
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:30:00 +0100


ESA’s Venus Express has ended its eight-year mission after far exceeding its planned life. The spacecraft exhausted its propellant during a series of thruster burns to raise its orbit following the low-altitude aerobraking earlier this year. 




Magnetic paint - Read more >
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:10:00 +0100


Space Science Image of the Week: Planck paints the magnetic field along the plane of the Milky Way



Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans - Read more >
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 20:00:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans.




Frost-covered chaos on Mars - Read more >
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:00:00 +0100


Thanks to a break in the dusty ‘weather’ over the giant Hellas Basin at the beginning of this year, ESA’s Mars Express was able to look down into the seven kilometre-deep basin and onto the frosty surface of Hellas Chaos.




STScI Astronomer Margaret Meixner Elected AAAS Fellow
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council has elected Margaret Meixner of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and 401 other AAAS members as Fellows of AAAS. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.



AURA Announces Selection of New AURA President
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:15:00 -0500Hubble Image

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) announced today that Dr. Matt Mountain, Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, will become AURA President beginning March 1, 2015. Mountain will succeed William S. Smith who served as President since 2000. In announcing the selection, the Chair of the AURA Board of Directors, Dr. Richard Green, said, "AURA is heading into an exciting period, and Matt has enormous experience in large program and large facility management in ground- and space-based organizations. This will be a great asset for AURA as we complete construction on the Daniel K. Inoue Solar Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, and the James Webb Space Telescope."



Pioneering Philae completes main mission before hibernation - Read more >
Sat, 15 Nov 2014 10:30:00 +0100


Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.




Dr. Roeland van der Marel Appointed as STScI Lead on Proposed "Wide View" Space Telescope
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 10:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, has appointed Dr. Roeland van der Marel to lead its work on a proposed NASA space telescope that will provide images as sharp as the Hubble Space Telescope, but over a hundred times larger area. The space observatory, called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope-Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA), is being studied for launch in the mid-2020s, pending program approval by NASA. The telescope will be used to probe the distribution of dark matter and the characteristics of dark energy, measure the abundance and characteristics of planets orbiting other stars, and will provide observations and surveys to study many other astrophysical subjects. STScI is presently the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and the science and mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018. Van der Marel joined the STScI staff in 1997. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an expert on black holes and the structure of galaxies.



Three touchdowns for Rosetta’s lander - Read more >
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:40:00 +0100


After achieving touchdown on a comet for the first time in history, scientists and engineers are busy analysing this new world and the nature of the landing. 




The Party's Over for These Youthful Compact Galaxies
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Hubble has uncovered young, massive, compact galaxies whose raucous star-making parties are ending early. The firestorm of star birth has blasted out most of the remaining gaseous fuel needed to make future generations of stars. Now the party's over for these gas-starved galaxies, and they are on track to possibly becoming so-called "red and dead galaxies," composed only of aging stars. An analysis of 12 merging galaxies is suggesting that energy from the star-birthing frenzy created powerful winds that are blowing out the gas, squelching future generations of stars. This activity occurred when the universe was half its current age of 13.7 billion years.



Welcome to a comet - Read more >
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 10:55:00 +0100


Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of the comet



Incoming! - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 18:50:00 +0100


The final stages of Philae’s touchdown seen through the eyes of the lander’s downwards-looking descent camera



Touchdown! Rosetta’s Philae probe lands on comet - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:30:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.




Farewell, Philae - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:13:00 +0100


Rosetta’s parting image of Philae as the lander began its seven-hour descent to the surface of the comet



Farewell Rosetta - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:30:00 +0100


Philae’s parting image of Rosetta, taken shortly after separation



Rosetta and Philae separation confirmed - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 10:02:00 +0100


The Philae lander has separated from the Rosetta orbiter, and is now on its way to becoming the first spacecraft to touch down on a comet.




Rosetta and Philae Go for separation - Read more >
Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:00:00 +0100


Following a night of critical Go/NoGo decisions, Rosetta and Philae are cleared for separation, despite a problem onboard the lander. The mission is set to become the first in history to touch down on a comet.




Hubble Surveys Debris-Strewn Exoplanetary Construction Yards
Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0500Hubble Image

Over the past few years, astronomers have found an incredible diversity in the architecture of exoplanetary systems, as well as the planets themselves. A survey using the sharp view of the Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a similar diversity in the debris systems that coincide with the formation of exoplanets. These circumstellar dusty disks are likely generated by collisions between objects left over from planet formation around stars. The survey's results suggest that there is some sort of interdependence between a planet and the accompanying debris system.



Once upon a time... - Read more >
Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:15:00 +0100


Rosetta and Philae get ready for their comet landing adventure



Farewell ‘J’, hello Agilkia - Read more >
Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:30:00 +0100


The site where Rosetta’s Philae lander is scheduled to touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November now has a name: Agilkia.




Hubble Sees 'Ghost Light' From Dead Galaxies
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The universe is an infinite sea of galaxies, which are majestic star-cities. When galaxies group together in massive clusters, some of them can be ripped apart by the gravitational tug of other galaxies. It's a giant cosmic mosh pit. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to probe the massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744 nicknamed Pandora's Cluster have found forensic evidence of galaxies torn apart long ago. It's in the form of a phantom-like faint glow filling the space between the galaxies. This glow comes from stars scattered into intergalactic space as a result of a galaxy's disintegration.



Here's Looking At You: Spooky Shadow Play Gives Jupiter a Giant Eye
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The Hubble Space Telescope treats astronomers to gorgeous close-up views of the eerie outer planets. But it's a bit of a trick when it seems like the planet's looking back at you! In this view, the shadow of the Jovian moon Ganymede swept across the center of the Great Red Spot a giant storm on the planet. This gave Jupiter the uncanny appearance of having a pupil in the center of a 10,000-mile-diameter "eye." Now if it blinks, we may really have to worry!



Ambition - Read more >
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:40:00 +0200


How Rosetta is turning science fiction into science fact



Close Encounters: Comet Siding Spring Seen Next to Mars
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

This is a photo composite of the encounter of Comet Siding Spring with Mars on October 19, 2014. Separate Hubble Space Telescope images of Mars and the comet have been combined together into a single picture. This is a composite image because a single exposure of the stellar background, Comet Siding Spring, and Mars would be problematic because the objects are all moving with respect to each other and the background stars. Hubble can only track one planetary target at a time. Also, Mars is actually 10,000 times brighter than the comet, and the exposure here has been adjusted so that details on the Red Planet can be seen.



Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away. This new detection is considered one of the most reliable distance measurements of a galaxy that existed in the early universe, said the Hubble researchers. Hubble detected the galaxy due to the lensing power of the mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster. The cluster is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making the background objects appear larger and brighter in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.


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