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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Astrophotography for the AmateurAstrophotography for the Amateur

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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!

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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!


The Sky Tonight Astronomy News
Craters on the edge - Read more >
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:10:00 +0200


Space Science Image of the Week: ESA’s SMART-1 snaps a trio of craters on the edge of the Luna Incognita



Rosetta to deploy lander on 12 November - Read more >
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:00:00 +0200


The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission will deploy its lander, Philae, to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November.




NASA Telescopes Find Clear Skies and Water Vapor on Exo-Neptune
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The weather forecast for a planet 120 light-years from Earth is clear skies and steamy water vapor. Finding clear skies on a gaseous world the size of Neptune is a good sign that even smaller, Earth-size planets might have similarly good visibility. This would allow earthbound astronomers to measure the underlying atmospheric composition of an exoplanet. Astronomers using the Hubble, Spitzer, and Kepler space telescopes were able to determine that the planet, cataloged HAT-P-11b, has water vapor in its atmosphere. The world is definitely steamy with temperatures over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The planet is so hot because it orbits so close to its star, completing one orbit every five days.



Winter in Argyre - Read more >
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:24:00 +0200


Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this frost-tinged scene, imaged by ESA’s Mars Express during winter in the southern hemisphere.




Hubble Helps Find Smallest Known Galaxy with a Supermassive Black Hole
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers have found an unlikely object in an improbable place: a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies known. The dwarf galaxy containing the black hole is the densest galaxy ever seen, cramming 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years (just 1/500th of our Milky Way galaxy's diameter). However, the black hole inside the galaxy is five times the mass of the black hole at the center of our Milky Way. This suggests that the dwarf galaxy may actually be the stripped remnant of a larger galaxy that was torn apart during a close encounter with a more massive galaxy. The finding implies that there are many other compact galaxies in the universe that contain supermassive black holes.



‘J’ marks the spot for Rosetta’s lander - Read more >
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:00:00 +0200


Rosetta’s lander Philae will target Site J, an intriguing region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential, with hints of activity nearby, and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites.




Gaia discovers its first supernova - Read more >
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0200


While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far, far away.




Hubble Finds Companion Star Hidden for 21 Years in a Supernova's Glare
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

For over two decades astronomers have been patiently monitoring the fading glow of a supernova in a nearby galaxy. They've been looking for a suspected companion star that pulled off almost all of the hydrogen from the doomed star that exploded. At last Hubble's ultraviolet-light sensitivity pulled out the blue glow of the star from the cluttered starlight in the disk of the galaxy. This observation confirms the theory that the supernova originated in a double-star system where one star fueled the mass-loss from the aging primary star. The surviving star's brightness and estimated mass provide insight into the conditions that preceded the 1993 explosion.



New iBooks Textbook Helps Visually Impaired Visit the Stars Through Touch and Sound
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:30:00 -0400Hubble Image

Children with visual disabilities can experience striking deep-space images in a free, multi-touch iBooks textbook for the iPad entitled "Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn." Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute have teamed up with the SAS Corporation, the National Braille Press, and the National Federation of the Blind to create a book to inspire students of all abilities. Students with visual impairments can access the book using the VoiceOver screen reader that is available on every iPad. The book is available as a free download from Apple's iBooks Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reach-for-stars-touch-look/id763516126?mt=11.



Call for media: Rosetta landing site announcement - Read more >
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 08:30:00 +0200


Members of the media are invited to ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, on 15 September for the announcement of the primary landing site for Rosetta’s lander Philae, where in November it will attempt the first soft touchdown in history on a comet.




Hang out with Rosetta - Read more >
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:24:00 +0200


Where will Philae land? Watch a replay of the Rosetta Google+ Hangout held on Tuesday 2 September



Rosetta arrival competition winners - Read more >
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:00:00 +0200


As Rosetta made its final approach to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, we asked you to join this extraordinary adventure by sharing pictures of your journeys, participating in a fun photo contest that attracted hundreds of entries and nearly 23 000 votes.




Integral catches dead star exploding in a blaze of glory - Read more >
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:00:00 +0200


Astronomers using ESA’s Integral gamma-ray observatory have demonstrated beyond doubt that dead stars known as white dwarfs can reignite and explode as supernovae. The finding came after the unique signature of gamma rays from the radioactive elements created in one of these explosions was captured for the first time. 




NASA Telescopes Help Uncover Early Construction Phase of Giant Galaxy
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The birth of massive galaxies, according to galaxy formation theories, begins with the buildup of a dense, compact core that is ablaze with the glow of millions of newly formed stars. Evidence of this early construction phase, however, has eluded astronomers until now. Astronomers identified a dense galactic core, dubbed "Sparky," using a combination of data from Hubble and Spitzer, other space telescopes, and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Hubble photographed the emerging galaxy as it looked 11 billion years ago, just 3 billion years after the birth of our universe in the big bang.



Rosetta: Landing site search narrows - Read more >
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0200


Using detailed information collected by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft during its first two weeks at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, five locations have been identified as candidate sites to set down the Philae lander in November – the first time a landing on a comet has ever been attempted.




Rosetta arrives - Read more >
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:45:00 +0200


Video highlights from the event at ESA's mission control centre during Rosetta's arrival at comet 67P/C-G on 6 August 2014



NASA's Hubble Finds Supernova Star System Linked to Potential 'Zombie Star'
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Supernovae are the most powerful stellar explosions in the universe. Some of them are produced by the detonation of a white dwarf, the stripped-down core of an ordinary star at the end of its life. But 12 years ago, astronomers began noticing weak stellar blasts, a kind of mini-supernova. When one such explosion occurred in the galaxy NGC 1309, astronomers looking through Hubble archival images found for the first time the star system that produced the supernova blast of a white dwarf.



Postcards from Rosetta - Read more >
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:30:00 +0200


Latest images from Rosetta’s comet



Rosetta arrives at comet destination - Read more >
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:40:00 +0200


After a decade-long journey chasing its target, ESA’s Rosetta has today become the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, opening a new chapter in Solar System exploration.




Rosetta takes comet’s temperature - Read more >
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:00:00 +0200


ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has made its first temperature measurements of its target comet, finding that it is too hot to be covered in ice and must instead have a dark, dusty crust.




Hubble Shows Farthest Lensing Galaxy Yields Clues to Early Universe
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have unexpectedly discovered the most distant cosmic magnifying glass yet, produced by a monster elliptical galaxy. The galaxy, seen here as it looked 9.6 billion years ago, is so massive that its gravity bends, magnifies, and distorts light from objects behind it, a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. In the Hubble image, the galaxy is the red object in the enlarged view at left.



Gaia: ‘Go’ for science - Read more >
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:30:00 +0200


Following extensive in-orbit commissioning and several unexpected challenges, ESA’s billion-star surveyor, Gaia, is now ready to begin its science mission.




Venus Express: up above the clouds so high - Read more >
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:30:00 +0200


ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft has climbed to a new orbit following its daring aerobraking experiment, and will now resume observations of this fascinating planet for at least a few more months.




Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun and have come up nearly dry. The planets spectroscopically surveyed have only one-tenth to one one-thousandth the amount of water predicted by standard planet-formation theories. The planets are not habitable because they are gaseous and are as big as Jupiter. They lie so much closer to their host star than Jupiter is to our Sun, so their atmospheres are seething between 1,500 and 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, this result suggests that some percentage of Earth-size exoplanets may be more deficient in water than predicted. And, water is a necessary prerequisite for life as we know it. The search for water-bearing terrestrial worlds may be more challenging than thought for future space telescopes. And, scientists may have to revisit their theories of planet formation.



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.




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.



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.


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