IC 1318: The Butterfly Nebula in Gas and Dust

In the constellation of the swan near the nebula of the pelican lies the gas cloud of the butterfly next to a star known as the hen. That star, given the proper name Sadr, is just to the right of the featured frame, but the central Butterfly Nebula, designated IC 1318, is shown in high resolution. The intricate patterns in the bright gas and dark dust are caused by complex … Read More →

Meteor Fireballs in Light and Sound

Yes, but have you ever heard a meteor? Usually, meteors are too far away to make any audible sound. However, a meteor will briefly create an ionization trail that can reflect a distant radio signal. If the geometry is right, you may momentarily hear — through your radio — a distant radio station even over static. In the featured video, the sounds of distant radio transmitters were caught reflecting from … Read More →

A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

It appeared, momentarily, like a 50-km tall banded flag. In mid-March of 2015, an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection directed toward a clear magnetic channel to Earth led to one of the more intense geomagnetic storms of recent years. A visual result was wide spread auroras being seen over many countries near Earth’s magnetic poles. Captured over Kiruna, Sweden, the image features an unusually straight auroral curtain with the green color … Read More →

SuperCam Target on Maaz

What’s the sound of one laser zapping? There’s no need to consult a Zen master to find out, just listen to the first acoustic recording of laser shots on Mars. On Perseverance mission sol 12 (March 2) the SuperCam instrument atop the rover’s mast zapped a rock dubbed Ma’az 30 times from a range of about 3.1 meters. Its microphone recorded the soft staccato popping sounds of the rapid series … Read More →

Messier 81

One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth’s sky is similar in size to our Milky Way Galaxy: big, beautiful Messier 81. Also known as NGC 3031 or Bode’s galaxy for its 18th century discoverer, this grand spiral can be found toward the northern constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The sharp, detailed telescopic view reveals M81’s bright yellow nucleus, blue spiral arms, pinkish starforming regions, and sweeping cosmic … Read More →

Zodiacal Light and Mars

Just after sunset on March 7, a faint band of light still reaches above the western horizon in this serene, rural Illinois, night skyscape. Taken from an old farmstead, the luminous glow is zodiacal light, prominent in the west after sunset during planet Earth’s northern hemisphere spring. On that clear evening the band of zodiacal light seems to engulf bright yellowish Mars and the Pleiades star cluster. Their close conjunction … Read More →

[NASA] Portrait of a Nebula

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features an impressive portrait of M1-63, an example of a bipolar planetary nebula located in the constellation of Scutum (the Shield). via NASA https://ift.tt/3qwIT9q

NGC 1499: The California Nebula

Could Queen Calafia‘s mythical island exist in space? Perhaps not, but by chance the outline of this molecular space cloud echoes the outline of the state of California, USA. Our Sun has its home within the Milky Way’s Orion Arm, only about 1,000 light-years from the California Nebula. Also known as NGC 1499, the classic emission nebula is around 100 light-years long. On the featured image, the most prominent glow … Read More →