November 26 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 26

Saturn at Night

NASAJPL-CaltechSpace Science InstituteMindaugas Macijauskas

Explanation: Saturn is still bright in planet Earth’s night skies. Telescopic views of the distant gas giant and its beautiful rings often make it a star at star parties. But this stunning view of Saturn’s rings and night side just isn’t possible from telescopes closer to the Sun than the outer planet. They can only bring Saturn’s day into view. In fact, this image of Saturn’s slender sunlit crescent with night’s shadow cast across its broad and complex ring system was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A robot spacecraft from planet Earth, Cassini called Saturn orbit home for 13 years before it was directed to dive into the atmosphere of the gas giant on September 15, 2017. This magnificent mosaic is composed of frames recorded by Cassini’s wide-angle camera only two days before its grand final plunge. Saturn’s night will not be seen again until another spaceship from Earth calls.

November 22 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 22

A Double Star Cluster in Perseus

Image Credit & Copyright: Tommy Lease

Explanation: Few star clusters this close to each other. Visible to the unaided eye from dark sky areas, it was cataloged in 130 BC by Greek astronomer Hipparchus. Some 7,000 light-years away, this pair of open star clusters is also an easy binocular target, a striking starfield in the northern constellation of the mythical Greek hero Perseus. Now known as h and chi Persei, or NGC 869 (above right) and NGC 884, the clusters themselves are separated by only a few hundred light-years and contain stars much younger and hotter than the Sun. In addition to being physically close together, the clusters‘ ages based on their individual stars are similar – evidence that both clusters were likely a product of the same star-forming region.

November 21 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 21

The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble

Image Credit: NASAESAHubble; Processing: William Ostling

Explanation: Stars can make beautiful patterns as they age — sometimes similar to flowers or insects. NGC 6302, the Butterfly Nebula, is a notable example. Though its gaseous wingspan covers over 3 light-years and its estimated surface temperature exceeds 200,000 degrees C, the aging central star of NGC 6302, the featured planetary nebula, has become exceptionally hot, shining brightly in visible and ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust. This sharp close-up was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope and is processed here to show off remarkable details of the complex planetary nebula, highlighting in particular light emitted by oxygen (shown as blue), hydrogen (green), and nitrogen (red). NGC 6302 lies about 3,500 light-years away in the arachnologically correct constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). Planetary nebulas evolve from outer atmospheres of stars like our Sun, but usually fade in about 20,000 years.

November 19 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 19

Artemis 1 Moonshot

Image Credit & CopyrightJohn Kraus

Explanation: When the Artemis 1 mission’s Orion spacecraft makes its November 21 powered flyby of the Moon, denizens of planet Earth will see the Moon in a waning crescent phase. The spacecraft will approach to within about 130 kilometers of the lunar surface on its way to a distant retrograde orbit some 70,000 kilometers beyond the Moon. But the Moon was at last quarter for the November 16 launch and near the horizon in the dark early hours after midnight. It’s captured here in skies over Kennedy Space Center along with the SLS rocket engines and solid rocket boosters lofting the uncrewed Orion to space. Ragged fringes appearing along the bright edge of the sunlit lunar nearside are caused as pressure waves generated by the rocket’s passage change the index of refraction along the camera’s line of sight.

November 15 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 15

Wolf’s Cave Nebula

Image Credit & Copyright: Gianni Lacroce

Explanation: The mysterious blue reflection nebula found in catalogs as VdB 152 or Ced 201 really is very faint. It lies at the tip of the long dark nebula Barnard 175 in a dusty complex that has also been called Wolf’s Cave. At the center of this deep telescopic view, the cosmic apparitions are nearly 1,400 light-years away along the northern Milky Way in the royal constellation Cepheus. Interstellar dust in the region blocks light from background stars and scatters light from the embedded bright star, giving the end nebula its characteristic blue color. Though stars do form in molecular clouds, this star seems to have only accidentally wandered into the area, as its measured velocity through space is very different from the cloud’s velocity. At the image bottom is the planetary nebula Dengel-Hartl 5, while red glowing gas from an ancient supernova remnant is also visible along the image’s right side.

November 14 Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2022 November 14

NGC 7380: The Wizard Nebula

Image Credit & Copyright: Ioan Popa

Explanation: What powers are being wielded in the Wizard Nebula? Gravitation strong enough to form stars, and stellar winds and radiations powerful enough to create and dissolve towers of gas. Located only 8,000 light years away, the Wizard nebula, featured here, surrounds developing open star cluster NGC 7380. Visually, the interplay of stars, gas, and dust has created a shape that appears to some like a fictional medieval sorcerer. The active star forming region spans 100 about light years, making it appear larger than the angular extent of the Moon. The Wizard Nebula can be located with a small telescope toward the constellation of the King of Aethiopia (Cepheus). Although the nebula may last only a few million years, some of the stars being formed may outlive our Sun.

November 13 Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2022 November 13

Flying Saucer Crash Lands in Utah Desert

Image Credit: USAF 388th Range Sqd., Genesis MissionNASA

Explanation: A flying saucer from outer space crash-landed in the Utah desert after being tracked by radar and chased by helicopters. The year was 2004, and no space aliens were involved. The saucer, pictured here, was the Genesis sample return capsule, part of a human-made robot Genesis spaceship launched in 2001 by NASA itself to study the Sun. The unexpectedly hard landing at over 300 kilometers per hour occurred because the parachutes did not open as planned. The Genesis mission had been orbiting the Sun collecting solar wind particles that are usually deflected away by Earth’s magnetic field. Despite the crash landing, many return samples remained in good enough condition to analyze. So far, Genesis-related discoveries include new details about the composition of the Sun and how the abundance of some types of elements differ across the Solar System. These results have provided intriguing clues into details of how the Sun and planets formed billions of years

November 11 Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2022 November 11

Blood Moon, Ice Giant

Image Credit & CopyrightRyan Han

Explanation: On November 8 the Full Moon turned blood red as it slid through Earth’s shadow in a beautiful total lunar eclipse. During totality it also passed in front of, or occulted, outer planet Uranus for eclipse viewers located in parts of northern America and Asia. For a close-up and wider view these two images were taken just before the occultation began, captured with different telescopes and cameras from the same roof top in Shanghai, China. Normally very faint compared to a Full Moon, the tiny, pale, greenish disk of the distant ice giant is just to the left of the Moon’s edge and about to disappear behind the darkened, red lunar limb. Though only visible from certain locations across planet Earth, lunar occultations of planets are fairly common. But for this rare “lunar eclipse occultation” to take place, at the time of the total eclipse the outer planet had to be both at opposition and very near the ecliptic plane to fall in line with Sun, Earth, and Moon.

 

Lunar Eclipse of November 2022: Notable Submissions to APOD
Love Eclipses? (US): Apply to become a NASA Partner Eclipse Ambassador

November 8 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 8

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows two of the galaxies in the galactic triplet Arp 248 — also known as Wild’s Triplet — which lies around 200 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. The two large spiral galaxies visible in this image — which flank a smaller, unrelated background spiral galaxy — seem to be connected by a luminous bridge. This elongated stream of stars and interstellar dust is known as a tidal tail, and it was formed by the mutual gravitational attraction of the two foreground galaxies. This observation comes from a project which delves into two rogues’ galleries of weird and wonderful galaxies: A Catalogue Of Southern Peculiar Galaxies And Associations, compiled by astronomers Halton Arp and Barry Madore, and the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, compiled by Halton Arp. Each collection contains a menagerie of spectacularly peculiar galaxies, including interacting galaxies such as Arp 248, as well as one- or three-armed spiral galaxies, galaxies with shell-like structures, and a variety of other space oddities. Hubble used its Advanced Camera for Surveys to scour this menagerie of eccentric galaxies in search of promising candidates for future observations with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and Hubble itself. With such a wealth of astronomical objects to study in the night sky, projects such as this, which guide future observations, are a valuable investment of observing time. As well as the scientific merits of observing these weird and wonderful galaxies, they were also — very unusually — selected as Hubble targets because of their visual appeal to the general public! [Image description: Two spiral galaxies are viewed almost face-on; they are a mix of pale blue and yellow in colour, crossed by strands of dark red dust. They lie in the upper-left and lower-right corners. A long, faint streak of pale blue joins them, extending from an arm of one galaxy and crossing the field diagonally. A small spiral galaxy, orange in colour, is visible edge-on, left of the lower galaxy.]

Galaxies: Wild’s Triplet from Hubble

Image Credit: ESA/HubbleNASADark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURAJ. Dalcanton

Explanation: How many galaxies are interacting here? This grouping of galaxies is called the Wild Triplet, not only for the discoverer, but for the number of bright galaxies that appear. It had been assumed that all three galaxies, collectively cataloged as Arp 248, are interacting, but more recent investigations reveal that only the brightest two galaxies are sparring gravitationally: the big galaxies at the top and bottom. The spiral galaxy in the middle of the featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope is actually far in the distance, as is the galaxy just below it and all of the other numerous galaxies in the field. A striking result of these giants jousting is a tremendous bridge of stars, gas, and dust that stretches between them — a bridge almost 200,000 light-years long. Light we see today from Wild’s Triplet left about 200 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. In perhaps a billion years or so, the two interacting galaxies will merge to form a single large spiral galaxy.

November 7 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 7

A Total Lunar Eclipse Over Tajikistan

Video Credit & Copyright: Jean-Luc Dauvergne (Ciel et Espace); Music: Valère Leroy & Sophie Huet (Space-Music)

Explanation: If the full Moon suddenly faded, what would you see? The answer was recorded in a dramatic time lapse video taken during the total lunar eclipse in 2011 from Tajikistan. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the Moon and the Sun, causing the moon to fade dramatically. The Moon never gets completely dark, though, since the Earth’s atmosphere refracts some light. As the featured video begins, the scene may appear to be daytime and sunlit, but actually it is a nighttime and lit by the glow of the full Moon. As the Moon becomes eclipsed and fades, background stars become visible and here can be seen reflected in a lake. Most spectacularly, the sky surrounding the eclipsed moon suddenly appears to be full of stars and highlighted by the busy plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. The sequence repeats with a closer view, and the final image shows the placement of the eclipsed Moon near the EagleSwanTrifid, and Lagoon nebulas. Nearly two hours after the eclipse started, the moon emerged from the Earth’s shadow and its bright full glare again dominated the sky. Later today or tomorrow, depending on your location relative to the International Date Line, a new total lunar eclipse will take place — with totality being primarily visible over northeastern Asia and northwestern North America.

 

Total Lunar Eclipse of November 2022: What you need to know.

November 6 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 6
The featured image shows a dark ball covered with light
and dark markings in front of a color-negative starfield 
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Dark Ball in Inverted Starfield

Image Credit: Jim Lafferty

Explanation: Does this strange dark ball look somehow familiar? If so, that might be because it is our Sun. In the featured image from 2012, a detailed solar view was captured originally in a very specific color of red light, then rendered in black and white, and then color inverted. Once complete, the resulting image was added to a starfield, then also color inverted. Visible in the image of the Sun are long light filaments, dark active regions, prominences peeking around the edge, and a moving carpet of hot gas. The surface of our Sun can be a busy place, in particular during Solar Maximum, the time when its surface magnetic field is wound up the most. Besides an active Sun being so picturesque, the plasma expelled can also become picturesque when it impacts the Earth’s magnetosphere and creates auroras.

 

Compute it Yourself: Browse 2,900+ codes in the Astrophysics Source Code Library

November 5 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 5

Lunar Eclipse at the South Pole

Image Credit & CopyrightAman Chokshi

Explanation: Last May 16 the Moon slid through Earth’s shadow, completely immersed in the planet’s dark umbra for about 1 hour and 25 minutes during a total lunar eclipse. In this composited timelapse view, the partial and total phases of the eclipse were captured as the Moon tracked above the horizon from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. There it shared a cold and starry south polar night with a surging display of the aurora australis and central Milky Way. In the foreground are the BICEP (right) and South Pole telescopes at the southernmost station’s Dark Sector Laboratory. But while polar skies can be spectacular, you won’t want to go to the South Pole to view the total lunar eclipse coming up on November 8. Instead, that eclipse can be seen from locations in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, the Americas and Northern Europe. It will be your last chance to watch a total lunar eclipse until 2025.

November 4 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 November 4

InSight’s Final Selfie

Image Credit: NASAJPL-CaltechMars InSight

Explanation: The Mars InSight lander returned its first image from the Red Planet’s flat, equatorial Elysium Planitia after a successful touchdown on November 26, 2018. The history making mission to explore the martian Interior using Seismic investigations, geodesy, and heat transport has been operating for over 1,400 martian days or sols. In that time the InSight mission has detected more than 1,300 marsquakes and recorded data from Mars-shaking meteoroid impacts, observing how the seismic waves travel to provide a glimpse inside Mars. Analyzing the archive of data collected is expected to yield discoveries for decades. But InSight’s final operational sol is likely not far off. The reason is evident in this selfie recorded earlier this year showing its deck and large, 2-meter-wide solar panels covered with dust. Kicked up by martian winds the dust continues to accumulate and drastically reduce the power that can be generated by InSight’s solar panels.

November 3 Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2022 November 3

The Triangulum Galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 33, lies almost 3 million light-years from Earth, and is a near neighbor of the Andromeda Galaxy. The galaxy is imaged here by the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope, located at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab.  The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group, a cluster of galaxies that includes our Milky Way and its closest neighbors. The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest member. The Triangulum Galaxy and Andromeda Galaxy have history together, but astronomers are still investigating the details. Their close proximity has caused some researchers to suggest that Triangulum is a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy, not unlike the way the Moon is a satellite of the Earth — just on a much, much bigger scale. Alternatively, some researchers propose that these two galaxies may be independent and have simply brushed past each other, as evidenced by streams of stars and neutral hydrogen gas linking the two galaxies. However they have interacted, it’s probable that they will dramatically collide in 2.5 billion years, resulting in their consolidation and eventual evolution into a lenticular galaxy.

M33: The Triangulum Galaxy

Image Credit & CopyrightProcessing – Robert Gendler
Data – Hubble Legacy ArchiveKPNONOIRLabNSFAuraAmateur Sources

Explanation: The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way. About 3 million light-years from the Milky Way, M33 is itself thought to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy and astronomers in these two galaxies would likely have spectacular views of each other’s grand spiral star systems. As for the view from the Milky Way, this sharp image combines data from telescopes on and around planet Earth to show off M33’s blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions along the galaxy’s loosely wound spiral arms. In fact, the cavernous NGC 604 is the brightest star forming region, seen here at about the 1 o’clock position from the galaxy center. Like M31, M33’s population of well-measured variable stars have helped make this nearby spiral a cosmic yardstick for establishing the distance scale of the Universe.

List of the Astronomy Picture of the Day for October 2022

 Atronomy Picture of the Day from apod.nasa.gov Scroll down and click on the hyperlink for the day you want to see the picture for the date you want to see or here for all of 2022 pictures to date.

2022 October 31: LDN 43: The Cosmic Bat Nebula
2022 October 30: Night on a Spooky Planet
2022 October 29: LDN 673: Dark Clouds in Aquila
2022 October 28: Seven Years of Halley Dust
2022 October 27: Sunset, Moonset, Taj Mahal
2022 October 26: Cocoon Nebula Wide Field
2022 October 25: Jupiter Rotates as Moons Orbit
2022 October 24: Clouds Around Galaxy Andromeda
2022 October 23: Milky Way and Zodiacal Light over Australian Pinnacles
2022 October 22: NGC 1499: The California Nebula
2022 October 21: Andromeda in Southern Skies
2022 October 20: Pillars of Creation
2022 October 19: A Galaxy Beyond Stars, Gas, Dust
2022 October 18: Milky Way Auroral Flower
2022 October 17: X-Ray Rings Around a Gamma Ray Burst
2022 October 16: Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300
2022 October 15: GRB 221009A
2022 October 14: The Falcon and the Hunter’s Moon
2022 October 13: Dust Shells around WR 140 from Webb
2022 October 12: Ou4: The Giant Squid Nebula
2022 October 11: Stars, Dust, Pillars, and Jets in the Pelican Nebula
2022 October 10: A Double Lunar Analemma over Turkey
2022 October 09: Auroras over Northern Canada
2022 October 08: Two Comets in Southern Skies
2022 October 07: In Ganymede’s Shadow
2022 October 06: NGC 4631: The Whale Galaxy
2022 October 05: Expanding Plume from DARTs Impact
2022 October 04: Star Forming Eagle Nebula without Stars
2022 October 03: Jupiter’s Europa from Spacecraft Juno
2022 October 02: Supernova Cannon Expels Pulsar J0002
2022 October 01: Lunation Matrix