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Public Observatory

Amazing views of the Universe, including images from telescopes at the Smithsonian Public Observatory at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC | @SIObservatory |

125 Pins

Public Observatory

  • 125 Pins

Astronomers have captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star, HL Tau, using the new high-resolution capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Multiple rings and gaps in the disk around the star herald the presence of emerging planets. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

The biggest sunspot in 25 years put on a glorious show of coronal loops as it rotated out of view. It may survive until it rotates back into view next week. This view from NASA's space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory combines two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.

"Nultifarious Night Above The Lauder" taken in New Zealand by Petr Horálek. In this multifarious image, look for the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, a column of pale zodiacal light, green and red southern aurorae, and green lidar beams from NIWA that measure the ozone layer.

Incoming! A strong solar flare from sunspot AR2158 launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth, as photographed in this video from NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The impact is likely to cause auroras by this weekend. Via

Can you spot the skinny crescent Moon just above the horizon? The other two celestial objects are Venus and Jupiter. Photo by Pete Lawrence on Sunday, August 24, 2014.

This was our view of the Sun on August 14, 2014 through the calcium-k telescope. It just so happens that we looked at the Sun exactly one year earlier through the same telescope, and the differences we see can tell us a lot.

Deimos, Moon of Mars, discovered 137 years ago today. Image by NASA's HiRISE.

Inspiring Photos of the Biggest, Brightest Supermoon of 2014 | Science | Smithsonian

A View to Remember: The Eastern Seaboard from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

A hellacious two weeks on Jupiter's moon Io. Image by Imke de Pater and Katherine de Kleer, UC Berkeley.

Why the Dinosaurs Could Have Had a Chance of Surviving the Asteroid Strike | Smithsonian. Credit: Eric Long, James Di Loreto, Donald E. Hurlbert, and Brittany M. Hance.

This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus. To the surprise of astronomers, they have found much less water vapor in the hot world’s atmosphere than standard planet-formation models predict. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC)

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Sets Off-World Driving Record. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS

Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory's launch! In commemoration, four newly processed images of supernova remnants dramatically illustrate Chandra’s unique ability to explore high-energy processes in the cosmos. Credit: NASA Chandra.

45 years ago today, on the Apollo 11 mission: Astronaut Edwin Aldrin Descends Steps of Lunar Module. Credit: NASA.

Comet ISON's dramatic final hours! A new analysis of data from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has revealed that comet 2012/S1 (ISON) stopped producing dust and gas shortly before it raced past the Sun and disintegrated.

Galactic Pyrotechnics from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/P.Ogle et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA

Check out the jaw-dropping short list for the Royal Observatory's Astronomy Photographer of the Year award. In this photo by Robert Howell, the partially eclipsed Sun is visible behind the geyser of Old Faithful.

Solar astrophysicists reflect, and argue, about the current solar maximum in this New York Times article. Image credit: NASA/SDO.

Radar images may show seasonally changing features in the seas of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

Today, Cassini has been in Saturn orbit for 10 years! Explore some of its greatest images here, including "In Saturn's Shadow." Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

This artist's conception shows a hypothetical alien world orbiting a red dwarf star. Many red dwarfs may have extreme space weather that might make it difficult for life to develop or survive on a planet in the habitable zone. (Image by David A. Aguilar, CfA)

Dissecting Dust from Detonation of Dead Star. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Goddard

This gas giant planet orbits farther from its star than any other known exoplanet. This made it easier for a team of astronomers to capture an image of the planet. Credit: Marie-Ève Naud and Gemini Observatory.

Professional and amateur astronomers combined forces, and data, to produce these beautiful composite images of four galaxies. Image credit: NASA, Detlef Hartmann, and Rolf Olsen.