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 | airandspace.si.edu/POP
Artist’s impression of a brown dwarf (ULAS J222711-004547) with an unusually thick layer of clouds, made of mineral dust. These thick clouds give the brown dwarf its extremely red colour. Picture credit: Neil J Cook, Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire.
A sunset on Mars, taken by the NASA rover Spirit. This is approximately how the colors would appear to the human eye. See beautiful images like this, taken by Spirit and Opportunity, at the National Air and Space Museum. The exhibit "Spirit and Opportunity: 10 Years Roving Across Mars" is on display until September 14, 2014. airandspace.si.ed...
This image of the Sun was taken on 12/11/13. In this image are many great examples of prominences, the wispy plumes just off the edge of the Sun, and filaments, the slightly darker lines snaking across the disk of the Sun. These are both the same phenomenon, viewed at different angles. Photo by Smithsonian staff, Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory
Astronomers found that solar storms behave like supernovae, and like ink falling through a glass of water. This image is from the solar eruption of July 7, 2011, the most powerful eruption during the modern age of constant, high-resolution monitoring of the Sun. Photo credit: NASA/SDO
A 13.6 billion year old star has been found - that's nearly as old as the Universe! The old star has only a trace of "heavy elements" like carbon, and practically no iron at all. According to the research team, from the Australian National University, that means that this star formed from debris left over from the explosion of the very first generation of stars. It also gives us vital clues about how that first generation of stars died. Photo provided by Stefan Keller, lead researcher.
This winter has been an amazing season for aurora-watching, in part because of clouds of high-speed gas ejected from the Sun which interact with the Earth's magnetic field. This stunning video of the aurorae in northern Sweden was taken on February 1, 2014 by Lights Over Lapland. "I can honestly say that this was one of the greatest displays of natural beauty that I have ever seen," says Chad Blakley, an aurora tour guide. Link via spaceweather.com
On January 11, 2014, Venus passed between the Earth and the Sun. At that point, it was new, with its night side facing the Earth. This image from January 19, 2014 shows a slender crescent waxing Venus. We can see only a sliver of the daylit side. Photo by Smithsonian staff.
And a third X-class solar flare. At 01:11 UT on May 14, 2014 this flare peaked at X3.2. This marks the 3rd X-class flare in 24 hours. Just like the two before this one also happened over the eastern limb of the Sun and is not Earth directed. #NASA #SDO #Sun #Solar #Flare #Explosion #Wow
Happy 23rd birthday, Hubble! You are still doing awesome science and you hold a special place in our hearts. This infrared image of the Horsehead Nebula by Hubble was released for the anniversary, under the title "Hubble Sees a Horsehead of a Different Color." Credit: NASA Hubble.
"What a great (and green) way to begin St. Patrick's Day!" says photographer Dennis Mammana of Fairbanks, AK. This brilliant green aurora was the result of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun, a blast of particles that hit the Earth in the early morning hours of March 17, 2013.
This lovely conjunction of a slim (only 1.5% illuminated) new Moon and Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS was taken at Bolling AFB by Twitter user smartin53. PanSTARRS is best seen about 20 minutes after sunset, using binoculars, for the next few nights. Look below the Moon. As it rises higher into the evening sky, it may become easier to see with the naked eye, especially with averted vision. However, the comet will also dim as it recedes from the Sun.