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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 |

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.

Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion. Credit: Ivan Ramirez/Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory.

Hubble Astronomers Use Supernovae to Gauge Power of Cosmic Lenses. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, et al.

Visit the National Air and Space Museum to see the newly installed WFPC2, the camera that "fixed" Hubble! This image shows how space debris impact sites were removed from the camera's radiator for analysis, leaving a random pattern of holes. Image by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum.

For the first time, astronomers have measured the length of a day on a planet around another star. And this planet is really spinning fast! Image credit: ESO L. Calçada/N. Risinger

Solar 'smoke rings' yield a clue to a solar wind mystery. Image: Miloslav Druckmüller

Stephen Mudge in Brisbane, Australia captured this dramatic sequence of the setting, partially eclipsed Sun today. The shadow of the Moon just barely skimmed the Earth for today's eclipse. The greatest eclipse was visible from a small, uninhabited patch of Antarctica. The location was so remote, and the conditions so unfavorable, that not even the most ardent eclipse-hunters tried to get there.

Artist's impression of a binary supermassive black hole system. The space telescope XMM-Newton has discovered a unique pair of supermassive black holes in orbit around each other. Credit: ESA - C. Carreau

Under a microscope, crystals of skeletal magnetite in this 1.3 billion-year-old Martian meteorite reminded scientists of a piranha. Photo courtesy of Heather Franz, NASA.

This creative composite image of last night's total lunar eclipse, by John Ashley, demonstrates the effect of camera exposure. The bright part of the Moon is captured with short exposures (images at far left, upper left, lower right, and far right). The shadowed part of the Moon is captured with longer exposures (images are at lower left, center, and upper right). The red tint comes from sunlight filtering through Earth's atmosphere and falling on the eclipsed Moon.

What can you expect from tonight and tomorrow morning's total lunar eclipse? Find out on the blog: Image Caption: Total lunar eclipse, photographed at the Public Observatory at the National Air and Space Museum on December 21, 2010. Photos by Smithsonian staff.

How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse (Photo: Multiple exposure of lunar eclipse over Maui, Hawaii by Fred Espenak)

The total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010, photographed by Smithsonian staff. Don't miss tonight's lunar eclipse, visible from most of North America!