Sun and Planets
{thumb} Sun in UV 1 -- 2002.11.13
Images from the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) give scientists their routine weather maps of the Sun. Occasionally a solar flare appears, as a small, intensely bright flash.[=] Credits: European Space Agency.
{thumb} Sun in UV 2 -- 2002.11.18
Images from the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) give scientists their routine weather maps of the Sun. The background image is false-color manipulated from a mostly blue original.[=] Credits: Sun image: European Space Agency. Color manipulation: Jess Anderson.
{thumb} Sunspot Closeup -- 2002.11.15
This stunning image shows remarkable and mysterious details near the dark central region of a planet-sized sunspot in one of the sharpest views ever of the surface of the Sun.[=]. Credits: APOD archive, 2002.11.14. SST, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
{thumb} Sunspot UV -- 2002.11.13
A quiet day on the Sun, but even then the Sun's surface is a busy place. The relatively cool dark regions have temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. The bright glowing gas flowing around the sunspots has a temperature of over one million degrees Celsius.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.05.08. TRACE Project, NASA.
{thumb} Solar Eclipse 1 -- 2003.09.15
A dramatic view of a 1992 annular eclipse of the sun.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.05.30. Copyright: Dennis Mammana (Skyscapes).
{thumb} Solar Eclipse 2 -- 2003.09.15
The Sun and Moon rising together over much of Europe in this first solar eclipse of 2003, already in progress. Following the spectacle from Charneux, Belgium, astrophotographer Olivier Meeckers recorded the partially eclipsed Sun rising above mists and trees.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.06.04. Copyright: Olivier Meeckers (Groupe Astronomie de Spa).
{thumb} Mercury -- 2002.11.15
Mercury's surface closely resembles Earth's Moon, scarred by thousands of impact craters. This image was taken March 29, 1974, by the Mariner 10 spacecraft, when Mariner was 198,000 km from the planet. The largest craters are about 100 km in diameter.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2000.02.13. Mariner 10, NASA.
{thumb} Mercury Sky -- 2003.09.16
Mercury's successive positions during March of 2000. Each picture was taken from the same location in Spain when the Sun itself was 10 degrees below the horizon and superposed on the single most photogenic sunset.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.04.12. Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado.
{thumb} Venus Clouds -- 2002.11.13
The Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft captured this colorized image of Venus after its flyby in February, 1990, showing structure within swirling sulfuric acid clouds. The bright area is sunlight glinting off the clouds. One hypothesis suggests living microbes might exist in the upper cloud layers.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.09.29. Galileo Project, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Venus Surface -- 2002.11.11
Dense clouds hide the surface of Venus. This radar image, made by the Magellan spacecraft, uses colors obtained from the Soviet landers Venera 13 and 14. The bright area crossing the middle represents the largest highland region of Venus, Aphrodite Terra.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.03.30. Photo credit: Magellan project, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Venus Transit -- 2004.06.09
The final stage of a transit of Venus. The view looks across the Atlantic from Tybee Island near Savannah, GA. Many in eastern North America experienced a dramatic view of a dark, round Venus against a reddened Sun filtered by banks of low clouds.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2004.06.09. Credit and copyright: Jimmy Westlake (Colorado Mountain College).
{thumb} Mars Canyon -- 2002.11.12
Valles Marineris is over 3000 km long, up to 600 km across and up to 8 km deep (Earth's Grand Canyon is 800 by 30 by 1.8 km). One theory says the canyon started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. This mosaic was created from over 100 images taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.08.27. Viking Project, USGS, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Dust -- 2002.12.24
Spring at Mars's north pole brings dust storms. Temperature differences between the cold frost region and recently thawed surface cause swirling winds between adjacent regions. This Global Surveyor mosaic shows the frozen carbon dioxide covering much of the extreme north and the choppy clouds of at least three dust storms.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.12.24. Malin Space Science Systems, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Gullies 1 -- 2002.11.13
Seen in high-resolution Global Surveyor images, these gullies may be evidence that liquid water once flowed on the Martian surface. Other theories are that water flowed from underground layers, or that the erosion was produced by flowing solid and gaseous carbon dioxide.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.10.24. Malin Space Science Systems, MGS, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Gullies 2 -- 2003.02.05
Seen in high-resolution Global Surveyor images, these gullies may be evidence that liquid water once flowed on the Martian surface. Other theories are that water flowed from underground layers, or that the erosion was produced by flowing solid and gaseous carbon dioxide.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.02.05. Malin Space Science Systems, MGS, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Plates -- 2005.02.28
Blocks of water ice floating on a frozen Martian sea covered by dust? The unusual plates were photographed recently by the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft. One intepretation is that water may have flowed on Mars as recently as five million years ago.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2005.02.28. G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., Mars Express, DLR, ESA.
{thumb} Mars Ruins -- 2002.11.12
The array of rectangular ridges on the right was first spotted in Mariner 9 data from 1972. The ridges are about 5 km long and resemble ruins of large stone walls on Earth. More recent Mars Global Surveyor images show them to be part of a larger circular pattern possibly related to an impact crater.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.10.01. Malin Space Science Systems, MGS, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Spring -- 2003.09.14
Vast canyons, towering volcanoes, sprawling fields of ice, deep craters, and high clouds can all be seen in this image of Mars. At the top is the North Polar Cap made of thawing water and carbon-dioxide based ice. Swirling white clouds and circular impact craters are also visible.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.04.22. Malin Space Science Systems, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Sunset -- 2005.08.11
Mars rover Spirit watches the Sun dip below the distant lip of Gusev crater.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2005.06.20. Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Texas A&M, Cornell, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mons Caldera -- 2004.06.03
Orbiting Mars Express cameras looked down on the caldera or summit crater region of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Olympus Mons rises 21 kilometers above the surrounding plain, about 3 times the height of Mt. Everest.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2004.05.26. G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., DLR, ESA.
{thumb} Schiaparelli Basin -- 2003.09.17
An area in the Schiaparelli Basin photographed by the Mars Orbiter shows layered formations within an old impact crater. With the Sun shining from the left, the central layer appears to stand above the others within the 2.3 kilometer wide crater.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.08.15. Malin Space Science Systems, MGS, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Chasma -- 2005.03.14
Looking north over the central regions of Valles Marineris, dark Melas Chasma lies in the foreground. Behind it are Candor Chasma and the steep walls of Ophir Chasma. Melas, Candor and Ophir are about 200 km wide and 5 to 7 km deep.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2005.02.17. G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., Mars Express, DLR, ESA.
{thumb} Mars Hills -- 2004.08.29
The Spirit rover on Mars looks at the Columbia Hills. This true-color picture shows very nearly what a human would see from Spirit's vantage point.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2004.06.28. Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Spirit Panorama -- 2006.01.05
According to an Earth-based calendar, the Spirit rover spent the first day of 2006 gathering data to complete this panoramic view from Gusev crater on Mars.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2006.01.05. Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Mars Two Tone Rock -- 2006.01.30
The environmental processes that created the atypical two-toned rock on the lower right, observed recently by the Spirit rover, are a matter of speculation.[=] Credits: APOD, 2006.01.26. Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Jupiter Portrait -- 2003.11.14
Jupiter's swirling cloud tops are all you see in this stunningly detailed true color image, recorded from the Cassini spacecraft during its Jovian flyby in December 2000.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.11.14. Cassini Imaging Team, Cassini Project, NASA.
{thumb} Jupiter Red Spot -- 2005.12.29
This high-pressure system in Jupiter's atmosphere contains winds reaching speeds as high as 270 mph. With a diameter of 15,400 miles, the storm is almost twice the size of the Earth, one-sixth the diameter of Jupiter itself.[=] Credits: Image source unknown.
{thumb} Jupiter Aurora -- 2003.09.18
Jupiter in UV light, showing aurorae around the planet's north magnetic pole.[=] Credits: European Space Agency. Copyright: NASA, ESA & John T. Clarke (Univ. of Michigan).
{thumb} Jupiter Crescent -- 2003.09.25
The Cassini spacecraft, passing Jupiter in January en route to Saturn, snapped this photo of Jupiter in crescent phase.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.03.09. Cassini Imaging Team, Cassini Project, NASA.
{thumb} Jupiter Rings -- 2002.11.13
Data from Galileo confirmed that these rings were created by meteoroid impacts on small nearby moons. This photo shows an eclipse of the Sun by Jupiter, as seen by Galileo. Dust particles high in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well as the dust particles of the rings, are illuminated by reflected sunlight.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.06.16. M. Belton (NOAO), J. Burns (Cornell) et al., Galileo Project, JPL, NASA.
{thumb} Jupiter and Io 1 -- 2002.11.12
Jupiter's moon Io is 3600 km in diameter. The Cassini spacecraft captured Io with the planet as a backdrop, showing Jupiter's immense relative size. Though Io appears to be close to the planet, it is nearly 500,000 km above Jupiter's cloud tops.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.07.06. Photo by Cassini Imaging Team.
{thumb} Saturn Rings -- 2002.11.15
Saturn's magnificent rings still offer one of the most stunning astronomical sights. Uniquely bright compared to the rings of the other gas giants, Saturn's ring system is around 250,000 kilometers wide but in places only a few tens of meters thick.[=]. Credits: APOD archive, 2002.02.15. Hubble Heritage Team (AURA / STScI) R.G. French (Wellesley College), J. Cuzzi (NASA/Ames), L. Dones (SwRI), J. Lissauer (NASA/Ames).
{thumb} Saturn Ring Plane -- 2005.12.23
Saturn's thin ring plane appears in blue, bands and clouds in Saturn's upper atmosphere appear in gold, and dark shadows of the rings curve across the top of the gas giant planet. Moons appear as bumps in the rings.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.05.04. Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA.
{thumb} Saturn Rings Shadow -- 2006.01.01
Cassini has now spent a year and a half exploring the rings and moons of Saturn. Here, the moon Dione lies in front of edge-on rings, and the planet's cloud tops are draped with broad ring shadows. Dione is 1118 km across and lies about 300,000 km from the rings.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2005.12.31. Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA.
{thumb} Saturn IR -- 2003.02.28
This false-color image shows Saturn in reflected infrared sunlight. Different colors indicate varying heights and compositions of cloud layers. The rings cast a shadow on Saturn's upper hemisphere, and the moons Tethys (upper right) and Dione (lower left) are visible.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.02.22. E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona), HST, NASA.
{thumb} Saturn Storm -- 2006.02.24
The night side of Saturn, seen in light reflected from the giant planet's rings and showing the swirling clouds of a storm spanning about 3500 km.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2006.02.23. Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA.
{thumb} Saturn UV -- 2003.09.18
False-color image of Saturn's southern hemishpere in UV light, made by the Hubble Telescope.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2003.09.18. E. Karkoschka (Univ. Arizona), NASA.
{thumb} Saturn 7 Moons -- 2002.11.13
Saturn's moon Titan casts a shadow on Saturn. Titan's atmosphere is a dark brown haze. Four moons appear white because of their bright, icy surfaces. Four moons (left to right: Mimas, Tethys, Janus, Enceladus) cluster on the right. Two other moons appear in front of the ring plane: Prometheus on the right and Pandora on the left. The rings cast a shadow on Saturn because the Sun was above the ring plane.[=] Credits: Hubble Space Telescope, 1995.11.17. Erich Karkoschka (Univ. of Arizona Lunar & Planetary Lab), NASA.
{thumb} Saturn Cassini -- 2004.06.02
Saturn and its rings completely fill the field of view of Cassini's narrow angle camera in this natural color image taken on March 27, 2004. The bright blue sliver of light in the northern hemisphere is sunlight passing through the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings and being scattered by the cloud-free upper atmosphere.[=] Credits: CICLOPS/Space Science Institute.
{thumb} Saturn and Titan -- 2002.11.13
The Cassini spacecraft, launched in 1997, is now about 300 million km from Saturn. This contrast-enhanced color composite shows Saturn's rings and cloud-tops as well as Titan, its largest moon.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.11.04. Cassini Imaging Team, SWRI, JPL, ESA, NASA.
{thumb} Uranus -- 2005.03.14
These sharp views of tilted gas giant Uranus show dramatic details of two sides of the planet's atmosphere and ring system. High, white cloud features are seen mostly in the northern (right hand) hemisphere, with medium level cloud bands in green and lower level clouds in blue. The artificial color scheme lends a deep reddish tint to the otherwise faint rings.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2004.11.18. Lawrence Sromovsky, (Univ. Wisconsin-Madison), Keck Observatory.
{thumb} Neptune 1 -- 2002.11.13
Neptune is mostly liquid water, methane and ammonia and is surrounded by a thick gas atmosphere, mainly of hydrogen and helium. There are many moons and rings. Voyager 2 took the photo in 1989. Neptune's moon Triton is unlike any other; it has active volcanoes and is the focus of much speculation about its unusual orbit.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 1998.02.21. Voyager 2, NASA.
{thumb} Neptune 2 -- 2003.09.24
Two hours before closest approach to Neptune in 1989, Voyager 2 snapped this picture, showing long light-colored cirrus-type clouds floating high in the atmosphere. Neptune's blue color comes from small amounts of methane. Neptune has the fastest winds in the Solar System, with gusts reaching 2000 km/h.[=] Credits: APOD archive, 2002.09.22. Voyager 2, NASA.