The study of space objects such as planets, galaxies and stars is Astronomy. It’s important science, but for many people an enjoyable hobby. That’s why when a web site or magazine offers an astronomy picture of the day archive, it’s likely to garner a great deal of attention. There are plenty of such pictures to choose from, and plenty of interesting objects out there to keep people looking.
The first place to look for and astronomy picture of the day is NASA’s website. Their web site, nasa.gov, presents a new photo every day. The multimedia section shows both images and videos. This could be an excellent source for images and videos for your own daily updated site. November 5, 2008 showed a close view of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The space probe Cassini took this image. The image is crisp enough to see a small bus, if there were one on the moon. the ice on this moon is pretty unique it reflects 99% of the light that strikes it. Talk about bright. The plan is that Cassini will take more images of this moon later in its mission.
NASA maintains an archive of all the astronomy photos of the day dating all the way back to June 16 of 1995. That image was of Earth as if it had the density of a neutron star. The image is a computer generation. The most interesting feature is that the constellation Orion is visible twice. The reason is that a Neutron star is so dense that light, even from behind the star, is visible as it is pulled around by the intense gravity. This distortion causes double images of some objects.
NASA’s COBY satellite took a very interesting image of the center of the Milky Way galaxy on September 8, 1995. This image would normally not be visible because the dust in the galaxy obscures it in the visible spectrum. But COBE scans in infrared, so produced the amazing image of our very symmetrical galaxy.
January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2001 shared the same image, a drawing really, of the universe as defined in the last millennium. The reason both dates shared this image is that most people considered the year 2000 as the first year of the third millennium. However the third millennium actually began on January 1, 2001. NASA decided to just go with both. The image found at apod.nasa.gov shows the progression of our picture of the universe from orbs that rotate around the Earth all the way to the big bang event creating an ever expanding cosmos.
NASA has a lot more days with their own astronomy picture of the day. Visit the web site, NASA.gov, to see them.
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