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APOD, a partnership between NASA and Michigan Technological University, presents daily cosmic marvels to global sky enthusiasts. Featuring captivating astronomy-related images with concise explanations, APOD sparks curiosity about the universe's scientific, artistic, and historical facets. From stunning nebulae to distant galaxies and intriguing solar events, APOD inspires and educates daily. Below we display 10 random images from their API. Videos, and images that aren't public domain have been left out.

2000-07-14, Crater On Ice

Impact craters are common on Earth's moon but on Jupiter's large ice moon Europa, they are very rare. Over time, both bodies have been subjected to an intense pounding by the solar system's formative debris, but geological activity on Europa's surface seems to have erased most of these impact scars. This false-color infrared image from the Galileo spacecraft's NIMS instrument shows a newly discovered crater on Europa as a light red ring feature near center surrounding a dark core. For scale, the dark core is about 29 kilometers in diameter. Only seven comparably large craters have now been identified on Europa's surface. Red colors in the image represent a relatively pure water ice composition while blue colors indicate that other minerals are present. The crater's central dark area may contain the remnants of the impacting body. The icy crust of Europa is of great interest, as evidence mounts that it covers an ocean of liquid water, possibly providing suitable conditions for life.

Crater On Ice

2015-09-25, Pluto's Snakeskin Terrain

A mountainous region informally known as Tartarus Dorsa sprawls some 530 kilometers (330 miles) across this Plutonian landscape. Recently downloaded from New Horizons, it combines blue, red, and infrared image data in an extended color view captured near the spacecraft's close approach to Pluto on July 14. Shadows near the terminator, the line between Pluto's dim day and night, emphasize a rough, scaly texture. The stunning image resolves details on the distant world about 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) across. Refering to a part of Hades in ancient Greek mythology, Tartarus Dorsa borders Tombaugh Regio to the east.


2008-06-23, The International Space Station Expands Again

The developing International Space Station (ISS) has changed its appearance again. Earlier this month, the Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery visited the ISS and added components that included Japan's Kibo Science Laboratory. The entire array of expansive solar panels is visible in this picture taken by the Discovery Crew after leaving the ISS to return to Earth. The world's foremost space outpost can be seen developing over the past several years by comparing the above image to past images. Also visible above are many different types of modules, a robotic arm, another impressive set of solar panels, and a supply ship. Construction began on the ISS in 1998.

The International Space Station Expands Again

1998-03-24, A Baby Galaxy

What's the farthest galaxy known? The answer keeps changing as astronomers compete to find new galaxies which top the list. The new record holder is now the faint red smudge indicated in the above image by the arrow. Detected light left this galaxy billions of years ago, well before the Earth formed, when the universe was younger than 1/10th of its present age. Astronomers have measured a redshift of 5.34 for this galaxy, breaking the "5 barrier" for the first time. Young galaxies are of much interest to astronomers because many unanswered questions exist on when and how galaxies formed in the early universe. Although this galaxy's distance exceeds that of even the farthest known quasar, it is still in front of the pervasive glowing gas that is now seen as the cosmic microwave background radiation.

A Baby Galaxy

2018-01-09, Bright Planetary Nebula NGC 7027 from Hubble

It is one of the brightest planetary nebulae on the sky -- what should it be named? First discovered in 1878, nebula NGC 7027 can be seen toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus) with a standard backyard telescope. Partly because it appears there as only an indistinct spot, it is rarely referred to with a moniker. When imaged with the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, however, great details are revealed. Studying Hubble images of NGC 7027 have led to the understanding that it is a planetary nebula that began expanding about 600 years ago, and that the cloud of gas and dust is unusually massive as it appears to contain about three times the mass of our Sun. Pictured here in assigned colors, the resolved, layered, and dust-laced features of NGC 7027 might remind sky enthusiasts of a familiar icon that could be the basis for an informal name. A leading previous suggestion was the Pillow Nebula, but please feel free to make new suggestions -- for example, in an online APOD discussion forum. Free APOD Lecture Tonight near Washington, DC: Starting at 7 pm at the National Harbor

Bright Planetary Nebula NGC 7027 from Hubble

2004-10-18, Southern Saturn from Cassini

What happens to Saturn's pervasive clouds at its South Pole? Visible in the above image of Saturn are bright bands, dark belts and a dark spot right over the South Pole. The above image in infrared light spans over 30,000 kilometers and was taken early last month by the robot Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn. Saturn's atmosphere is about 75 percent hydrogen, 25 percent helium, and small amounts of heavier compounds including water vapor, methane, and ammonia. The relatively low gravity at Saturn's cloud tops result in a thicker haze layer, which in turn makes atmospheric features blurrier than Jupiter.

Southern Saturn from Cassini

1998-10-21, The Case of the Missing Aurora

Sometimes, near midnight, auroras suddenly stop. Nobody knows why. This nightside gap in aurora was confirmed recently by D. Chua (U. Washington) and colleagues in data from the Ultraviolet Imager onboard the Polar spacecraft. The gap appears from space as a slight break in a more full auroral arc surrounding a magnetic pole of the Earth. Pictured above are clouds and auroras occurring last August near Wildcat Mountain in Wisconsin.

The Case of the Missing Aurora

2019-04-24, The Shape of the Southern Crab

The symmetric, multi-legged appearance of the Southern Crab Nebula is certainly distinctive. About 7,000 light-years distant toward the southern sky constellation Centaurus, its glowing nested hourglass shapes are produced by the remarkable symbiotic binary star system at its center. The nebula's dramatic stellar duo consists of a hot white dwarf star and cool, pulsating red giant star shedding outer layers that fall onto the smaller, much hotter companion. Embedded in a disk of material, outbursts from the white dwarf cause an outflow of gas driven away both above and below the disk resulting in the bipolar hourglass shapes. The bright central shape is about half a light-year across. This new Hubble Space Telescope image celebrates the 29th anniversary of Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990 on board the Space Shuttle Discovery.

The Shape of the Southern Crab

2005-04-25, The Fairy of Eagle Nebula

The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire. The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars. The above image in scientifically re-assigned colors was released as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Fairy of Eagle Nebula

2002-10-06, The Lagoon Nebula in Three Colors

The bright Lagoon Nebula is home to a diverse array of astronomical objects. Particularly interesting sources include a bright open cluster of stars and several energetic star-forming regions. When viewed by eye, cluster light is dominated by an overall red glow that is caused by luminous hydrogen gas, while the dark filaments are caused by absorption by dense lanes of dust. The above picture, from the Curtis-Schmidt Telescope, however, shows the nebula's emission in three exact colors specifically emitted by hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8 and NGC 6523, lies about 5000 light-years away. The Lagoon Nebula can be located with binoculars in the constellation of Sagittarius spanning a region over three times the diameter of a full Moon.

The Lagoon Nebula in Three Colors

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