Pluto and its moon Charon are shown with the Sun and Milky Way in the background.
[Thumbnail] Gamma Ray Burst
Gamma ray bursts are among the most luminous cosmic objects. Scientists are uncertain what causes them. This one is exploding amidst pillars of gas and dust where stars are forming.
Galaxy Puzzle
This image represents the puzzle scientists are trying to solve regarding the dark matter in the universe.
Astronomy Picture of the Day:
March 3, 2003
October 21, 2007
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As long we can remember, human beings have yearned to fly. "From Dreams to Reality" begins with Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of a flying machine, followed by early gliders and a balloon. Other airborne craft follow: the Wright Brothers' airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, dirigible, biplane, weather balloon, hot air balloon, commercial airliners, Apollo launch, the Space Shuttle, and Skylab. In the early days of flight, all we could see were the rooftops of buildings and the patterns of our fields. As we ascended higher and higher we could see cloud formations, rivers with their tributaries, and - from space - Earth as a small blue sphere without boundaries. Truly, our long journey toward flight has broadened our perspective of both ourselves and our home planet.
The flags of the world are portrayed on a grid below the Earth, while a communications satellite orbits our home world.
[Thumbnail] Particle Dark Matter
Subatomic particles can be seen through the magnifying lens, whizzing through space. Some scientists believe that these particles may account for the missing mass in the universe.
[Thumbnail] Ulysses Studies the Sun
Our modern explorer, the spacecraft Ulysses, has traveled through the heavens to beam back its discoveries of the sun.
[Thumbnail] Traveler
A comet streaks past a lifeless, cratered planet. The Milky Way Galaxy is visible in the background. Water is a component of cometary ice and it is likely that comets are responsible for bringing water molecules to otherwise "waterless" moons and planets in the universe. Perhaps the planet shown here will eventually develop lakes and oceans.
[Thumbnail] Beyond the Home Planet
The planets of our solar system, including now-historical Pluto, appear against the Milky Way.
[Thumbnail] Planet Medley
A colorful montage of our former group of nine planets is shown here, along with a limb of the Milky Way and a comet.
[Thumbnail] MACHOS
Shown here are white dwarfs, a neutron star (pulsar), a rocky planet, asteroids, a brown dwarf, and a black hole above a spiral galaxy. Perhaps these objects, rather than subatomic particles, comprise the missing mass in the universe.
Sailfishing in Starry Seas
For centuries fish have played an important role in the mythology of the heavens. In this representation, cosmic sailfish cavort through the starry skies over the Earth. The spots on the fishes' back and fins are miniature galaxies, similar to the galaxies in the sky and to the spiral cloud pattern on the Earth. This indicates that there is a commonality, a unity, with all things in the universe. Near the watery creatures we see a fishing line curving through space. Perhaps one of the fish will be caught, revealing the
secrets of the cosmos.

Collection I | Collection II | Collection III

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