Albireo is a double star, and one of unusual beauty as seen through a telescopes because of the distinct colors that can be seen. The brighter star is a golden yellow, while its fainter companion has a bluish hue. Located at the "head" of the constellation Cygnus the Swan, this pair is visible to the unaided eye, although without a telescope appears as a single star. It has been determined that the brighter, golden member of this binary is itself also a double star, making Albireo actually a triple star system. But the closer companion to the golden star is too close for most telescopes to separate. Albireo is about 385 light years away. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-1: The Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant--the hot gas and dust blasted into space by the death-explosion of a very massive star. The star that died to create this beautiful object did so on July 4th, 1054 CE--a fact known thanks to Chinese and Japanese astronomers who observed and recorded the event. The Crab Nebula is 6,300 light years away, located in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-11: The Wild Duck Cluster
M-11 is an "open" star cluster, containing about 2,900 stars. Located about 6000 light years away in the constellation Scutum, this object is one of the more spectacular of the open clusters, with a relatively large number of brighter stars. The age of this cluster is estimated at about 220 million years--which is youthful by star standards. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-17: The Omega Nebula
This cloud of gas and dust has a feature unusual to most emission nebulae: the stars that light it up—a cluster numbering 35--are hidden to the eye, buried deep inside clouds of dust. The Omega’s red color comes from hydrogen gas energized by the radiation from the young stars nested inside. The Omega is located somewhere between 5000 and 6000 light years from us, its bright, visible component, which is about 15 light years across, is embedded in a larger cloud of dark material extending perhaps 40 light years or more. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-27: The Dumbbell Nebula
The Dumbbell Nebula was the first "planetary” nebula to be discovered. Planetary nebulae—named for their planet-like appearance in early, low-powered telescopes—are shells of gas blown off by dying, Sun-like stars. These "bubbles” are expanding outward into space, and will eventually dissipate. The Dumbbell, 1250 light years away, is about 1.5 light years in diameter, and was cast off by its dying parent star probably between 3000 and 4000 years ago. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-42: The Orion Nebula
The Great Nebula in Orion is a vast cloud of gas and dust in which new stars are being born. Located at the middle of the Orion’s Sword—a line of stars "hanging” beneath Orion’s Belt--this stellar nursery lies about 1600 light years away, and is about 30 light years across. From Earth, the nebula covers an area of the sky four times greater than the Full Moon. The visible part of the nebula, however, is actually a small part of a much larger cloud, which spans more than 10 degrees of the sky, covering half of the constellation of Orion. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-51: The Whirlpool Galaxy
It wasn’t until the early 1920s that the objects we know today as Spiral Galaxies—like the Whirlpool—were proven to be what they are: enormous and very distant masses of billions of stars, like the Milky Way. Before that, astronomers believed these objects to be "nebulae”—great clouds of gas in space. The Whirlpool Galaxy, along with its smaller companion galaxy, is about 23 million light years away and 65 million light years across. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-57: The Ring Nebula
The Ring Nebula is an example of a "planetary nebula”—though these objects have nothing to do with planets. Through early, low-powered telescopes, their circular shapes resembled planets. Planetary nebulae are formed when a Sun-like star begins to run out of fuel, inflates to become an enormous Red Giant star, and then blows its outer layers into space. The shell of gas, expanding and cooling, will eventually dissipate, and all that will be left of the original star is a compact, Earth-sized object known as a White Dwarf—the dead star’s remains. The Ring Nebula is believed to be about 2300 light years away and about one light year in diameter. Credit: Conrad Jung.
M-76: The Little Dumbbell Nebula
For a long time after the telescope was invented, astronomers’ view of Mars was of a simple orange disk, not even as detailed as in this picture. As more powerful telescopes were built, Mars’ surface features began to give hints about the nature of the planet. The light and dark markings, originally thought to be dry land and seas, are today known to be smooth plains and rough highlands. The hint of a white smudge turned out to be a polar ice cap similar to Earth’s. Credit: Conrad Jung.
The Moon is about 3474 kilometers in diameter and orbits the Earth at a distance of about 384,000 kilometers. Our world’s only companion, the Moon is believed to have been created when a large, Mars-sized planet collided with the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, forming from the material blasted away by the impact. The many craters visible on the Moon’s surface were formed by asteroid impacts that mostly occurred three billion or more years ago. Credit: Alan Fisher.
The Moon is about 3474 kilometers in diameter and orbits the Earth at a distance of about 384,000 kilometers. Our world’s only companion, the Moon is believed to have been created when a large, Mars-sized planet collided with the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, forming from the material blasted away by the impact. The many craters visible on the Moon’s surface were formed by asteroid impacts that mostly occurred three billion or more years ago. Credit: Paul Hoy.
NGC 891 is a spiral galaxy that we view edge-on. The dark cloudy streak crossing the glowing central bulge of this spiral consists dust located within the plane of the spiral. This galaxy, located in the constellation of Andromeda, is about 10 million light years away. Credit: Conrad Jung.
Partial Solar Eclipse--June 10, 2002
Comet SWAN is a newly discovered comet. It was detected in images taken by the SOHO spacecraft's Solar Wind ANisotropy instrument (SWAN) in Autumn 2006. Comet SWAN, like other comets, is a "dirty snowball" that has fallen into the inner solar system to be warmed by the radiant energy of the Sun which causes the the comet's ices to evaporate to form this cloudy glow. Unlike most comets, which are relics of our solar system's formation, it appears that Swan is a relic from another star system, a possible interstellar traveler that has temporarily fallen in to our solar system. The comet is now on its outbound journey destined to leave the solar system and return to interstellar space. Credit: Conrad Jung.
Transit of Mercury
This sequence of images shows the transit of the planet Mercury across the limb of our Sun on November 15, 1999, around 22:00 Universal Time. Sequence taken through the Chabot 8" telescope (Leah) with a "Pixcel SBIGST-5C" CCD camera at f/26, exposure time of 1/100th of a second. Courtesy of Conrad Jung. Credit: Conrad Jung.