planets picture today

Welcome to the weekly summary of the Planetary Image of the Day (PPOD)!
Galileo, New Horizons, and JWST open up new views of the universe.

Monday 10 October 2022

The birth of a planetary system

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Mark McCaughrean

The birth of a planetary system
From new JWST data, this image shows a planetary system in the process of formation, floating in space and shadowed against the bright background light of the Orion Nebula. The system consists of a young star about a million years old, surrounded by a dense disk of gas and dust from which planets could be built. Looking at the edge from our perspective, dust in the disk blocks the light from the bright background nebula, making it a silhouette.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

alien land

Credit: NASA Earth

alien land
The vast Libyan desert stretches toward the Mediterranean, which fades into the horizon of this image. This highly tilted image of North Africa was taken by the External High Resolution Camera (EHDC) on the International Space Station (ISS). The burning red and orange of the dark-colored desert, mountains and plateaus contrast sharply with the bright blue of the sea and horizon. All stand out against the deep black of space. From this point of view, the Earth looks like another world. Had it not been for the distinctive blue of the Mediterranean in the distance, it might have been mistaken for Mars or the myriad desert planets in science fiction.

The Libyan Desert, which is part of the Sahara Desert, is often referred to as an analogue of Mars – a region of Earth that has features similar to the Red Planet. It is the driest part of the desert and mostly uninhabited. The distinctive landscape is a mosaic of windswept sand dunes and dark sandstone plateaus that make up the Fezzan region of Libya.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

New Horizons - Pluto

Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

From the mountains to the plains
NASA’s New Horizons image was taken 15 minutes before approaching Pluto and shows an area about 30 kilometers wide. On the left are Mont Al-Idrisi, mountainous heights believed to consist mainly of blocks of water ice. The sharp transitional coastline leads to the icy plains, right, which form part of the heart-shaped feature known as the Sputnik Planum, which contains ice including solid nitrogen.

Thursday 13 October 2022

shells and stars streams

CFHT, Coelum, MegaCam, J.-C. Quilander (CFHT) and GA Anselmi (Coelum)

shells and stars streams
Although galaxies on large scales move away from each other as the universe expands, they often interact and merge, influenced by gravity. Sometimes called the cosmic mixer, NGC 474 in Pisces undergoes an exciting reaction that causes chance and tidal tails. Its partner, NGC 470, lies to its right, both about 100 million light-years away.

Friday 14 October 2022

Thera and Thrace

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Thera and Thrace
Thera and Thrace are dark, reddish regions of mysterious terrain disrupting ancient icy plains on Jupiter’s moon Europa. North toward the top of the mosaic acquired by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. The sun illuminates the area from the northeast.

Thera (left) is about 70 kilometers wide and 85 kilometers (43 x 53 miles) high and appears to lie slightly below the level of the surrounding plains. Some of the shiny ice sheets observed inside seemed to have been displaced from the edges of the chaos area. Curved fractures along its boundaries suggest that the collapse may have been involved in the formation of Thera. In contrast, Thrace (on the right) is taller, exhibits massive stature, and appears to stand at or slightly above the ancient surrounding bright plains.

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