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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Is this galaxy jumping through a giant ring of stars? Probably not. Although the precise dynamics behind the featured image is yet unclear, what is clear is that the pictured galaxy, NGC 7714, has been stretched and distorted by a recent collision with a neighboring galaxy. This smaller neighbor, NGC 7715, situated off to the left of the featured frame, is thought to have charged right through NGC 7714. Observations indicate that the golden ring pictured is composed of millions of older Sun-like stars that are likely co-moving with the interior bluer stars. In contrast, the bright center of NGC 7714 appears to be undergoing a burst of new star formation. The featured image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 7714 is located about 130 million light years away toward the constellation of the Two Fish (Pisces). The interactions between these galaxies likely started about 150 million years ago and should continue for several hundred million years more, after which a single central galaxy may result.

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

This surreal timelapse, landscape, panorama spans predawn, blue hour, and sunrise skies. Close to the start of planet Earth's northern hemisphere spring, the flow of time was captured between 4:30 and 7:00 am from a location overlooking northern New Mexico's Rio Grande Valley. In tracked images of the night sky just before twilight begins, the Milky Way is cast across the southern (right) edge of the panoramic frame. Toward the east, a range of short and long exposures resolves the changing brightness as the Sun rises over the distant peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In between, exposures made during the spring morning's tantalizing blue hour are used to blend the night sky and sunrise over the high desert landscape.

Photo by Paul Schmit

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Dark skies are disappearing from the world. With modernization comes artificial lighting that brightens the night. While these lights allow modern humans to see, much light is wasted up into the sky. This light pollution not only wastes energy, but, when reflected by the Earth's atmosphere back down, creates a nighttime brightness that disrupts wildlife and harms human health, while doing very little to prevent crime. Light pollution is also making a dark night sky a scarcity for new generations. While there is little that can be done in large cities, rural country areas could benefit from lighting that is fully shielded from exposing the night sky where it is not needed. The featured panorama contains 6 adjacent vertical segments taken from different locations across Slovakia -- but with the same equipment and at the same time of night, and then subjected to the same digital post-processing. Although no stars are visible on the left-most city sky, the right-most country sky is magnificently dark. You can help protect the wonders of your night sky by favoring, when possible, dark sky friendly lighting.

Photo by Tomas Slovinsky Text: Matipon TangmatithamNARIT

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

What happens if you keep going north? The direction north on the Earth, the place on your horizon below the northern spin pole of the Earth -- around which other stars appear to slowly swirl, will remain the same. This spin-pole-of-the-north will never move from its fixed location on the sky -- night or day -- and its height will always match your latitude. The further north you go, the higher the north spin pole will appear. Eventually, if you can reach the Earth's North Pole, the stars will circle a point directly over your head. Pictured, a four-hour long stack of images shows stars trailing in circles around this north celestial pole. The bright star near the north celestial pole is Polaris, known as the North Star. The bright path was created by the astrophotographer's headlamp as he zigzagged up a hill just over a week ago in Lower Saxony, Germany. The astrophotographer can be seen, at times, in shadow. Actually, the Earth has two spin poles -- and much the same would happen if you started below the Earth's equator and went south.

Photo by Mario Konang

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