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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

You need to be in the south, looking south, to see such a sky. And only then if you're lucky. Just above the picturesque tree is the impressive Carina Nebula, one of the few nebulas in the sky that is visible to the unaided eye. The featured image had to be taken from a very dark location to capture the Carina Nebula with such perspective and so near the horizon. The Great Nebula in Carina, cataloged as NGC 3372, is home to the wildly variable star Eta Carinae that sometimes flares to become one of the brightest stars in the sky. Above Carina is IC 2944, the Running Chicken Nebula, a nebula that not only looks like a chicken, but contains impressive dark knots of dust. Above these red-glowing emission nebulas are the bright stars of the Southern Cross, while on the upper left of the image is the dark Coalsack Nebula. This image was composed from six consecutive exposures taken last summer from Padre Bernardo, Goiás, Brazil. Even with careful planning, the astrophotographer felt lucky to get this shot because clouds -- some still visible near the horizon -- kept getting in the way. Almost Hyperspace: Random APOD Generator

Photo by Carlos Kiko Fairbairn

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

very time Venus passes the Earth, it shows the same face. This remarkable fact has been known for only about 50 years, ever since radio telescopes have been able to peer beneath Venus' thick clouds and track its slowly rotating surface. This inferior conjunction -- when Venus and Earth are the closest -- occurs today. The featured animation shows the positions of the Sun, Venus and Earth between 2010-2023 based on NASA-downloaded data, while a mock yellow 'arm' has been fixed to the ground on Venus to indicate rotation. The reason for this unusual 1.6-year resonance is the gravitational influence that Earth has on Venus, which surprisingly dominates the Sun's tidal effect. If Venus could be seen through the Sun's glare today, it would show just a very slight sliver of a crescent. Although previously visible in the evening sky, starting tomorrow, Venus will appear in the morning sky -- on the other side of the Sun as viewed from Earth. Experts Debate: How will humanity first discover extraterrestrial life?

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Humanity is under attack. The attack is not from large tentacle-flailing aliens, but from invaders so small they can barely be seen, and so strange they are not even clearly alive. All over planet Earth, the human home world, DNA-based humans are being invaded by the RNA-based SARS-CoV2. The virus, which creates a disease known as COVID-19, specializes in reprogramming human cells into zombies that manufacture and release copies of itself. Pictured here is a high magnification image of a human cell covered by attacking novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2 (orange). Epic battles where two species square off in a fight to the death are not unusual on Earth, with several just involving humans typically ongoing at any time. Even so, most humans are predicted to survive. After several years, humanity expects to win this war -- but only after millions of humans have died and trillions of coronaviruses have been destroyed. Wash your hands: Tips for humans on how to survive this SARS-CoV2 assault

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

The center of the Lagoon Nebula is a whirlwind of spectacular star formation. Visible near the image center, at least two long funnel-shaped clouds, each roughly half a light-year long, have been formed by extreme stellar winds and intense energetic starlight. A tremendously bright nearby star, Herschel 36, lights the area. Vast walls of dust hide and redden other hot young stars. As energy from these stars pours into the cool dust and gas, large temperature differences in adjoining regions can be created generating shearing winds which may cause the funnels. This picture, spanning about 15 light years, features two colors detected by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, lies about 5000 light years distant toward the constellation of the Archer Sagittarius.

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