Planet Parade over Sydney Opera House

The world is waking up to a picturesque planet parade. Just before dawn, the eastern skies over much of planet Earth are decorated by a notable line of familiar planets. In much of Earth’s northern hemisphere, this line of planets appears most nearly horizontal, but in much of Earth’s southern hemisphere, the line appears more nearly vertical. Pictured over the Sydney Opera House in southern Australia, the planet line was captured nearly vertical about five days ago. From top to bottom, the morning planets are Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. As April ends, the angular distance between Venus and Jupiter will gradually pass below a degree as they switch places. Then, as May ends, Jupiter will pass near Mars as those two planets switch places. In June, the parade will briefly expand to include Mercury. via NASA https://ift.tt/KbjWaV8

The Great Nebula in Carina

In one of the brightest parts of Milky Way lies a nebula where some of the oddest things occur. NGC 3372, known as the Great Nebula in Carina, is home to massive stars and changing nebulas. The Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324), the bright structure just below the image center, houses several of these massive stars. The entire Carina Nebula, captured here, spans over 300 light years and lies about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. Eta Carinae, the most energetic star in the nebula, was one of the brightest stars in the sky in the 1830s, but then faded dramatically. While Eta Carinae itself maybe on the verge of a supernova explosion, X-ray images indicate that much of the Great Nebula in Carina has been a veritable supernova factory. via NASA https://ift.tt/uv7YWVw

Split the Universe

Just now, before you hit the button, two future universes are possible. After pressing the button, though, you will live in only one. A real-web version of the famous Schrâdinger’s cat experiment clicking the red button in the featured astronaut image should transform that image into a picture of the same astronaut holding one of two cats — one living, or one dead. The timing of your click, combined with the wiring of your brain and the millisecond timing of your device, will all conspire together to create a result dominated, potentially, by the randomness of quantum mechanics. Some believe that your personally-initiated quantum decision will split the universe in two, and that both the live-cat and dead-cat universes exist in separate parts of a larger multiverse. Others believe that the result of your click will collapse the two possible universes into one — in a way that could not have been predicted beforehand. Yet others believe that the universe is classically deterministic, so that by pressing the button you did not really split the universe, but just carried out an action predestined since time began. We at APOD believe that however silly you may feel clicking the red button, and regardless of the outcome, you should have a thought-provoking day. Or two. via NASA https://ift.tt/T5FPIs1

Messier 104

A gorgeous spiral galaxy, Messier 104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile featuring a broad ring of obscuring dust lanes. Seen in silhouette against an extensive central bulge of stars, the swath of cosmic dust lends a broad brimmed hat-like appearance to the galaxy suggesting a more popular moniker, the Sombrero Galaxy. This sharp view of the well-known galaxy was made from over 10 hours of Hubble Space Telescope image data, processed to bring out faint details often lost in the overwhelming glare of M104’s bright central bulge. Also known as NGC 4594, the Sombrero galaxy can be seen across the spectrum, and is host to a central supermassive black hole. About 50,000 light-years across and 28 million light-years away, M104 is one of the largest galaxies at the southern edge of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Still, the spiky foreground stars in this field of view lie well within our own Milky Way. via NASA https://ift.tt/wWknQGO