This gif is an awesome illustration of how astronomy has advanced over the last 85 years. NASA assembled a 17-frame chronological sequence of observations of Pluto, starting with its discovery by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 while working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ and ending with the zoomed-in, close-up view courtesy of the New Horizons probe received on July 15, 2015.

Click here for a complete description of each image.

[via Colossal]

Bipolar planetary nebula PN Hb 12

This image shows an example of a bipolar planetary nebula known as PN Hb 12 — popularly known as Hubble 12 — in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The striking shape of this nebula, reminiscent of a butterfly or an hourglass, was formed as a Sun-like star approached the end of its life and puffed its outer layers into the surrounding space. For bipolar nebulae, this material is funnelled towards the poles of the ageing star, creating the distinctive double-lobed structure.

Credit: NASA, ESA
Acknowledgement: Josh Barrington

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2015 August 2 

Apollo 17 at Shorty Crater 

On the Moon, it is easy to remember where you parked. In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. This sharp image was taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed the valley floor. The image shows Schmitt on the left with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than was returned from any of the other lunar landing sites. Now forty three years later, Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.

NASA's Spitzer Confirms Closest Rocky Exoplanet

Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 01, 2015
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside our solar system, larger than Earth and a potential gold mine of science data. Dubbed HD 219134b, this exoplanet, which orbits too close to its star to sustain life, is a mere 21 light-years away. While the planet itself can’t be seen directly, even by telescopes, the star it
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Moon-Landing Hoax? No.

This video is so good, so incredibly brilliant, solid and simple, that you will want to paste it all over your Facebooks and Twitters just to piss off all the IMBECILES who still claim that the Moon landings were faked.* The reason is simple: the technology to fake it didn’t exist.

It’s a very simple argument. It’s not about showing how ignorant the hoaxers demonstrate to be with their idiotic “proofs”, which actually show they don’t know anything about physics, photography or even perspective. Or the fact that simple there’s tons of physical proof that we were there. Or the fact that the Soviet Union was monitoring it too and accepted the American victory in the Space Race.

No, it’s something even more obvious. This video explains why there was absolutely no way to fake it at the time. Even the cameras needed to fake it didn’t exist back then.

It’s completely convincing and undeniable argument and worth watching from beginning to end. I enjoyed it so much that I was giggling at some points. Especially one of them: we have gone from a world in which we couldn’t possibly fake a landing on the Moon but we went there for real to a world in which we are no longer going to the Moon but we can easily fake it.