Today (April 8) is the best time of the year to spot and watch Mars!
The planet is at the point in its orbit where it is roughly closest to Earth, making it appear bigger and brighter. It’s visible almost all night, so if you have a chance, grab binoculars or a telescope and see Mars with your own eyes!  (Image: NASA, edited by me)

I wonder how well you can see with the naked eye

It looks like a ruddy and shiny star in the sky.

The Moon is normally seen in subtle shades of grey or yellow, but small and measurable color differences have been greatly exaggerated to make this colorful moonscape by László Francsics.The different colors are recognized to correspond to real differences in the chemical makeup of the lunar surface. Blue hues reveal titanium rich areas while orange and purple colors show regions relatively poor in titanium and iron.

The Hourglass Nebula, otherwise known as MyCn 18, is a young planetary nebula that is just 8,000 light-years from Earth. This image from Hubble was the first to reveal MyCn 18’s true shape to be an hourglass with an intricate pattern of “etchings” in its walls. It is thought that the hourglass shape of MyCn 18 may be the result of “the expansion of a fast stellar wind within a slowly expanding cloud, which is denser near its equator than near its poles.”The Hourglass Nebula was featured on the cover of the April 1997 issue of National Geographic. Its unique shape led the editors to say, “Astronomers looked 8,000 light-years into the cosmos with the Hubble Space Telescope, and it seemed that the eye of God was staring back.” The appearance of an eye at its center isn’t fully understood.Read more and download the image for yourself here:

The ‘other’ Lunar Orbiter 1 Earthrise image has been released

A newly enhanced image of Earth taken from lunar orbit 47 years ago has been released. The image, taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 in 1966, is the latest in a series of images released by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP).
This image is actually one of a pair of images taken of Earth by Lunar Orbiter 1. Its twin image, taken first, was much more famous and captured the world’s imagination when first released by NASA nearly half a century ago. That “Earthrise” image, as it came to be known, was also the first image re-released by the LOIRP in November 2008.

These two pictures were not included in the original mission plan. Taking these images required that the spacecraft’s attitude in relation to the lunar surface be changed so that the camera’s lenses were pointing away from the Moon. Such maneuvering meant a calculated risk and, coming early in the flight, the unplanned photograph of Earth raised some doubts among Boeing management about the safety of the spacecraft - especially on the very first Lunar Orbiter mission.

Image credit: LOIRP/NASA