Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 9, 1995
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Challenger Launches Spacelab 2
Credit: NASA, Kennedy Space Center

Explanation: Space Shuttle Challenger jumps off the launch pad in 1985 to begin a successful mission. The main purpose of this mission was to test a new space based laboratory named Spacelab 2. Spacelab 2 takes advantage of the effectively weightless conditions in orbit to carry out experiments in areas such as astronomy, physics, life science, materials science, and atmospheric physics. Challenger and her crew were lost in 1986 when a booster failure resulted in the breakup of the vehicle. Previously, Challenger and her crews flew nine successful Space Shuttle missions and made significant contributions to America's scientific growth.

Tomorrow's picture: The Orbiting Hubble Space Telescope

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Astronomy Picture of the Day (TM) is created by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell who are solely responsible for its content. Text copyright 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.