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.

November 29, 1995
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Releasing Compton
Credit NASA, STS-37 Crew.

Explanation: Named for Nobel laureate physicist Arthur Holly Compton, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) Satellite was launched in April of 1991 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. CGRO's mission is to explore the Universe at gamma-ray energies. The massive space based observatory is seen here held upright in the shuttle payload bay behind smiling astronaut Jerry Ross. Ross and his colleague Jay Apt have just finished a successful, unplanned spacewalk to free a jammed antenna prior to releasing CGRO into orbit. CGRO has been operating successfully since, providing the first all-sky survey at gamma-ray energies along with exciting new observations of the sun, quasars, pulsars, supernova, black holes, and gamma-ray bursts.

Tomorrow's picture: NGC 2440 Nucleus: The Hottest Star?

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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