Have you ever wished for a personal guide to the planets, stars and solar system? A site called Astronomy Picture of the Day has you covered.
A service of NASA’s Astrophysics Science Division, the Goddard Space Flight Center and Michigan Technological University, the site offers up mind-blowing photography and mind-boggling explanations of the phenomena it portrays.
APOD, as it’s nicknamed, has a simple mission: Post one photo of something in the universe each day, along with an explanation from a professional astronomer.
Luckily, there’s no lack of great space photography and neat phenomena to explore. The site wins points for sheer variety — recent pix have included a visualization of the entire observable universe, a 2011 image of the space shuttle Endeavour cutting through clouds and a trippy picture of the Stickney Crater, the largest on the Martian moon Phobos. A robust archive saves the pictures you may have missed.
Following APOD gives you glimpses of the heavens from every vantage point and mood. Its layout is comfortably low-tech, with plenty of perks: It’s on social media, too, and is translated into dozens of languages. You can even submit photos if you want to add to the fun.
You don’t need to be an expert to get something out of APOD: Its explanations are accessible, and there are plenty of links if you want to learn more. APOD may be simple, but it’s not simplistic. Whether you’re looking for a quick fix of astronomical wonder or an explanation of something you never knew existed, your curiosity will be well rewarded.