Hubble Spies a Spiral Snowflake
Spiral galaxies together with irregular galaxies make up approximately 60% of the galaxies in the local Universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique - like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814, whose luminous nucleus and spectacular sweeping arms, rippled with an intricate pattern of dark dust, are captured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image.
ESA/Hubble & NASA
A Unique View of Morocco From Space
Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams of NASA captured this detailed photograph from the International Space Station during a daytime flyover of Morocco, May 2, 2016. Williams shared the image to social media and asked, "Reptile scales, or incredible and rugged geology in Morocco?"
Spider Nebula Glows Among the Stars
The spider part of The Spider and the Fly" nebulae, IC 417 abounds in star formation, as seen in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS).
Mars Rover Sends a Selfie From the Red Planet
NASA's Curiosity rover is seen at Namib Dune in this photo where it has been busy scooping samples of sand for laboratory analysis.
Hubble Telescope Spots Colorful Bubble
NASA's Hubble telescope photographed this planetary nebula called NGC 6818, also known as the Little Gem Nebula, located in the constellation of Sagittarius, roughly 6000 light-years from Earth.
See Dark Side of the Moon From a Million Miles Away
This image shows the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth - one million miles away.
California, Oregon Fires Seen From Space
This satellite image shows smoke from several fires in Oregon and California on Aug. 2, 2015. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of smoke from these fires. The multiple red pixels are heat signatures detected by MODIS. The smoke appears to be a light brown color.
Scott Kelly Captures Striking View of Mountains
Scott Kelly posted this image to twitter, July 30, 2015, with the caption: "High sun angles we're at on @Space_Station make for striking images of the mountains of #SouthAmerica. #YearInSpace"
Earth From A Million Miles Away
A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away. The image was generated by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image. The image was taken July 6, 2015, showing North and Central America.
Stars and Stripes in Space
Celebrating Flag Day, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took this photograph in the cupola of the International Space Station. Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) wrote, "Stars and stripes from @Space_Station. Happy #NationalFlagDay! #YearInSpace," June 14, 2015.
Get the Closest Look Yet of Ceres' Cratered Surface
The brightest spots on dwarf planet Ceres are seen in this image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 6, 2015. This is among the first snapshots from Dawn's second mapping orbit, which is 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) in altitude. The resolution is 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel. Scientists are still puzzled by the nature of these spots, and are considering explanations that include salt and ice.
Medusa Nebula Glows in Space
ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula. As the star at the heart of this nebula made its final transition into retirement, it shed its outer layers into space, forming this colorful cloud. The image foreshadows the final fate of the Sun, which will eventually also become an object of this kind.
Sunset Thunderstorms As Seen From Space
Astronaut Terry W. Virts posted this photo to Twitter, May 13, 2015, with the text, "This amazing sunset view shows just how high thunderstorms can go. This is truly #EarthArt."
Astronaut Shows Surprising View of Earth
Astronaut Scott Kelly shared this image of Earth from space to his Twitter account, April 27, 2015, captioned: "Sometimes #Earth looks like another planet from @Space_Station. #YearInSpace"
Astronauts' Space Outpost Glows in the Dark
On March 18, 2015, this image was posted to Italian astronaut Sam Cristoforetti's Twitter account with the text, "Captivating view... Progress cargo spaceship ablaze in a ghostly green and red glow. #OurOutpostInSpace."
Shades of Red at Mars’ South Pole
The southern cap of Mars hosts a swirl of colors in this image released by ESA on Feb. 9, 2015. The bright white area is composed of frozen water and carbon dioxide. The image was originally captured on Dec. 17, 2012, in infrared, green and blue light, using the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.
Bill Dunford/FU Berlin/DLR/ESA
Sweeping View of Little Sombrero Galaxy
The Hubble Space Telescope captured NGC 7814, a galaxy known as the "Little Sombrero." NGC 7814 has a bright central bulge and a bright halo of glowing gas extending outwards into space. The dusty spiral arms appear as dark streaks. Nearly all of the objects seen in this image are galaxies as well.
Hubble and NASA/ESA
Amazing Photo of Mysterious 'God's Hand' Space Globule
Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this image from ESO's Very Large Telescope, Jan. 30, 2015. Although it looks huge and bright in this image it is actually a faint nebula and not easy to observe. The exact nature of CG4 remains a mystery.
NASA Explores ‘International Year of Light’
The Chandra X-ray Center released a set of images in honor of the United Nations’ designation of 2015 as the International Year of Light. An expanding shell of debris called SNR 0519-69.0 is left behind after a massive star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. Multimillion degree gas is seen in blue in X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The outer edge of the explosion (red) and stars in the field of view are seen in visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Sun Releases First Major Solar Flare of 2015
NASA released this image of what they call the first notable solar flare of 2015, photographed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on Jan. 12, 2015. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
Hubble Captures Brilliant New "Pillars of Creation"
NASA released a new photo of the "Pillars of Creation" from the Hubble Telescope, Jan. 6, 2015.
Europa’s Icy Surface Glows in New Color View
A color view of the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, composed from images taken by NASA's Galileo Orbiter between 1995 and 1998. Though the images were taken years ago, this view is the first view of Europa as it would appear to the human eye; an earlier composite version, released in 2001, was a mosaic view made from images taken through multicolored filters.
Massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster, takes on a ghostly look where total starlight has been artificially colored blue in this Hubble view.
Active regions on the sun combined to look something like a jack-o-lantern's face on Oct. 8, 2014. The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona. This image blends together two sets of wavelengths, typically colorized in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance.
Hubble Snaps Stunning Photo of Neighboring Star Cluster
NASA has released an image taken by the Hubble space telescope of a cluster of stars known as NGC-121, in one of our neighboring galaxies.
Saturn's largest and second largest moons, Titan and Rhea, appear to be stacked on top of each other in this true-color scene from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The north polar hood can be seen on Titan, 3,200 miles across, appearing as a detached layer at the top of the moon on the top right.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
A composite image, built from 141 photos taken by the spacecraft Cassini in July and released Nov. 12, 2013, shows the results of a four-hour flyby of the planet Saturn. Earth and its moon are visible as a small blip in the natural-color image, just outside the glow of the outermost ring on the lower righthand side of the planet; they are 1.4 billion kilometers away.
Images captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory show a magnetic filament of solar material erupting on the sun in a spectacular fashion, Sept. 29-30, 2013. The 200,000 mile long filament ripped through the sun's atmosphere, the corona, leaving behind what looks like a canyon of fire. The glowing canyon traces the channel where magnetic fields held the filament aloft before the explosion.
NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory
In this composite image, visible-light observations by NASA?s Hubble Space Telescope are combined with infrared data from the ground-based Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona to assemble a dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula.
New data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors, reveals the first discovery of X-ray emissions from young stars similar to our sun outside of our galaxy. This composite of X-ray, optical and infrared images shows the stars in a region known as "The Wing" of the SMC.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ.Potsdam/L.Oskinova et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NA
The same parts of the sun can look very different, depending on the lens you use.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Spiral Galaxy With A Secret
Messier 106, a galaxy 20 million light-years away, has been shot many times by the Hubble Space Telescope. Amateur astronomer Robert Gendler combined Hubble images with his own for a computer-generated version with new details.
NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)|R. Gendler/Hubble Heritage Team
This is the Andromeda galaxy, one of the most famous objects in the northern sky.
Hubble Views a Dwarf Galaxy
This a dwarf galaxy called NGC 5477, near the Pinwheel Galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major (the Great Bear) in the northern sky. The Hubble Space Telescope shot this image as part of a project to measure the distance to galaxies less than 30 million light-years from Earth.
Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy
This is NGC 6872, the largest known spiral galaxy ever seen in the sky. It is 522,000 light-years across from one end to the other, which makes it about 5 times the size of our Milky Way. Images were combined from three telescopes for this picture.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ESO/JPL-Caltech/DSS
Solar flare 20 times the size of Earth
A solar eruption rising from the surface of the sun, as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in Earth orbit. This flare extends about 160,000 miles out into space. Earth is about 7,900 miles in diameter, so this relatively minor eruption is about 20 times as long as our planet is wide.
Why go to Mars when pieces of it have been found on Earth? This meteorite, designated NWA 7034, crashed in the Sahara Desert in 2011. An examination of the rock determined it is 2.1 billion years old and is surprisingly rich in water. Tiny air bubbles in the rock have the same composition as air measured by NASA Mars probes.
Carl Agee/University of New Mexico/AP Photo
Galaxy Packed With Black Holes
Looking a little like a Christmas bauble, this is the planet Saturn as seen from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The ship was steered through Saturn's shadow for this picture. The planet's night side appears to glow green because of sunlight filtered through Saturn's murky atmosphere.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Best Black Hole Recipe
This is a composite image of NGC 922, a ring galaxy about 157 million light-years from Earth. The reddest areas are probably black holes, formed by collapsing stars. This picture was created with images combined from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray telescope, both in Earth orbit.
NASA/STSCI/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Swirls of Ice Seen From Space
A total solar eclipse as seen from Palm Cove, Australia, Nov. 14, 2012. Thousands of eclipse-watchers gathered in northern Australia to enjoy the solar eclipse, the first in Australia in a decade.
Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Deepest-Ever View of Universe
Swirls of sea ice in the fjords of Greenland, seen from NASA's Aqua satellite in orbit.
The Cat's Eye planetary nebula -- a dying star, with clouds of gas and debris around it. Astronomers have studied them in new detail, combining images from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope and the Hubble space telescope.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIT/J.Kastner et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
Strange Cloud in Milky Way
Astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of our deepest-ever view of the universe. Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining ten years of Hubble Space Telescope observations. Some of the galaxies in it are 13.2 billion years old. The universe itself formed 13.7 billion years ago.
NASA/ESA/G. Illingworth/D. Magee/P. Oesch/R. Bouwens/HUDF09 Team
The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the "butterfly wing"- shaped nebula, NGC 2346. The nebula is about 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros.
Japanese astronomers have discovered this unusual spiral cloud near the center of the Milky Way galaxy, about 30,000 light years away. They called it a "pigtail" molecular cloud because of its shape, which they say was probably determined by magnetic forces.
Keio University, Nobeyama Radio Observatory
Saturn and moon Titan seen from Cassini Probe
Saturn, with its largest moon, Titan, seen in this image from NASA's Cassini probe in orbit around the ringed planet. Since Cassini arrived in 2004, the seasons have changed on Saturn, which takes 30 Earth years to circle the sun. The southern hemisphere, approaching winter, has taken on a bluish hue.
Phoenix Cluster Sets Record Pace at Forming Stars
Astronomers have found one of the largest objects in the universe, a galaxy cluster where stars are forming more rapidly than anywhere else yet observed. It is called the Phoenix cluster, 5.7 billion light years away in the southern sky. It is seen in this artist's conception.
The Flame nebula, seen in infrared light by NASA's WISE spacecraft. This nebula is part of a giant star-forming complex near the belt of Orion, the constellation in the winter sky as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The new stars are surrounded by dust and gas.
Black Hole Shreds Star
Our Milky Way galaxy is doomed. Scientists using the Hubble telescope have determined it will be destroyed -- 4 billion years from now, when it collides with the Andromeda galaxy. This artist's conception shows how the sky might look as the galaxies are drawn together by each other's gravity.
Z. Levay, R. van der Marel, and A. Mellinger/ESA/NASA
Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies
This computer-simulated image shows gas from a star falling into a black hole. Astronomers, reporting in the journal Nature, say they observed a flare in ultraviolet and optical light, telling them there was a black hole tearing a star apart.
NASA/S. Gezari (Johns Hopkins)/A. Rest (Space Telescope Science Institute)/R. Chornock(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
A Star Is Born
A Lyrid meteor shoots across the night sky April 22, 2012. Debris from the comet Thatcher created this streak in the upper atmosphere Sunday, witnessed by people in California and northern Nevada.
Courtesy Marian Murdoch
A Star Is Born
The Lyrid meteor shower occurs around April 22 every year, as the Earth passes through the path of an old comet. Astronomers said the chances of seeing meteors would be good this year because a new moon meant the skies would be darker than usual.
Courtesy Marian Murdoch
Giant Solar Flare
This is a star nursery called 30 Doradus. It is 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way, visible only from the Southern Hemisphere. This image was combined from several taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in October 2011.
Amazing Hi-Def Coronal Mass Ejection
A beautiful prominence seen shooting from the face of the sun by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The flare is composed of hot, electrically-charged gases. This particular one was not coming in the direction of Earth, so satellites were safe and there were not large new auroras near the poles.
Space pictures: photos from the final frontier
This picture of Earth, taken on March 7, 2012, was reported by astronaut Don Pettit to be the one millionth shot from the International Space Station since station assembly began in 1998. Two Russian supply ships are in the foreground. The green band over Earth is an aurora.
Northern Lights Follow Solar Storm
The southern lights between Australia and Antarctica, seen from the International Space Station by Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers.
New Auroras Seen From Space Station
Stars appear as circular streaks in this time-lapse photo from the International Space Station by astronaut Don Pettit. The ISS turns to keep one side oriented toward Earth.
Major Solar Flare Erupts
During a major solar storm, an aurora shimmers over snow-covered mountains in Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland, March 8, 2012.
Courtesy Jónína Óskarsdóttir/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Major Solar Flare Erupts
An X5 solar flare, the strongest observed in 2012, seen through an ultraviolet filter by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory March 7, 2012.
Steamy Planet Orbits Star
The brightest star in the inset is proof there is a black hole in the Andromeda galaxy. A disc of gas and dust heats up and emits X-rays as the gravity of the black hole pulls it toward its doom.
Landessternwarte Tautenburg, XMM-Newton, MPE
Stellar Nursery in Stunning Detail
The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a new class of planet, a water world enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. It is called GJ 1214b, and as seen in this artist's conception, it orbits a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. Today it is hot and shrouded in vapor, but scientists say it may once have had liquid water.
NASA/ESA/David Aguilar : Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
The Ancient Oceans of Mars
Europe's Very Large Telescope in Chile has delivered the most detailed image yet of the Carina Nebula stellar nursery, found in the southern Milky Way. The nebula is a spectacular celestial landscape of gas, dust and young stars.
Carina Nebula Stellar Nursery
Former Ocean on Mars
Europe's Mars Express probe, orbiting the red planet, has sent back radar data reaffirming scientists' belief that the northern hemisphere of Mars once had vast oceans. The radar detected sediments reminiscent of an ocean floor inside previously identified, ancient shorelines on Mars.
Best Map Yet of Universe
This new image of the Earth is a composite shot by NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, called Suomi NPP. Mexico is in the center of the frame, with Baja California to the left and Florida to the right.
NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
A Galaxy Full of Planets
This is a map of a quarter of the known universe, the most detailed yet done. Each green dot is a galaxy. It was done by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III.
David Kirkby/University of California at Irvine/SDSS
A Galaxy Full of Planets
NASA's Kepler spacecraft has detected three planets -- all of them smaller than Earth -- orbiting a red dwarf star, 130 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. This is an artist's conception of the KOI-961 system. A separate study suggests the galaxy has at least 100 billion planets, many of which could be habitable.
A Galaxy Full of Planets
Remember Tattooine, Luke Skywalker's fanciful home planet from "Star Wars" with its two suns? The NASA Kepler probe has found two new solar systems that have double stars and at least one planet each. One is seen in this artist's conception. Many physicists had wondered if a planet could survive being flung around by the gravity of double stars.
Mark A. Garlick
A Galaxy Full of Planets
The Hubble Space Telescope found proof of a black hole at the center of the Andromeda galaxy, the only large galaxy visible to the naked eye in the northern sky. The black hole itself is invisible, but the inset shows a ring of reddish stars orbiting it.
T. Lauer/National Optical Astronomy Observatory/NASA/ESA
Space Station Over the Moon
A new infrared picture of the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy was made by combining images from Europe's orbiting Herschel Space Observatory and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the galaxies closest to our own Milky Way, is in the southern sky.
Space Station Flying by the Moon
The International Space Station, orbiting just 240 miles overhead, appears to hover over the moon, which orbits Earth about 240,000 miles away. A NASA photographer planted herself in just the right spot to shoot the two together.
Holiday 'Wreath' Nebula
A holiday "wreath" in space, captured by NASA's WISE space telescope. It's actually a star-forming nebula named Barnard 3. The red and green areas are interstellar gas of different chemical composition.
Saturn's Rings and Moons Seen from Cassini
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, with its thick atmosphere. Dione, the third-largest moon, peeks out from behind it to the right in this view of the two from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Saturn itself, with its rings, looms in the background.
A Star is Born
This bipolar star-forming region, called Sharpless 2-106, looks like a celestial snow angel. It is nearly 2,000 light-years from us. A massive, young star, IRS 4 is in the middle of the formation. Twin lobes of super-hot gas, glowing blue in this image, stretch outward from it.
NASA/ESA/the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
A Star is Born
The VLT Survey Telescope in Chile has shot a new image of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 253. It is more than 11 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Sculptor. It is one of the brightest galaxies in the sky.
ESO/INAF-VST/A. Grado/L. Limatola/INAF-Capodimonte Observatory
A Star is Born
Observations made with the APEX telescope in Chile reveal the cold dusty clouds from which stars form in the Carina Nebula. This is a site of violent star formation, which plays host to some of the highest-mass stars in our galaxy.
One of the largest sunspot clusters in years has appeared. The larger black areas are more than 8,000 miles across, larger than Earth. The cluster is called AR1339, and it was imaged by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Nov. 3, 2011.
Earth Glows Bright Green
This is the "Pacman" nebula in the constellation of Cassiopeia, shot in infrared light by NASA's orbiting WISE telescope. It is a giant cloud of dust and gas, about 9,200 light-years away.
Galaxies Collide in Southern Sky
Astronaut Mike Fossum took this picture of an aurora from the International Space Station. The aurora, near one of Earth's poles, appears green in this night exposure. Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, docked to the station, are in the foreground.
Aurora Seen From Space Station
This spectacular view of the aurora was taken from the International Space Station as it crossed over the southern Indian Ocean on September 17, 2011. While auroras are often seen near the poles, this aurora appeared closer to the equator because of a geomagnetic storm from the sun that erupted on September 14, 2011.
Aurora Seen From Space
The Antenna Galaxies, two colliding galaxies in the southern sky, seen in several wavelengths by ALMA, a giant new array of radio telescopes built by the European Southern Observatory in northern Chile.
Shooting a Laser Into the Heavens
Photographer Yuri Beletsky says he shot this amazing image in 2010 at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, part of the European Southern Observatory. The bright streak is a laser beam, used to help the telescope compensate for the distorting effects of the atmosphere. Above is an image of the Milky Way.
Billionaire's Name Visible From Space
This looks very much like a galaxy, but it is actually a computer model, the result of nine months of work at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The university calls it a first. Previous attempts to simulate a galaxy's shape had failed, and led scientists to question the prevailing cosmological model of the universe.
Courtesy of J. Guedes and P. Madau
A Storm on Saturn, as Big as Earth
A billionaire from the United Arab Emirates, Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, hired a crew to dig his name in the sand near Abu Dhabi, and the result was visible from space. The name "Hamad," in this image from Google Earth, is two miles long.
Space Shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station Silhouetted Against Sun
The International Space Station, seen from the ground by a French photographer as it passed over the face of the sun.
Giant Storm on Saturn
A storm almost as large as Earth rages in the clouds of the planet Saturn. This image was taken by NASA's Cassini space probe, which went into orbit around Saturn in 2004 and has explored the strange ringed world and its many moons. The storm is about 6,000 miles wide, and its tail of clouds nearly circle the planet.
Coronal Mass Ejection Photographed
The sun released a spectacular coronal mass ejection -- a mass of electrically-charged gases -- on June 7, 2011. The cloud of particles mushroomed out into space and fell back into the sun, covering almost half its surface. Such bursts often intensify auroras on earth as charged particles bombard the planet's magnetic field.
International Space Station and Shuttle Endeavour
The International Space Station, docked to the space shuttle Endeavour on May 25, 2011. This picture was taken from a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that had just undocked from the station. It was the first time since space shuttles began delivering station components in 1998 that the two large ships were shown together. Endeavour's tail is visible near the left end of the complex.
Dancing Galaxies in Stunning Hubble Picture
In honor of the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch into space, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore released this photo of a "rose" of galaxies. The pair of interacting spiral galaxies is called Arp 273. The larger galaxy is distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational pull of the galaxy below it. Hubble was deployed April 24, 1990.
NASA Spacecraft Shoots a Star Nursery
This March 28, 2011 image provided by NASA shows composited images from Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical and X-ray telescopes of a gamma-ray explosion designated GRB 110328A. Scientists say this blast is unusual because the effects are long-lasting. More than a week later, they continue to see high-energy radiation spiking and fading at the source. Flaring from such an event usually lasts a couple of hours.
The Art of Making Stars
This is not an abstract painting. It is a nursery for new stars. It is called Rho Ophiuchi, and it is one of the closest star-forming complexes to Earth, 460 light-years away. It is in the constellation Ophiuchus, found high in the sky on summer nights in the northern hemisphere. This infrared image was shot by NASA?s WISE spacecraft, short for Wide-field Infrared Explorer.
An Extended Stellar Family
This swirling landscape of stars is known as the North American nebula. In visible light, the region resembles North America, but in this new infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the continent disappears.
The Orion Nebula: Still Full of Surprises
This ethereal-looking image of the Orion Nebula was captured using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile. This nebula is much more than just a pretty face, offering astronomers a close-up view of a massive star-forming region to help advance our understanding of stellar birth and evolution. The data used for this image were selected by Igor Chekalin (Russia), who participated in ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition. Igor's composition of the Orion Nebula was the seventh highest ranked entry in the competition, although another of Igor's images was the eventual overall winner.
Courtesy European Southern Observatory
Hubble and Chandra spot a celestial bauble
This delicate shell, photographed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, appears to float serenely in the depths of space, but this apparent calm hides an inner turmoil. The gaseous envelope formed as the expanding blast wave and ejected material from a supernova tore through the nearby interstellar medium.
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
The Glow of a Dying Star
A dying star known as NGC 1514. It was shot in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE satellite. The object is actually a pair of stars -- one, a dying giant somewhat heavier and hotter than our sun, the other an even larger star that has now contracted into a dense body called a white dwarf. As the giant star ages, it sheds some its outer layers of material to form a large bubble (orange) around the two stars.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/Digitized Sky Survey/STScI
A Star Nursery Hidden by Cosmic Dust
NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope has found what may be the youngest black hole ever spotted. It is only 30 years old. It is the remnant of a supernova called SN 1979C, which astronomers saw exploding in 1979. Like all black holes, its gravity is so powerful that it even pulls in light waves, making it invisible, but astrophysicists say it is 50 million light-years away, in a galaxy called M100.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al, Optical: ESO/VLT, Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech
A Star Nursery Hidden by Cosmic Dust
This image was captured by NASA's EPOXI mission between Nov. 3 and 4, 2010, during the spacecraft's flyby of comet Hartley 2. It was captured using the spacecraft's Medium-Resolution Instrument.
A Frozen Galaxy Where Stars Are Born
A new image from the European Southern Observatory?s VISTA survey telescope in Chile reveals glowing tendrils of gas, dark clouds and young stars in the constellation of Monoceros the Unicorn, just left of Orion in the winter sky. This star-forming region, known as Monoceros R2, is embedded in a huge dark cloud. The region is almost completely obscured by interstellar dust when viewed in visible light, but is spectacular in the infrared, as seen here.
Courtesy European Southern Observatory
Stunning Spiral Galaxy Found in Coma Cluster
A section of the Carina Nebula, imaged by the Hubble Telescope. Each of the dark "pillars" of cold hydrogen and dust is about one light-year long, or about six trillion miles. Physicists say these are regions where new stars are born. The nebula is approximately 7,500 light-years from Earth, visible from the southern hemisphere.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Project (STScI/AURA)
Cosmic Chaos: When Galaxies Collide
This long-exposure Hubble Space Telescope image shows a spiral galaxy located in the Coma Cluster of galaxies, 320 million light-years away from Earth. Home to nearly 1,000 galaxies, the Coma Cluster is one of the densest collections of galaxies in the nearby universe, according to NASA.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Photos From the Final Frontier
This new NASA image released shows the Antennae galaxies, which are located about 62 million light-years from Earth and started colliding more than 100 million years ago. The galaxies are named for their long antennalike "arms. This composite includes images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Courtesy NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI
All-Sky Image Shows 'Oldest Light' in the Universe
On July 11, 2010, the moon passed directly in front of the sun, causing a total solar eclipse in the South Pacific. The eclipse is shown (black and white) in a photo from the Williams College Expedition to Easter Island. Around it, in red, is an image of the sun's outer corona from the SOHO spacecraft. SOHO uses a disk to blot out the sun so that the faint outer corona can be studied. An image of the sun, taken at about the same time by the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, was added in the middle.
NASA/ESA/Williams College Eclipse Expedition
Photos From the Final Frontier
After a one-year survey, the European Space Agency's Planck satellite has released its first image of the entire sky. The main disc of light across the center is the Milky Way galaxy. The backdrop at the top and bottom of the image is the "cosmic microwave background radiation," which is the oldest light in the universe. The data generated by Planck will help scientists understand how the universe developed and how it works now.
Stellar Shrapnel: Aftermath of a Supernova Explosion
Captured by the wide field imager at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, this image shows a region around the star R Coronae Australis. The star is in the center of a star-forming region and is surrounded by a blue nebula in a giant dust cloud. The nebula is about 420 light-years away from Earth.
Stellar Shrapnel: Aftermath of a Supernova Explosion
This photo shows the surface of Saturn's moone Dione against Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
A new observation from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope reveals evidence of a bullet-shaped object that was blown out of debris field left by an exploded star. This composite image shows N49, the aftermath of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud in the southern hemisphere.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S. Park et al. Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y.H. Chu & R. Williams et al.
Hubble Catches Star Eating a Planet
For the first time, astronomers say they've detected a superstorm in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, a planet about 60 percent the mass of Jupiter, orbiting a star about 150 light-years from Earth.
In the journal Nature, the team of astronomers from the U.S. and the Netherlands wrote that in the atmosphere of the planet HD209458b, a super wind is blowing at a speed of about 3,100 to 6,200 mph.
"HD209458b is definitely not a place for the faint-hearted ‚" said Ignas Snellen, who led the team of astronomers.
How Did Jupiter Lose a Stripe?
The Hubble space telescope has observed a planet being swallowed by its parent star. This artist's concept shows the exoplanet WASP-12b, the hottest known planet in the Milky Way galaxy. According to NASA, the planet is so close to its sun-like parent star that tidal forces have stretched the planet into an egg shape and it's so hot that it has expanded to the point where its outer atmosphere "spills into the star." Scientists expect the star to consume the planet in 10 million years. Hubble can't get a clear photograph the planet because it's too far away, but this artist's rendering is partly based on observations made by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, a new instrument that was added to Hubble last year.
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
Jupiter Loses a Stripe
One of Jupiter's two main cloud belts has completely disappeared, to the surprise of scientists who study the solar system's largest planet.
"This is a big event," says planetary scientist Glenn Orton of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "We're monitoring the situation closely and do not yet fully understand what's going on."
The brown ring of clouds, known as the South Equatorial Belt (SEB), is twice as wide as Earth and more than twenty times as long. Orton thinks the belt may not have disappeared, but could instead be hidden behind other clouds. Scientists say the belt has faded out before.
Hubble Captures Runaway Star
A runaway star was seen rushing away from this stellar nursery, traveling more than 248,000 mph in this Hubble telescope image. At that speed, you could get to the moon and back in two hours.
To celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope's 20th Birthday, NASA released this new image. "Pillar & Jets" shows a small portion of one of the largest known star-birth areas of the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. The Hubble telescope was launched April 24, 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
'Cosmic Rose' Bursts With New Stars
Rainbows in space? Not exactly. The colors in this Hubble telescope image show that Einstein was right, and that a star or galaxy with strong gravity slightly bends the space around it. Different colors correspond to different distances from the earth. Some of the warping here was probably caused by mysterious "dark matter," which probably makes up much of the universe.
NASA/ESA/P. Simon (University of Bonn)/T. Schrabback (Leiden Observatory)