The sharp eye of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured the tiny moon Phobos during its orbital trek around Mars. Because the moon is so small, it appears star-like in the Hubble pictures.
Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate exposures, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon's orbital path. The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon's cameo appearance was a bonus.
A football-shaped object just 16.5 miles by 13.5 miles by 11 miles, Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system. It is so tiny that it would fit comfortably inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway.
Three moons and their shadows parade across Jupiter near the end of the event at 07:10 UT on January 24, 2015. Europa has entered the frame at lower left. Slower-moving Callisto is above and to the right of Europa. Fastest-moving Io is approaching the eastern limb of the planet. Europa's shadow is toward the left side of the image and Callisto's shadow to the right. (The moons' orbital velocities are proportionally slower with increasing distance from the planet.)
From Hubble, a distorted galaxy NGC 2442 can be found in the southern constellation of the flying fish, (Piscis) Volans. Located about 50 million light-years away, the galaxy's two spiral arms extending from a pronounced central bar have a hook-like appearance in wide-field images. But this mosaicked close-up, constructed from Hubble Space Telescope and European Southern Observatory data, follows the galaxy's structure in amazing detail. Obscuring dust lanes, young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions surround a core of yellowish light from an older population of stars. The sharp image data also reveal more distant background galaxies seen right through NGC 2442's star clusters and nebulae. The image spans about 75,000 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 2442.
From Earth, Saturn never shows a crescent phase. But when viewed from a spacecraft the majestic giant planet can show just a sunlit slice. This image of crescent Saturn in natural color was taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in 2007. It captures Saturn's rings from the side of the ring plane opposite the Sun -- the unilluminated side -- another vista not visible from Earth. Visible are subtle colors of cloud bands, the complex shadows of the rings on the planet, and the shadow of the planet on the rings. The moons Mimas, at 2 o'clock, and Janus 4 o'clock, can be seen as specks of light, but the real challenge is to find Pandora (8 o'clock). From Earth, Saturn's disk is nearly full now and opposite the Sun. Along with bright fellow giant planet
What planets are those behind that unusual rock spire? Saturn (lower left) and Jupiter. This month, after sunset, the bright planetary duo are quite prominent toward the southeast. Now your view of our Solar System's largest planets might not include a picturesque hoodoo in the foreground, nor the spectacular central band of our Milky Way Galaxy across the background, but should be quite eye-catching anyway. The featured image is a composite of consecutive foreground and background exposures all taken in late May with the same camera and from the same location -- the badlands of the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, USA. The rock spire, informally dubbed 'Alien Throne', stands about 3 meters tall. Saturn and Jupiter will remain visible together after sunset for several months. Image credit: Marcin Zając
Hi-RISE, the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this avalanche plunging down a 1,640-foot-tall (500-meter-tall) cliff on May 29, 2019. The image also reveals layers at Mars' north pole during spring. As temperatures increase and vaporize ice, the destabilized ice blocks break loose and kick up dust.
NASA's Curiosity rover took this selfie on Oct. 11, 2019, the 2,553rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. The rover drilled twice in this location, nicknamed "Glen Etive" (pronounced "glen EH-tiv"). About 984 feet (300 meters) behind the rover, Vera Rubin Ridge rises up. Behind it lies the floor of Gale Crater, which Curiosity is exploring, and the northern rim of the crater.
From the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter comes a new view of Earth and its moon, showing continent-size detail on the planet and the relative size of the moon. The image combines two separate exposures taken on Nov. 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The images were taken to calibrate HiRISE data, since the reflectance of the moon's Earth-facing side is well known. For presentation, the exposures were processed separately to optimize detail visible on both Earth and the moon. The moon is much darker than Earth and would barely be visible if shown at the same brightness scale as Earth.
The combined view retains the correct positions and sizes of the two bodies relative to each other. The distance between Earth and the moon is about 30 times the diameter of Earth. Earth and the moon appear closer than they actually are in this image because the observation was planned for a time at which the moon was almost directly behind Earth, from Mars' point of view, to see the Earth-facing side of the moon.
In the image, the reddish feature near the middle of the face of Earth is Australia. When the component images were taken, Mars was about 127 million miles (205 million kilometers) from Earth.
Do other stars have planets like our Sun? Previous evidence shows that they do, coming mostly from slight shifts in the star's light created by the orbiting planets. Recently, however, and for the first time, a pair of planets has been directly imaged around a Sun-like star. These exoplanets orbit the star designated TYC 8998-760-1 and are identified by arrows in the featured infrared image. At 17 million years old, the parent star is much younger than the 5-billion-year age of our Sun. Also, the exoplanets are both more massive and orbit further out than their Solar System analogues: Jupiter and Saturn. The exoplanets were found by the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile by their infrared glow – after the light from their parent star was artificially blocked.
Does the Moon ever block out Mars? Yes, the Moon occasionally moves in front of all of the Solar System's planets. Just this past Sunday, as visible from some locations in South America, a waning gibbous Moon eclipsed Mars. The featured image from Córdoba, Argentina captured this occultation well, showing a familiar cratered Moon in the foreground with the bright planet Mars unusually adjacent. Within a few seconds, Mars then disappeared behind the Moon, only to reappear a few minutes later across the Moon. Today the Moon moves close to, but not in front of, Venus. Because alignments will not have changed by much, the next two times the Moon passes through this part of the sky – in early September and early October – it will also occult Mars, as seen from parts of South America. Image by Sergio Scauso
Why would meteor trails appear curved? The arcing effect arises only because the image artificially compresses (nearly) the whole sky into a rectangle. The meteors are from the Perseid Meteor Shower that peaked last week. The featured multi-frame image combines not only different directions from the 360 projection, but different times when bright Perseid meteors momentarily streaked across the sky. All Perseid meteors can be traced back to the constellation Perseus toward the lower left, even the seemingly curved (but really straight) meteor trails. Although Perseids always point back to their Perseus radiant, they can appear almost anywhere on the sky. The image was taken from Inner Mongolia, China, where grasslands meet sand dunes. Many treasures also visible in the busy night sky including the central arch of our Milky Way Galaxy, the planets Saturn and Jupiter toward the right, colorful airglow on the central left, and some relatively nearby Earthly clouds. The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks every August. Image by Jingyi Zhang.
Piggy backing on @NYC_Frank...The Big Guy eating up Shoemaker-Levy 9..can you imagine if that got through and hit the Earth...bye-bye consciousness.
These images of Jupiter show the luminous night-side impact of fragment W of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 were taken by the Galileo spacecraft on July 22, 1994.
The black-and-white image consists of four frames taken over a 7-second period. It shows the beginning, brightening and fading of a bright point about 44 degrees south latitude on the far side of Jupiter from the Earth.
Galileo was 148 million miles (238 million kilometers) from Jupiter at the time, and 386 million miles (621 million kilometers) from Earth.
This is a composite photo, assembled from separate images of Jupiter and comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, as imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. The image of the comet, showing 21 fragments, was taken on May 17, 1994. The image of Jupiter was taken on May 18, 1994. The dark spot on the planet is the shadow of the inner moon lo.
This mosaic of WFPC-2 images shows the evolution of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 G impact site on Jupiter. The images from lower left to upper right show: the impact plume at 07/18/94 07:38 UT (about 5 minutes after the impact); the fresh impact site at 07/18/94 at 09:19 UT (1.5 hours after impact); the impact site after evolution by the winds of Jupiter (left), along with the L impact (right), taken on 07/21/94 at 6:22 UT (3 days after the G impact and 1.3 days after the L impact); and further evolution of the G and L sites due to winds and an additional impact (S) in the G vicinity, taken on 07/23/94 at 08:08 UT (5 days after the G impact).
Infrared video of an impact from Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter
These interactive apps are super cool...
Follow NASA's Perseverance Rover in Real Time on Its Way to Mars with Eyes on the Solar System. Eyes doesn't just let you see the distance between the Red Planet and the spacecraft at this very moment. You can also fly formation with Mars 2020 or check the relative velocity between Mars and Earth or, say, the dwarf planet Pluto. Dozens of controls on pop-up menus allow you to customize not just what you see – from faraway to right "on board" a spacecraft – but also how you see it: Choose the 3D mode, and all you need is a pair of red-cyan anaglyph glasses for a more immersive experience.
You don't have to stop at Mars, either. You can travel throughout the solar system and even through time. The website not only uses real-time data and imagery from NASA's fleet of spacecraft, it's also populated with NASA data going back to 1950 and projected to 2050. Location, motion, and appearance are based on predicted and reconstructed mission data.
The barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 4907 shows its starry face from 270 million light-years away to anyone who can see it from the Northern Hemisphere. This is a new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of the face-on galaxy, displaying its beautiful spiral arms, wound loosely around its central bright bar of stars.
Shining brightly below the galaxy is a star that is actually within our own Milky Way galaxy. This star appears much brighter than the billions of stars in NGC 4907 as it is 100,000 times closer, residing only 2,500 light-years away.
NGC 4907 is also part of the Coma Cluster, a group of over 1,000 galaxies, some of which can be seen around NGC 4907 in this image. This massive cluster of galaxies lies within the constellation of Coma Berenices, which is named for the locks of Queen Berenice II of Egypt: the only constellation named after a historical person.
NGC 1614, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is an eccentrically shaped galaxy ablaze with activity. The galaxy resides about 200 million light-years from Earth and is nestled in the southern constellation of Eridanus (the River). It is the result of an active galactic merger, which creates its peculiar appearance, including a tidal tail. The cosmic collision also drives a turbulent flow of interstellar gas from the smaller of the two galaxies involved into the nucleus of the larger one, resulting in a burst of star formation that started in the core and has slowly spread outward through the galaxy.
Looking its best ever is the star cluster NGC 2203, here imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Aside from its dazzling good looks, this cluster of stars contains lots of astronomical treats that have helped astronomers puzzle together the lifetimes of stars.
A main-sequence star, like our Sun, is the term applied to a star during the longest period of its life, when it burns fuel steadily. Our Sun’s fuel will run out in approximately 6 billion years, and it will then move on to the next stage of its life when it will turn into a red giant. Astronomers studying NGC 2203, which contains stars that are roughly twice as massive as our Sun, found that rotation rates might be a factor as to why some of the stars stay longer than usual in this main-sequence phase of their life.
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features the spectacular galaxy NGC 2442, nicknamed the Meathook galaxy owing to its extremely asymmetrical and irregular shape.
This galaxy was host to a supernova explosion spotted in March 2015, known as SN 2015F, that was created by a white dwarf star. The white dwarf was part of a binary star system and siphoned mass from its companion, eventually becoming too greedy and taking on more than it could handle. This unbalanced the star and triggered runaway nuclear fusion that eventually led to an intensely violent supernova explosion. The supernova shone brightly for quite some time and was easily visible from Earth through even a small telescope until months later.
Not necessarily "space" but good science.
The “surfer waves” in this image, forming high above the Alaskan sky, illuminate the invisible currents in the upper atmosphere. They were measured by trimethyl-aluminum gas released during a sounding rocket launch from Poker Flat, Alaska, on Jan. 26, 2018. Scientists photograph the gas, which is not harmful to humans, after it instantaneously ignites when exposed to oxygen.
Such curling waves are a product of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, which occurs when streams of gas or liquid pass by each other at different speeds. As the streams grate against one another, they produce characteristic curls that appear all over in nature, from the ocean’s surface to the swirling dust along Jupiter’s belt.
Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina observed the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability shown here some 65 miles above Earth. As the waves dissipated, they created turbulence, mixing the gases above and below them. This turbulent sloshing within an otherwise stable layer of the atmosphere shows one way gases move up and down in our atmosphere. It could explain why molecular nitrogen, which is heavy, is sometimes observed much higher than it should be, while lighter atomic oxygen somehow sinks below.
Understanding how winds move through the atmosphere contributes an extra puzzle piece to the entire atmospheric system – where a slight temperature imbalance at the equator can ultimately lead to huge gusts of wind high above the arctic.
Some of the most dramatic events in the universe occur when certain stars die — and explode catastrophically in the process.
Such explosions, known as supernovae, mainly occur in a couple of ways. In one scenario, a massive star depletes its fuel at the end of its life, becoming dynamically unstable and unable to support its bulk, causing it to collapse inward and violently explode. In another outcome, a white dwarf (the dense remnant of a once-normal star) in an orbiting stellar couple siphons more mass off its companion than it is able to support, igniting runaway nuclear fusion in its core and beginning the supernova process. Both types result in an intensely bright object in the sky that can rival the light of a whole galaxy.
In the last 20 years the galaxy NGC 5468, visible in this image, has hosted a number of observed supernovae of both the aforementioned types: SN 1999cp, SN 2002cr, SN2002ed, SN2005P and SN2018dfg. Despite being just over 130 million light-years away, the orientation of the galaxy with respect to us makes it easier to spot these new “stars” as they appear; we see NGC 5468 face on, meaning we can see the galaxy’s loose, open spiral pattern in beautiful detail in images such as this one from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Haven't had some of the big guy Jupiter in a few posts so....
This view from NASA's Juno spacecraft captures colorful, intricate patterns in a jet stream region of Jupiter's northern hemisphere known as "Jet N3."
Jupiter's cloud tops do not form a simple, flat surface. Data from Juno helped scientists discover that the swirling bands in the atmosphere extend deep into the planet, to a depth of about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers). At center right, a patch of bright, high-altitude "pop-up" clouds rises above the surrounding atmosphere.
Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt created this enhanced-color image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager. The original image was taken on May 29, 2019, at 1:01 a.m. PDT (4:01 a.m. EDT) as the Juno spacecraft performed its 20th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 6,000 miles (9,700 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds, at a latitude of 39 degrees north.
In 1572, Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was among those who noticed a new bright object in the constellation Cassiopeia. Adding fuel to the intellectual fire that Copernicus started, Tycho showed this “new star” was far beyond the Moon, and that it was possible for the universe beyond the Sun and planets to change.
Astronomers now know that Tycho’s new star was not new at all. Rather it signaled the death of a star in a supernova, an explosion so bright that it can outshine the light from an entire galaxy. This particular supernova was a Type Ia, which occurs when a white dwarf star pulls material from, or merges with, a nearby companion star until a violent explosion is triggered. The white dwarf star is obliterated, sending its debris hurtling into space.
As with many supernova remnants, the Tycho supernova remnant, as it’s known today (or “Tycho,” for short), glows brightly in X-ray light because shock waves – similar to sonic booms from supersonic aircraft – generated by the stellar explosion heat the stellar debris up to millions of degrees. In its two decades of operation, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured unparalleled X-ray images of many supernova remnants.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope took this amazing and colourful image of the Lagoon Nebula. The whole nebula, about 4000 light-years away, is an incredible 55 light-years wide and 20 light-years tall. This image shows only a small part of this turbulent star-formation region, about four light-years across. It is located in the Mily Way in the constellation Sagittarius.
This stunning nebula was first catalogued in 1654 by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna, who sought to record nebulous objects in the night sky so they would not be mistaken for comets. The observations were taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.
This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a dramatic dust-and-gas landscape of plateaus, mountains, and valleys that are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.
The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars. The bright central region is the home of the four heftiest stars in the nebula. The stars are called the Trapezium because they are arranged in a trapezoid pattern. Ultraviolet light unleashed by these stars is carving a cavity in the nebula and disrupting the growth of hundreds of smaller stars. Located near the Trapezium stars are stars still young enough to have disks of material encircling them. These disks are called protoplanetary disks or "proplyds" and are too small to see clearly in this image. The disks are the building blocks of solar systems.
The bright glow at upper left is from M43, a small region being shaped by a massive, young star's ultraviolet light. Astronomers call the region a miniature Orion Nebula because only one star is sculpting the landscape. The Orion Nebula has four such stars. Next to M43 are dense, dark pillars of dust and gas that point toward the Trapezium. These pillars are resisting erosion from the Trapezium's intense ultraviolet light. The glowing region on the right reveals arcs and bubbles formed when stellar winds - streams of charged particles ejected from the Trapezium stars - collide with material.
The faint red stars near the bottom are the myriad brown dwarfs that Hubble spied for the first time in the nebula in visible light. Sometimes called "failed stars," brown dwarfs are cool objects that are too small to be ordinary stars because they cannot sustain nuclear fusion in their cores the way our Sun does. The dark red column, below, left, shows an illuminated edge of the cavity wall.
The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years away, the nearest star-forming region to Earth. Astronomers used 520 Hubble images, taken in five colours, to make this picture. They also added ground-based photos to fill out the nebula. The ACS mosaic covers approximately the apparent angular size of the full moon.
Resembling a nightmarish beast rearing its head from a crimson sea, this celestial object is actually just a pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (in NGC 2264) - so named because in ground-based images it has a conical shape - this monstrous pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region. This picture, taken by the newly installed Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the upper 2.5 light-years of the Cone, a height that equals 23 million roundtrips to the Moon. The entire pillar is seven light-years long.
Radiation from hot, young stars (located beyond the top of the image) has slowly eroded the nebula over millions of years. Ultraviolet light heats the edges of the dark cloud, releasing gas into the relatively empty region of surrounding space. There, additional ultraviolet radiation causes the hydrogen gas to glow, which produces the red halo of light seen around the pillar. A similar process occurs on a much smaller scale to gas surrounding a single star, forming the bow-shaped arc seen near the upper left side of the Cone. This arc, seen previously with the Hubble telescope, is 65 times larger than the diameter of our Solar System. The blue-white light from surrounding stars is reflected by dust. Background stars can be seen peeking through the evaporating tendrils of gas, while the turbulent base is pockmarked with stars reddened by dust.
SS 433: Binary Star Micro-Quasar
SS 433 is one of the most exotic star systems known. Its unremarkable name stems from its inclusion in a catalog of Milky Way stars which emit radiation characteristic of atomic hydrogen. Its remarkable behavior stems from a compact object, a black hole or neutron star, which has produced an accretion disk with jets. Because the disk and jets from SS 433 resemble those surrounding supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies, SS 433 is considered a micro-quasar. As illustrated in the animated featured video based on observational data, a massive, hot, normal star is locked in orbit with the compact object. As the video starts, material is shown being gravitationally ripped from the normal star and falling onto an accretion disk. The central star also blasts out jets of ionized gas in opposite directions – each at about 1/4 the speed of light. The video then pans out to show a top view of the precessing jets producing an expanding spiral. From even greater distances, the dissipating jets are then visualized near the heart of supernova remnant W50. Two years ago, SS 433 was unexpectedly found by the HAWC detector array in Mexico to emit unusually high energy (TeV-range) gamma-rays. Surprises continue, as a recent analysis of archival data taken by NASA's Fermi satellite find a gamma-ray source -- separated from the central stars as shown -- that pulses in gamma-rays with a period of 162 days – the same as SS 433's jet precession period.
NGC 6357: Cathedral to Massive Stars
How massive can a normal star be? Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had given one star in the open cluster Pismis 24 over 200 times the mass of our Sun, making it one of the most massive stars known. This star is the brightest object located just above the gas front in the featured image. Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from three at least. Component stars would still remain near 100 solar masses, making them among the more massive stars currently on record. Toward the bottom of the image, stars are still forming in the associated emission nebula NGC 6357. Appearing perhaps like a Gothic cathedral, energetic stars near the center appear to be breaking out and illuminating a spectacular cocoon.
Shrouded in a thick atmosphere, Saturn's largest moon Titan really is hard to see. Small particles suspended in the upper atmosphere cause an almost impenetrable haze, strongly scattering light at visible wavelengths and hiding Titan's surface features from prying eyes. But Titan's surface is better imaged at infrared wavelengths where scattering is weaker and atmospheric absorption is reduced. Arrayed around this visible light image (center) of Titan are some of the clearest global infrared views of the tantalizing moon so far. In false color, the six panels present a consistent processing of 13 years of infrared image data from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on board the Cassini spacecraft. They offer a stunning comparison with Cassini's visible light view.
Can't remember if this has been posted, still a great shot...
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on 20 June 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth, at approximately 1.36 billion kilometres away.
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe's most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat.
At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 30 million light-years from Earth.
This stunning image of NGC 1275 was taken using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. It provides amazing detail and resolution of the fragile filamentary structures, which show up as a reddish lacy structure surrounding the central bright galaxy NGC 1275. These filaments are cool despite being surrounded by gas that is around 55 million degrees Celsius hot. They are suspended in a magnetic field which maintains their structure and demonstrates how energy from the central black hole is transferred to the surrounding gas.
By observing the filamentary structure, astronomers were, for the first time, able to estimate the magnetic field's strength. Using this information they demonstrated how the extragalactic magnetic fields have maintained the structure of the filaments against collapse caused by either gravitational forces or the violence of the surrounding cluster during their 100-million-year lifetime.
This is the first time astronomers have been able to differentiate the individual threads making up such filaments to this degree. Astonishingly, they distinguished threads a mere 200 light-years across. By contrast, the filaments seen here can be a gaping 200 000 light-years long. The entire image is approximately 260 000 light-years across.
Also seen in the image are impressive lanes of dust from a separate spiral galaxy. It lies partly in front of the giant elliptical central cluster galaxy and has been completed disrupted by the tidal gravitational forces within the galaxy cluster. Several striking filaments of blue newborn stars are seen crossing the image.
What will be the next star in our Milky Way galaxy to explode as a supernova? Astronomers aren't certain, but one candidate is in Eta Carinae, a volatile system containing two massive stars that closely orbit each other. This image has three types of light: optical data from Hubble (appearing as white), ultraviolet (cyan) from Hubble, and X-rays from Chandra (appearing as purple emission). The previous eruptions of this star have resulted in a ring of hot, X-ray emitting gas about 2.3 light years in diameter surrounding these two stars.
Another veil for you @NYC_Frank
While appearing as a delicate and light veil draped across the sky, this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope actually depicts a small section of the Cygnus supernova blast wave, located around 2,400 light-years away. The name of the supernova remnant comes from its position in the northern constellation of Cygnus (the Swan), where it covers an area 36 times larger than the full Moon.
The original supernova explosion blasted apart a dying star about 20 times more massive than our Sun between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. Since then, the remnant has expanded 60 light-years from its center. The shockwave marks the outer edge of the supernova remnant and continues to expand at around 220 miles per second. The interaction of the ejected material and the low-density interstellar material swept up by the shockwave forms the distinctive veil-like structure seen in this image.
This gives you an idea of how tiny we are...
Measuring in at 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) in width (as of April 3, 2017) Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth.
M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is the closest large spiral galaxy to our Milky Way. Some 2.5 million light-years distant it shines in Earth's night sky as a small, faint, elongated cloud just visible to the unaided eye. Invisible to the eye though, its enormous halo of hot ionized gas is represented in purplish hues for this digital illustration of our neighboring galaxy above rocky terrain. Mapped by Hubble Space Telescope observations of the absorption of ultraviolet light against distant quasars, the extent and make-up of Andromeda's gaseous halo has been recently determined by the AMIGA project. A reservoir of material for future star formation, Andromeda's halo of diffuse plasma was measured to extend around 1.3 million light-years or more from the galaxy. That's about half way to the Milky Way, likely putting it in contact with the diffuse gaseous halo of our own galaxy...a galactic handshake?
Illuminating planet Earth's night, full moons can have many names. This year the last full moon of northern hemisphere summer was on September 2, known to some as the Full Corn Moon. A few days earlier on August 30 this almost full moon rose just before sunset though, shining through cloudy skies over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida's Space Coast. A well-timed snapshot caught the glare of rocket engines firing below the lunar disk, a Falcon 9 rocket's first stage successfully returning to Cape Canaveral's landing zone 1. About 9 minutes earlier, the same SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had launched the SAOCOM 1B satellite toward polar orbit. The fourth launch for this reusable Falcon 9 first stage, it was the first launch to a polar orbit from Cape Canaveral since 1969. Photo by Katie Darby.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft was a little more than one Earth diameter from Jupiter when it captured this mind-bending, color-enhanced view of the planet’s tumultuous atmosphere.
Jupiter completely fills the image, with only a hint of the terminator (where daylight fades to night) in the upper right corner, and no visible limb (the curved edge of the planet).
Juno took this image of colorful, turbulent clouds in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere on Dec. 16, 2017 at 9:43 a.m. PST (12:43 p.m. EST) from 8,292 miles (13,345 kilometers) above the tops of Jupiter’s clouds, at a latitude of 48.9 degrees.
The spatial scale in this image is 5.8 miles/pixel (9.3 kilometers/pixel).
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows Sh 2-106, or S106 for short. This is a compact star forming region in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). A newly-formed star called S106 IR is shrouded in dust at the centre of the image, and is responsible for the surrounding gas cloud’s hourglass-like shape and the turbulence visible within. Light from glowing hydrogen is coloured blue in this image.
A bright storm head with a long turbulent wake swims across Jupiter in these sharp telescopic images of the Solar System's ruling gas giant. Captured on August 26, 28, and September 1 (left to right) the storm approximately doubles in length during that period. Stretching along the jetstream of the planet's North Temperate Belt it travels eastward in successive frames, passing the Great Red Spot and whitish Oval BA, famous storms in Jupiter's southern hemisphere. Galilean moons Callisto and Io are caught in the middle frame. In fact, telescopic skygazers following Jupiter in planet Earth's night have reported dramatic fast moving storm outbreaks over the past few weeks in Jupiter's North Temperate Belt. Image by Andy Casely .
Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the bright stars of the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. With a long exposure from a dark location, though, the dust cloud surrounding the Pleiades star cluster becomes very evident. The featured exposure covers a sky area several times the size of the full moon. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the Pleiades lies about 400 light years away toward the constellation of the Bull (Taurus). A common legend with a modern twist is that one of the brighter stars faded since the cluster was named, leaving only six of the sister stars visible to the unaided eye. The actual number of Pleiades stars visible, however, may be more or less than seven, depending on the darkness of the surrounding sky and the clarity of the observer's eyesight. Photo by Raul Villaverde Fraile
The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of this cosmic community, NGC 4388, is captured in this image, as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
Located some 60 million light-years away, NGC 4388 is experiencing some of the less desirable effects that come with belonging to such a massive galaxy cluster. It is undergoing a transformation, and has taken on a somewhat confused identity.
While the galaxy’s outskirts appear smooth and featureless, a classic feature of an elliptical galaxy, its centre displays remarkable dust lanes constrained within two symmetric spiral arms, which emerge from the galaxy’s glowing core — one of the obvious features of a spiral galaxy. Within the arms, speckles of bright blue mark the locations of young stars, indicating that NGC 4388 has hosted recent bursts of star formation.
Despite the mixed messages, NGC 4388 is classified as a spiral galaxy. Its unusual combination of features are thought to have been caused by interactions between NGC 4388 and the Virgo Cluster. Gravitational interactions — from glancing blows to head-on collisions, tidal influencing, mergers, and galactic cannibalism — can be devastating to galaxies. While some may be lucky enough to simply suffer a distorted spiral arm or newly-triggered wave of star formation, others see their structure and contents completely and irrevocably altered.
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