The Eye of Jupiter


jupitereye_0Not really. The trick is that the planet seems to be looking back at us because Hubble happened to catch the shadow of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, as it moved across the Giant Red Spot. Hubble was monitoring changes in that huge storm last April when the moon’s shadow moved across the center of the storm. For a moment, Jupiter became Cyclops.

Image Credit: NASA

Blue Whisps


Turquoise-tinted plumes in the Large Magellanic CloudThis Hubble image shows part of the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The colors seen in this picture are different from what we normally see in the images of the Large Magellanic Cloud  because an unusual set of filters was used. The customary R filter, which passes red light, was replaced by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. Hydrogen gas normally appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. In this case, however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters.

Image Credit: NASA

NGC 3310


NGC 3310NGC 3310 is a grand design spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It is also a starburst galaxy. (Starburst galaxies are undergoing an exceptionally high rate of star formation.) NGC 3310 probably collided with one of its satellite galaxies about 100 million years ago, triggering widespread star formation. The ring clusters of NGC 3310 have been undergoing starburst activity for at least the last 40 million years.

Image Credit: NASA

NGC 4206


A dusty spiral in VirgoNGC 4206 is about 70 million light-years away. It was imaged as part of a Hubble survey of nearby edge-on spiral galaxies made to measure the effect that the material between the stars, called the interstellar medium, has on the light that travels through it. Astronomers have been able to map the absorption and scattering of light by the material which causes objects to appear redder to distant observers.

Image Credit:  ESA / NASA
Acknowledgement: Nick Rose

A Supernova Remnant


DEM L 190These delicate filaments are actually sheets of debris from a stellar explosion in a neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small companion galaxy to the Milky Way visible from the southern hemisphere. This remnant, know as N49 or DEM L 190, is from a massive star that died in a supernova blast thousands of years ago. This filamentary material will eventually be recycled into building new generations of stars in the LMC. Our own Sun and planets were formed from similar debris of supernovae that exploded in our own galaxy billions of years ago.

These filaments harbor a very powerful spinning neutron star that may be the central remnant from the supernova. It is quite common for the core of an exploded supernova star to become a spinning neutron star (or pulsar) after the immediate shedding of the supernova’s outer layers.  The pulsar in N 49 is spinning at a rate of once every 8 seconds. It also has a super-strong magnetic field a thousand trillion times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field. This places this star into the exclusive class of objects called “magnetars.”

Image Credit: NASA