V 372 Orionis

V 372 Orionis, just below the center of this frame, is an odd type of variable star known as an Orion Variable. These young stars experience irregular variations in luminosity. Orion Variables are often associated with diffuse nebulae, and V 372 Orionis is no exception; the patchy gas and dust of the Orion Nebula pervade this image.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

A Fading Singray

This video shows how the planetary nebula Hen 3-1357 (aka the Stingray Nebula) has faded since the mid 1990s. The nebula is first seen as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1996, with filaments and tendrils of gas glowing bright blue at its center. Then it transitions to Hubble’s 2016 image, which shows a much dimmer nebula lacking in the pronounced wavy edges.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA/ STScI

NGC 7469

This JWST image is of NGC 7469, a luminous, face-on spiral galaxy approximately 90,000 light-years in diameter that’s around 220 million light-years away. It contgains an active galactic nucleus (AGN), an extremely bright central region dominated by the light emitted by dust and gas falling into the galaxy’s central black hole. The six-pointed spikes that seem to align with center of the galaxy are an imaging artifact known as a diffraction spike. Diffraction spikes are caused by light bending around the sharp edges int optical path of a telescope.

Video: ESA / NASA / CSA
Music: Stellardrone – Twilight
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Messier 17

M17 is also known as the Omega Nebula or Swan Nebula. It’s one of the largest star-forming regions in the galaxy. This Hubble image of a central portion of the nebula has been colorized to highlight certain wavelengths of light. Green represents oxygen while red reveals hydrogen and infrared light.

Image Credit: NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M. Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), the ACS Science Team and ESA


Messier 71 is a bit of a puzzlement. Is it an abnormally dense open star cluster or an unusually loose globular cluster? M71 isabout 13,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagitta. It has an apparent magnitude of 6.1 and appears as a faint patch of light with a pair of binoculars.

This Hubble image of M71 is a composite of  visible and infrared light.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

A Dense Cloud

CB 130-3 is an object known as a dense core, a compact agglomeration of gas and dust in the constellation Serpens. Dense cores like CB 130-3 are the birthplaces of stars. As the cores collapse, enough mass can come together and reach the densities required to ignite hydrogen fusion, marking the birth of a new star. A compact object almost ready to become a fully fledged star is lurking deep within CB 130-3.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

The Carina Nebula

This annotated map of the Carina Nebula was assembled from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The nebula is one of the largest diffuse nebulae. Although it is four times larger than and even brighter than the famous Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is much less well known because of its location in the southern sky.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Sharper Vision

This animation toggles between 2022 James Webb Space Telescope images and 2012 Hubble Space Telescope images of galaxy cluster MACS0647 and the very distant galaxy MACS0647-JD. JWST reveals far more detail than Hubble. Webb detects many more galaxies in the MACS0647 cluster. The three images of MACS0647-JD from JWST show two different features that are not the same color, with the larger area appearing redder and the smaller one appearing bluer. The Hubble images show only a single, pale, red, pixelated dot.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA /STScI

A Cosmic Keyhole

V380 Orionis is a reflection nebula, a cloud of dust and gas illuminated by a young star. At its center is an inky black region that appears like a keyhole into a darkened space beyond the nebula. When the Hubble telescope took this image in 1999, it wasn’t clear if the apparent keyhole was an actual hole through the nebular material, or a dark mass of particularly cold gas or dust. Subsequent observations by the Herschel Space Observatory confirmed that the keyhole really is a hole offering a view to space on the far side of the nebula.

Video Credit: ESA

The Pillars of Creation: Hubble v. Webb

The Hubble Space Telescope’s 1995 image of the Pillars of Creation is one of the most well known astronomical pictures. It was updated in 2014 with a sharper, wider view taken in visible light; that’s shown on the left. The new, near-infrared-light view from the James Webb Space Telescope on the right cuts through more of the dust in this star-forming region. The  dusty pillars aren’t as opaque to infrared light, so many more new red stars can be seen.

Image Credits: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI

A Seyfert Galaxy

The spiral galaxy NGC 5495 lies around 300 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra. It is a Seyfert galaxy, a type of galaxy with a luminous core shining with the light emitted by dust and gas falling into a supermassive black hole. Two bright stellar interlopers from our galaxy are visible in this image. One is just above and to the left of the centre of NGC 5495, and the other is very prominent near the right edge of the frame.

Video :ESA / NASA / J. Greene / R. Colombari
Music: Stellardrone – Billions and Billions
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