This JWST’s near-infrared view of Herbig-Haro 211 reveals exquisite detail of the outflow of a young star. Herbig-Haro objects are formed when high speed stellar winds or jets of gas flowing from newborn stars produce shock waves as they collide with nearby gas and dust.

The bow shocks in this image are moving to the southeast (lower-left) and northwest (upper-right) powered by the narrow bipolar jets from the star. Molecules excited by the turbulent conditions, including hydrogen, carbon monoxide and silicon monoxide, glow in infrared light.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / Tom Ray (Dublin)


Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star, one of the largest visible to the naked eye. It is usually the tenth-brightest star in the night sky and the second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. It is a semiregular variable star with an apparent magnitude varying between +0.0 and +1.6. It has the widest range of brightness displayed by any first-magnitude star.

Beginning in October, 2019, Betelgeuse began to dim noticeably, and by February, 2020, its brightness had dropped from magnitude 0.5 to 1.7, a factor of 3. It then returned to more normal brightness by April, 2023. Observations using the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that dust created by a surface mass ejection was the cause of the unusual dimming.

The image above show Betelgeuse surrounded by a clumpy envelope of material in its immediate vicinity. It was taken by the Herschel Space Observatory in 2013.

Image Credit: ESA

NGC 3156

This is NGC 3156, a lenticular galaxy with visible threads of dark reddish-brown dust across its disk. Lenticular galaxies have lens-like appearance when viewed from the side or edge-on. They share characteristics with both elliptical and spiral galaxies. Like spirals, lenticulars have a central bulge of stars and a large disk surrounding it. They often have dark dust lanes like spirals, but no large-scale spiral arms. Like ellipticals, lenticular galaxies have mostly older stars and little ongoing star formation.

NGC 3156 isabout 73 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Sextans.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Terzan 12

The globular star cluster Terzan 12 is an excellent example of how the dust in space affects starlight coming from background objects. The location of this globular cluster, deep in the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius about 15,000 light-years away, means that it is shrouded in gas and dust which absorb its starlight. Intervening dust particles between Earth and the cluster to scatter blue light, so mostly the redder wavelengths make it to Earth, and interstellar dust clouds are inconsistent causing parts of the cluster look redder than others.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann

73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann (aka Schwassmann–Wachmann 3 or SW3) is a periodic comet that has a 5.4 year orbital period and that has been actively disintegrating since 1995. It initially broke into four large pieces labeled 73P-A, B, C and D. As of March 2006, at least eight fragments were known: B, C, G, H, J, L, M and N. This animated gif of Fragment B was put together from Hubble images taken over a period of 3 days in April, 2016.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI

SN 1987A

JWST’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) captured this detailed image of SN 1987A, the remnant of supernova 1987A). The material ejected from the supernova in the center of the remnant forms a keyhole shape. The faint crescents just outside the center were newly discovered by JWST.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / M. Matsuura (Cardiff University) / R. Arendt (GSFC & UMBCy) / C. Fransson

JWST Looks at Neptune

JWST has turned its IR vision on Neptune. The eight planet’s dark and ghostly appearance is caused by atmospheric methane absorbing infrared light. High clouds above most of Neptune’s absorbing methane easily stand out in this image. Because its surface is coated with frozen nitrogen, Neptune’s largest moon Triton (in the upper left) is brighter in than Neptune in reflected IR sunlight. It’s surrounded by JWST’s characteristic diffraction spikes.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI

The Brightest Planetary Nebula in Orion

NGC 2022 is the brightest planetary nebula in the constellation Orion. In early telescopes (and in today’s medium-sized amateur telescopes) such nebulae look like small grayish patches of light. Since they don’t look like stars, but a bit like the gas giant planets, early astronomers tagged them as “planetary nebula,” and the name has stuck.

When stars like the Sun grow old, they expand into red giants. They then begin to lose their outer layers into space, forming a shell of gas. As the evolving star’s core shrinks and grows hotter, it emits ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

A Cosmic Ribbon

This ribbon-like cloud is a small section of an expanding supernova remnant created by a shock wave that heats and ionizes surrounding ambient gas. The supernova is cataloged as SN1066. Light from that supernova reached Earth in 1066 AD, and the “guest star” was visible for a couple of years, at times brighter than Venus. The remnant is still expanding and is over 60 light-years across.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

A Hazy Lenticular Galaxy

NGC 6684 is a lenticular galaxy, disk-shaped  but without the spiral arms of galaxies like the Andromeda Galaxy or our Milky Way. Thus, lenticular galaxies are somewhere between elliptical galaxies and spiral galaxies, often with a diffuse, ghostly look. NGC 6684 also lacks the dark dust lanes that thread through other galaxies, adding to its hazy appearance.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Mergers and Acquisitions

NGC 1512 is a barred spiral galaxy with an unusual double ring structure, one ring around the galactic nucleus and another further out in the main disk. It’s about 38 million light-years away in the constellation Horologium. It’s on a collision course to merge with its smaller neighbor NGC 1510 (on the far right in the picture).

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

First Light Images From Euclid

The Euclid Space Telescope is designed to explore the composition and evolution of the dark Universe. The space telescope is intended to map the large-scale structure of the Universe across space and time by observing galaxies out to 10 billion light-years across more than a third of the sky. Euclid’s instruments have captured their first test images. The images above are from its visible light instrument. The VIS instrument will take super sharp images of billions of galaxies to measure their shapes. Though this test image is full of detail, the area of sky that it covers is actually only about a quarter of the width and height of the full Moon.

Image Credit: ESA

Seeing Through a Dark Nebula

A  pair of young stars lie at the center of the prominent reddish diffraction spikes in this NIRcam image from JWST. Energetic jets of gas from HH (Herbig-Haro) 46/47 extend for over a light-year though a dark nebula that hides the stars when viewed with visible light. JWST’s infrared vision allows a deeper view.

Image Credit:NASA / ESA / CSA
Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

Some Loose Boulders

This image of the Dimorphos was taken by Hubble about four months after the asteroid was hit by the DART mission (Double Asteroid Redirection Test). Hubble’s sensitivity reveals dozens of boulders knocked loose by the impact. They are among the faintest objects Hubble has ever photographed in the Solar System. Hubble’s photometry suggests the boulders range from 3 to 22 feet across. They are drifting away from the asteroid at a roughly a half-mile per hour.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / David Jewitt (UCLA) / Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

CW Leonis

CW Leonis is a carbon star that is embedded in a thick dust envelope. It’s the closest carbon star to Earth. CW Leonis is believed to be in a late stage of its life, blowing off its own sooty atmosphere in the process of forming a white dwarf. Various chemical elements and about 50 molecules have been detected in the outflows from CW Leonis, including nitrogen, oxygen, water, silicon, and iron.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / T. Ueta / H. Kim

UGC 11860

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 took this picture of UGC 11860, a galaxy which lies around 184 million light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. The galaxy recently played host to an almost unimaginably energetic stellar explosion. A supernova explosion was detected in UGC 11860 in 2014 by the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, previously called the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer. My first project with NASA was the design of the power regulators for the x-ray sensors in the Burst Alert Telescope on Swift.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA