Kepler’s Supernova

In 1604, astronomer Johannes Kepler noticed a new bright object in the sky that was visible to the naked eye for the next year-and-a-half. He was seeing a supernova, the death of a star more than ten times the mass of our Sun that was 20,000 light years from Earth. This false color animation shows the remnant of Kepler’s Supernova, first in infrared, then visible light, then low energy x-rays, then high-energy x-rays, and finally all four together.

Video Credits: NASA / ESA / STScI

The Core of M100

Messier 100 is a spiral galaxy located within the southern part of constellation Coma Berenices about 55 million light-years away. It’s about 107,000 light-years in diameter and one of the brightest and largest galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. The image of the galaxy’s core shown above was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009.

Image Credits: ESA / NASA / STScI

A Supernova Remnant

This tangled web is an object known as SNR 0454-67.2. It’s a supernova remnant created after a massive star ended its life in a cataclysmic explosion and threw off its constituent material out into surrounding space. SNR 0454-67.2 lies in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The remnant is probably the leftovers from a Type Ia supernova explosion. A Type IA supernova is the death of a white dwarf star that grown by siphoning material from a stellar companion until it reached critical mass and exploded.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

A Dust Pillar in the Carina Nebula

Carina Dust PillarThis cosmic pillar of gas and dust is almost a couple of light-years wide. It’s a part one of our galaxy’s largest star forming regions, the Carina Nebula, visible in southern skies. The nebula is around 7,500 light-years away. While the pillar has been shaped by the winds and radiation of the nebula’s young, hot, massive stars, it’s interior is home to stars in the process of formation. A penetrating infrared view shows the pillar is dominated by two, narrow, energetic jets blasting outward from a hidden infant star.Carina Pillar IRImage Credits: ESA / NASA

A Blue Dwarf

No, not a Smurf, a galaxy, ESO 338-4. It’s a blue dwarf galaxy about 100 million light-years away in the constellation Corona Australis. Blue compact dwarf galaxies have intensely blue star-forming regions twithin their cores. The young, blue stars in the cloud of dust and gas ate the center of this image were formed as a result of a merger between a wandering galaxy and ESO 388-4. That interaction disrupted the clouds of gas and dust surrounding ESO 338-4 which caused the rapid formation of a new population of stars.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

HBC 672

The Serpens Nebula is a stellar nursery almost 1,300 light-years away. The Hubble Space Telescope‘s near-infrared vision captured the shadow cast by a fledgling star’s brilliant light being blocked by is planet-forming disk. The Sun-like star known as HBC 672 is surrounded by a debris ring of dust, rock, and ice—a disk that is too small and too distant to be seen, even by Hubble. But like a little fly that wanders into the beam of a flashlight shining on a wall, its shadow is projected large upon the cloud in which it was born. In this Hubble image, that feature—nicknamed the “Bat Shadow”—spans approximately 200 times the length of our solar system. It is visible in the upper right portion of the picture.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI