Exoplanets


The PDS 70 system is only the second group of exoplanets to be directly imaged from Earth. Through a combination of adaptive optics and data processing, astronomers were able to eliminate the light from the central star (its location is marked by a white four-pointed star) to reveal two orbiting exoplanets. PDS 70 b (lower left) has roughly 4 to 17 times as much mass as Jupiter. PDS 70 c (upper right) has about 1 to 10 times as much mass as Jupiter.

The star PDS 70 is about 370 light-years away.

Image Credit: ESO

The Blinking Galaxy


NGC 6118NGC 6118 is a grand-design spiral galaxy, and it shines bright in this image taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Its central bar and tight spiral arms are clearly visible. The galaxy is sometimes known to amateur astronomers as the “Blinking Galaxy” because this relatively faint, fuzzy object can appear to flick into existence when viewed through small telescopes and then suddenly disappear again as the observer’s eye position shifted.

Image Credit: ESO

A Spider in Space


TaranutlaSeveral million young stars are vying for our attention in this image of a stellar breeding ground in 30 Doradus, located in the heart of the Tarantula Nebula. Early astronomers nicknamed the nebula because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs.

30 Doradus is the brightest star-forming region visible in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. It’s home to the most massive stars yet found.

This composite image is one of the largest mosaics ever assembled from Hubble photos and includes multiple observations taken by Hubble‘s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were combined with ground-based data taken with the European Southern Observatory’s 2.2-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / ESO