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

Time Lapse of a Light Echo

V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) is a red variable star in the constellation Monoceros about 20,000 light years from the Earth. It was first observed in early 2002 experiencing a major outburst, and it was one of the largest known stars for a short period following the outburst. At first, V838 Mon was thought to be a typical nova eruption, but it is now known to be something completely different. Just what is still uncertain, but a couple of the possibilities are an eruption related to stellar death processes or a merger of a binary star or planets.

The remnant is evolving rapidly.

Video Credit: NASA

A Galaxy On Edge

ngc 4762This is a disk galaxy seen almost perfectly edge on. The image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows us just how thin disk galaxies can be. NGC 4762, a galaxy in the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, is so thin that it is actually difficult to determine what type of disk galaxy it is. Its lack of a visible dust lane suggests that it is probably a low-dust lenticular galaxy, but it is still possible that a view from another angle would reveal spiral structure. The galaxy spans about 100,000 light years from end to end, with its center showing a slight bulge of stars. Most galaxies don’t appear this thin because our point of view from Earth doesn’t line up well enough with the planes of their thin galactic disks. However, galaxies this thin are common. Indeed, our own Milky Way Galaxy is thought to have roughly the same overall dimensions as NGC 4762.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

A Pair of Mice

NGC 4676, or the Mice Galaxies, are a pair of spiral galaxies in the constellation Coma Berenices, about 290 million light-years away. They are in the process of colliding and merging. Their name refers to the long tails produced by their tidal action on each other.

The colors of the galaxies are unusual. The dark core of NGC 4676A a is surrounded by a bluish white remnant of spiral arms. It tail starts out blue and ends in a more yellowish color. In most galaxies the spiral arms are yellow near the core yellow and become more blue at their ends. NGC 4676B has a yellowish core blue remnants of a pair of spiral arms.

Image Credit: NASA

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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Radio Astronomy and M82

m82_gbtThis composite image of starburst galaxy M82 shows the distribution of dense molecular gas as seen by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s 85-ft Green Bank Telescope (yellow and red) and the background stars and dust as seen by Hubble (blue). The yellow areas correspond to regions of intense star formation. The red areas trace outflows of gas from the disk of the galaxy.

Image Credit: NARO/NASA

The Fornax Dwarf

Fornax_dwarf_galaxyThe Fornax Dwarf Spheroidal is an elliptical dwarf galaxy found in the constellation Fornax. The galaxy is a satellite of the Milky Way and is receding from the us at 53 km/s. It contains six know globular star clusters, an unusually large number for such a small galaxy. Four of them (Fornax 1, 2, 3, and 5) are pictured below.

Image Credits: ESO and ESA