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The Universe (844)
Spacecraft & Technology (21)
ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has discovered a giant, galaxy-packed filament ablaze with billions of new stars. The filament connects two clusters of galaxies that, along with a third cluster, will smash together in several billion years.
ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has discovered a giant, galaxy-packed filament ablaze with billions of new stars. The filament connects two clusters of galaxies that, along with a third cluster, will smash together in several billion years.

A Star-Bursting Filament

This diagram illustrates why NASA's NuSTAR can see radioactivity in the remains of exploded stars for the first time. The observatory detects high-energy X-ray photons that are released by a radioactive substance called titanium-44.
This diagram illustrates why NASA's NuSTAR can see radioactivity in the remains of exploded stars for the first time. The observatory detects high-energy X-ray photons that are released by a radioactive substance called titanium-44.

The Creation of Titanium in Stars

The galaxies pictured here have so much dust surrounding them that the brilliant light from their quasars cannot be seen in these images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The galaxies pictured here have so much dust surrounding them that the brilliant light from their quasars cannot be seen in these images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The Homes of Quasars

ESA's Planck has imaged the most distant light we can observe, called the cosmic microwave background, with unprecedented precision.
ESA's Planck has imaged the most distant light we can observe, called the cosmic microwave background, with unprecedented precision.

Through the Universe's Looking Glass

A hypothetical planet is depicted in this artist's concept moving through the habitable zone and then further out into a long, cold winter.
A hypothetical planet is depicted in this artist's concept moving through the habitable zone and then further out into a long, cold winter.

Eccentric Habitable Zones (Artist's Concept)

This image zooms in on the region around the first 'hot DOG' (red object in magenta circle), discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Hot DOGs are hot dust-obscured galaxies.
This image zooms in on the region around the first 'hot DOG' (red object in magenta circle), discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Hot DOGs are hot dust-obscured galaxies.

Extremely Bright and Extremely Rare

Astronomers have found unexpected rings and arcs of ultraviolet light around a selection of galaxies, four of which are shown here as viewed by NASA's and the European Space Agency's Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronomers have found unexpected rings and arcs of ultraviolet light around a selection of galaxies, four of which are shown here as viewed by NASA's and the European Space Agency's Hubble Space Telescope.

Ultraviolet Ring Around the Galaxies

This artist's concept shows a view of a number of galaxies sitting in huge halos of stars. The stars are too distant to be seen individually and instead are seen as a diffuse glow, colored yellow in this illustration.
This artist's concept shows a view of a number of galaxies sitting in huge halos of stars. The stars are too distant to be seen individually and instead are seen as a diffuse glow, colored yellow in this illustration.

Stray Stars Scattered in Space (Artist Concept)

This image of the microwave sky was synthesized using data spanning the range of light frequencies detected by ESA's Planck. A vast portion of the sky is dominated by the diffuse emission from gas and dust in our Milky Way galaxy.
This image of the microwave sky was synthesized using data spanning the range of light frequencies detected by ESA's Planck. A vast portion of the sky is dominated by the diffuse emission from gas and dust in our Milky Way galaxy.

Planck's View of the Whole Sky

This graph illustrates the Cepheid period-luminosity relationship, used to calculate the size, age and expansion rate of the universe. The data shown are from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope which has made the most precise measurements yet.
This graph illustrates the Cepheid period-luminosity relationship, used to calculate the size, age and expansion rate of the universe. The data shown are from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope which has made the most precise measurements yet.

Cepheids as Cosmology Tools

This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, shows four galaxies in the Virgo cluster: Messier 59, Messier 60, NGC 4647, and NGC 4638. It also shows the tracks of three asteroids, which appear in this image as trails of green dots.
This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, shows four galaxies in the Virgo cluster: Messier 59, Messier 60, NGC 4647, and NGC 4638. It also shows the tracks of three asteroids, which appear in this image as trails of green dots.

Asteroids in Virgo

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the solid form of buckyballs in space for the first time. To form a solid particle, the buckyballs must stack together, as illustrated in this artist's concept showing the very beginnings of the process.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the solid form of buckyballs in space for the first time. To form a solid particle, the buckyballs must stack together, as illustrated in this artist's concept showing the very beginnings of the process.

Building a Buckyball Particle in Space (Artist Concept)

This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows Herbig-Haro 30, the prototype of a gas-rich 'young stellar object' disk around a star.
This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows Herbig-Haro 30, the prototype of a gas-rich 'young stellar object' disk around a star.

Dark Disks Around Young Stars

This picture highlights a slice of Saturn's largest ring. The ring (red band) was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which detected infrared light, or heat, from the dusty ring material.
This picture highlights a slice of Saturn's largest ring. The ring (red band) was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which detected infrared light, or heat, from the dusty ring material.

Infrared Ring around Saturn

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to show that a 'standard candle' used to measure cosmological distances is shrinking, a finding that affects precise measurements of the age, size and expansion rate of our universe.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to show that a 'standard candle' used to measure cosmological distances is shrinking, a finding that affects precise measurements of the age, size and expansion rate of our universe.

Standard Candle in the Wind

The magnetic field of our Milky Way galaxy as seen by ESA's Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of polarized light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way.
The magnetic field of our Milky Way galaxy as seen by ESA's Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of polarized light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way.

Magnetic Map of Milky Way

This illustration shows the unusual orbit of planet Kepler-413b around a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars. The planet's 66-day orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the binary stars' orbit.
This illustration shows the unusual orbit of planet Kepler-413b around a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars. The planet's 66-day orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the binary stars' orbit.

Wobbly Planet Orbital Schematic (Illustration)

This photograph from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the young star cluster NGC 2362. By studying it, astronomers found that gas giant planet formation happens very rapidly and efficiently, within less than 5 million years.
This photograph from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the young star cluster NGC 2362. By studying it, astronomers found that gas giant planet formation happens very rapidly and efficiently, within less than 5 million years.

Baby Jupiters Must Gain Weight Fast

The Cassini spacecraft takes a break from the Saturn system to check out the Seven Sisters.
The Cassini spacecraft takes a break from the Saturn system to check out the Seven Sisters.

Scoping the Sisters

This artist's concept demonstrates how a dusty planet-forming disk can slow down a whirling young star, essentially saving the star from spinning itself to death. Evidence for this phenomenon comes from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
This artist's concept demonstrates how a dusty planet-forming disk can slow down a whirling young star, essentially saving the star from spinning itself to death. Evidence for this phenomenon comes from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Stars Can't Spin Out of Control (Artist's Animation)

This image taken by NASA'S Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows one of the largest flares, or star eruptions, ever recorded at ultraviolet wavelengths. This star is called GJ 3685A.
This image taken by NASA'S Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows one of the largest flares, or star eruptions, ever recorded at ultraviolet wavelengths. This star is called GJ 3685A.

Dwarf Star Erupts in Giant Flare

This ultraviolet image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer is of the interacting group of galaxies known as Stephan's Quintet (NGC 7317, NGC 7318A, NGC 7318B, NGC 7319, NGC 7320, lower left).
This ultraviolet image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer is of the interacting group of galaxies known as Stephan's Quintet (NGC 7317, NGC 7318A, NGC 7318B, NGC 7319, NGC 7320, lower left).

Interacting Group of Galaxies Known as Stephan's Quintet


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has at last found buckyballs (resembling soccer balls) in space shown in this artist's concept using Hubble's picture of the NGC 2440 nebula. Hubble image credit: NASA, ESA, STScI.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has at last found buckyballs (resembling soccer balls) in space shown in this artist's concept using Hubble's picture of the NGC 2440 nebula. Hubble image credit: NASA, ESA, STScI.

Space Balls (Artist's Concept)

The green dot in the middle of this image might look like an emerald amidst glittering diamonds, but is a dim star belonging to a class called brown dwarfs; it is the first ultra-cool brown dwarf discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.
The green dot in the middle of this image might look like an emerald amidst glittering diamonds, but is a dim star belonging to a class called brown dwarfs; it is the first ultra-cool brown dwarf discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.

Collecting Brown Dwarfs in the Night Sky

This map illustrates the numerous star-forming clouds, called cold cores, that European Space Agency's Planck observed throughout our Milky Way galaxy. Planck detected around 10,000 of these cores, thousands of which had never been seen before.
This map illustrates the numerous star-forming clouds, called cold cores, that European Space Agency's Planck observed throughout our Milky Way galaxy. Planck detected around 10,000 of these cores, thousands of which had never been seen before.

Clumps of Cold Stuff Across the Sky

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