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Sending chills down the spine of all arachnophobes is the Tarantula nebula, seen in this image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer; the nebula is the largest star-forming region known in our entire Local Group of galaxies.
Sending chills down the spine of all arachnophobes is the Tarantula nebula, seen in this image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer; the nebula is the largest star-forming region known in our entire Local Group of galaxies.

WISE Spies the Tarantula Nebula

Researchers have detected the first 'exomoon' candidate -- a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. Using a technique called 'microlensing,' they observed what could be either a moon and a planet -- or a planet and a star.
Researchers have detected the first 'exomoon' candidate -- a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. Using a technique called 'microlensing,' they observed what could be either a moon and a planet -- or a planet and a star.

Moon or Planet? The 'Exomoon Hunt' Continues (Artist's Concept)

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer captured this colorful image of the reflection nebula IRAS 12116-6001. This cloud of interstellar dust cannot be seen directly in visible light, but WISE's detectors observed the nebula at infrared wavelengths.
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer captured this colorful image of the reflection nebula IRAS 12116-6001. This cloud of interstellar dust cannot be seen directly in visible light, but WISE's detectors observed the nebula at infrared wavelengths.

Dark Reflections in the Southern Cross

This image of the Beehive star cluster points out the location of its first known planets, Pr0201b and Pr0211b, or, as astronomers call them, the first 'b's' in the Beehive.
This image of the Beehive star cluster points out the location of its first known planets, Pr0201b and Pr0211b, or, as astronomers call them, the first 'b's' in the Beehive.

Bees in the Beehive

NASA's Kepler mission has discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet yet found around a star like our sun, approximately 210 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.
NASA's Kepler mission has discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet yet found around a star like our sun, approximately 210 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.

A Tiny Planet (Artist's Concept)

This new false-colored image from NASA's Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes shows a giant jet of particles that has been shot out from the vicinity of a type of supermassive black hole called a quasar.
This new false-colored image from NASA's Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes shows a giant jet of particles that has been shot out from the vicinity of a type of supermassive black hole called a quasar.

Black Hole Spills Kaleidoscope of Color

With its all-sky infrared survey, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has identified millions of quasar candidates. Quasars are supermassive black holes with masses millions to billions times greater than our sun.
With its all-sky infrared survey, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has identified millions of quasar candidates. Quasars are supermassive black holes with masses millions to billions times greater than our sun.

A Sky Chock-Full of Black Holes

This image zooms into a small portion of NASA's Kepler's full field of view, an expansive, 100-square-degree patch of sky in our Milky Way galaxy. An eight-billion-year-old cluster of stars 13,000 light-years from Earth, called NGC 6791, is seen here.
This image zooms into a small portion of NASA's Kepler's full field of view, an expansive, 100-square-degree patch of sky in our Milky Way galaxy. An eight-billion-year-old cluster of stars 13,000 light-years from Earth, called NGC 6791, is seen here.

Cluster of Stars in Kepler's Sight

The locations of brown dwarfs discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, and mapped by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, are shown in this diagram as red circles.
The locations of brown dwarfs discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, and mapped by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, are shown in this diagram as red circles.

Brown Dwarf Backyardigans

Infrared images from instruments at Kitt Peak National Observatory (left) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope document the outburst of HOPS 383, a young protostar in the Orion star-formation complex.
Infrared images from instruments at Kitt Peak National Observatory (left) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope document the outburst of HOPS 383, a young protostar in the Orion star-formation complex.

Embryonic Star's Outburst

This artist's conception shows a nearly invisible ring around Saturn -- the largest of the giant planet's many rings. It was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
This artist's conception shows a nearly invisible ring around Saturn -- the largest of the giant planet's many rings. It was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

The King of Rings

This heroic image from from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer is of a special cloud of dust and gas in the constellation Canis Major catalogued as NGC 2359, or more commonly known as Thor's Helmet.
This heroic image from from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer is of a special cloud of dust and gas in the constellation Canis Major catalogued as NGC 2359, or more commonly known as Thor's Helmet.

Thor's Helmet

This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus. NASA's Kepler mission discovered the newfound planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f.
This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus. NASA's Kepler mission discovered the newfound planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f.

Earth-class Planets Line Up

NASA's NuSTAR is complementing previous observations of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant (red and green) by providing the first maps of radioactive material forged in the fiery explosion (blue).
NASA's NuSTAR is complementing previous observations of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant (red and green) by providing the first maps of radioactive material forged in the fiery explosion (blue).

Adding a New 'Color' to Palate of Cassiopeia A Images

This all-sky image shows the distribution of the galactic haze seen by ESA's Planck mission at microwave frequencies superimposed over the high-energy sky, as seen by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
This all-sky image shows the distribution of the galactic haze seen by ESA's Planck mission at microwave frequencies superimposed over the high-energy sky, as seen by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

Galactic Haze seen by Planck and Galactic 'Bubbles' seen by Fermi

NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer found a tail behind a galaxy called IC 3418. This star-studded tail was created as the galaxy plunged into gas in a family of galaxies known as the Virgo cluster.
NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer found a tail behind a galaxy called IC 3418. This star-studded tail was created as the galaxy plunged into gas in a family of galaxies known as the Virgo cluster.

Now You See a Tail, Now You Don't

This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun.
This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun.

Soaking up the Rays of a Sun-like Star (Artist's Concept)

This artist's concept shows Kepler-11 -- the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered.
This artist's concept shows Kepler-11 -- the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered.

Kepler-11 Planetary System (Artist Concept)

This image shows the K2-33 system, and its planet K2-33b, compared to our own solar system, as discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.
This image shows the K2-33 system, and its planet K2-33b, compared to our own solar system, as discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

Comparing K2-33 to our Solar System

This illustration shows three possible scenarios for the evolution of asteroid belts. At the top, a Jupiter-size planet migrates through the asteroid belt, scattering material and inhibiting the formation of life on planets.
This illustration shows three possible scenarios for the evolution of asteroid belts. At the top, a Jupiter-size planet migrates through the asteroid belt, scattering material and inhibiting the formation of life on planets.

Scenarios for the Evolution of Asteroid Belts

This artist's concept shows a Super Venus planet on the left, and a Super Earth on the right. Researchers use a concept known as the habitable zone to distinguish between these two types of planets, which exist beyond our solar system.
This artist's concept shows a Super Venus planet on the left, and a Super Earth on the right. Researchers use a concept known as the habitable zone to distinguish between these two types of planets, which exist beyond our solar system.

Toxic Wasteland or Lush Paradise? (Artist Concept)

This artist's concept shows a hypothetical 'rejuvenated' planet,a gas giant that has reclaimed its youthful infrared glow. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found tentative evidence for one such planet around a dead star, or white dwarf, called PG 0010+280.
This artist's concept shows a hypothetical 'rejuvenated' planet,a gas giant that has reclaimed its youthful infrared glow. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found tentative evidence for one such planet around a dead star, or white dwarf, called PG 0010+280.

Hypothetical 'Rejuvenated' Planets (Artist's Concept)

This artist's concept depicts 'heartbeat stars,' which have been detected by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Two heartbeat stars are seen swerving close to one another in their closest approach along their highly elongated orbits around one another.
This artist's concept depicts 'heartbeat stars,' which have been detected by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Two heartbeat stars are seen swerving close to one another in their closest approach along their highly elongated orbits around one another.

Heartbeat Stars (Artist's Concept)

This diagram illustrates two similar star systems, HD 95086 and HR 8799. Evidence from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has pointed to the presence of two dust belts in each system.
This diagram illustrates two similar star systems, HD 95086 and HR 8799. Evidence from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has pointed to the presence of two dust belts in each system.

Sibling Star Systems? Dust Structures Suggest So

This image from NASA's Kepler mission shows the telescope's full field of view an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.
This image from NASA's Kepler mission shows the telescope's full field of view an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.

Kepler's Diamond Mine of Stars

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