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This artist concept illustrates how a massive collision of objects perhaps as large as the planet Pluto smashed together to create the dust ring around the nearby star Vega.
This artist concept illustrates how a massive collision of objects perhaps as large as the planet Pluto smashed together to create the dust ring around the nearby star Vega.

Massive Smash-up at Vega (Artist Concept)

When astronomers first looked at images of a supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A, captured by NASA's NuSTAR. The mystery of Cassiopeia A (Cas A), a massive star that exploded in a supernova more than 11,000 years ago continues to confound scientists.
When astronomers first looked at images of a supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A, captured by NASA's NuSTAR. The mystery of Cassiopeia A (Cas A), a massive star that exploded in a supernova more than 11,000 years ago continues to confound scientists.

The Case of Missing Iron in Cassiopeia A

This graphic illuminates the process by which astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have, for the first time, detected the light from a super Earth planet.
This graphic illuminates the process by which astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have, for the first time, detected the light from a super Earth planet.

Measuring Brightness of Super Earth 55 Cancri e

This artist's conception compares the KOI-961 planetary system to Jupiter and the largest four of its many moons. The KOI-961 planetary system hosts the three smallest planets known to orbit a star beyond our sun.
This artist's conception compares the KOI-961 planetary system to Jupiter and the largest four of its many moons. The KOI-961 planetary system hosts the three smallest planets known to orbit a star beyond our sun.

'Honey I Shrunk the Planetary System' (Artist Concept)

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 illustration shows a cool star, called W1906+40, marked by a raging storm near one of its poles. The storm is thought to be similar to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Scientists discovered it using NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes.
This illustration shows a cool star, called W1906+40, marked by a raging storm near one of its poles. The storm is thought to be similar to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Scientists discovered it using NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes.

Cool Star Marked by Long-Lived Storm (Artist's Concept)

This artist's concept based on data found by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows upsilon Andromedae b, a hot gas giant that whips around its star every 4.6 days. Because it is so close to its star, it is tidally locked.
This artist's concept based on data found by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows upsilon Andromedae b, a hot gas giant that whips around its star every 4.6 days. Because it is so close to its star, it is tidally locked.

Planetary Hot Spot Not Under the Glare of Star (Artist Concept)

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 series of images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a dark mass of gas and dust, called a core, where new stars and planets will likely spring up. This particular core lies deep within a larger dark cloud called L183.
This series of images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a dark mass of gas and dust, called a core, where new stars and planets will likely spring up. This particular core lies deep within a larger dark cloud called L183.

An Unexpected Scattering of Light

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

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

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

This image shows brown dwarf HIP 79124 B, located 23 times as far from its host star as Earth is from the sun.
This image shows brown dwarf HIP 79124 B, located 23 times as far from its host star as Earth is from the sun.

Brown Dwarf HIP 79124 B

This artist's concept shows a pulsar, which is like a lighthouse, as its light appears in regular pulses as it rotates. Pulsars are dense remnants of exploded stars, and are part of a class of objects called neutron stars.
This artist's concept shows a pulsar, which is like a lighthouse, as its light appears in regular pulses as it rotates. Pulsars are dense remnants of exploded stars, and are part of a class of objects called neutron stars.

Pulsar Artist's Concept

This illustration shows the final stages in the life of a supermassive star that fails to explode as a supernova, but instead implodes to form a black hole.
This illustration shows the final stages in the life of a supermassive star that fails to explode as a supernova, but instead implodes to form a black hole.

Massive Star Goes Out With a Whimper Instead of a Bang (Artist's Concept)

This diagram illustrates the earliest journeys of water in a young, forming star system. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to probe a crucial phase of this stellar evolution.
This diagram illustrates the earliest journeys of water in a young, forming star system. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to probe a crucial phase of this stellar evolution.

Steamy Solar System

Something appears to be peering through a shiny red mask, in this new false-colored image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The mysterious blue eyes are actually starlight from the cores of two merging galaxies, called NGC 2207 and IC 2163.
Something appears to be peering through a shiny red mask, in this new false-colored image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The mysterious blue eyes are actually starlight from the cores of two merging galaxies, called NGC 2207 and IC 2163.

Ready for the Cosmic Ball

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this sharpest view yet of the most famous of all planetary nebulae: the Ring Nebula (M57). The colors are approximately true colors.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this sharpest view yet of the most famous of all planetary nebulae: the Ring Nebula (M57). The colors are approximately true colors.

Looking Down a Barrel of Gas at a Doomed Star

Two large elliptical galaxies, NGC 4889 and NGC 4874 are shown in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
Two large elliptical galaxies, NGC 4889 and NGC 4874 are shown in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Dwarfs in Coma Cluster

This image shows the first-ever map of the surface of an exoplanet, or a planet beyond our solar system. Showing temperature variations across the cloudy tops of a gas giant called HD 189733b, the infrared data is taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
This image shows the first-ever map of the surface of an exoplanet, or a planet beyond our solar system. Showing temperature variations across the cloudy tops of a gas giant called HD 189733b, the infrared data is taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

First Map of Alien World (animation)

This artist's animation shows a typical young galaxy, teeming with hot, newborn stars and exploding supernovas. The supernovas are seen as white flashes of light.
This artist's animation shows a typical young galaxy, teeming with hot, newborn stars and exploding supernovas. The supernovas are seen as white flashes of light.

Fires of Galactic Youth (Artist Animation)

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

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

The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. This artist's concept appeared on the cover of the journal Nature in Feb. 23, 2017 announcing new results about the system.
The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. This artist's concept appeared on the cover of the journal Nature in Feb. 23, 2017 announcing new results about the system.

Abstract Concept of TRAPPIST-1 System

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