Monday, Feb. 3, 2014: NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) shows a storm of stars brewing in the Trifid nebula. Baby stars burst into being…Read More »
in the stellar nursery,the yellow-and-orange object dominating the picture. Yellow bars in the nebula appear to slice a cavity into three parts, inspiring the name Trifid nebula. Colors in this image represent different wavelengths of infrared light detected by WISE. Hydrogen gas makes up the main green cloud. Within this cloud lies the Trifid nebula, where radiation and winds from massive stars blew a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, presumably triggering the birth of new generations of stars. Dust glows in infrared light, so the three lines that make up the Trifid appea dark in visible-light views, but shine brightly when seen by WISE. The Trifid nebula lies located 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014: Gavin Heffernan of Sunchaser Pictures sends in a photo of star trails over Joshua Tree National Park in California. The image comes…Read More »
from a new time-lapse video entitled, "Joshua Tree Journey 4: Ruins." The cabin pictured stands in Indian Cove Ranch. Image released Feb. 2, 2014. [See more images from Space.com stargazers in our full gallery.]
Credit: NASA & ESA; Acknowledgements: Kevin Luhman (Pennsylvania State University), and Judy Schmidt
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014: This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a star in the process of forming within the Chamaeleon cloud. This young star blasts narrow…Read More »
streams of gas from its poles, creating this object known as HH 909A. In the stellar life cycle, before growing to a size large enough to glow brightly, new stars briefly throw bursts of material out into space, creating faint nebulosity. During this phase, they are known as Herbig-Haro objects. The Chamaeleon cloud lies in the southern constellation of Chamaeleon, just over 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers have found numerous Herbig-Haro objects embedded in this stellar nursery.
Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014: The orbiting Solar & Heliospheric Observatory witnessed three solar disturbances erupting from the sun in less than a day, all…Read More »
pushing particle clouds leftwards (in this image) on Jan. 26-27, 2014. The third event holds the most interest, as it shows a former filament separating into strands but still retaining some of its shape as it passes out of the field of view. Here, an image of the sun in extreme UV light (observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory) has been superimposed on top of SOHO's C2 coronagraph image. The black occulting disk blocks out the sun in order to observe fainter features in the corona. The still image was taken on Jan. 26, 2014.
Credit: Rick Mastracchio (via Twitter as @AstroRM)
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014: NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio tweeted this photo from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on Feb. 2, 2014.…Read More »
He wrote: “Only night passes over the USA lately. Here is good city light shot. What city is it?” Although it seemed like he wanted to challenge his Twitter followers to guess the answer, he actually asked for his own information. When asked later by Twitter user @coachbsj to reveal the city, Mastracchio responded, “I don't know which city it is. It was cloudy and dark so very difficult to get a reference from up here. Someone down there knows[.]” A number of Twitter users then identified the city as Buffalo, NY. North is roughly at the bottom of the photo.
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014: In Yunnan Province, southwestern China, the deep cold winter passes as the central bulge of the MIlky Way rises in the eastern…Read More »
sky before dawn on Feb. 4, 2014, marking the beginning of spring. Astrophotographer Jeff Dai sent in this photo, which he recorded above a sea of clouds in the Yuanyang rice terraces in Yunnan Province. In East Asian cultures, the day — called Lichun — represents the first of 24 lunar terms in the lunisolar calendar, when the sun arrives exactly at the celestial longitude of 315°. Farmers celebrate the day with special events and rituals to insure a successful new year, such as the custom known as “Whip the Clay Ox.”
Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Sarajedini (University of Florida); Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014: Globular cluster Terzan 7 consists of a densely packed ball of stars bound together by gravity. It lies just over 75,000 light-years…Read More »
away on the other side of our Milky Way galaxy. Terzan 7 used to belong to a small galaxy called the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, a mini-galaxy discovered in 1994. This galaxy currently is colliding with, and being absorbed by, the much-larger Milky Way, and it seems that our own galaxy has already kidnapped this cluster from its former home. Astronomers recently discovered that all the stars in Terzan 7 formed at around the same time, about eight billion years ago, an unusually young age for such a cluster.
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014: Astronomer Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter obtained this image of the Taurus Molecular Cloud in December 2013-January…Read More »
2014. This giant molecular cloud lies in the constellation of Taurus, and represents the closest star-formation region to Earth. A molecular cloud contains molecules, commonly hydrogen and helium, that can coalesce into stars.
Monday, Feb. 17, 2014: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flying above the red planet spotted these dunes in an intriguing formation in a crater near Mawrth Vallis.…Read More »
For dune fields, the spacing of individual dunes arises as a function of sand supply, wind speed, and topography. Trekkies may notice a resemblance to the shape of classic Star Trek uniform insignias. Image released Feb. 13, 2014.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014: This image obtained by MESSENGER spacecraft features a ghost crater about 34 miles (55 km) in diameter near its center. Ghost craters…Read More »
occur when volcanic lava flows over and fills in craters, leaving only traces of the original feature behind. This crater likely experienced flooding by the lava that formed the Suisei Planitia on Mercury. The crater rim and central peaks still peek out beneath the lava, despite their burial, and the secondary craters from a subsequent impact event cover the area. Image released Feb. 13, 2014.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014: A galaxy called MCG-03-04-014 dominates the center of this new Hubble Space Telescope image. Astronomers include this galaxy…Read More »
in a class called luminous infrared galaxies, that shine brightly in the infrared part of the spectrum. The reason for these galaxies’ infrared luminosity remains a mystery. Do the galaxies glow because of recent bursts of star formation or from the action of powerful “monster” black holes at their cores? The new image of MCG-03-04-014 reveals bright sparks of star formation flecking the galaxy, with murky dust lanes obscuring a bright central bulge. Image released Feb. 17, 2014.
Friday, Feb. 21, 2014: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded an active region on the sun rotating into sight, providing a striking profile view…Read More »
of coronal loops over about a two-day period during Feb. 8-10, 2014. Coronal loops develop around sunspots and in active regions. These structures move along the closed magnetic field lines that connect magnetic regions on the solar surface. Many coronal loops last for days or weeks but most change quite rapidly. SDO took this image, a still from a video clip, in extreme ultraviolet light.
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014: Astrophotographer Rogelio Bernal Andreo sent in a photo of a sky region in the constellation of Auriga featuring Simeis 147 (the…Read More »
large circular supernova remnant at left), the Flaming Star Nebula (comma-shaped object at lower right), and above and to the left of that nebula, the emission nebula IC 410, along with other deep sky objects. Andreo writes: “Here's my first somewhat-serious deep-sky project this year. Plenty of well-known objects: Simeis 147, the Flaming Star nebula, M36, M38, IC 410, etc. Not often all photographed in the same field of view, though.” He calls the photo, “Downtown Auriga, Taurus-Side.” [For a labeled version visit: tinyurl.com/DowntownAuriga.] Image released Feb. 11, 2014.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014: Is that Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide in full spacewalk gear at the right, there? And two…Read More »
new astronaut recruits to the left? Not exactly. Astronaut Hoshide’s appearance strictly remained in cardboard cutout form, while tourists at left have their photo taken in the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), Tanegashima Island, Japan, on Feb. 23, 2014. Soon, from the space center, a Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying the NASA-JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory will launch on the planned date of Feb. 28, 2014. Once in orbit, the GPM spacecraft will serve as the central repository of data collected by an international network of existing and future satellites to map global rainfall and snowfall every three hours.
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014: This image by Cassini spacecraft shows Saturn’s D ring as a faint and narrow arc stretching from top right of the image. The…Read More »
brighter C ring and the planet trap the dusty D ring between them, making it easy to overlook. Cassini’s controllers plan to pass the spacecraft between the D ring and Saturn during its final orbits in 2017. Scientists expect to gather unprecedented data from these orbits. 12 stars also shine in this image.
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014: The glowing wisps of nebula NGC 6979 resulted from a supernova, the explosion of a massive star, over 5000 years ago. The ejected…Read More »
stellar gas continuously collides with gas and dust clouds of the surrounding interstellar medium, causing complex structures and colors. The nebula makes up part of the Cygnus Loop, along with Pickering's Triangular Wisp and the well-known Veil Nebula. Image released February 2014.
Tom Chao has contributed to SPACE.com as a producer and writer since 2000. As a writer and editor, he has worked for the Voyager Company, Time Inc. New Media, HarperCollins and Worth Publishers. He has a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tom on Google+.