Monday, June 2, 2014: The Serpens Cloud Core glows in the constellation of Serpens, the “Serpent.” This infrared image combines data from NASA's Spitzer…Read More »
Space Telescope with shorter-wavelength observations from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), allowing a peek into the clouds dust clouds wrapped around this stellar nursery. This cloud core, lying about 750 light-years away, contains one of the youngest collections of stars ever seen in our galaxy. This collection contains stars of only relatively low to moderate mass, without any of the massive and incredibly bright stars found in larger star-forming regions like the Orion nebula. The inner Serpens Cloud Core appears remarkably detailed in this image, as researchers assembled it from 82 separate snapshots totaling an amazing 16.2 hours of Spitzer observing time.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Flickr user Det58
Tuesday, June 3, 2014: A new Hubble image shows NGC 1566, a galaxy located about 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish).…Read More »
NGC 1566 represents an intermediate spiral galaxy, without a well defined bar-shaped region of stars at its center though it doesn’t quite count as an unbarred spiral. NGC 1566 is the second brightest Seyfert galaxy known, a type of galaxy with a very active and luminous center, emitting strong bursts of radiation, and potentially containing a supermassive black hole. It also shines as the brightest and most dominant member of the Dorado Group, a loose concentration of galaxies that make up one of the richest galaxy groups of the southern hemisphere.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014: The fourth Unit Telescope of the Very Large Telescope at Paranal Observatory, Chile, stands under the stars. Located high on Cerro…Read More »
Paranal, the instrument perches at an altitude of 8645 feet (2635 meters) above sea level. Paranal represents the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s flagship facility, containing a suite of telescopes. Image released June 2, 2014.
Thursday, June 5, 2014: European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted this image on June 2, 2014, from the International Space Station four days…Read More »
after his arrival at the outpost on a Soyuz spacecraft. He was accompanied on the flight by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and Roscosmos commander Maxim Suraev as members of Expedition 40. He wrote: “Home for 6 months / Mein Zuhause für die nächsten 6 Monaten #ISS #BlueDot pic.twitter.com/ziBnaO40uw” The image looks out of a viewport in the Russian part of the station towards the station’s solar wings and the European Cupola observatory module as the sun sets behind the Earth.
Friday, June 6, 2014: A still image from a video taken by Solar Dynamics Observatory showed tight, bright loops and much longer, softer loops swaying above…Read More »
an active region on the sun, while a darker blob of plasma in their midst was pulled in different directions on May 13-14, 2014. Frames taken in the 171 Angstroms wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light are usually colorized with a bronze tone, but in this case were colored red.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Acknowledgements: R. Sahai (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Serge Meunier
Monday, June 9, 2014: A new Hubble image shows IRAS 14568-6304, a young star cloaked in a haze of gas and dust. An area of dark sky appears to contain…Read More »
the young star. This dark region is Circinus molecular cloud, which has a mass around 250,000 times that of the sun, filled with gas, dust and young stars. Two areas within the cloud, Circinus-West and Circinus-East, each have a mass of around 5000 times that of the sun, making them the most prominent star-forming sites in the Circinus cloud. IRAS 14568-6304 has special qualities because it is driving a protostellar jet, which appears here as the "tail" below the star. This jet formed from the leftover gas and dust that the star took from its parent cloud in order to form.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014: The sun begins to rise over the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile. One of the VLT's Unit Telescopes…Read More »
stands at the bottom right, illuminated by moonlight. Further in the distance two Auxiliary Telescopes point up to the sky. The VLT consists of four 8.2-meter Unit Telescopes (UTs), and four movable 1.8-meter Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs). Nicolas Blind, an astronomer who visited Paranal Observatory for a few days in December 2012, took the photo. After his brief visit, Blind commented, "The absolute silence in this place is so peaceful and relaxing. You can only hear the sound of wind, or maybe a bat lost in this desolated area. The pure sky of Paranal reminds me each time how little we are, and reconnects me with the reason why I have chosen astronomy."
Wednesday, June 11, 2014: Cassini spacecraft caught Saturn’s moon Prometheus creating gores and streamers in the F ring. Scientists believe that Prometheus…Read More »
and its partner moon Pandora shape much of the structure in the F ring. The orbit of Prometheus (53 miles or 86 kilometers across) regularly crosses into the F ring, where the moon causes gores, or streamers, at the point of entry. When it leaves the ring, Prometheus draws ring material with it, producing streamers in its wake, shown as the pattern of faint lines curving inward at upper left. Cassini spacecraft took the image in visible light with its narrow-angle camera on Feb. 11, 2014.
Friday, June 13, 2014: On June 11, 2004, Cassini passed Phoebe, the largest of Saturn's outer moons, at an altitude of 1,285 miles (2,068 kilometers),…Read More »
the only close flyby of one of the outer moons of Saturn in the entire Cassini mission. The Cassini team published this montage of two views to mark the 10th anniversary of the Phoebe flyby. The image on the left side shows Cassini's view on approach to Phoebe, while the right side shows the spacecraft's departing perspective. Most of the left-side view was previously released except an area on the upper right side. Most of the view on the right side remained unreleased until now, although the crater at upper left appeared in another published image. Image released June 11, 2014.
Monday, June 16, 2014: Herschel Space Observatory spotted a ring of dusty material while observing a huge cloud of gas and dust called NGC 7538 with the…Read More »
sharpest resolution to date. The gigantic ring structure sits at the center-top of this image. The roughly egg-shaped ring contains the mass of 500 suns, with a long axis stretching about 35 light-years and its short axis about 25 light-years. Possibly an O-type star created the expanding puff with strong winds or by dying in a supernova, but no trace of an O-type star exists in the center of the ring. Perhaps a big star blew the bubble and moved away from the scene.
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Tuesday, June 17, 2014: Planetary nebula Abell 36 lies 780 light years away in the constellation of Virgo. The object is an emission nebula, and while…Read More »
called a “planetary nebula,” that term misleads, as it refers to something that has nothing to do with planets. Early observations by astronomer William Herschel led him to coin the term as this class of objects resembled planets in his early telescope. Image obtained by Adam Block and guests of the April 2014 Astrophotography with Adam Block Experience, at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter. The facility stands on Steward Observatory's "sky island" observing site just north of Tucson, Arizona.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014: Astrophotographer Jon Secord sent in a photo of the Milky Way glowing in the sky and reflecting in a lake at Lake Francis State…Read More »
Park in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. The lake covers 2000 acres near the Connecticut Lakes of the Great North Woods region. Secord writes in an email message to Space.com: “At first I found the composition a little boring, but a fellow photographer helped me put it into perspective — I'm photographing the core of our galaxy reflecting off of a lake.”
Friday, June 20, 2014: Astrophotographer Leah Burgess sent in a photo of the Honey Moon of June 2014 taken from in Dunmore East, County Waterford, Ireland,…Read More »
looking out at Hook Lighthouse, County Wexford, Ireland. She mentions in an email message to Space.com that she had to wait for the moon to rise above the haze and clouds to get the shot. Image obtained on June 13, 2014.
Monday, June 23, 2014: Saturn’s moon Atlas emerges from the planet’s shadow. The Cassini spacecraft obtained the image in visible light on Jan. 23, 2014.…Read More »
Sunlight at the distance of Saturn glmmers feebly compared to that shining on Earth, yet objects hidden from the sun in shadow of Saturn lose much warmth. Researchers observe the cooling and warming of the moons of Saturn as they enter and leave the ringed planet’s shadow to further understanding of the physical properties of Saturn's moons.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014: The Very Large Telescope (VLT), based at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile, shines a laser guide — or "artificial" — star into…Read More »
the sky to help overcome the blurring effects of the atmosphere. The laser guide star helps astronomers calibrate the telescope's adaptive optics system, reducing distortion caused by light passing through Earth’s atmosphere. Overhead, the Milky Way shines above the Unit Telescopes of the VLT.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Nick Rose;
Wednesday, June 25, 2014: This spiral galaxy NGC 2441 lies in the northern constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe). It contains intriguing supernova…Read More »
SN1995E (white dot roughly at the center of the image). Supernova SN1995E falls into the class of 1a supernova, meaning it formed from a binary system in which a white dwarf star pulled matter from its companion until the white dwarf became unstable and exploded. SN1995E also seems interesting in that recent observations of this supernova suggest that it displays a phenomenon known as a light echo, where dust along our line of sight scatters and deflects light, making it appear to “echo” outwards from the source. Image released June 23, 2014.
Thursday, June 26, 2014: Astrophotographer Aaron D. Priest sent in a photo of the Milky Way reflecting in a pond at his house in Lee, Maine, on June 19,…Read More »
2014.. He writes in an email message to Space.com: “This was taken a little after astronomical twilight (23:02) and before moonrise (47% at 00:07) when the sky was at its darkest. There was a lot of beautiful air glow last night, and a crazy amount of dew. The light on the grass and trees is from my kitchen window.”
Friday, June 27, 2014: Astrophotographer Paul Zizka sent in a photo of an auroral display in the Canadian Rockies. He took his self-portrait under an umbrella…Read More »
aurora over Castle Mountain and the Bow River at Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, on June 7, 2014. He stands at lower left with headlamp. On Facebook, he mentions that he used a Sigma 15mm fisheye lens to capture the view.
Monday, June 30, 2014: Spiral galaxy NGC 891 shows the edge of its dust-disk as a thick dark lane in this image. Supernovae winds blow the dust out of…Read More »
the plane into an extended halo, with a pressure resulting from the sudden, violent explosion of young, massive stars. The signature blue light of these stars fated to end as supernovae shines throughout the whole disk.
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+.