Friday, Feb. 27, 2015: Large spiral galaxy Messier 100 appears face-on to viewers on Earth. The spiral arms make wavelike patterns in the rotating disk…Read More »
of stars, gas and dust. Lines of luminous young blue stars trace out the star-formation regions in these arms. At lower right in the image, a small satellite galaxy interacts with the disk. Image released February 2015.
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015: The Licancabur volcano (left of center) stands high on the Chajnantor Plateau near to the site of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter…Read More »
Array (ALMA) telescope, beneath a star-filled sky. The volcano streches 19,400 feet (5,920 meters) into the sky, and is split between the countries of Chile and Bolivia. The white area in the foreground consists of tall, thin blades of hardened snow and ice, known as penitentes. Light from the town of San Pedro de Atacama glows at the left. Image released Feb. 23, 2015.
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015: Astrophotographer Mia Stålnacke contributed an undated photo of an auroral display over Kiruna, Sweden. She titled it "Ominous Aurora."
— Tom Chao
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Credit: Terry W. Virts (via Twitter as @AstroTerry)
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015: NASA astronaut Terry Virts tweeted a photo of his "space cheeseburger" apparently floating in microgravity in the International…Read More »
Space Station on Feb. 19, 2015. He wrote: “#SpaceCheeseburger. Beef patties, Russian mustard, tomato paste, cheese paste, and tortilla. VERY TASTY!” An accompanying photo showed Virts taking a bite out of his improvised culinary masterpiece.
Monday, Feb. 23, 2015: Astrophotographer Jennifer Khordi sent in a photo of the night sky seen from the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey. She writes in…Read More »
a email message to Space.com: "I was photographing the rising Milky Way [on Feb. 16, 2015], which was the first time the Milky Way rose before the moon and pre-dawn twilight this Milky Way viewing season. A large, bright green meteor lit up the sky traveling very fast towards the horizon while I was taking this image. The bright object over the ocean was the crescent moon."
Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015: The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope imaged the Palomar 12 globular cluster of stars. It is around 30% younger than other globular…Read More »
clusters in the Milky Way, and research reveals that it originally resided in the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical galaxy, from which Palomar 12 was ripped about 1.7 billion years ago. Tidal interactions tore the globular cluster from its home galaxy, a dwarf galaxy that closely orbits us, and which the Milky Way is slowly consuming. Image released Feb. 16, 2015.
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015: Dawn comes to the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory. The 3.6-meter telescope is at top right, while the moon…Read More »
floats at left. The telescope sits 7900 feet (2400 meters) above sea level and was inaugurated in 1976. It currently operates with the HARPS spectrograph, the most prolific exoplanet hunting instrument in the world. La Silla lies 373 miles (600 kilometers) north of Santiago at the edge of the Chilean Atacama Desert. The skies above the observatory provide over 300 clear nights a year for astronomical viewing. Image released Feb. 16, 2015.
Friday, Feb. 13, 2015: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft (DSCOVR) climbs into the sky over NASA's Kennedy…Read More »
Space Center in Florida, as the countdown clock shows 30 seconds have elapsed since the flight began on Feb. 11, 2015. DSCOVR satellite, developed by NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force in partnership, will help monitor the solar wind for dangerous conditions that may affect the Earth.
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015: This office at the Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal, northern Chile, features a window with a view of the Milky Way in the…Read More »
night sky. Dark lanes of the Milky Way appear outside, these lanes consisting of dense clouds of dust and gas that block out the light from background stars. The lack of of polluting moonlight seen here signals a good night for collecting data. To keep the sky dark, unneeded lights in the control building are shut off, and windows are blacked out. Astronomers walk outside only with flashlights, preferably with red filters to preserve night vision. The office in this image is located next to the VLT control room, and the object outside the window makes up part of the control building located on a "shelf" below the main observing platform at the top of the Paranal Mountain.
Credit: NASA & ESA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (geckzilla.org)
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015: Galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 appears to have a big smile at the center of this Hubble Space Telescope image. A pair of bright…Read More »
galaxies make up the two orange "eyes," while the "smile" lines arc as a result of the effect of strong gravitational lensing. Galaxy clusters, as the most massive structures in the universe, exert a powerful gravitational pull that actually warps the spacetime around them, and act as cosmic lenses which bend the light coming from behind them. This phenomenon was predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity. In this instance, a ring known as an "Einstein Ring" occurs from the exact alignment of source, lens, and observer, creating the ring-like structure making the smiley face. Image released Feb. 9, 2015. [Read full story.]
Monday, Feb. 9, 2015: On Feb. 4, 2015, a solar filament emerged in the shape of a twisted arch over a three-hour period, then most of it plunged back into…Read More »
sun. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observed this activity in the lower corona by examining a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. Filaments, unstable by nature, consist of elongated clouds of particles suspended above the sun's surface by magnetic forces.
Friday, Feb. 6, 2015: Astrophotographer Stefano Pollina sent in a long exposure of Jupiter looming over Southsea Castle, Southsea, England, United Kingdom,…Read More »
taken on Jan. 19, 2015. Orion constellation also shines at right. The castle dates from 1544, constructed by Henry VIII as part of a series of fortifications around England’s coasts protecting from invaders. [Ed. note: An earlier caption of this photo misidentified the planet as Venus instead of Jupiter.]
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015: Spiral galaxy NGC 7814, known as the "Little Sombrero," appears edge-on to viewers on Earth, showing a bright central bulge and…Read More »
a halo of glowing gas extending into space. Dark streaks mark the dusty spiral arms. The Little Sombrero has a size similar to its bright namesake, the Sombrero Galaxy, about 60,000 light-years across, but the Little Sombrero lies further away, and thus appears smaller in the sky. Image released Feb. 2, 2015.