Image of the Day: November 2010

The Thin Red Line

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

Wednesday, November 17, 2010: This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) features comet 65P/Gunn. Comet 65P/Gunn's tail is seen here in red trailing off to the right of the comet’s nucleus (at center).

Cool Places

NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Thursday, November 18, 2010: This Hubble Space Telescope photo released in April 2010 for its 20th birthday is of a small portion of one of the largest seen star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. Towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise from the wall of the nebula. The scene is reminiscent of Hubble's classic "Pillars of Creation" photo from 1995, but is even more striking in appearance. The image captures the top of a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being pushed apart from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks like arrows sailing through the air.

Odd Man Out


Friday, November 19, 2010: NGC 3628 is a spiral galaxy and a member of a small but conspicuous group of galaxies located about 35 million light-years away, toward the constellation of Leo (the Lion). It makes up the Leo Triplet along with spiral galaxies, Messier 65 and Messier 66 (not seen in this image), which were discovered in 1780 by French comet hunter Charles Messier. NGC 3628 is the faintest of the trio and escaped Messier's observations. It was discovered and catalogued by William Herschel four years later. NGC 3628 hides its spiral structure because it is seen perfectly edge-on. Its unusual feature is a dark band of dust that lies across the plane of the disc, visibly distorted outwards as a consequence of gravitational interaction between NGC 3628 and its companions.

Everybody Get in Line!

ESO/Y. Beletsky

Monday, November 22, 2010: In March 2008, Yuri Beletsky, astronomer at ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory at Paranal in northern Chile, caught this rare sight. In the sky above the observing deck, the planets Mercury (highest) and Venus were in alignment above the Moon, creating a celestial event known as a conjunction.

Let Me Go

ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Photo Optique Video CSG

Tuesday, November 23, 2010: An Ariane 5 rocket launches on Aug. 4, 2010 with NILESAT 201 and RASCOM-QAF1R was performed from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

One Summer Dream

Douglas Wheelock

Wednesday, November 24, 2010: Kennedy Space Center as seen from International Space Station by NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who posted this photo on Aug. 22, 2010 from space with the comment: To all of my friends and teammates on the 'Space Coast' … a beautiful summer day over Cape Canaveral, Florida . This is a magical place…an inspiring display of nature and technology in complete harmony. Launch Complex 39 sitting proudly in the middle of a thriving wildlife refuge. A unique place that launched a generation of scientists, engineers, explorers and dreamers. We cannot let this place fall silent … "

Lake Eerie

Derek Weston

Monday, November 29, 2010: Derek Weston was vacationing in northern Wisconsin when he photographed the aurora that was caused by an Aug. 1 solar flare.

Fly Me to the Moon

Douglas Wheelock

Tuesday, November 30, 2010: "Fly me to the moon … let me dance among the stars … " I hope we never lose our sense of wonder. A passion for exploration and discovery is a noble legacy to leave to our children. I hope we set our sails and venture out one day. That will be one glorious day …

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