Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344

Presenting The Extraordinary Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344

From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 3344 face-on.

Nearly 40,000 light-years across, the big, beautiful spiral galaxy is located just 20 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo Minor.

This multi-color Hubble Space Telescope close-up of NGC 3344 includes remarkable details from near-infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths.

Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344
Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344

The frame extends some 15,000 light-years across the spiral’s central regions.

From the core outward, the galaxy’s colors change from the yellowish light of old stars in the center of young blue star clusters and reddish star-forming regions along the loose, fragmented spiral arms.

Of course, the bright stars with a spiky appearance are in front of NGC 3344 and lie well within our own Milky Way.

Image Credit: ESA /Hubble & NASA

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Dragon Aurora Over Norway

Magnificent Dragon Aurora Captured Over Norway

 

What’s that in the sky? An aurora. A spectacular Dragon shaped aurora! 🙂

Dragon Aurora Over Norway
Dragon Aurora Over Norway

A large coronal hole opened last month, a few days before this image was taken, throwing a cloud of fast-moving electrons, protons, and ions toward the Earth.

Some of this cloud impacted our Earth’s magnetosphere and resulted in spectacular auroras being seen at high northern latitudes.

Featured here is a particularly photogenic auroral curtain captured above  Tromsø Norway.

To the astrophotographer, this shimmering green glow of recombining atmospheric oxygen appeared as a large dragon aurora, but feel free to share what it looks like to you.

Although now past Solar Maximum, our Sun continues to show occasional activity creating impressive auroras on Earth visible even last week.

Image Credit & Copyright: Marco Bastoni

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Star Cluster NGC 3324 In Constellation Carina

Star Cluster NGC 3324 In Constellation Carina

 

This bright cosmic cloud, creating the silhouette of a face, was sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from the hot young stars of open cluster NGC 3324.

Star Cluster NGC 3324 In Constellation Carina
Star Cluster NGC 3324 In Constellation Carina

With dust clouds in silhouette against its glowing atomic gas, the pocket-shaped star-forming region actually spans about 35 light-years.

It lies some 7,500 light-years away toward the nebula rich southern constellation Carina.

A composite of narrowband image data, the telescopic view captures the characteristic emission from ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms mapped to red, green, and blue hues in the popular Hubble Palette.

For some, the celestial landscape of bright ridges of emission bordered by cool, obscuring dust along the right side creates a recognizable face in profile.

The region’s popular name is the Gabriela Mistral Nebula for the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet.

Image Credit: Martin Pugh

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Photo Of Clouds On Jupiter

Spectacular Painting Like Photo Of Clouds On Jupiter

 

Juno captured this beautiful masterpiece of a picture of clouds on Jupiter, the King of Planets, capturing the vivid details as that of a painting!

Photo Of Clouds On Jupiter
Photo Of Clouds On Jupiter

Brush strokes of Jupiter’s signature atmospheric bands and vortices form this planetary post-impressionist work of art. 

The creative image uses actual data from the Juno spacecraft’s JunoCam.

To paint on the digital canvas, an image with light and dark tones was chosen for processing and an oil-painting software filter applied.

The image data was captured during perijove 10, Juno’s December 16, 2017, close encounter with the solar system’s ruling gas giant.

At the time the spacecraft was cruising about 13,000 kilometers above northern clouds of Jupiter.

Related: Breathtaking Photos of Jupiter And Its Beautiful South Pole

Image Credit: NASAJPL-Caltech, SwRI, MSSS; ProcessingRick Lundh

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Veil Nebula NGC 6960

Veil Nebula NGC 6960: The Witch’s Broom Nebula

 

Born ten thousand years ago as a result of a supernova, the Veil Nebula NGC 6960 is also known as the Witch’s Broom Nebula.

Veil Nebula NGC 6960
Veil Nebula NGC 6960

Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, a new light would have suddenly have appeared in the night sky and faded after a few weeks.

Today we know this light was from a supernova or exploding star, and record the expanding debris cloud as the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant.

This sharp telescopic view is centered on a western segment of the Veil Nebula cataloged as NGC 6960 but less formally known as the Witch’s Broom Nebula.

Blasted out in the cataclysmic explosion, the interstellar shock wave plows through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material.

Imaged with narrow band filters, the glowing filaments are like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge-on, remarkably well separated into atomic hydrogen (red) and oxygen (blue-green) gas.

The complete supernova remnant lies about 1400 light-years away towards the constellation Cygnus.

This Witch’s Broom actually spans about 35 light-years. The bright star in the frame is 52 Cygni, visible with the unaided eye from a dark location but unrelated to the ancient supernova remnant.

Image Credit: Martin Pugh (Heaven’s Mirror Observatory)

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Gorgeous Spiral Galaxy NGC 289: Swirl In The Southern Sky

 

About 70 million light-years distant, the gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 289 is larger than our own Milky Way.

Spiral Galaxy NGC 289
Spiral Galaxy NGC 289

Seen nearly face-on, its bright core and colorful central disk give way to remarkably faint, bluish spiral arms.

The extensive arms sweep well over 100 thousand light-years from the galaxy’s center.

At the lower right of this sharp, telescopic galaxy portrait the main spiral arm seems to encounter a small, fuzzy elliptical companion galaxy interacting with enormous NGC 289.

Of course, the spiky stars are in the foreground of the scene. They lie within the Milky Way toward the southern constellation Sculptor.

Image Credit: Adam Block, ChileScope

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Mars Between The M8 Lagoon and M20 Trifid Nebulas

Mars Between The M8 Lagoon and M20 Trifid Nebulas

 

What’s that bright red spot between the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulas?

Well, of course, it’s our friendly neighborhood red planet: Mars!

Mars Between The M8 Lagoon and M20 Trifid Nebulas
Mars Between The M8 Lagoon and M20 Trifid Nebulas

This gorgeous color deep-sky photograph captured the red planet passing between the two notable nebulas — cataloged by the 18th-century cosmic registrar Charles Messier as M8 and M20. 

M20 (upper right of center), the Trifid Nebula, presents a striking contrast in red/blue colors and dark dust lanes.

Across the bottom right is the expansive, alluring red glow of M8, the Lagoon Nebula.

Both nebulae are a few thousand light-years distant. By comparison, temporarily situated between them both, is the dominant “local” celestial beacon, Mars.

When this image was taken, the red planet was only about 10 light-minutes away.

Image Credit: Sebastian Voltmer

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Stunning Look At Star Cluster NGC 602 and Beyond

Stunning Look At Star Cluster NGC 602 and Beyond!

 

Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies the 5 million years young star cluster NGC 602.

Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is featured in this stunning Hubble image of the region, augmented by images in the X-ray by Chandra, and in the infrared by Spitzer.

Stunning Look At Star Cluster NGC 602 and Beyond
Stunning Look At Star Cluster NGC 602 and Beyond!

Fantastic ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602’s massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster’s center.

At the estimated distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, the picture spans about 200 light-years, but a tantalizing assortment of background galaxies are also visible in this sharp multi-colored view.

The background galaxies are hundreds of millions of light-years or more beyond NGC 602.

Image Credit: X-ray: Chandra: NASA/CXC/Univ.Potsdam/L.Oskinova et al; 
Optical: Hubble: NASA/STScI; Infrared: Spitzer: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Moons, Rings, Shadows, Clouds: Saturn (Cassini)

Moons, Rings, Shadows, Clouds: Saturn (Cassini)

While cruising around Saturn, be on the lookout for picturesque juxtapositions of moons, rings, and shadows. 

One quite picturesque arrangement occurred in 2005 and was captured by the then Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft: 

Moons, Rings, Shadows, Clouds: Saturn (Cassini)
Moons, Rings, Shadows, Clouds: Saturn (Cassini)

In the featured image, moons Tethys and Mimas are visible on either side of Saturn’s thin rings, which are seen nearly edge-on. Across the top of Saturn are dark shadows of the wide rings, exhibiting their impressive complexity.

The violet-light image brings up the texture of the backdrop: Saturn’s clouds.

Cassini orbited Saturn from 2004 until September of last year, when the robotic spacecraft was directed to dive into Saturn to keep it from contaminating any moons.

Image Credit: NASAJPL-CaltechSpace Science Institute via Astronomy Picture of the Day

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