This image from the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory shows the cloud associated with the Rosette Nebula, a stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the Monoceros, or Unicorn, constellation. The Herschel telescope collects infrared light given out by dust. The bright smudges are dusty cocoons containing massive embryonic stars, which will grow up to 10 times the mass of our sun. The small spots near the center of the image are lower mass stellar embryos. The Rosette Nebula itself, and its massive cluster of stars, is located to the right of the picture. ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortium/HOBYS Key Programme Consortia
This composite image shows N49, the aftermath of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud. A new long observation from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals evidence for a bullet-shaped object (in the lower right of the image) being blown out of debris field left over from an exploded star.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S. Park et al. Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y.H. Chu & R. Williams et al.
In this image taken by the Cassini spacecraft, Rhea, one of Saturn's larger moons, was caught passing Epimetheus, one of Saturn's smaller moons. Epimetheus, as pictured above, is actually well behind the heavily cratered Rhea. Further back, several of the complex rings of Saturn can be seen crossing the image horizontally. Behind both the moons and rings is Saturn itself, showing expansive but featureless clouds.
Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA
High above the African continent, tall, dense cumulonimbus clouds, meaning 'column rain' in Latin, are the result of atmospheric instability. The clouds can form alone, in clusters, or along a cold front in a squall line. The high energy of these storms is associated with heavy precipitation, lightning, high wind speeds and tornadoes. NASA
The Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft touches down near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on June. The astronauts returned from six months onboard the International Space Station, where they served as members of the Expedition 22 and 23 crews.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket lifts off at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., June 4. The rocket is carrying a mock-up of the company's spacecraft, named Dragon. The goal is to put the capsule into orbit. NASA hopes to use the Falcon-Dragon combo for hauling cargo and possibly astronauts to the International Space Station once the space shuttles stop flying. SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies, was founded eight years ago by Elon Musk, a South African-born entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal.
NASA technicians work on the space shuttle Atlantis after it landed, ending Mission STS-132, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 26. The space shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida on Wednesday, capping a 12-day mission to deliver a new module to the International Space Station before NASA retires the shuttle fleet after two more flights.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble's launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on Feb. 1-2. NASA/REUTERS