Is the heart and soul of our Galaxy located in Cassiopeia? Possibly not, but that is where two bright emission nebulas nicknamed Heart and Soul can be found. The Heart Nebula, officially dubbed IC 1805, is visible in the above right. The above image was taken in infrared light by the recently launched WISE telescope. NASA, JPL-Caltech, WISE Team
Backdropped over the blue and white Earth, astronaut Daniel T. Barry, STS-105 mission specialist, is pictured near the end of the Space Shuttle Discovery's remote manipulator system arm during early stages of the second extravehicular activity of the STS-105 mission. Astronauts Barry and Patrick G. Forrester shared two days of space walk duties working on the International Space Station, to which Discovery was docked for several days. NASA
Astronauts Michael J. Massimino, STS-109 mission specialist, anchored on the end of the Space Shuttle Columbia's remote manipulator system robotic arm, works in tandem with astronaut James H. Newman, mission specialist, during this second session of extravehicular activity. NASA
Active galaxy NGC 1275 is the central, dominant member of the large and relatively nearby Perseus Cluster of Galaxies. Wild-looking at visible wavelengths, the active galaxy is also a prodigious source of x-rays and radio emission. NGC 1275 accretes matter as entire galaxies fall into it, ultimately feeding a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's core. NASA
Is this one galaxy or two? Astronomer Art Hoag first asked this question when he chanced upon this unusual extragalactic object. On the outside is a ring dominated by bright blue stars, while near the center lies a ball of much redder stars that are likely much older. Between the two is a gap that appears almost completely dark. NASA, R. Lucas (STScI/AURA)
While cruising around Saturn, be on the lookout for picturesque juxtapositions of moons and rings. Another striking alignment occurred last March in the view of humanity's Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. Rhea, one of Saturn's larger moons, was caught passing Epimetheus, one of Saturn's smaller moons. Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA
A clear scene of the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile River Delta forms the backdrop for this 70mm scene of Russia's Mir Space Station, as photographed from the aft flight deck of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Atlantis docked with Mir on March 23, 1996, and remained linked until March 28, 1996. NASA
Astronaut Franklin R. Chang-Diaz works with a grapple fixture during extravehicular activity to perform work on the International Space Station in 2002. The first spacewalk of the STS-111 mission began with the installation of a Power and Data Grapple Fixture for the station's robotic arm on the complex's P6 truss. NASA
This artist concept shows a mirror-smooth lake on the surface of the smoggy moon Titan. Cassini scientists have concluded that at least one of the large lakes observed on Saturn's moon Titan contains liquid hydrocarbons, and have positively identified ethane. This result makes Titan the only place in our solar system beyond Earth known to have liquid on its surface. NASA/JPL
This is a special 'space' suit for the Reduced Gravity Walking Simulator located at the Lunar Landing Facility. The purpose of this simulator was to study the subject while walking, jumping or running. Researchers conducted studies of various factors such as fatigue limit, energy expenditure, and speed of locomotion in 1964. NASA Langley Research Center
Before his late-night Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis called a group of mostly Christian refugees, telling them, 'You're like Jesus on this night,' forced to flee because there was no place for them.
ByNicole Winfield, Associated Press
Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve with a late-night Mass Wednesday in St. Peter's Basilica and a phone call to some Iraqi refugees forced to flee their homes by Muslim militants.