NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured a glowing stellar nursery within a dark globule that is opaque at visible light. These new images pierce through the obscuration to reveal the birth of new protostars and young stars never before seen. The newborn stars form in the dense gas because of compression by the wind and radiation from a nearby massive star. The winds from this unseen star are also responsible for producing the spectacular filamentary appearance of the globule itself, which resembles that of a flying dragon. NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach (SSC/Caltech)
Ripples on the wind have created the intricate wave patterns seen in this thick plume of dust over Egypt and Libya. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on February 28, 2005, just as a strong gust of wind pulled a streamer of dust out over the Mediterranean Sea. NASA
This high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows twisting dark trails criss-crossing light-colored terrain on the Martian surface. Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with a tantalizing mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature wind vortices known to occur on the red planet, in other words Martian dust devils. NASA, HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona)
A Saturn I booster model is set up for testing in NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center's 8'x6' Supersonic Wind Tunnel in 1960. The model had eight working rocket engines with 250 pounds of thrust each. The tests simulated actual flight conditions, providing valuable information to optimize vehicle stability and air pressure distribution. NASA
The nearby intense star-forming region known as the Great Nebula in the Orion constellation reveals a bow shock around a very young star as seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Named for the crescent-shaped wave made by a ship as it moves through the water, a bow shock can be created in space where two streams of gas collide. LL Ori emits a vigorous solar wind, a stream of charged particles moving rapidly outward from the star. Our own sun has a less energetic version of this wind. NASA
The experimental X-43A hypersonic research aircraft, part aircraft and part spacecraft, was dropped from the wing of a modified B-52 aircraft, boosted to nearly 100,000 feet altitude by a booster rocket and released over the Pacific Ocean to briefly fly under its own power at seven times the speed of sound, almost 5,000 mph. The flight is part of the Hyper-X program, a research effort designed to demonstrate alternate propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere. Jeff Caplan/NASA Langley
The Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 is back at work, capturing this image of the "butterfly wing"- shaped nebula, NGC 2346. The nebula is about 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros. It represents the spectacular "last gasp" of a binary star system at the nebula's center. A hot red giant in the nebula developed a fast stellar wind, blowing out into the surrounding disk, and inflating the large, wispy hourglass-shaped wings perpendicular to the disk. NASA
This color composite made from Voyager 2 narrow-angle camera frames shows the Great Red Spot, a massive anticyclonic storm two or three times the size of our planet, during the late Jovian afternoon. NASA
The Helix Nebula, which is composed of gaseous shells and disks puffed out by a dying sunlike star, exhibits complex structure on the smallest visible scales. The "cometary knots" show blue-green heads due to excitation of their molecular material from shocks or ultraviolet radiation. The tails of the cometary knots appear redder due to being shielded from the central star's ultraviolet radiation and wind by the heads of the knots. NASA/JPL-Caltech/ J. Hora (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
Long ago, the massive star that produced Supernova 1987A lost most of its outer layers in a slowly moving stellar wind that formed a vast cloud of gas. Before the star exploded, a high-speed wind from the star carved out a cavity in the cool gas cloud. The red ring in the illustration represents the inner edge of the cloud of cool gas. NASA/STScI/CfA/P.Challis
A full-scale model of the Mercury capsule was tested in the Langley 30- by 60-Foot Full-Scale Wind Tunnel. Managed at Langley Research Center, the objectives of the Mercury program were quite specific: to orbit a crewed spacecraft around the Earth, to investigate the ability of humans to function in space and to recover both human and spacecraft safely. Project Mercury accomplished the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. NASA
Astronomers have long known that the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, known as Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), is a particularly poor eater. The fuel for this black hole comes from powerful winds blown off dozens of massive young stars that are concentrated nearby. NASA/CXC/MIT/F. Baganoff, R. Shcherbakov et al.
Russia is like a bear prowling on its own territory, Vladimir Putin told about 1,200 journalists assembled in the Kremlin for his annual marathon press conference Thursday. The bear would prefer to just sit around eating berries and honey, bothering no one and hoping to be left alone.