On Oct. 9, 1604, sky watchers, including astronomer Johannes Kepler, spotted a 'new star' in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of nearby planets. 'Kepler's supernova' was the last exploding supernova seen in our Milky Way galaxy. Observers used only their eyes to study it, because the telescope was not yet invented. Now, astronomers have utilized NASA's three Great Observatories to analyze the supernova remnant in infrared, optical and X-ray light. NASA/ESA/JHU/R.Sankr it & W.Blair
This false-color image creates a dramatic contrast between vegetation (green) that was spared by the Wedge Canyon Fire in northwest Montana and the burned area (bright pink). This image is from the Advanced Land Imager sensor on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on July 29, 2003. The image uses observations made by the sensor in the Short Wave Infra-Red part of the electromagentic spectrum. GSFC/NASA and EDC/USGS
This Landsat 7 image of Guinea-Bissau, a small country in West Africa, shows the complex patterns of the country's shallow coastal waters, where silt carried by the Geba and other rivers washes out into the Atlantic Ocean. This is a false-color composite image made using infrared, red and blue wavelengths to bring out details in the silt was taken using Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper. NASA/USGS EROS Data Center
A star's spectacular death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth as the supernova of 1054 A.D. Now, almost a thousand years later, a superdense neutron star left behind by the stellar death is spewing out a blizzard of extremely high-energy particles into the expanding debris field known as the Crab Nebula. X-ray: NASA/CXC/J.Hester (ASU); Optical: NASA/ESA/J.Hester & A.Loll (ASU); Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R.G ehrz (Univ.
This image composite compares infrared and visible views of the famous Orion nebula and its surrounding cloud, an industrious star-making region located near the hunter constellation's sword. The infrared picture is from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and the visible image is from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, headquartered in Tucson, Ariz. NASA
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows what astronomers are referring to as a 'snake' (upper left) and its surrounding stormy environment. The sinuous object is actually the core of a thick, sooty cloud large enough to swallow dozens of solar systems. In fact, astronomers say the 'snake's belly' may be harboring beastly stars in the process of forming. The galactic creepy crawler to the right of the snake is another thick cloud core, in which additional burgeoning massive stars might be lurking. NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Carey (SSC/Caltech)
This majestic view taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope tells an untold story of life and death in the Eagle nebula, an industrious star-making factory located 7,000 light-years away in the Serpens constellation. The image shows the region's entire network of turbulent clouds and newborn stars in infrared light. The color green denotes cooler towers and fields of dust, including the three famous space pillars, dubbed the 'Pillars of Creation,' which were photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. NASA/JPL-Caltech/N. Flagey (IAS/SSC) & A. Noriega-Crespo (SSC/Caltech)
This multiwavelength composite of the young star cluster RCW 38 shows the Chandra data in red, the ISAAC infrared data in green, and the ATCA radio data in blue. The X-ray image was taken in December 2001, the infrared in November of 1998 and the radio in May of 1996. X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk et al.; Infrared: ISAAC/VLT; Radio: ATCA
The Coronet Cluster, a hotbed of star formation is seen in this X-ray/infrared composite image. X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/J.Forbr ich et al.; Infrared: NASA/SSC/CfA/IRAC GTO Team
Two rambunctious young stars are destroying their natal dust cloud with powerful jets of radiation, in an infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The stars are located approximately 600 light-years away in a cosmic cloud called BHR 71. NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Bourke (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) & c2d Legacy Team
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured these infrared images of the 'Whirlpool Galaxy,' revealing strange structures bridging the gaps between the dust-rich spiral arms, and tracing the dust, gas and stellar populations in both the bright spiral galaxy and its companion. The Spitzer image is a four-color composite of invisible light, showing emissions from wavelengths of 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8.0 microns (red). These wavelengths are roughly 10 times longer than those seen by the human eye. NASA
The image composite compares an infrared image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to a visible-light picture of the same region (inset). While the infrared view, dubbed 'Pillars of Creation,' reveals towering pillars of dust aglow with the light of embryonic stars (white/yellow), the visible-light view shows dark, barely-visible pillars. NASA
This image composite compares a visible-light view (l.) of the 'Cigar galaxy' to an infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of the same galaxy. While the visible image shows a serene galaxy looking cool as a cucumber, the infrared image reveals a smokin' hot 'cigar.' NASA
This false-color composite image shows the Cartwheel galaxy as seen by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer's Far Ultraviolet detector (blue); the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera-2 in B-band visible light (green); the Spitzer Space Telescope's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) at 8 microns (red); and the Chandra X-ray Observatory's Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer-S array instrument (purple). NASA/JPL-Caltech/P. N. Appleton (SSC/Caltech)
This 'tornado,' designated Herbig-Haro 49/50, is shaped by a cosmic jet packing a powerful punch as it plows through clouds of interstellar gas and dust. The tornado-like feature is actually a shock front created by a jet of material flowing downward through the field of view. A still-forming star located off the upper edge of the image generates this outflow. NASA/JPL-Caltech/J. Bally (Univ. of Colo.)
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Rosette nebula, a pretty star-forming region more than 5,000 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. In optical light, the nebula looks like a rosebud, or the 'rosette' adornments that date back to antiquity. But lurking inside this delicate cosmic rosebud are so-called planetary 'danger zones,' called O-stars (blue stars inside spheres), which give off intense winds and radiation. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Z. Balog (Univ. of Ariz./Univ. of Szeged)
The South African government charged Eugene De Kock for killing dozens with anti-apartheid activists during that era. The Christian Science Monitor covered his 1996 trial.
BySudarsan Raghavan, Correspondent
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 30, 1996, edition of The Christian Science Monitor right before Eugene De Kock, head of a deadly apartheid state covert unit, was sentenced to two life terms and an additional 212 years in prison. The South African government granted him parole Friday after 20 years.