The Crab Nebula, filled with mysterious filaments, is the result of a star that was seen to explode in 1054 AD. This spectacular supernova explosion was recorded by Chinese and (quite probably) Anasazi Indian astronomers. The filaments are mysterious because they appear to have less mass than expelled in the original supernova and higher speed than expected from a free explosion. In the above picture taken recently from a Very Large Telescope, the color indicates what is happening to the electrons in different parts of the Crab Nebula. NASA
This image provided by NASA in 2009 shows a view combining infrared images from the ground with X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory in the supernova remnant W49B. Studies of two supernova remnants using the Japan-U.S. Suzaku observatory have revealed never-before-seen embers of the high-temperature fireballs that immediately followed the explosions. Even after thousands of years, gas within these stellar wrecks retain the imprint of temperatures 10,000 times hotter than the sun's surface. NASA/AP
A violent and chaotic-looking mass of gas and dust is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a relatively nearby supernova remnant. Denoted N 63A, the object is the remains of a massive star that exploded, spewing its gaseous layers out into an already turbulent region. The area is a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud visible from the southern hemisphere and lying 160,000 light-years from our own Milky Way galaxy. NASA/ESA/AP
This image provided by NASA in December 2010 shows a delicate sphere of gas, photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, floating serenely in the depths of space. The pristine shell, or bubble, is the result of gas that is being shocked by the expanding blast wave from a supernova. Called SNR 0509-67.5, the bubble is the visible remnant of a powerful stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/AP
Remnants from a star that exploded thousands of years ago created a celestial abstract portrait, as captured in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Pencil Nebula. Officially known as NGC 2736, the Pencil Nebula is part of the huge Vela supernova remnant, located in the southern constellation Vela. Discovered by Sir John Herschel in the 1840s, the nebula's linear appearance triggered its popular name. The nebula's shape suggests that it is part of the supernova shock wave that recently encountered a region of dense gas. It is this interaction that causes the nebula to glow, appearing like a rippled sheet. NASA/Hubble Heritage Team/Reuters
This image shows Cassiopeia A in the most detailed image ever made of the remains of an exploded star. The colors represent different ranges of X-rays with red, green, and blue representing low, medium, and higher X-ray energies of the supernova remnant. NASA/CXC/GSFC/U.Hwang et al./HO/Reuters
A supernova within the galaxy M100, that may contain the youngest known black hole in our cosmic neighborhood, is seen in this composite image. Earth's newest neighbor, a supernova spotted 30 years ago, appears to be a newborn black hole, astronomers reported on Monday. Chandra X-ray Observatory Center/Reuters
This image released by NASA shows the Henize 206 nebula. The nebula was formed by the death of a massive star millions of years ago and now houses a group of newborn stars. The image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the nebula which is in the Large Magellanic Cloud about 163,000 light-years away. The false-color image shows embedded young stars as bright white spots, and surrounding gas and dust in blue, green and red. Also revealed is a ring of green gas, which is the wake of the ancient supernova's explosion. NASA/AP
This color composite image shows the supernova remnant E0102-72, the remnant of a star that exploded in a nearby galaxy known as the Small Magellanic Cloud. The galaxy is approximately 190,000 light years from Earth, so we see the remnant as it was about 190,000 years ago – about a thousand years after the explosion occurred. The star exploded outward at speeds in excess of 12 million mph and collided with surrounding gas. This collision produced two shock waves, or cosmic sonic booms – one traveling outward, and the other rebounding back into the material ejected by the explosion. 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. The red ball at the bottom left is a "supernova remnant," the remains of massive star that died in a fiery blast. NASA/JPL-Caltech
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. NASA/CXC/J.Hester (ASU); Optical: NASA/ESA/J.Hester & A.Loll (ASU); Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R.G ehrz (Univ. Minn.)
This set of images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Eagle nebula in different hues of infrared light. This view is packed with drama, because it tells astronomers that a star in this region violently erupted, or went supernova, heating surrounding dust. The contrast between the hot, supernova-heated dust (green) and the cooler dust making up the region's dusty star-forming clouds and towers (red, blue and purple) is highlighted here. NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale
This is a composite image of N49, the brightest supernova remnant in optical light in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The Chandra X-ray image (blue) shows million-degree gas in the center. Much cooler gas at the outer parts of the remnant is seen in the infrared image from Spitzer (red). X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/S.K ulkarni et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y.H. Chu & R.Williams et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R.G ehrz et al.
This image shows dynamic rings, wisps and jets of matter and antimatter around the pulsar in the Crab Nebula as observed in X-ray light by Chandra and optical light by Hubble. NASA/HST/ASU/J.Hester et
Estimated to be 100 times heftier than our Sun, Eta Carinae is one of the most massive stars in our galaxy. It may also turn out to be one of the shortest-lived, because results for SN 2006gy suggest that it may be destroyed by a supernova at any time. Since Eta Carinae is located in our galaxy only about 7500 light years away, this would be a spectacular event. NASA/N.Smith & J.Morse)
Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a new star in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets. Modern astronomers, using NASA's three orbiting Great Observatories, are unraveling the mysteries of the expanding remains of Kepler's supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy. NASA
Chandra's image of N63A shows material heated to about ten million degrees Celsius by a shock wave generated by the supernova explosion. This image has been inverted to better show the fluffy crescent-shaped X-ray features that appear around the edge of the remnant. The features are thought to be fragments of high-speed matter shot out from the star when it exploded, like shrapnel from a bomb. NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren et al.
The supernova remnant 1E0102.2-7219 sits next to the nebula N76 in a bright, star-forming region of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy located about 200,000 light-years from Earth. A supernova remnant is made up of the messy bits and pieces of a massive star that exploded, or went supernova. NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Stanimirovic (UC Berkeley)
The aftermath of the death of a massive star is shown in beautiful detail in this new composite image of G292.0+1.8. In color is the Chandra X-ray Observatory image - easily the deepest X-ray image ever obtained of this supernova remnant - and in white is optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey. NASA/CXC/Penn State/S.Park et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS
Seventy years ago, AP's Joe Rosenthal took the now iconic photo of US Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. The Christian Science Monitor reported why the tiny island played such a huge role in the war's Pacific theater.
ByJoseph C. Harsch, Staff writer
This article originally ran in The Christian Science Monitor on Feb. 23, 1945, on the same day when Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the now iconic photo of US Marines raising the nation's flag on the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean. The Monitor's Joseph C. Harsch explained at the time why Iwo Jima played such an important role in the US campaign in the Pacific during World War II.