This image by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a dramatic view of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy. Seen in near-infrared light, most of the starlight has been removed, revealing the Whirlpool's skeletal dust structure. This new image is the sharpest view of the dense dust in M51. The narrow lanes of dust revealed by Hubble reflect the galaxy's moniker, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as if they were swirling toward the galaxy's core. NASA, ESA, M. Regan and B. Whitmore (STScI), R. Chandar (University of Toledo), S. Beckwith (STScI), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
This artist's rendering shows a view of our own Milky Way Galaxy and its central bar as it might appear if viewed from above. An arrow indicates the location of our Sun. Astronomers have concluded for many years that our galaxy harbors a stellar bar, though its presence has been inferred indirectly. Our vantage point within the disk of the galaxy makes it difficult to accurately determine the size and shape of this bar and surrounding spiral arms. NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)
The magnificent spiral arms of the nearby galaxy Messier 81 are highlighted in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major (which also includes the Big Dipper), this galaxy is easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope. M81 is located at a distance of 12 million light-years. The main image is a composite mosaic obtained with the multiband imaging photometer and the infrared array camera. NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Gordon (University of Arizona) & S. Willner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), N.A. Sharp (NOAO/AURA/NSF)
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. NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Kennicutt (Univ. of Arizona)/DSS/R. Kennicutt (Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona)
This new image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) shows the unique galaxy pair called NGC 3314. Through an extraordinary chance alignment, a face-on spiral galaxy lies precisely in front of another larger spiral. This line-up provides us with the rare chance to visualize dark material within the front galaxy, seen only because it is silhouetted against the object behind it. Dust lying in the spiral arms of the foreground galaxy stands out where it absorbs light from the more distant galaxy. Hubble Space Telescope/NASA
Looking like a child's pinwheel ready to be set a spinning by a gentle breeze, this dramatic spiral galaxy is one of the latest viewed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Stunning details of the face-on spiral galaxy, cataloged as NGC 1309, are captured in this color image. It is one of about 200 galaxies that make up the Eridanus group of galaxies. NASA
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the nearby barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672 unveils details in the galaxy's star-forming clouds and dark bands of interstellar dust. One of the most striking features is the dust lanes that extend away from the nucleus and follow the inner edges of the galaxy's spiral arms. NASA
A supermassive black hole is located at the center of spiral galaxy M81. NASA
The larger and more massive galaxy is cataloged as NGC 2207 (on the left), and the smaller one on the right is IC 2163. Strong tidal forces from NGC 2207 have distorted the shape of IC 2163, flinging out stars and gas into long streamers stretching out a hundred thousand light-years toward the right-hand edge of the image. NASA
This beautiful galaxy is tilted at an oblique angle on to our line of sight, giving a 'birds-eye view' of the spiral structure. The galaxy is similar to our Milky Way, but our favorable view provides a better picture of the typical architecture of spiral galaxies. M81 may be undergoing a surge of star formation along the spiral arms due to a close encounter it may have had with its nearby spiral galaxy NGC 3077 and a nearby starburst galaxy (M82) about 300 million years ago. NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Willner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Ultraviolet image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365, which is a member of the Fornax Cluster of Galaxies. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC
The International Civil Aviation Organization has called only the second high-level safety meeting in its history after a disastrous year in aviation safety.
ByJoan Lowy, Associated Press
Government and aviation industry officials from dozens of countries are meeting in Montreal this week to try to find consensus on how to keep from losing airliners like the one that vanished without a trace in Asia and another shot down in Eastern Europe.