For billions of years, massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy have lived spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnaces ignite and create heavy elements in their cores. After a few million years, the enriched material is blasted back into interstellar space where star formation begins anew. The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an example of this final phase of the stellar life cycle. Light from the explosion which created this supernova remnant was probably first seen in planet Earth's sky just over 300 years ago, although it took that light more than 10,000 years to reach us.
This photo, captured by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, is Hubble's latest view of an expanding halo of light around the distant star V838 Monocerotis, or V Mon, caused by an unusual stellar outburst that occurred back in January 2002. A burst of light from the bizarre star is spreading into space and reflecting off of surrounding circumstellar dust. As different parts are sequentially illuminated, the appearance of the dust changes. This effect is referred to as a "light echo".
The odd equatorial sand dunes found on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have been shaped by winds blowing in the opposite of the prevailing direction, new research finds.
This enhanced-color image of the northern hemisphere of Saturn taken by Voyager 1 on November 5, 1980 at a range of 5.5 million miles shows a variety of features in Saturn's clouds. Time-lapse images of cloud features like those shown in this image not only provide information on how these storms evolve with time, but provide a way to measure atmospheric wind speeds.
What are Saturn's rings made of? In an effort to find out, the robot spacecraft Cassini that entered orbit around Saturn two weeks ago took several detailed images of the area surrounding Saturn's large A ring in ultraviolet light. In the above image, the bluer an area appears, the richer it is in water ice. Conversely, the redder an area appears, the richer it is in some sort of dirt.
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. Red represents hotter dust thought to have been warmed by the explosion of a massive star about 8,000 to 9,000 years ago.
In this image of the Andes along the Chile-Bolivia border, the visible and infrared data have been computer enhanced to exaggerate the color differences of the different materials. The scene is dominated by the Pampa Luxsar lava complex, occupying the upper right two-thirds of the scene. Lava flows are distributed around remnants of large dissected cones, the largest of which is Cerro Luxsar.
This infrared composite image of the two hemispheres of Uranus was obtained with Keck adaptive optics. The images were obtained on July 11 and 12, 2004. The representative balance of these infrared images which were selected to display the vertical structure of atmospheric features gives a reddish tint to the rings, an artifact of the process. The North pole is at 4 o'clock.
Scientists have succeeded in clocking the winds in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star in the constellation Pegasus. Windiest planet in our solar system is Neptune, at 1,200 m.p.h.
Winds of carbon monoxide howl across a gas giant at thousands of miles per hour, some 150 light-years from Earth. For the first time astronomers have determined wind speeds on a planet outside our solar system.