This nebula is the glowing remains of a dying, sun-like star. This stellar relic is called the Eskimo Nebula because, when viewed through ground-based telescopes, it resembles a face surrounded by a fur parka.
Close-up photos reveal rising crater walls that tower over the floors below. The spacecraft also investigated Mercury’s magnetic field. Earth and Mercury are the only planets in the inner solar system that have magnetic fields, though Earth’s is much stronger.
This image of an ultraviolet flash of light was produced from a dying star just before it exploded. It marked the first time scientists observed what happened in the final moments before a doomed star burst into space.
This is one of the universe’s most photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero Galaxy. Its hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy.
Here, bright blue newly formed stars are blowing a cavity in the center of a star-forming region and eroding the outer portions of the nebula, with numerous galaxies delivering a grand backdrop for the stellar newcomers. This small open star cluster lies in the core of the large emission nebula in Sagittarius, about 8,000 light-years away from Earth. Some of the stars in this cluster are extremely massive and emit intense ultraviolet radiation.
Radar data from NASA’s Magellan craft helped scientists stitch together this image of Venus. A European probe recently detected evidence of lighting inside the clouds of sulfuric acid that compose Venus’ dense atmosphere.
This is one of the largest panoramic images ever taken with Hubble’s cameras, a 50-light-year-wide view of the central region of the Carina Nebula where a maelstrom of a star’s birth and death is taking place.
These are views of an unusual phenomenon called a light echo. Light from an erupted star continues outward through a cloud of dust surrounding the star. The light reflects or “echoes” off the dust and then travels to Earth.
For years, astronomers have been baffled by the source of antimatter. Now, researchers say the matter-annihilating material is generated when stars get ripped apart by black holes or neutron stars. In this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, thousands of stars swirl around the super massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
Even galaxies get bullied. Here, a so-called “death star galaxy” blasts a nearby galaxy with a jet of energy. Scientists said that if this happened in the Milky Way, it would likely destroy all life on Earth.
The Cassini spacecraft’s 2005 flyby of Saturn’s moon Hyperion revealed its sponge-textured surface. This image was colored to bring out the surface’s details. Hyperion has a notably reddish tint when viewed in natural color.