Laurel Nendza is the owner and creator of Stellar Eyes.
Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a supermassive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A illustrate the combined imaging power of two of astronomy's cutting-edge tools, the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, and the recently upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico.
Get ready! Tomorrow is picture day for the entire planet. On Friday July 19, 2013, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will take a picture of Earth from about 898 million (1.44 billion kilometers) away, or nearly 10 times the distance between Earth and the sun. It will be the first time Earthlings have had advance notice that their picture will be taken from interplanetary distances.
"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." -Vincent van Gogh
For astrophotographer Mike Taylor in central Maine, that quote is very true. When most people are fast asleep Mike is out capturing stunning and surreal night sky photos so incredible van Gogh himself would have been in awe. Featuring millions of sparkling stars and vibrant curtains of color, his images look more like a fantasy painting than a photograph. Some say he is lucky because each night he captures something magical; a vivid fireball that appears from nowhere, a captivating aurora dancing with the Milky Way or airglow illuminating the dark sky.
In the summer of 1989, a robotic emissary from Earth visited the farthest major planet from the Sun, Neptune. Like any good tourist, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft snapped a lot of pictures during the brief flyby. The prolific probe discovered several moons orbiting close to the blue-green planet. But one moon, no bigger than a metropolitan city and nearly coal-black, escaped detection because it was too faint to be seen. Until now.
It's hard to believe the captivating and gorgeous nebula in this image was created by one tiny sun-like star that exploded. Planetary nebulas are kind of like snowflakes, they are extremely intricate and beautiful and no two are exactly alike. Scattered throughout the universe these dazzling cosmic marvels give scientist a glimpse into our own star's distant future.
Today in our world of fast paced technology and growing population it's no wonder people forget to slow down and look up at the night sky. Even when we do look up we may just see a handful of stars and the moon. "Nothing to see here" we may think to ourselves as we get out of our cars at night and go about our business. Many people don't know what they are missing. How can you miss something you've never seen or thought twice about?
We are used to Hubble capturing astonishing images of supernovae and planetary nebulae created by huge explosions of dying stars. In this image this star went out with a whimper, at least that's how NASA put it. None the less it still is an amazing and gorgeous image.
There is incredible magic happening in our galaxy. This amazing nebula was discovered by William Herschel's sister, Caroline Herschel in 1787. To her it appeared to look like a medieval sorcerer conjuring up a magical potion in the stars.
The Hubble Space Telescope has wowed us again, this time with an image of a galactic dance between two galaxies. As the pair get closer to each other their original shapes are stretched and pulled promoting imagination and wonder to all who view them. Some have said they look like a penguin or hummingbird. What do you see?
The Kepler Team announced last week that they have found 503 new planet candidates to add to the growing list of alien planets found. This now means there are potentially 3,216 planets outside our solar system that we know about. Some of the candidates are small and in the habitable zone of their star. Although the Kepler spacecraft remains in its Point Rest State, scientist and citizens still have years of data to sift through. Before the launch of Kepler on March 7, 2009, only a few handfulls of planet candidates had been detected. Now the number has exploded into thousands of alien worlds. Each one of them keeping us on the front of our seat for what they will find next!