The Cosmic Gallery: The Most Beautiful Images of the Universe

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This expanding material slams into the surrounding cloud of gas and dust, pushing it aside and creating the hollowed-out region you can see in blue. In fact, this picture is so gorgeous it inspired my friend, space artist Lucy West, to paint it, and the results are remarkable , to say the least. In astronomy, as in life, what you see depends on how you see it. Our eyes are sensitive to visible light, a very narrow slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. Interstellar dust, thickly spread throughout the region, is cold and black.

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But if you had infrared eyes, that dust would glow with thermal light in the far, far infrared. The APEX telescope is designed to see that light, and when combined with a visible light image from the Digitized Sky Survey, you get the incredible picture above. The APEX shot is colored orange, so what looks black to our eyes glows like fire in this image. The bright knots of light are where new stars are being born, enshrouded in thick dust.

50 indelible images from the first 50 years of spaceflight

Deep in the heart of the galaxy Hercules A is a monster black hole. The disk is so hot in the center that material wants to expand violently and blow away. Magnetism, friction, and other forces focus that expanding material into twin beams which blast out of the poles of the disk with such speed and ferocity that they travel for hundreds of thousands of light years before finally slowing down and puffing out into twin lobes of matter.

This image is a combination of observations from the Hubble Space Telescope—which shows the galaxy Hercules A, stars, and background galaxies—and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, which detects the radio waves emitted by the jets and lobes. The structure is well over a million light years end-to-end, but what else would you expect from an object whose central engine is a black hole with 2.


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The temple is 30 meters feet high, a monument to the architectural savvy of the Maya. In Orion you can see the orange glow of Betelegeuse, bright blue Rigel, and the fuzzy pink glow of the Orion Nebula below the belt , a star-forming nebula over 1, light years away. The image you see here is nothing short of mind-blowing, for any number of reasons. For another, nearly every single object you see in that picture is actually a galaxy, a vast collection of billions of stars. Yet this region of the sky was chosen for this observation specifically because it was previously thought to be relatively empty!

Extrapolating from this image to the rest of the sky, it means there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in our Universe, most, like those seen here, billions of light years away. The current record-holder for most distant galaxy ever seen was detected in this picture as well. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. On March 28, , photographer Helge Mortensen was in Tromso, Norway on a mission to capture the aurora borealis, the northern lights.

He succeeded magnificently, taking this beautiful shot of the eerily-glowing green lights over the icy landscape. I also like the water flowing in the bottom part of the shot; in the second exposure it forms a soft, smooth surface. By coincidence, one part of it forms a pattern remarkably like a face, an aquatic Shroud of Turin.

The Cosmic Gallery The Most Beautiful Images of the Universe - 9781780878119

Can you spot it? For sheer beauty, there is little in the sky to match a magnificent open-armed spiral galaxy. This is NGC , which is located 50 million light years away from Earth. You can see the combined glow of billions of older, redder stars in the center, and the blue light from younger stars being born in the arms—the pink blobs festooned on the arms are gigantic nebulae, clouds of gas and dust, where stars are being born and lit from within by those stars.

The oddly distorted shape to the arms together with some other unusual features makes me think NGC recently had a close encounter with another galaxy, its gravity warping the shape of the spiral. Massive stars do not go gentle into that good night; they rage, rage against the dying of the light. In fact, they do more than rage: They explode. A hundred centuries ago, a far-away star did just that. What you see here is called the Pencil Nebula , one small part of the vast Vela Supernova Remnant, what was once a star but is now an ever expanding cloud of gas.

Material from the explosion is moving outward at thousands of kilometers per second, slamming into gas floating in space, compressing it and causing it to glow. Mixed in there are also elements like iron, nitrogen, carbon, and more. These are essential for life as we know it, and in fact all the iron in your blood and calcium in your bones were created in stellar explosions like this one.

In the autumn of , scientists trained the Hubble Space Telescope on the furthest reaches of space in the southern hemisphere. Microwave Milky Way.

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The picture was constructed with data recorded by the Planck spacecraft over the period of one year, and represents the microwave activity of the galaxy. The bright central strip contains formations that are hundreds or thousands of light-years distant from the Earth. The darker patches are an awesome A compliment is verbal sunshine. Robert Orben. We've sent daily emails for over 16 years, without any ads. Join a community of , by entering your email below. DailyGood is a portal that shares inspiring quotes and news stories that focus on the "good" we can find in our world daily along with a simple action to continue that goodness.

Since , it has delivered positive news to subscriber inboxes for free by volunteers every day. Sombrero Galaxy Galaxy M has the rather more attractive alternate name of the Sombrero Galaxy, due to its distinctive shape reminiscent of Mexican headwear. Helix Nebula The Helix Nebula is a large planetary formation in the constellation of Aquarius, and at about light-years away is one of the closest nebulae to the Earth. Nebula Ring This is the glowing spherical shell and central star of the Ring Nebula, a prominent deep space object in the night sky, situated in the northern constellation of Lyra, 2, light-years from the Earth.

20 Amazing Pictures from Outer Space, by James Adams

Carina Nebula These ethereal clouds of matter are found in the Carina Nebula, a bright formation that envelops several clusters of stars. Butterfly Nebula This mind-blowing photograph, taken from the Hubble Telescope, shows the death throes of a star, exploding with two gargantuan lobes of hot gas and debris. Pale Blue Dot On first impressions this image may look fairly indistinct, but in reality it is perhaps one of the most important photographs ever taken. Rings Of Saturn Voyager 1 took this image of Saturn at a distance of 5. Hubble Deep Field South In the autumn of , scientists trained the Hubble Space Telescope on the furthest reaches of space in the southern hemisphere.

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Space Hubble Images(HD) (The Most Beautiful MUSIC)

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