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Top Stories

Earthshine used to test life detection method
...By imagining the Earth as an exoplanet, scientists observing our planet's reflected light on the Moon with ESO's Very Large Telescope have demonstrated a way to detect life on other worlds...

Solid buckyballs discovered in space
...Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have detected a particular type of molecule, given the nickname “buckyball”, in a solid form for the first time...

Steamy water-world gets the Hubble treatment
...Hubble Space Telescope observations of a 7 Earth-mass planet find an unusual water-rich world swathed in a thick, steamy atmosphere...

Starbursts and superwinds
Posted: 02 September 2010

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A new visible light image from ESO captures a galaxy bursting with star formation and expelling a 'superwind' of gas.

This visible light image was made with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESP 2.2 metre telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. Intense star formation is likely due to the interaction with NGC 4668 seen to the lower left. Image: ESO/J. Dietrich.

Previously observed in X-rays by ESA's XMM Newton space telescope, the visible light view taken with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2 metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory adds further detail to NGC 4666, which is located 80 million light years from Earth. Gravitational interactions with neighbouring galaxies, including NGC 4668 in the lower left of the image, likely sparked the galaxy's frenetic star formation.

Hot gas (orange tones) and magnetic fields (blue lines) in galaxy NGC 4666. X-ray emitting hot gas is observed above the most active star-formation regions in the galaxy's disc alongside magnetic field structures. Image: M. Ehle and ESA.

Deep within the starburst region a combination of supernova explosions and strong winds from massive stars drives a torrent of gas out into space for tens of thousands of light years. Extremely hot, this 'superwind' glows in X-rays and radio wavelengths, which cannot be seen in the visible light images.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.

Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.

3D Universe
Witness the most awesome sights of the Universe as they were meant to be seen in this 100-page extravaganza of planets, galaxies and star-scapes, all in 3D!


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