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Galaxies like grains of sand, courtesy of Planck

19 February 2018 Astronomy Now

The Hubble Space Telescope imaged a distant cluster of galaxies that was found by ESA’s Planck satellite, which detected distortions in the cosmic background radiation caused by the cluster’s gravity. Some five billion light years from Earth, the cluster’s members appear as a swarm of red-shifted galaxies, along with an arc of bluish light caused by gravitational lensing.

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A face-on spiral in all its glory – and colours

14 February 2018 Astronomy Now

A composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a dramatic range of color in galaxy NGC 3344, a weakly barred spiral half the size of the Milky Way some 20 million light years away in the constellation Leo Minor. Hot young stars, seen in blue, populate the spiral arms along with glowing red clouds of gas and dust that provide the raw materials for new suns.

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Return to sender: Mars rock gets a ride home

13 February 2018 Astronomy Now

NASA plans to use a piece of a martian meteorite as a calibration target for a high-precision laser instrument aboard the agency’s Mars 2020 rover, marking the first round trip for a fragment of the red planet blasted into space during an ancient impact.