Two members of the Alpha Centauri triple star system, A and B, are visible just over Saturn’s cloud tops as viewed by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The third member of the trinary star, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, is not visible. While Saturn might seem a distant viewing location, Alpha Centauri is 30,000 times farther away. This image was captured as part of a stellar occultation experiment in which Cassini measured how the stars dimmed as they passed behind Saturn’s atmosphere. Cassini’s narrow-angle camera captured this stunning view from a distance of 534,000 kilometres (332,000 miles) on 17 May, 2008.
Peering deep into the heart of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, the Hubble Space Telescope reveals a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. Most of the stars pictured in the image are members of the Milky Way nuclear star cluster, the densest and most massive star cluster in the galaxy. Hidden in the centre is the Milky Way’s resident supermassive black hole.