Not so long ago, astronomers thought of the Milky Way’s central bulge as an old folks home where mostly ancient stars congregated and slowly moved about. But more recent observations, including this spectacular view captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, and an analysis of about 10,000 suns in the bulge reveal a much more dynamic environment where stars of various ages move about at different speeds. The faster, younger stars may have been captured as the Milky Way cannibalised smaller galaxies, mingling with older, slower-moving suns.
Globular clusters offer some of the most spectacular sights in the night sky. These ornate spheres contain hundreds of thousands of stars, and reside in the outskirts of galaxies. The Milky Way contains over 150 such clusters — and the example shown in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, named NGC 362, is one of the most unusual ones.
Scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have produced new maps of Jupiter that show the continuing changes in its famous Great Red Spot. The images also reveal a rare wave structure in the planet’s atmosphere that has not been seen for decades. This is the first in a series of annual portraits of the solar system’s outer planets which will help researchers study how they change over time.