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Hubble captures extremely remote galaxy cluster

16 April 2018 William Harwood

The Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 captured an image of a massive galaxy cluster some six billion light years from Earth, part of a program to find targets for the James Webb Space Telescope.

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Jupiter’s red spot might be shrinking, but it’s still great!

10 April 2018 William Harwood

The Juno probe’s public-outreach camera routinely captures stunning views of Jupiter cloudtops and storms, including the Great Red Spot, seen here in an image processed by graphic artist Seán Doran. The GRS has been shrinking for years, but it remains easily the largest storm in the solar system and one still worthy of its name.

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Taking a shine to Enceladus

3 April 2018 Astronomy Now

Saturn’s rings cast shadows on the planet’s cloud tops, providing a perfect backdrop for the brilliant sphere of the moon Enceladus in this image taken by NASA’s Cassini probe.

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Glowing stellar nurseries in a web of cosmic filaments

26 March 2018 Astronomy Now

A vast star-forming region as seen by the European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory shows a tangled web of filaments with embedded hot spots where stars are being born. Observations of such filaments indicate a common process is at work to generate such filaments — and stars — from the interstellar medium.

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A big storm, by definition, on mighty Jupiter

24 March 2018 Astronomy Now

Citizen scientists process a stunning image of a giant storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its 11th close flyby of the giant planet. Bright cloud tops look similar to storm clouds on Earth, although the scale is vastly larger. Juno is giving planetary scientists a unique view of Jupiter from the spacecraft’s polar orbit.

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The Crab Nebula in all its spectacular multi-wavelength glory

14 March 2018 Astronomy Now

A newly processed view of the Crab Nebula, combining X-ray emissions, ultraviolet, optical, infrared and radio emissions using five different telescopes, reveals an astonishing level of detail in the evolving supernova blast, a complex tapestry of debris powered by a fast-spinning pulsar, the collapsed remnant of the destroyed star.

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A ringside seat for a slow-motion galactic train wreck

8 March 2018 William Harwood

The Hubble Space Telescope captures a snapshot of a collision between two galaxies 350 million light years away in the constellation Cetus, giving astronomers a ringside seat to a slow-motion merger that eventually will result in a single combined galaxy. Gravitational interactions are distorting the barred spirals, ripping away stars and dust.

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Saturn’s ‘Great Northern Storm’ still an awesome sight to behold

6 March 2018 William Harwood

For reasons not yet understood, Saturn seems to store energy in its atmosphere over decades before suddenly releasing it in massive lightning storms that affect the ringed planet’s atmosphere across enormous distances. The Great Northern Storm of 2010/11 circled Saturn like a snake eating its tail, persisting for months before dissipating.