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SOFIA captures magnetic tapestry at the core of M82

23 April 2019 Astronomy Now

M82, a favourite target for amateur and professional astronomers alike, is the nearest starburst galaxy with a brilliant core 100 times more luminous than the Milky Way’s. Astronomers have detected and mapped the galaxy’s magnetic field in a dramatic composite image.

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Hubble marks 29th anniversary with remarkable view of Southern Crab

18 April 2019 Astronomy Now

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 29th anniversary on 24 April, an event NASA is marking by the release of a spectacular image of the Southern Crab Nebula in the constellation Centaurus that shows dual cones of gas blown off by a central red giant streaming away into space and giving the appearance of a crab floating in the void.

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With a half-million stars, Messier 3 reveals a splendid deep space tapestry

14 April 2019 Astronomy Now

Globular cluster M3 in Canes Venatici was the first object put on Charles Messier’s famous list that was discovered by the French astronomer himself. Messier could not have imagined the splendour revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows the cluster as a mind-boggling concentration of more than a half million stars some 33,000 light years from Earth.

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Hubble shoots a Wild Duck (the cluster, that is)

29 March 2019 Astronomy Now

Stars in the Wild Duck Cluster, a favourite target for amateur astronomers, sparkle like jewels on black velvet in this view from the Hubble Space Telescope, showing the remarkably rich cluster’s colourful components with crystalline clarity.

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A parting panorama from the Opportunity Mars rover

18 March 2019 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover was completing a 360-degree panorama of its surroundings on the inner slope of Endeavour Crater when a global dust storm silenced the spacecraft after nearly 15 years of operation on the red planet. The final panorama is made up of 354 images stitched together for a fitting farewell vista.