The skies above ESO’s Paranal Observatory resemble oil on water
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Within reach

16 April 2017 Astronomy Now

The skies above the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory resemble oil on water, as greens, yellows, and blues blend to create an iridescent skyscape.

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A Martian mesa in a sea of sand dunes

14 April 2017 Astronomy Now

This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a small (0.4 kilometre) mesa, one of several surrounded by sand dunes in Noctis Labyrinthyus, an extensively fractured region on the western end of Valles Marineris.

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Fireworks left over from stellar explosion in Orion Nebula

12 April 2017 Astronomy Now

Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But new ALMA observations provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. Astronomers captured these dramatic images as they explored the firework-like debris from the birth of a group of massive stars, demonstrating that star formation can be a violent and explosive process too.

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Ancient Stardust

2 April 2017 Astronomy Now

This spectacular image of the Milky Way by Gianni Krattli from France, is just one of this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition entrants released in a sneak peek by the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Craters on Ceres
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Cratered Ceres

24 March 2017 Astronomy Now

This stunning view the cratered surface of dwarf planet Ceres comes from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Mission scientists believe water ice deposits exist in within some of the craters where parts are in permanent shade.

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Voyager 1 sees Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

5 March 2017 Astronomy Now

On 5 March 1979, Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Jupiter, passing at a distance of about 349,000 kilometres (217,000 miles) from the planet’s centre. It captured this close-up view of the swirling clouds around Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in February as it approached the gas giant.

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Jovian cloudscapes

2 March 2017 Astronomy Now

This close-up view of Jupiter from NASA’s Juno probe captures the turbulent region just west of the Great Red Spot in the South Equatorial Belt, with resolution better than any previous pictures from Earth or other spacecraft.

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Saturn’s north pole

28 February 2017 Stephen Clark

The north pole of Saturn sits at the center of its own domain. Around it swirl the clouds, driven by the fast winds of Saturn. Beyond that orbits Saturn’s retinue of moons and the countless small particles that form the ring.