The spiral arms of galaxy NGC 4603 are home to multiple Cepheid variable stars, “standard candles” that helped astronomers pin down the age of the universe in one of the Hubble Space Telescope’s first major projects.
An X-ray outburst from a binary black hole system creates spectacular “light echoes” as the radiation bounces off intervening dust clouds, shedding light on the hole’s activity and the nature of the smoke-like dust grains.
The Perseverance Mars rover’s cameras capture the stark, desert-like beauty of Jezero Crater where a now-vanished lake once sparkled and where traces of ancient microbial life may preserved in lakebed sediments.
The origin of the globular clusters observed in most galaxies remains a mystery, but the vast star swarms provide some of the most stunning sights in the heavens for professional and amateur astronomers alike.
As engineers work to resolve a computer glitch aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, its images, like this one of NGC 330, are a reminder of the spectacular views the observatory has provided for the past three decades.