• Far beyond the local group of galaxies lies NGC 3621, some 22 million light-years away. Found in the multi-headed southern constellation Hydra, the winding spiral arms of this gorgeous island universe are loaded with luminous young star clusters and dark dust lanes. Still, for earthbound astronomers NGC 3621 is not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy. Some of its brighter
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  • Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this close-up of spacesuited NASA astronaut John Olivas outside the International Space Station. Carefully constructed from two photographs (ISS020-E-038481, ISS02-0E-038482) taken during space shuttle orbiter Discovery’s latest visit to the orbiting outpost, the 3D anaglyph creates the compelling illusion that you can actually reach out and take his gloved hand. The photographer,
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  • Taken by a telescope onboard NASA’s Swift satellite, this stunning vista represents the highest resolution image ever made of the Andromeda Galaxy (aka M31) – at ultraviolet wavelengths. The mosaic is composed of 330 individual images covering a region 200,000 light-years wide. It shows about 20,000 sources, dominated by hot, young stars and dense star clusters that radiate strongly in
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  • The Tarantula Nebula is more than 1,000 light-years in diameter — a giant star forming region within our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). That cosmic arachnid lies left of center in this sharp, colorful telescopic image taken through narrow-band filters. It covers a part of the LMC over 2,000 light-years across. Within the Tarantula (NGC 2070), intense radiation,
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  • NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula, is a cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across, blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. This beautiful portrait of the nebula is from the Isaac Newton Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in the Canary Islands. It combines a composite color image with narrow band data that isolates light
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  • What is left over after stars collide? To help answer this question, astronomers have been studying the center of the most massive ball of stars in our >Milky Way Galaxy. In the center of globular cluster Omega Centauri, stars are packed in 10,000 times more densely than near our Sun. >Pictured above, the newly upgraded Hubble Space Telescope has resolved
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  • Is this picture worth a thousand words? According to the Holographic Principle, the most information you can get from this image is about 3 x 1065 bits for a normal sized computer monitor. The Holographic Principle, yet unproven, states that there is a maximum amount of information content held by regions adjacent to any surface. Therefore, counter-intuitively, the information content
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  • This serene view records a late summer night sky over the rolling, green hills of planet Earth. It was taken near the rural village of Saadat Shahr, Fars province, in southern Iran. Saadat Shahr is also known as Astronomy Town, as the inhabitants have demonstrated a remarakble passion for sky gazing. Fittingly, this Astronomy Town sky view finds a lovely
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  • The first identified compact galaxy group, Stephan’s Quintet is featured in this stunning image from the newly upgraded Hubble Space Telescope. About 300 million light-years away, only four galaxies of the group are actually locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters. The odd man out is easy to spot, though. The four interacting galaxies (NGC 7319, 7318A, 7318B,
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  • The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth’s night sky are often named for flowers or insects, and NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the central star of this particular planetary nebula is exceptionally hot though — shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus
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