The loss of light is concentrated in a band stretching from the northern suburbs of Tokyo to regions north of the port city of Sendai, closest to the quake's epicenter.
Image courtesy DMSP/USAF/NOAA
Perhaps in a nod to March Madness, astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have released a new picture of the celestial "pom pom" known as the Tycho supernova remnant.
The puffy cloud of debris is all that's left of a massive star that exploded some 13,000 light-years away. Light from the powerful blast reached Earth in 1572, making the object briefly visible to the naked eye even during the day.
The new composite picture shows low-energy x-rays in red and high-energy x-rays in blue. It also reveals for the first time bright x-ray stripes—seen in white along the right edge of the remnant—supporting theories that supernovas are sources of high-speed particles known as cosmic rays.
Image courtesy CXC/NASA
"Downtown" Milky Way
There's a party in our galaxy's "city center," and thousands of stars have gathered to light up the scene.
In visible light this region of the Milky Way is so bright that it's almost impossible to see what's happening. But new infrared pictures from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope—such as the one above released March 18—can reveal the raucous activity.
In the new shot, tendrils of warm gas (yellow-red) and carbon-rich dust (green) drape across the galactic center, where bright white star clusters are orbiting an unseen supermassive black hole.
Image courtesy Caltech/NASA
Saturn's tiny moon Helene hangs like a monochrome flower against the inky black of space in a newly released picture from NASA's Cassini orbiter.
A mere 21 miles (33 kilometers) wide, Helene shares its orbit with the moon Dione, which trails behind at a fairly constant clip. This unusual grouping means that Helene and Dione are among the handful of so-called Trojan moons found only around Saturn.
Strong ultraviolet radiation from the star is carving out a shell of dust made mostly of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (green), similar to soot on Earth. Clusters of reddish objects inside the warm blanket of carbon-rich dust show where new stars are being born.