In 1572, people on Earth saw the bright light of a supernova. Now, by combining different intensities of x-ray data, scientists using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have created a new image of the debris left from that explosion, which hints at the origins of the cosmic blast.
Known as Tycho's supernova remnant, the space puffball includes a cloud of expanding debris (yellow) enveloped by a high-energy blast wave (blue). The latest image also shows an arc of high-energy x-rays (bottom left) that seems to be coming from a faster moving ball of material.
Astronomers think that the supernova happened when a white dwarf star siphoned so much material from a companion star that it exploded. The blast blew material off the sunlike companion, and that debris is now emitting the arc of x-rays.
Image courtesy CXC/NASA/CAS
Putting Out the Trash
Filled with trash from the International Space Station, the unpiloted Progress 41 supply ship is seen through a station window as it departs on April 22.
The ship will orbit at a safe distance away from the ISS so that ground crews can conduct engineering tests. When tests are complete, the space "garbage truck" will be remotely steered into Earth's atmosphere so that it burns up during reentry.
Photograph courtesy NASA
Distorted by Earth's atmosphere, the orange disk of the setting moon is capped by a green flash in a recently released series of images taken from near the site of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile's Atacama Desert.
Earth's atmosphere bends, or refracts, light like a prism. In the denser layers close to the ground, shorter wavelengths get bent more than longer ones, so that green light from the moon appears to be coming from a slightly higher position than orange or red light.
With the right temperature changes in Earth's atmospheric layers, the moon's refracted light can create a mirage that produces the brief green flash as the lunar disk sinks toward the horizon.
Photographs courtesy Gerhard Hüdepohl, ESO
Dark red splotches show burn scars caused by the 2011 Texas wildfires in a false-color NASA satellite picture taken April 18.
The frame includes areas damaged by the Swenson fire (top right) and the Cooper Mountain Ranch fire in the northwest part of the state. Combined, the two wildfire burned more than 280,000 acres (113,312 hectares). (See pictures of the Texas wildfires.)
Image courtesy Landsat/NASA
Dark clouds hover over the Vehicle Assembly Building, where the space shuttleEndeavour is being prepared for launch, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 26.
Endeavour is slated to lift off for the last time on April 29, carrying spare parts and a new particle-physics experiment to the International Space Station. The shuttle will be retired when it returns home from its 14-day mission.
Photograph by Pierre Ducharme, Reuters
A kaleidoscope of colors highlight the diverse landscapes of the Gedo region in southwestern Somalia in a recently released picture taken by a Japanese satellite.
The frame captures an area of Somalia 248 miles (400 kilometers) west of the capital city of Mogadishu and 497 miles (800 kilometers) north of Nairobi, Kenya (see map).
Image courtesy ALOS/ESA
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently captured this closeup of a 0.6-mile-wide (1-kilometer-wide) crater on the moon, showing the burst of material that fell back to the lunar surface following impact.
Two smaller dark spots below and to the left of the crater are also impact sites, perhaps made as larger chunks of material fell amid the spray of fine particles.
Image courtesy ASU/NASA
Out on a Limb
As the sun sets over South America, the layers of Earth's atmosphere along the horizon—or limb—go from bright white to deep blue, as seen on April 12 by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
The change from day to night is marked by an ever-shifting boundary called the terminator, seen in the above image crossing central South America. The Salar de Coipasa, a large salt lake in Bolivia, is dimly visible on the night side of the terminator.