Like a cosmic Little Miss Muffet, the young star cluster NGC 2100 is fated to sit alongside a "spider"—the colorful Tarantula nebula. As seen in a newly released picture from the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile, the star cluster is surrounded by bright gas from the outer parts of the nebula.
Found in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby satellite galaxy of our Milky Way, NGC 2100 is what's called an open star cluster, because its hundreds of stars are only loosely bound by gravity and—after a few hundred million years—they'll eventually disperse.
Image courtesy ESO
Aurora in Hiding
Auroras tint the clouds green in a picture of the night sky over Breivikeidet, Norway, taken September 9. The northern lights display was most likely a product of charged particles hurled off the sun a few days earlier.
On September 6 sunspot 1283 produced two major eruptions, including an X2-class solar flare. Such flares are often associated with coronal mass ejections, huge clouds of particles that—when they careen toward Earth—can spark aurora-inducing geomagnetic storms.
A recent study found that Dione has an atmosphere, albeit a thin one, that's constantly being recharged as particles from Saturn splatter on its surface.
Image courtesy Caltech/SSI/NASA
An orange line snaking across the landscape marks the fenced, floodlit border zone between India and Pakistan, as seen in a picture taken from the International Space Station and released September 5. The fence is designed to discourage smuggling and arms trafficking.
The bright cluster of nighttime lights nearest to the border shows the Pakistani city of Lahore, while a similar cluster of lights to the upper left in this frame is the Indian capital of New Delhi.
Martian dust devils, which can tower five to six miles (eight to ten kilometers) high, form when summer heat gets the ground warmer than the air above it.
As warm air close to the ground rises, plumes of cooler air fall to replace it, creating vertical circulation. If a gust of wind blows through, it can send the circulating air spinning horizontally, triggering a dust devil.
A school of fish clump into a ball to guard against predators. The 50 megapixel panorama was taken in October 2009 near the Galapagos Islands. It is made up of 19 individual photographs stitched together.
Week's Best Space Pictures: Hubble's Birthday Portrait
Astronauts spy an approaching spacecraft and satellites capture a cyclone in this week's best space pictures.
Rarely Observed 'Quadruple' Rainbow Isn't What it Seems
A combination of reflections gave birth to the four rainbows captured in a picture by a woman in Long Island.