Light from the young star IRAS 10082-5647 (center) reflects off a nearby nebula, giving the interstellar cloud a pearly glow in a newly released picture made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
At just a few million years old, the star is a youngster that has yet to begin fusing hydrogen in its core. For now the star is heating itself via gravitational collapse—as stellar material falls in on itself, the core becomes denser and builds up immense pressure.
Eventually the star's core will get dense enough for fusion to begin, and IRAS 10082-5647 will enter what's called the main sequence phase of its life.
Russia's Progress 45 spaceship approaches the International Space Station in a picture taken November 2. The unmanned supply ship docked with the station Wednesday, bringing propellant, water, experiment hardware, and other items to the three crew members on board.
Russia now plans to go ahead with a November 13 launch of a crewed Soyuz flight to replace the current ISS astronauts, who will return to Earth November 22.
Light from a gamma-ray burst—one of the brightest explosions in the universe—shines through two young galaxies in an artist's rendering.
Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile recently analyzed light from such a gamma-ray burst and recorded the chemical signatures in two galaxies in the early universe.
The findings revealed that the galaxies are surprisingly rich in heavy elements—produced inside stars—even though we're seeing the galaxies as they existed less than two billion years after the big bang.
Soul of the Heavens
Like flowers soaking up sunlight, telescope dishes seem to turn their faces toward the starry sky in a picture taken at the site of the ALMA observatory, high in Chile's northern desert.
The Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array, or ALMA, started collecting its first round of science data this fall. When the facility is complete in 2013, it will feature 66 antennas spread across 9.9 miles (16 kilometers), linked together to function as one telescope.
A plume of white ash spreads from an active vent in a satellite picture of the erupting Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano complex in Chile. The plume towers about 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers), and high winds are carrying ash 75 to 160 miles (120 to 250 kilometers) from the vent, disrupting air travel.
Puyehue-Cordón Caulle started erupting in early June, and this image was taken October 22 by NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The almost five months of activity has coated nearby lakes as well as the neighboring high plains of Argentina in gray ash.
Climate Probe Launches
The launch of a Delta II rocket creates a bright arc over the California sky in a picture taken October 28. The rocket carried NASA's NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite successfully into orbit.
The latest addition to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), NPP is a next-generation Earth-observing probe that will collect data on long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions.
Fields, roads, and buildings sit submerged by sediment-clogged floodwater in a satellite picture of the Thai city of Ayutthaya taken October 23 by NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft. Heavy monsoon rains caused the Chao Phraya River, which runs through the southwestern part of the city, to overflow and fill surrounding floodplains.
Established in the 14th century, Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Thai government has asked UNESCO to help assess damages to the site's reliquary towers and gigantic monasteries caused by the flooding.
If Saturn ever needs a sponge bath, the tiny moon Hyperion would likely be the tool of choice. Seen in a recently released portrait by NASA's Cassini orbiter, sunlight showcases the icy satellite's unusual texture, likely due to its low density, which astronomer think makes the moon relatively porous.
Cassini snapped this shot of Hyperion during a close flyby in September, when the probe passed about 55,000 miles (88,000 kilometers) from the small moon.