A new picture from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope is the most detailed infrared view yet of the Carina Nebula. This bustling stellar nursery sits about 7,500 light-years from Earth and is home to several of the brightest and most massive stars known.
Radiation from the hot, young stars inside causes the large nebula to glow brightly in visible light. But the new infrared view can also pierce the space cloud's veil of dust to see hundreds of thousands of fainter stars that were previously invisible.
The huge cloud of charged particles raced into interplanetary space at speeds of up to 5.6 million miles (9 million kilometers) an hour. The cloud wasn't aimed directly at Earth, but the event did generate a minor radiation storm on our planet.
Image courtesy SOHO/ESA/NASA
A faint, red trickle of stars (top right) has helped astronomers spy an exceptionally faint galaxy being taken over by one of its own: the nearby dwarf galaxy NGC 4449, seen above in a newly released picture from Japan's Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.
The high-resolution picture shows individual stars in the so-called stellar stream, a halo of scattered stars being created by the merger. With this picture, NGC 4449 becomes the smallest galaxy in which a stellar stream from a companion has been identified and studied in detail.
Image courtesy NAOJ
Previous low-resolution pictures of a dune field on Mars had suggested the presence of an impact crater.
Such a feature would have been surprising, since the dune fields are thought to be only tens of thousands of years old. Most sizable Martian craters are thought to have been created during the Late Heavy Bombardment, roughly four billion years ago.
Now, a new high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter proves that the "crater" was an illusion. Instead, sharp crests and smooth slopes mark the entire field—typical of fresh dunes.
Image courtesy U. Arizona/NASA
Mars, Old and New
An orbiting Mars probe has captured a new view of its older cousin: the lander that delivered the NASA rover Spirit to the red planet.
Spirit—which stopped communicating with Earth in 2010—drove off its platform in 2004 and spent the next six years collecting data in hills about two miles (three kilometers) to the east.
Image courtesy U. Arizona/NASA
Taking Out the Trash
The unpiloted Progress 45 supply vehicle is seen leaving the International Space Station in a picture taken on January 23 and released this week. Progress left the station filled with trash and was deorbited so that it burned up during reentry into Earth's atmosphere.
Another cargo ship, Progress 46, launched a couple days later from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and successfully docked with the space station to deliver food, fuel, and other supplies.
Photograph courtesy NASA
A new picture from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the "dotted line" tracks of a 29.5-foot-wide (9-meter-wide) boulder that tumbled down a sloping surface inside the moon's Schiller crater.
Although the boulder's trail may look fresh, impact craters made overtop the tracks allowed scientists to estimate when the rock made its journey—most likely, tens of millions of years ago.