The elements oxygen (here tinted blue), hydrogen-alpha (red), and sulfur (green) reveal an outer shell of expanding gases around the Dumbbell Nebula's shining center in an image recently released by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
Though the nebula's light must travel a thousand years to reach Earth, Dumbbell is one of the brightest planetary nebulae in our sky and is visible with a pair of ordinary binoculars.
Image courtesy T.A. Rector and H. Schweiker, UAA/WIYN/NOAO/NSF
Quasars—such as the one in this illustration released September 26 by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—are luminous, energetic areas around giant, active black holes at the centers of galaxies. For the first time, these mysterious cosmic phenomena have been captured igniting after galaxy mergers, according to a new study.
HiRISE, which began showing us the Martian surface in breathtaking color back in 2007, now includes thousands of images that deliver unprecedented scientific data. The orbiting eye even snapped a shot of the Curiosity Mars-Rover Landing in August.
"This part of the Milky Way is only around during the summer, and it rises and sets every single night," Chloe Rae, who took the 360° panorama, said with her submission.
All the stars in the night sky are part of the Milky Way, the spiral galaxy in which we live. For many star-watchers, however, the term refers specifically to the glowing, cloudy band that humans have pondered since ancient times.
Photograph by Chloe Rae, Your Shot
Scorched earth shines red in a September 11 false-color image taken after the lightning-triggered Bagley fire by NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite. The Bagley fire blazed through Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California, in August and September.
Pinkish spots in the image's lower right depict another type of forest destruction—clear-cut logging.
Image courtesy Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, EO-1/NASA
The capsule of the Red Bull Stratos Project is seen in the pressure chamber at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, on September 24.
On October 8 adventurer Felix Baumgartner is set to ascend from Roswell, New Mexico, to an estimated 120,000 feet (36,580 meters) in this capsule, using a stratospheric balloon.
He'll then simply open the door, step out, and free-fall, likely falling faster than the speed of sound before opening a parachute and gliding to the ground.
In addition to breaking the record for the highest sky dive, a Baumgartner and team hope the attempt will provide scientific data on the limits of both the human body and extreme equipment that could prove useful for future space exploration.
Photograph by Garth Milan, Red Bull/AFP/Getty Images
Adrift in an ocean of stars, the Seagull Nebula encompasses a young, hot star dubbed HD 53367, as seen in a picture released September 26 by the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile.