The closest observed stellar explosion since one described by Johannes Kepler in 1604, the supernova has captivated astronomers for decades.
Surrounded by a green and blue necklace created by shock waves, the dust cloud contains silicon, oxygen, and other newly forged elements. European Southern Observatory astronomers estimate the dust cloud contains one quarter of the mass of our sun.
Photograph by ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/A. Angelich. Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. X-Ray image: The NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory
One of the world's architectural wonders, the Taj Mahal, meets the sublime sight of the setting sun in this time-lapse view of the evening sky taken on January 2.
Despite its seeming calm, the sun's perfection is an illusion, as solar astronomers have known since the days of Galileo. Right now, it's in its solar maximum, when sunspots often bubble up and flares leap from the solar surface.
The solar orb dispatched an outburst of charged particles, a coronal mass ejection, toward Earth early in the week. The eruption triggered northern lights over the Earth's poles, although the sky show did not reach quite as far south as some folks hoped. (See "Northern Lights Setting Skies Alight.")
Tithonium Chasma is just one branch of Valles Marineris, which stretches some 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) across the face of Mars. Seen from overheard in a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image, light and dark strips of sediment are shown lining the chasm.
Astronomers suspect the fine lines etched across those sandy layers may date to a change in the tilt of the red planet hundreds of millions of years ago. An ancient shift from a 50° planetary tilt to today's more modest 25° one, may have melted ice and released the water that etched the channels.
Photograph by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A satellite soars into the sky after taking off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center near Chennai, India, on January 5.
The ISRO is the sixth space agency in the world to successfully launch a satellite of this kind. Only the United States, Russia, France, Japan and China have previously succeeded in launching satellites with the engine used in GSLV D5.