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Our Beautiful Universe

OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Treasures from the RAS Library
  A plate from Cellarius's Harmonia Macrocosmia. (RAS Library)     Andreas Cellarius’s Harmonia Macrocosmica book of 1708 includes general maps of the constellations, this plate showing the southern skies. It also, unusually, includes a presentation of the redrawing of all the constellations as... More
Published on Thursday, 08 December 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Oldest recorded supernova
  Supernova remnant RCW86. (ESA/NASA)   A guest star observed by Chinese astronomers for eight months in AD 185 was a supernova whose remnant is now a shell of gas radiating at infrared and X-ray wavelengths. RCW86 is roughly 85 light-years across and at a distance of 8000 light-years it is about as wide as the... More
Published on Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:00
A Russian cosmonaut works on the International Space Station.   In this picture, taken on 3 August 2011, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov works on the Russian segment of the International Space Station. During the six-hour, 23-minute spacewalk, Volkov and colleague Alexander Samokutyaev (not seen here) moved a cargo... More
Published on Saturday, 15 October 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: A close encounter with Hyperion
Saturn's moon Hyperion viewed by the Cassini orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)   The stalwart Cassini orbiter continues to explore Saturn and its rings and moons. On 25 August 2011 the orbiter flew within 25,000 km of Hyperion, an oddly shaped moon just 270 km across whose tumbling orbit has... More
Published on Saturday, 08 October 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Human tracks on the Moon
The Apollo 17 landing site as seen by the LRO from about 21km. (NASA/Goddard/ASU)   This image of the Apollo 17 landing site reveals the final footprints left on the Moon, as well as the buggy (Lunar Roving Vehicle, LRV) and the descent stage of the Challenger lunar module. Other images from NASA’s Lunar... More
Published on Saturday, 01 October 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: No place like home - or is there?
Galaxy NGC 6744 - a bit like the Milky Way, but bigger. (ESO)   This is NGC 6744, a nearby galaxy that looks remarkably like our own Milky Way as it would look if seen face-on. Both are galaxies with prominent spiral arms, an elongated, dense region at the centre, and a dusty disc. NGC 6744 even has its own distorted... More
Published on Monday, 01 August 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Starbirth in the Lagoon Nebula
A portion of the Lagoon nebula imaged using the Gemini South telescope with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph. (J I Arias and R H Barbá, Departamento de Física, Universidad de La Serena [Chile], and ICATE-CONICET [Argentina])   This false-colour image of the Lagoon Nebula (M8) in Sagittarius in the southern Milky... More
Published on Wednesday, 08 June 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Supernova next door? No problem
Chandra’s view of the remnant of Tycho Brahe’s 1572 supernova showing the X-ray emission arc, to the lower left. (NASA/CXC/CAS/F Lu et al.)   A team of observers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has mapped an arc of X-ray emission in the remnant of the supernova observed by Tycho Brahe in 1572. Researchers... More
Published on Wednesday, 01 June 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Youngsters, but no baby boom in NGC 2841
  Galaxy NCG 2841, at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage [STScI/AURA]–ESA/Hubble Collaboration)   The newest instrument on board the Hubble Space Telescope – the Wide Field Camera 3 – was used to take this image of flocculent spiral galaxy NCG 2841, at ultraviolet and... More
Published on Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Mars Express reveals new views
  Martian crater, probably created by two or more impactors. (ESA/DLR/FU Berlin [G Neukum])   ESA’s Mars Express continues to provide new views of the martian surface, as in this image of a strikingly elongated crater in the southern hemisphere, south of Huygens crater. (Martian north is to the right in this... More
Published on Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00