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Our Beautiful Universe

OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Sculptor image shows VST potential
  The Sculptor galaxy, NGC253, viewed by the VLT Survey Telescope. (ESO/INAF-VST) This wide-field image of NGC253, a galaxy discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783 while searching for comets, demonstrates the potential of the European Southern Observatory’s VST (Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope) during its science... More
Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Pretty in pink: stellar nursery gets glowing
  The Omega Nebula, M17, captured by the VLT. (ESO) The Omega Nebula glows pink with hydrogen gas illuminated by intense ultraviolet radiation from massive young blue-white stars in this well-known star-forming region in the Milky Way. This image is the sharpest taken from a ground-based instrument, and was obtained... More
Published on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 00:00
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