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Our Beautiful Universe

OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Rhapsody in blue, not red
Star-forming region around the star R Coronae Australis. (ESO)   This spectacular star-forming region lies relatively close-by, around the star R Coronae Australis, about 420 light-years away. The image is about as wide as the full Moon, and spans 4 light-years. The star itself lies in a blue-coloured reflection nebula... More
Published on Monday, 26 July 2010 00:00
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Tracking the Gulf of Mexico oil spill
Oil around the Mississippi Delta. (Jesse Allen/NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and US/Japan ASTER Science Team)   Satellite imagery has proved valuable in tracing the spread of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the explosion, oil has spread over the surface of the water and been... More
Published on Monday, 19 July 2010 00:00
The Sculptor Galaxy revealed by VISTA. (ESO/J Emerson/VISTA/Cambridge Astron. Surv. Unit)   The European Southern Observatory’s new UK-designed and built VISTA telescope is now conducting its first observing campaign. This image of the Sculptor Galaxy shows off the capabilities of this world-record instrument: with a... More
Published on Monday, 12 July 2010 09:20
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Ash plume stretches over the Atlantic
  Volcanic ash plume over the Atlantic. (ESA)     The plume of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano shows brown among the clouds as it is blown across Europe in this Envisat image from 6 May 2010. At this stage in the eruption, the ash cloud stretched 1600km across the Atlantic Ocean,... More
Published on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:54
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Volcanic ash on Mars, no problem for travellers
  Volcanic ash on Mars, deposited by wind. (EAS/DLR/FU Berlin [G Neukum])   This crater in Meridiani Planum, on the martian prime meridian, is a striking dark feature on images of the Red Planet. Now ESA scientists working with Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera data have identified the black material... More
Published on Friday, 14 May 2010 12:44
  Visible and IR images of the Orion Nebula. (ESO/J Emerson/VISTA and R Gendler; Cambridge Astron. Survey Unit) Visible light (left) and infrared (right) images of the Orion Nebula as seen by ESO’s new VISTA survey telescope. This dusty cloud of gas is a spectacular object in visible light, but VISTA can unveil the... More
Published on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 08:34
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Seeing the spread of solar coronal ions
  Maps of the 2-D distribution of coronal electron temperature and ion charge state. (S Habbal et al.) These images of the solar corona show the near-infrared emission from highly ionized iron lines for eclipses in 2006 (left) and 2008 (right), with white-light images added below. Red indicates iron line Fe XI... More
Published on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 08:19
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Galaxy cluster has two tails
  X-ray emission in galaxy cluster Abell 3627. (NASA/CXC/UVa/M. Sun et al.; H-alpha/Optical: SOAR/MSU/NOAO/UNC/CNPq-Brazil/M.Sun et al.) This composite image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory shows two tails of X-ray emission in galaxy cluster Abell 3627.  At the front of the tail is the galaxy ESO 137-001.... More
Published on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 15:16
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Alien invaders pack the Milky Way
  Globular cluster M80. (NASA / The Hubble Heritage Team / STScI / AURA)   Around a quarter of the globular star clusters in our Milky Way galaxy are invaders from other galaxies, according to a team of scientists from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. In a paper accepted for publication in... More
Published on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 14:18
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Outreach to the galaxy centre in this spectacular display of outgassing
The centre of the Milky Way. (NASA, ESA, SSC, CXC and STScI)   To mark International Year of Astronomy, the might of NASA’s Great Observatories has been combined to produce a celebratory image of the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. NASA has sent large-format prints of the image to 150 museums, planetariums and... More
Published on Monday, 01 February 2010 10:26