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Our Beautiful Universe

OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Does Pluto have a mobile mantle?
  This detailed image of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons mission shows a strip some 80km wide running from the informally named Al-Idrisi mountains in the northwest into Sputnik Planum, the icy plains that form the “heart” seen on the fly-by images. The terrain is surprisingly varied, with cratering, mountains up to... More
Published on Monday, 01 February 2016 10:36
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: The biggest picture of the Milky Way
Astronomers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have produced the largest ever astronomical image: a 46 billion pixel monster that takes up 194 Gb as a file. It is available as an online resource, which viewers can use to zoom in on areas of interest, or search for particular objects – this section shows Eta... More
Published on Tuesday, 01 December 2015 13:46
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Looking into the galactic centre
  This striking image of the centre of the galaxy shows the galactic plane running from top to bottom, spanning more than 2° in the sky – about 900 light-years. It combines more than a month of data from ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory. Red corresponds to energies between 0.5 and 2 keV, green from 2 to... More
Published on Thursday, 08 October 2015 09:25
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Bullseye! Head-on galaxy collision in our backyard
  A head-on collision between two galaxies only 30 million light-years away has produced a ring of intense star formation – like the Cartwheel Galaxy but 40 times closer to Earth. The ring arises when two galaxies of similar mass collide so that the smaller one moves towards the centre of the larger one along the... More
Published on Thursday, 01 October 2015 09:09
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Odyssey hits 60,000 Mars orbits
 In June, NASA’s Mars Odyssey reached a milestone of 60,000 orbits since it arrived at the Red Planet in 2001. In those 14 years the orbiter has mapped Mars at high resolution, discovered that water ice is common in the martian subsurface, and provided data and communications support for other Mars missions. This image... More
Published on Saturday, 01 August 2015 11:14
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Cold outflows from the Sculptor
  Data from the Atacama Large Millimetre Array show enormous outflows of molecular gas – cold carbon monoxide – from nearby galaxy NGC 253, the Sculptor galaxy. The image is a map of the velocity of the flow in three dimensions, with pink representing the fastest flow and red the slowest. This is a starburst galaxy,... More
Published on Monday, 01 June 2015 10:04
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Mars’s great lost ocean
 Artist’s impression of how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago, with an ocean occupying almost half of the northern hemisphere. (ESO/M Kornmesser)   Maps of the isotopic composition of water in the atmosphere of Mars have shown just how much of the planet’s water has been lost to space, and... More
Published on Wednesday, 08 April 2015 09:47
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Stars making stars
 Star-forming regions. (ESO) Open star cluster NGC6193 lies at the heart of this image within the southern constellation Ara (The Altar). Two hot giant stars amid the 30 bright young stars in the cluster illuminate the Rim Nebula (NGC6188), to the right, which appears to be forming pillars like those in well-known... More
Published on Wednesday, 01 April 2015 09:34
OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Planck’s galactic magnetic field
The magnetic field at the galactic centre. (ESA/Planck Collaboration M-A Miville-Deschênes, CNRS-IAS, Université Paris-XI, Orsay, France)  This is the magnetic field along the galactic plane, imaged from the polarized emission of dust detected by the Planck satellite. Planck operated between 2009 and 2013, and mapped... More
Published on Sunday, 08 February 2015 12:21
 Emission nebula IC2944. (ESO) This image, released to mark 15 years since first light at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, shows emission nebula IC2944, a cloud of gas and dust in the constellation Centaurus. Dark clots stand out against the red glow of hydrogen lit up by radiation from the many... More
Published on Sunday, 01 February 2015 12:09