The magnificent reflection nebula NGC 2023 lies nearly 1500 light-years from Earth. It is located within the constellation of Orion (The Hunter), in a prestigious area of the sky close to the well-known Flame and Horsehead Nebulae. The entire structure of NGC 2023 is vast, at four light-years across. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope picture just takes in the southern part, with the subtle shades of colour closely resembling those of a sunset on Earth.
July 25th, 2011
In the centre of a rich cluster of galaxies located in the direction of the constellation of Coma Berenices, lies a galaxy surrounded by a swarm of star clusters. NGC 4874 is a giant elliptical galaxy, about ten times larger than the Milky Way, at the centre of the Coma Galaxy Cluster. With its strong gravitational pull, it is able to hold onto more than 30 000 globular clusters of stars, more than any other galaxy that we know of, and even has a few dwarf galaxies in its grasp.
September 19th, 2011
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has once more turned its attention towards the magnificent Eagle Nebula (Messier 16). This picture shows the northwestern part of the region, well away from the centre, and features some very bright young stars that formed from the same cloud of material. These energetic toddlers are part of an open cluster and emit ultraviolet radiation that causes the surrounding nebula to glow.
December 6th, 2010
When 17th-century astronomers first turned their telescopes to Jupiter, they noted a conspicuous reddish spot on the giant planet. This Great Red Spot is still present in Jupiter's atmosphere, more than 300 years later. It is now known that it is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. Unlike a low-pressure hurricane on Earth, however, the Red Spot rotates in a counterclockwise direction in the southern hemisphere, showing that it is a high-pressure system. Winds inside this Jovian storm reach speeds of about 400 kilometres per hour.
August 5th, 1999
These columns that resemble stalagmites protruding from the floor of a cavern columns are in fact cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that act as incubators for new stars. Inside them and on their surface astronomers have found knots or globules of denser gas. These are called EGGs (acronym for "Evaporating Gaseous Globules"). Inside at least some of the EGGs stars being formed.
July 1st, 2008
Probing deep within a neighborhood stellar nursery, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope uncovered a swarm of newborn brown dwarfs. The orbiting observatory's near-infrared camera revealed about 50 of these objects throughout the Orion Nebula's Trapezium cluster about 1,500 light-years from Earth.
August 24th, 2000