Saturday, 12 March 2016


Week's Best Space Pictures: A Pulsar's Technicolor Home
By Michael Greshko,
National Geographic News, 11 March 2016.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our picks of the most awe-inspiring space pictures. This week, the moon casts an ominous shadow on the Pacific Ocean, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spots two of Saturn's moons, and a dusty disk coalesces around a distant pair of aging stars.

1. Celestial Lighthouse


The new CHIMERA instrument on the Palomar Observatory’s Hale Telescope snapped this image of the Crab Pulsar, a collapsed, dead star 6,500 light-years away that spins 30 times per second and emits lighthouse-like beams of light.

2. Saturnian Siblings


NASA's Cassini spacecraft spots Rhea (left) and Tethys (right), two of Saturn's moons. The Saturnian sisters’ names couldn’t be more fitting: They’re named after two sibling Titanesses from Greek mythology.

3. Paint it Black


On March 8, 2016, NASA's Aqua satellite spotted the reddish shadow of the moon over the South Pacific Ocean during a total solar eclipse - the last one before an August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse that will be visible in much of the U.S.

4. Far-Out Focus


This Hubble image shows Abell 2744, a galaxy cluster about four billion light-years away also known as Pandora’s Box. The cluster’s mass acts like a lens to warp passing light - allowing astronomers to peer deep into the universe’s past.

5. Brilliantly Bruised


NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spots the solar corona in this false-color composite. The image's three colors (red, green, and blue) correspond to different wavelengths of UV light emitted by excited iron ions.

6. Let's Have Some More


Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory sharply imaged the dusty disc around IRAS 08544-4431, an aging pair of stars about 4,000 light-years away. It might provide material for a "second round" of planets.

7. Curiosity's Neighborhood


NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures the unique texture of Gale Crater's southern surface. The Curiosity rover is investigating the 96-mile-wide crater, but not the area photographed.

[Source: National Geographic News. Edited. Some links added.]

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