After years of thinking the iconic binary superstar Eta Carinae was unique, astronomers have found five possible twins in other galaxies. With more examples to study, it’s looking good we might someday understand why Eta Carinae exploded so beautifully in the 1840s.
An outer ring of baby stars glows brightly in infrared around a core of cooler, older stars. A faint S-bar in the middle identifies NGC 1291 as a barred galaxy.
This galaxy looks like our own Milky Way, except for a pair of spiral arms emerging out of the galactic plane. That one anomaly is enough to radically change the evolution of NGC 4258, as powerful jets are generating shockwaves driving gas right out of the galaxy and slowing star growth to a crawl.
Check out the amazing new image that NASA just released of Cassiopeia A, the remains of a supernova that would have been visible from Earth 300 years ago. This new composite image was released to promote a new 3-D visualization tool that will allow more people to study Cas A.
This is the Orion Nebula, a vast stellar nursery located 1,500 light-years away. We have the Spitzer Space Telescope and its infrared camera to thanks for this incredible image, which pretty much shatters the scale for gorgeous cosmic vistas.
We only have five billion years left until the Milky Way galaxy crashes into Andromeda, our nearest neighbor. What will happen to us then? Because galactic collisions take place over millions or billions of years, the process isn't well understood.
Just 63 light-years away, there's a failed star known as a brown dwarf barely any bigger than Jupiter. It's temperature is way less than 100 degrees Celsius, which blurs the line even more between the smallest stars and biggest planets.
The North American Nebula is a flattering portrait of the NAFTA countries, floating in space. But when the Spitzer Space Telescope generated infrared images of it, that stately American land mass was replaced by raw chaos — which tells us something more about the stages of stellar development.
The Spitzer Space Telescope crew have stitched together 800,000 frames of data into an enormous mosaic of our galaxy. This is just a tiny glimpse of the whole shebang, showing the Milky Way's violent stellar coming of age. [APOD]
It was the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first telescopic view of the heavens the other day, and NASA unveiled this incredible panoramic view of the center of our galaxy. It's a composite of images from all of NASA's great observatories.
This spiral galaxy, NGC 2841, is helping NASA solve a huge mystery: why do galaxies look so smooth, with such an even distribution of stars?
Another galaxy smashed through the heart of the Cartwheel Galaxy 100 million years ago, and today the Cartwheel remains one of the most powerful UV-emitting galaxies near us, as that blue outer ring shows.
They call this the Swan nebula, but don't let the serene nickname fool you. It's a battlezone, where solar winds from super-massive stars collide, creating "bow shocks" like the wake of a speedboat.
Two days ago, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope revealed an image of what could be the brightest star in our galaxy: Wolf-Rayet star WR 102ka or, more fondly, the "Peony nebula" star. Astronomers say that it burns with the light intensity of 3.2 million suns — but that's a rough estimate, and one that might even stretch…
Do you notice anything funny about this picture of NGC 6946, the "Fireworks Galaxy"? Like that lurid wealth of red splotches, for example? The bright red areas represent regions in the galaxy that are actively forming new stars, and there do seem to be an awful lot of them. Could we be facing a star-formation gap with…
No it's not some Heidiggerian metaphor, that pushpin really does mark the black hole at the center of our lives. Meet Sagittarius A, the ginormous black hole that resides in mega-gravitational splendor at the center of the Milky Way, sucking up energy and spitting it back out in the form of X-rays and even hotter,…
Newborn stars are surrounded with dust in the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud, in this new image from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Only about 407 light years from Earth, Rho Oph is one of the closest star-forming regions to us. There are more than 300 young stellar objects within the central cloud, which contains the crucial…
You can still see the shock wave from the explosion of supernova Cassiopeia A in this color-enhanced image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The blue glow around the dead star is the "forward shock," material blasted with energy by the shock wave when the star blew. Click through for a gallery of the biggest space…
The discs of hot gas around binary stars and black holes are much, much bigger than scientists had previously thought. This new illustration shows the disc around a super-dense white dwarf star. The disc sends off asteroid-sized eruptions of space dust, which are drawn towards the dwarf star's bigger companion star.…