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25 photos of space that could change the way you see our universe and make you feel very small #photos #space #change #universe #feel #small #englishheadline


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tarantula nebula cosmic dust cloud orange white web with stars

Webb captured the Tarantula Nebula star-forming region in this mosaic image stretching 340 light-years across.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Let’s start close to home. Even here, you can see that space is huge — bigger than you probably realize. That’s Earth on the right, and the moon is the tiny speck on the left.

black photo in space shows small faint earth on the right and somewhere hidden faint moon

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and the moon from a distance of 890,000 on October 13, 2022.NASA/Goddard/SwRI

Jupiter is much, much further and much, much larger.

jupiter planet rising in the darkness with swirling bands of orange white purple brown

Jupiter, as photographed by the Juno spacecraft, in September 2017.NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Jupiter’s most famous cyclone alone, the Great Red Spot, is larger than Earth.

jupiter great red spot spinning swirling animation gif

Scientists animated this Juno image of the Great Red Spot based on velocity data from the spacecraft and models of the storm’s winds.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Justin Cowart

The sun dwarfs all the planets, though. In this photo of a small portion of the sun’s surface, each cell of boiling plasma is about the size of Texas.

solar surface plasma inouye telescope

A movie from the Inouye Solar Telescope shows how the sun’s plasma moves across its surface.NSO/NSF/AURA

The planets in our solar system are even more fascinating and complex than you may think. Saturn isn’t the only one with rings. See Uranus’s rings below?

uranus planet rings nasa PIA17306

An infrared view of Uranus over two days in July 2004.Lawrence Sromovsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison/W.W. Keck Observatory

Neptune also has a set of rings.

Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) image of Neptune and its rings. Neptune has 14 known satellites, and seven of them are visible in this image.

The James Webb Space Telescope’s image of Neptune and its rings. Neptune has 14 known satellites, and seven of them are visible in this image.NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Other planets have auroras, too, just like the aurora borealis and aurora australis here on Earth.

saturn aurora

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope photographed Saturn’s southern aurora in ultraviolet light on January 24, 26, and 28, 2005.NASA/Hubble/Z. Levay and J. Clarke

In this infrared image from the James Webb Space Telescope, you can see faint rings circling Jupiter and auroras glowing at its poles.

Wide-field view of Jupiter, captured by Webb. The fuzzy spots in the lower background are likely galaxies.

Wide-field view of Jupiter, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.NASA, ESA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt

Some of Saturn’s and Jupiter’s moons show clear signs of underground oceans, where scientists think alien life could lurk. On Enceladus, plumes of water visibly shoot through cracks in the surface ice.

dark moon enceladus horizon with white jets shooting into space

In this real image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, backlighting from the sun spectacularly illuminates Enceladus’ jets of water ice.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Those are just the worlds we know about. According to NASA, on average each star has at least one planet. You can see one orbiting the star in this image. The planet is a tiny dot on the right, within the disc of material surrounding the star.

image shows orange star surrounded by orange disc of material with a small dot planet

A star surrounded by a circumplanetary disc, with a planet visible on the right, captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Benisty et al.

What’s more, new stars are being born all the time in nurseries where dense clouds of gas and dust collapse into stars. The famous Pillars of Creation are one such nursery.

eagle nebula pillars of creation veils of dust and gas form stars against a blue purple green cosmic background

These towering tendrils of cosmic dust and gas, known as the Pillars of Creation, sit at the heart of the Eagle Nebula.NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope recently imaged the Pillars in powerful infrared for the first time, revealing new stars hidden behind the dust.

The Pillars of Creation are set off in a kaleidoscope of color in NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared-light view. The pillars look like arches and spires rising out of a desert landscape, but are filled with semi-transparent gas and dust, and ever changing. This is a region where young stars are forming – or have barely burst from their dusty cocoons as they continue to form.

The Pillars of Creation in near-infrared-light, imaged by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI).

New stars also form when galaxies collide, slowly moving into each other and compressing the gas and dust that fills their interstellar space. Space telescopes have imaged many collisions like this, including the three merging galaxies below.

three galaxies entangled merging in black space

A triple-galaxy merger captured by the Hubble Space Telescope,ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Keel, Dark Energy Survey, DOE, FNAL, DECam, CTIO, NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, SDSS Acknowledgement: J. Schmidt

Stars regularly explode and die, too, creating powerful, bright supernovas.

supernova remnant shiny pink bubble against starry background

A bubble of debris from a supernova, imaged with X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope.X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/B. J. Williams et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI

The Hubble Space Telescope recently captured three phases of a supernova at once. A massive object was bending space-time and reflecting three different images of the explosion, at three different points in time.

hubble image shows multiple colors of supernova

The different colors of the cooling supernova at three different stages in its evolution.NASA, ESA, STScI, Wenlei Chen (UMN), Patrick Kelly (UMN), Hubble Frontier Fields

Supernovas often collapse into black holes. You’ve probably seen the first photo ever taken of a black hole…

first image of a black hole m87

The first image ever made of a black hole, by the Event Horizon Telescope, released in April 2019.Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration/Maunakea Observatories via AP

… but did you see the black hole at the center of our galaxy? Scientists think every galaxy has a black hole at its core.

black hole photo orange ring sagitarrius A*

The first image of Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.Event Horizon Telescope collaboration

Sometimes black holes merge, too, creating supermassive monsters.

This image shows close-up (left) and wide (right) views of the two bright galactic nuclei, each housing a supermassive black hole, in NGC 7727, a galaxy located 89 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius.

This image shows close-up (left) and wide (right) views of the two bright galactic nuclei, each housing a supermassive black hole, in NGC 7727, a galaxy located 89 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius.ESO/Voggel et al.; ESO/VST ATLAS team. Acknowledgement: Durham University/CASU/WFAU

There are a mind-bending number of galaxies out there — up to 200 billion, astronomers estimate. Each is filled with its own stars and planets.

A picture taken by the James Webb telescope shows the Stephan's Quintet.

Stephan’s Quintet is shown here taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

This long-exposure image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures thousands of galaxies. If you held a grain of sand at arm’s length, that would represent the speck of universe you see in this image.

galaxies stars in infrared jwst

The James Webb Space Telescope’s first deep field infrared image, released July 11, 2022.NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Webb has peered further into the universe than any prior telescope. This is basically looking back in time, since it takes billions of years for light to travel from these galaxies.

tarantula nebula cosmic dust cloud orange white web with stars

Webb captured the Tarantula Nebula star-forming region in this mosaic image stretching 340 light-years across.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

In July, Webb spotted the earliest, most distant galaxy ever detected. Scientists believe it emerged 235 million years after the Big Bang. That means it’s closer to the beginning of the universe than we’ve ever seen before.

Color image of CEERS-93316, a galaxy researchers believe emerged only 235 million years after the Big Bang.

Color image of CEERS-93316, a galaxy researchers believe emerged only 235 million years after the Big Bang.CEERS/UOE/SOPHIE JEWELL/CLARA POLLOCK

Astronomers only know of two visitors we’ve ever had from other star systems: A probable rock called ‘Oumuamua, and a comet that zipped past the sun from interstellar space, in 2017 and 2019.

interstellar comet C 2019 Q4 skitch

The comet 2I/Borisov, the second interstellar object ever detected in our solar system. Blue and red dashes are background stars that appear to streak as the comet moves.Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Composite image by Travis Rector

Only two human spacecraft have ever left our solar system: NASA’s Voyager probes. The first probe snapped this famous photo of Earth on its way out.

pale blue dot photo original

The Pale Blue Dot, a photograph of Earth taken February 14, 1990, by NASA’s Voyager 1 at a distance of 3.7 billion miles from the sun.NASA/JPL-Caltech

Yes, Earth, right there. Carl Sagan called this the “pale blue dot,” writing: “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” Most of us will only experience the rest of the universe through photos.

pale blue dot photo with arrow pointing to earth

There’s Earth!NASA/JPL-Caltech

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