Hubble Spies a Spiral Snowflake

Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique — like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814. via NASA http://ift.tt/1TKk7dX

Light Echoes

This illustration shows a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. A new study uses data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and four ground-based telescopes to determine the distance from a star to the inner rim of its surrounding protoplanetary disk. Researchers used a method called “photo-reverberation,” also known as “light echoes. via NASA http://ift.tt/26rHbbb

April 14, 1981, Landing of First Space Shuttle Mission

This was one of the central moments in my life. Space felt close, attainable. This ship became a symbol of hope for me. It’s eventual loss broke the hearts of so many. And yet that dream lives on.

The rear wheels of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia touched down on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden), California, to successfully complete a stay in space of more than two days. Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, were aboard the vehicle. via NASA http://ift.tt/1TTGD8R

Computer-Simulated Image of a Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers have uncovered a near-record breaking supermassive black hole in an unlikely place: in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe. The observations, made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought. via NASA http://ift.tt/1UWtvRX

Simulated Atmosphere of a Hot Gas Giant

The turbulent atmosphere of a hot, gaseous planet known as HD 80606b is shown in this simulation based on data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer measured the whole heating cycle of this planet, determining its coolest (less than 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and hottest (2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures. via NASA http://ift.tt/22HDjDz

Haze Layers Above Pluto

This image of haze layers above Pluto’s limb was taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. About 20 haze layers are seen; the layers have been found to typically extend horizontally over hundreds of kilometers, but are not strictly parallel to the surface. via NASA http://ift.tt/1MpKPpM