Space Photos of the Week: You Can’t Clean Up Space, It’s Too Messier
Messier 95 is located 33 million light years from Earth and is a barred spiral galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope captured this twinkling galaxy because astronomers are studying the formation of others nearby. Messier 95 has around 40 billion stars and is teeming with younger ones, seen here in the blues.
Talk about seeing Jupiter through rose-colored glasses! Citizen scientists processed this resplendent Juno spacecraft image to highlight the whirling storms and fluffy clouds that hover higher in the gas planet’s atmosphere. Warning: You might get lost in the clouds, so stare at your own risk.
This globular cluster called Messier 62 is only 22,000 light years from Earth and is one of the more irregularly shaped clusters in our galaxy. Its core alone has more than 150,000 stars. And M62 is no newbie in the universe either—it’s a seasoned 12 billion years old!
Back on earth, this stunning night sky is over the La Silla Observatory in Chile. The central bulge of our galaxy appears in the upper right of the image, arching across the sky. At upper left the constellation of Orion is seen with a reddish feature called Barnard’s Loop. The red and pink colors are created by highly ionized hydrogen gas, which indicate the birth of new stars.
NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory captured this image of the sun last week. The long strip of black is a temporary feature called a coronal hole. These openings release a wind of highly charged particles, and as they shoot into space they interact with other bodies in the solar system. This particular coronal hole was associated with a colorful show of aurora in the northern latitudes on earth last week. As these solar particles interact with our own planet’s magnetic field, they create a dazzling show of lights for anyone who’s able to watch.
Located 47 million light years away, Messier 88 is a spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way. It contains more than 400 million stars and has an active galactic bulge, meaning its center shines more brightly than the rest of the galaxy.