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The most amazing Hubble Space Telescope fly-through yet defies belief

If space traveling the universe had a scenic route, this would be it. It’s a 3D fly-through of the nebula Gum 29 with the stunning star cluster Westerlund 2 in the middle and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The image was taken by the Hubble and shown off for its 25th anniversary. It’s the stuff of dreams. » 4/23/15 6:30pm 4/23/15 6:30pm

Astronomers Release Gorgeous Image of a “Celestial Diamond Ring”

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured this stunning image of planetary nebula that, by chance, is aligned with a foreground star, and thus bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond ring. This cosmic gem is unusually symmetrical, appearing to be almost perfectly circular. » 4/09/14 2:40pm 4/09/14 2:40pm

This cosmic dust is basically a gargantuan, radiation-spewing fairy

That's how the good people at NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day describe this dust pillar, at any rate, and I know better than to argue with a bunch of astronomers armed with a flair for figurative language. And this gorgeous gas is just one small part of the generally just ridiculously impressive Eagle Nebula. » 9/29/13 5:00pm 9/29/13 5:00pm

This dazzlingly bright star is a cosmic lighthouse

This star is RS Puppis, and it isn't just the stellar equivalent of a pretty face; it's absolutely crucial to our understanding of the universe. This is a Cepheid variable star, which in part means its brightness increases and decreases on an exact, predictable schedule. And because it's surrounded by a giant nebula… » 9/15/13 2:00pm 9/15/13 2:00pm

What the heck is this strange red rectangle doing in our galaxy?

It's not often that a nebula looks quite so much like a cheesy special effect from some forgotten '70s sci-fi movie, but the Red Rectangle Nebula qualifies. After all, this seems to betray a total misunderstanding of basic science, because aren't nebulae meant to be, well, round? And is any nebula that blood-red? » 5/26/13 1:00pm 5/26/13 1:00pm

A star steals its partner's spotlight in the Southern Ring Nebula

Also known as the Eight-Burst Nebula — or, if we want to be all boring and technical, NGC 3132 — this cosmic beauty is located some 2,000 light-years from Earth. It's not actually a regular nebula at all, but instead it's what's known as a planetary nebula, the result of a star dying and venting its remaining gas into… » 4/14/13 4:15pm 4/14/13 4:15pm

A star is taking down the Carina Nebula from the inside

This image from the Hubble Telescope shows part of the Carina Nebula, located roughly 7,500 light-years from Earth. This massive cosmic cloud is a stellar incubator, but the newborn star found inside has to fight its way out by firing off powerful, super-fast jets. These energetic, narrowly focused jets are known as… » 3/24/13 2:00pm 3/24/13 2:00pm