Science & Nature
Andromeda in a new light Two European space observatories teamed up to produce this image of the Andromeda Galaxy, which was released on Jan. 7. The Herschel space telescope focused on rings of star formation in infrared light, shown here in shades of red and orange. The XMM-Newton probe registered the X-ray emissions from exploding stars, shown here in blue.
Aurora Borealis, Alaska
This object is a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. 7,000 light-years distant from us, the soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometers tall. When Swiss astronomer Philippe Loys de Chéseaux discovered the Eagle Nebula in the mid-eighteenth century, he only described the cluster of stars surrounding it. Charles Messier independently rediscovered it in 1764 as part of his catalog, dubbing it M16.