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Above and Below

Above the Earth; Below the Water

The Aurora Borealis: Amazing Colorful

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The Tornado is an unusual radio source near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy showing a number of remarkable filamentary structures influenced by the magnetic field. It is thought to be a supernova remnant, although the evidence is still inconclusive. Another unusual source is a cluster of bright, compact nebulae located in the lower right edge of the Tornado Nebula. Astronomers debate the nature of the relationship between the larger Tornado Nebula and the cluster of compact nebulae.

Endless: This all-sky view of the entire near-infrared sky reveals the distribution of galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The image is derived from the 2MASS Extended Source Catalog, which contains more than 1.5 million galaxies, and the Point Source Catalog, which holds nearly 500 million stars within the Milky Way. The galaxies are color coded for distances obtained by various surveys. The nearest sources are blue, moderately distant sources are green, and red represents the farthest so

The Milky Way is not an island universe, but a member of a small cluster of galaxies called the Local Group. (Illustration: NASA / CXC / M.Weiss)

In 2004, astronomers discovered a star composed entirely of diamond, measuring 4,000 km across and 10 billion trillion trillion carats. 50 light years from Earth, the diamond star is classified as a crystallized white dwarf, the hot core that remains after a star burns out. Only recently have scientists been able to study the contents of the white dwarf, and they’ve confirmed that the crystallized carbon interior of the star is, in fact, the galaxy’s largest diamond.