Like two skaters grabbing hands while passing, the two galaxies NGC 5427 (lower left) and its twin NGC 5426 (upper right), are beginning a collision that could take a hundred million years to complete. Already a bridge-like feature has begun to form between the galaxies. This intergalactic bridge acts like a feeding tube, allowing the twins to share gas and dust with one other across the 60,000 light years of space separating them.
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.
Composite colour image of the Herschel PACS 70, 100, 160 micron-wavelength images of Betelgeuse, the nearest red supergiant star to Earth. North is to the top left, east is to the bottom left, and the image is about 25 arcminutes across. Copyright ESA/Herschel/PACS/L. Decin et al
A beautiful new image of two colliding galaxies has been released by NASA's Great Observatories. The Antennae galaxies, located about 62 million light-years from Earth, are shown in this composite image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red).
Is this a painting or a photograph? In this beautiful celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines near the image center. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a red emission region, many dark absorption nebulae, and a backdrop of colorful stars.