The Helix Nebula in the Aquarius constellation, located some 700 light-years away from Earth, was just observed by the piercing infrared gaze of the VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Some have referred to the images as the Eye of Sauron, from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
GOOD-BYE 2012 DA14: Asteroid 2012 DA14 flew past Earth on Feb. 15th inside the orbit of many geosynchronous satellites. At closest approach, around 2:25 pm EST, the 45-meter wide space rock was only 17,200 miles above Indonesia. No satellites were damaged by the flyby, and the asteroid is now receding from Earth. Using a 3" refractor at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, Aaron Kingery captured this image of 2012 DA14 passing in front of the eta Carina Nebula:
Ghost WorldCredit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of ArizonaWednesday, November 21, 2012: Reflection nebula vdB4 is a associated with young open star cluster NGC 225, often called the Sailboat Cluster, in constellation Leo Minor. Image obtained in October 2012.