Space Photos of the Week: A Cosmic Light Show Rings in 2019 - ACE CELEBRITIES MAGAZINE


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Space Photos of the Week: A Cosmic Light Show Rings in 2019

On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 crew flew around the moon, and astronaut William Anders captured this famous photo of Earth. They called it Earthrise. The photo has been credited with sparking the environmental movement, and of course it is a good reminder that while it might be fun to imagine other planets far out into the cosmos, we already have a home to take care of—this small blue and white marble.

Talk about the “star” of the show, this photo shows a colorful rippling nebula of gas and dust around the very bright star, RS Puppis. The Hubble Space Telescope captured this photo in December—and indeed it looks like a holiday wreath spangled with with sparkling lights. RS Puppis is 15,000 times more luminous than our own sun, which is one reason why the gas and dust around the star are so photogenic

Very early in the morning of New Year’s day, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past its target, MU 69, making it the farthest object in the solar system ever visited by humans. MU 69 is what is called a cold classical Kuiper Belt object, believed to a pristine sample from the earliest days of our solar system. This is the first color image of this cool rock; it’s also the first picture ever taken up close of one of these distant objects.

This fuzzy blue object is comet 46P/Wirtanen which orbits the sun every 5.4 years and recently made its closest-ever approach to Earth. On December 13, the Hubble Space Telescope took a photo of this comet from just 7.4 million miles away; now the comet is heading back out and away from the sun. The small fuzz around the bright region is the comet’s coma, made up of gas and dust that are released by the warmth of the sun. Scientist think that comets might have been one of the main delivery systems for water to Earth, and by studying the outgassed hydrogen as comets approach, they can try to figure out if the objects had enough hydrogen to make water in the first place.

Last February, during its 11th orbit of Jupiter, the Juno spacecraft took this photo of the dark side of the gas giant. Toward the top of the image, the clouds are illuminated by the sunlight reflecting off the Jupiter’s moon, Io. Juno took this photo while just 41,000 miles from the cloudtops of the planet, and see those three bright spots in the darker area? That’s Jovian lightening.

While not quite a space jellyfish, this glowing image shows a pulsar encased in a supernova nebula. The bright blue beacon in the center is the pulsar SXP 1062 which is the product of the death of a massive star. When the star supernova’d, it exploded with such a force that it pushed gas and dust way far out into the region. Most supernova bubbles tend to only last a few thousand years, so when scientists find one intact like this, it's a rare astronomical treat.

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