Space

Nature’s Fireworks: The Best Meteor Showers Coming in 2015

There is nothing between you and the Infinite. (Shan Sheehan, CC BY)
There is nothing between you and the Infinite. (Shan Sheehan, CC BY)

Watching meteors in the night sky can be fun, although typically you only see a few flashes an hour. But there are certain times of...




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  • In this image provided by NASA an annotated image shows a bright feature interpreted as the United Kingdom's Beagle 2 Lander with solar arrays at least partially deployed on the surface of Mars. Beagle 2 was released by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter but never heard from after its expected Dec. 25, 2003, landing.  This and other images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have located the lander close to the center of its planned landing area. Two images taken months apart, with the sun at different angles, are merged in this view. A glint comes from a different part of the lander in one than in the other, interpreted as evidence of more than one deployed panel on the lander.  (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/University of Leicester)

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  • An artist’s rendering of a protoplanetary impact. Early in the impact, molten jetted material is ejected at a high velocity and breaks up to form chondrules, the millimeter-scale, formerly molten droplets found in most meteorites. These droplets cool and solidify over hours to days. (NASA/California Institute of Technology)

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  • Image provided by NASA taken during a training exercise, US astronaut Terry Virts (L), assists European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti with emergency training aboard the International Space Station, on Dec. 1, 2014. Astronauts evacuated the US section of the International Space Station and moved to its Russian module after a problem emerged Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/NASA)

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  • This still frame from the Illustris simulation is centered on the most massive galaxy cluster existing today. The blue-purple filaments show the location of dark matter, which attracts normal matter gravitationally and helps galaxies and clusters clump together. Bubbles of red, orange, and white show where gas is being blasted outward by supernovae or jets from supermassive black holes. (Image courtesy of Illustris Collaboration)

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  • GPI imaging polarimetry of the circumstellar disk around HR 4796A, a ring of dust and planetesimals similar in some ways to a scaled up version of the solar system’s Kuiper Belt. These GPI observations reveal a complex pattern of variations in brightness and polarization around the HR 4796A disk. The western side (tilted closer to the Earth) appears brighter in polarized light, while in total intensity the eastern side appears slightly brighter, particularly just to the east of the widest apparent separation points of the disk. Reconciling this complex and apparently-contradictory pattern of brighter and darker regions required a major overhaul of our understanding of this circumstellar disk. Image credit: Marshall Perrin (Space Telescope Science Institute), Gaspard Duchene (UC Berkeley), Max Millar-Blanchaer (University of Toronto), and the GPI Team.

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  • Eta Carinae's great eruption in the 1840s created the billowing Homunculus Nebula, imaged here by Hubble. Now about a light-year long, the expanding cloud contains enough material to make at least 10 copies of our sun. Astronomers cannot yet explain what caused this eruption.
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  • Some of the stars appear to be missing in this intriguing new ESO image. But the black gap in this glitteringly beautiful starfield is not really a gap, but rather a region of space clogged with gas and dust. This dark cloud is called LDN 483 — for Lynds Dark Nebula 483. Such clouds are the birthplaces of future stars. The Wide Field Imager, an instrument mounted on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, captured this image of LDN 483 and its surroundings. (ESO)

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  • Astronomers have detected the largest X-ray flare ever from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This event was 400 times brighter than the usual X-ray output from the black hole. (NASA/CXC/Northwestern Univ/D.Haggard et al.)

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