20 incredible shots showing the awesome beauty of our universe
’Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.’ This is what Immanuel Kant said in the 18th century. Observing the starry sky really does make us feel truly humbled and tiny. The night sky captivates us, and it seems that we never feel more connected to the universe than when standing beneath a canopy of stars. But using modern technologies, we can not only enjoy the stars but also can discover far-away galaxies. With the Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes, NASA’s scientists have captured 100 photos of planets, nebulae, and other stunning night sky objects.
We here at Bright Side have selected some of the most amazing shots. Take a tour through the universe and discover how different our world looks when seen through a telescope.
This is our home.
Pillars of Creation
These columns are in fact an accumulation of interstellar hydrogen gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula.
A giant black hole within one of the tiniest galaxies.
The remains of an exploded star
After the star explodes, it becomes a planetary nebula: an expanding, glowing shell of ionized gas.
Two interacting stars caused a cosmic explosion. After the explosion, one of the stars lies in the center of the nebula surrounded by the cosmic debris.
The concentration of interstellar gas and dust
This is an emerging star. It becomes bigger due to the gases which surround it.
The Horsehead Nebula
The delicate folds of gas together with turbulent waves of dust make up a fragile-looking structure that resembles a giant seahorse.
The Crab Nebula
This nebula, which is located in the Taurus constellation, is a pulsar wind nebula, a remnant of the supernova explosion which occurred in 1054 AD.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula
Eleven rings of gas make up this nebula which resembles a magic cat’s eye. The Cat’s Eye is a dying star that throws off shells of glowing gas.
In 2002, one of the stars in the constellation Monoceros suffered a sudden outburst. The star got so big that it became one of the brightest stars ever observed, but then it began to fade rapidly. Having passed through the dust shell, the light wave turned into light echo which can be seen using a telescope.
The Carina Nebula
Its towers consist of cold gas, hydrogen, and dust.
The Bubble Nebula
Blown by the wind from a massive star, the Bubble Nebula lies in the constellation Cassiopeia. This nebula is, in fact, a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it.
The Cone Nebula
The Cone Nebula in the constellation of the Unicorn is a dark pillar of gas and dust. Its reddish veil is produced by glowing hydrogen gas.
These bright blue star clusters are located in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The star formation within these dusty cosmic clouds continues even now.
The Butterfly Nebula
Lying in the Milky Way Galaxy, The Butterfly Nebula stretches for more than two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.
The Helix Nebula
The Helix is an example of a planetary nebula, the expanding shell of glowing gas around a dying, Sun-like star. If seen through a telescope, this nebula looks like a huge eye.
Smiley face in space
The eyes of this galactic happy face are two distant, bright galaxies, and the line that makes up the smile is actually an arc created by an effect called ’strong gravitational lensing.’ A galaxy cluster in the foreground acts as a cosmic lens that can bend the light coming from the more distant galaxy. That is why it remains visible.
The Sombrero Galaxy
The supermassive black hole which lies in the center of this galaxy is a strong X-ray emitter.
The Monkey Head Nebula
This nebula is a so-called stellar nursery that contains all the ingredients needed for star formation. Against a background of bright blue gas there are dark brown and rust-colored dust clouds.
Rose of Galaxies
Astronomers think that the Rose of Galaxies is the result of four galaxy clusters colliding. Different colors of petals indicate that they are of different ages.