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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Photos from Deep Space
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Click on the small picture to get the full-sized one from this server (size as noted). I don't know very much about astronomy; I just enjoy looking at these objectswith their remote immensity and (more recently revealed) brilliant color. [Loading the thumbnail images takes a few seconds.]

{icon} A huge, billowing pair of gas and dust clouds are captured in this stunning image of the supermassive star Eta Carinae. Eta Carinae was the site of a giant outburst about 150 years ago, when it became one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Somehow, the explosion produced two polar lobes and a large thin equatorial disk, all moving outward at about 1.5 million miles per hour. Estimated to be 100 times more massive than our Sun, Eta Carinae radiates about five million times more power than our Sun. Photo Credit: Jon Morse (University of Colorado) and NASA. [37K jpg]
{icon} Dramatic pictures of theCartwheel galaxy reveal immense comet-like clouds of gas speeding through the heart of the galaxy at nearly 700,000 mph. The galaxy's nucleus is the bright object in the center of the image. The close-up image of the galaxy's nucleus reveals the comet-like knots of gas. The "heads" are a few hundred light-years across; the tails are more than 1,000 light-years long, the longest nearly 5,000 light-years. [78K jpg]
{icon} A Hubble image of an 800-light-year-wide spiral-shaped disk of dust fueling a massive black hole in the center of galaxy NGC 4261, located 100 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Virgo. By measuring the speed of gas swirling around the black hole, astronomers calculate that the object at the center of the disk is 1.2 billion times the mass of our Sun, yet concentrated into a region of space not much larger than our solar system. [43K jpg]
{icon} An artist's concept of a gas cloud (left) that acts as a natural ultraviolet laser, near the huge, unstable star Eta Carinae (right) -- one of most massive and energetic stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. [59K jpg]
{icon} This Hubble image of planetary nebula NGC 7027 shows remarkable new details of the process by which a star like the Sun dies. New features include: faint, blue, concentric shells surrounding the nebula; an extensive network of red dust clouds throughout the bright inner region; and the hot central white dwarf, visible as a white dot at the center. [78K jpg]
{icon} This image of the Egg Nebula, also known as CRL2688 and located roughly 3,000 light-years from us, was taken in red light with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. [73K jpg]
{icon} An image of MyCn18, a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away. This Hubble image reveals the true shape of MyCn18 to be an hourglass with an intricate pattern of "etchings" in its walls. [54K jpg]
{icon} This spectacular color panorama of the center the Orion nebula is one of the largest pictures ever assembled from individual images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The picture, seamlessly composited from a mosaic of 15 separate fields, covers an area of sky about five percent the area covered by the full Moon. The seemingly infinite tapestry of rich detail revealed by Hubble shows a churning turbulent star factory set within a maelstrom of flowing, luminescent gas. Though this 2.5 light-years wide view is still a small portion of the entire nebula, it includes almost all of the light from the bright glowing clouds of gas and a star cluster associated with the nebula. Hubble reveals details as small as 4.1 billion miles across. [43K jpg]
{icon} These eerie, dark pillar-like structures are columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for new stars. The largest one is about one light-year (6 trillion miles) long. [49K jpg]
{icon} The top end of the leftmost gas column in the preceding photo, the stars are embedded inside finger-like protrusions extending from the top of the nebula. Each "fingertip" is somewhat larger than our own solar system. [48K jpg]
{icon} Slightly more detailed view of the preceding. [48K jpg]
{icon} Cygnus loop, ethereal and partly green; see also next picture. [72K gif]
{icon} Cygnus loop: high speed gas from a supernova explosion slams into dark cooler clouds of interstellar material. Shocked and heated by this tidal wave of energy, the clouds glow in bright, neon-like colors. [486K jpg]
{icon} NGC2300, a brilliant red and blue gas cloud. [13K jpg]
{icon} Gliese 623b, one of the smallest stars in the universe, ten times less massive than our sun. It's the smaller one, on the right. It makes one orbit around its companion star every four years. [31K jpg]
{icon} Comet Hale-Bopp, showing a remarkable "pinwheel" pattern and a blob of free-flying debris near the nucleus. The debris follows a spiral pattern outward because the solid nucleus is rotating like a lawn sprinkler, completing a single rotation about once per week. [49K jpg]
{icon} Mysterious stellar fireworks create expanding gas shells and blowtorch-like jets that form a spectacularly intricate and symmetrical structure. The nebula is a fossil record of the late stages of the star's evolution. [25K gif]
{icon} NGC4261, an example of the unbelievable size of things. A light year is 6 trillion miles; the righthand object is 100 light years across and may show a black hole at the center of the galaxy. [68K jpg]
{icon} A spectacular head-on collision between a spiral galaxy and a smaller intruder sends out a ripple of energy that triggers a firestorm of new starbirth, forming a dazzling ring-like structure. [66K gif]
{icon} A spiral galaxy on the other side of the Milky Way. [315K jpg]
{icon} An eerie, nearly mirror-image pair of red luminesent gas "hula-hoops" frame the expanding debris of a star seen as a supernova explosion in 1987. [82K gif]
{icon} A true-color picture of the tattered debris of a star that exploded 3,000 years ago as a supernova. Material thrown out from the interior of the exploded star at velocities of more than four million miles per hour plows into neighboring clouds to create luminescent shock fronts. The blue-green filaments in the image correspond to oxygen-rich gas ejected from the core of the star, which glow as they pass through a network of shock fronts reflected off dense interstellar clouds that surrounded the exploded star. These dense clouds, which appear as reddish filaments, also glow as the shock wave from the supernova crushes and heats them. [71K jpg]
{icon} The galaxy M100 is one of the brightest members of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. The galaxy can be seen through a moderate-sized amateur telescope. M100 is spiral shaped, like our Milky Way, and tilted nearly face-on as seen from earth. The two pictures show the performance of the Hubble Space Telescope before (left) and after (right) the 1993 servicing mission of shuttle mission STS61. [81K jpg]

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