Monday, January 11, 2010

space and other images


Liftoff from Spaceport America

Lockheed Martin's prototype for an autonomous rocket plane roars up a launch rail at Spaceport America in New Mexico in August 2008. Lockheed has said little about the development effort, due to proprietary concerns, but the company reported that an Oct. 10 launch was successful.

Dark dunes
Martian winds have piled sand  into strange-shaped dunes, as seen in a picture captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and released on Oct. 7. The dunes are shown in shades of blue rather than red because the image has been color-coded to indicate subtle differences in surface composition.

Butterfly in space

Colorful jets stretch out into space from the planetary nebula NGC 6302, also known as the Butterfly Nebula or the Bug Nebula. The image, captured on July 27 and released on Sept. 9, was one of the first taken by the Hubble Space Telescope since its overhaul in May.

Dance of the galaxies

An arrangement of galaxies known as Stephan's Quintet sparkles in a Hubble Space Telescope image released on Sept. 9. Four of the galaxies are interacting in a gravitational dance - but the fifth galaxy, at upper left, is actually much closer to us and just happens to be in the same line of sight.

Clouds of glory

The massive star factory known as the Trifid Nebula blazes in all its glory in a picture from the European Southern Observatory in northern Chile, released Aug. 26. So named for the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart, the Trifid Nebula is a rare combination of three nebula types.
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