This striking new image, taken with the powerful HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile, shows NGC 1365. This beautiful barred spiral galaxy is part of the Fornax cluster of galaxies, and lies about 60 million light-years from Earth. The picture was created from images taken through Y, J, H and K filters and the exposure times were 4, 4, 7 and 12 minutes respectively.
The Tibesti Mountains, located mostly in Chad with the northern slopes extending into Libya, are captured in this image, acquired on March 4, 2012 by Envisat’s MERIS instrument. The mountains’ highest peak is Emi Koussi – pictured here as a circular structure in the lower-right portion of the dark area. The westernmost volcano is Toussidé. Our satellite view shows the dark peak with lava flows extending to the left. The white depression to the southeast gets its colour from the accumulation of carbonate salts, creating a soda lake. Surrounding the Tibesti Mountains, the sands of the Sahara appear like orange, yellow and white brushstrokes.
Quick: What's your official state soil? If you're like most Americans, you probably have no idea what you've been standing on all these years — or that you even had an official state soil.
Well, wonder no more. Retired art director Les Gregor discovered a novel way to use his creative energies when he dropped a piece of tape on the ground. When he picked it up, according to Slate.com, it had a perfect, uniform coating of soil on its sticky side.
[Full Story: Fertile Ground: Soil Map Gives the Dirt on US]
Months before Hurricane Sandy hurled the Atlantic Ocean into houses and cities along the East Coast, another record-breaking cyclone battered North America, helping push this year's Arctic sea ice to a record low, a new study finds.
Arctic sea ice has been declining for decades, reaching a record low in September 2007 and hitting that record again in 2012.
[Full Story: Record Arctic Storm Melted Sea Ice]
Europe's newest deep-space tracking station has received its first interplanetary message: a photo of a half-lit Mars as seen by an orbiting spacecraft.
The new Mars photo was snapped by the European Space Agency's Mars Express probe and beamed to Earth on Dec. 18, where it was received by the agency's brand-new space tracking station in Malargüe, Argentina. Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner activated the huge antenna dish via a remote link from the country's Casa Rosada presidential palace to commemorate the event, ESA officials said.
[Full Story: New Mars Photo Christens Deep-Space Antenna]
The Kangerdlugssuaq glacier and its ice stream are pictured in this week’s image, acquired on Sept. 19, 2012 by Landsat-7. It is the largest outlet glacier on Greenland’s east coast, discharging ice into the surrounding oceans. In this image we can see hundreds of icebergs speckling the water. A recent study based on satellite observations revealed that over the past 20 years the ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica has contributed about 11 mm to the global sea-level rise. This image clearly shows the glacier’s calving front, where ice breaks away. Over the years, satellite images have shown that this front has retreated – an indication that the glacier is getting smaller over time.
The many "personalities" of our great galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, are exposed in this new composite image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The wide, ultraviolet eyes of Galaxy Evolution Explorer reveal Andromeda's "fiery" nature -- hotter regions brimming with young and old stars. In contrast, Spitzer's super-sensitive infrared eyes show Andromeda's relatively "cool" side, which includes embryonic stars hidden in their dusty cocoons.
Located in the direction of the constellation Dorado in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the resplendent object known as NGC 2060 is the aftermath of a supernova. These powerful explosions serve as the death knell for massive stars, blasting heated matter out into surrounding space at great speed.
What do you see in this finely detailed image? A monster with teeth bared? A scrape of delicate lace? In reality, you're looking at a cross-section of a leaf of grass. This particular segment comes from a real tough cookie called Eriachne ciliata, which is found in Australia and can make its home in gravelly or stony soil. Researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island examined the anatomy of this and other grasses to better understand how some plants evolved to survive in tough climates. They reported their findings the week of Dec. 24 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Like millions of kids who celebrated Christmas on Tuesday, the newest giant panda cub at the San Diego Zoo enjoyed playing with some new toys this week
During his checkup today (Dec. 27), Xiao Liwu was distracted by a doughnut-shaped plastic ring big enough for the baby bear to sit in, a stick of bamboo and a plastic ball, zoo offiicals said.
[Full Story: Panda Cub Gets New Toys]