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NASA Image Of The Day

Hubble Looks at Light and Dark in the Universe
NASA Image Of The Day
This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a variety of intriguing cosmic phenomena. Surrounded by bright stars, towards the upper middle of the frame we see a small young stellar object (YSO) known as SSTC2D J033038.2+303212. Located in the constellation of Perseus, this star is in the early stages of its life and is still forming into a fully-grown star. In this view from Hubble?s Advanced Camera for Surveys(ACS) it appears to have a murky chimney of material emanating outwards and downwards, framed by bright bursts of gas flowing from the star itself. This fledgling star is actually surrounded by a bright disk of material swirling around it as it forms ? a disc that we see edge-on from our perspective. However, this small bright speck is dwarfed by its cosmic neighbor towards the bottom of the frame, a clump of bright, wispy gas swirling around as it appears to spew dark material out into space. The bright cloud is a reflection nebula known as [B77] 63, a cloud of interstellar gas that is reflecting light from the stars embedded within it. There are actually a number of bright stars within [B77] 63, most notably the emission-line star LkHA 326, and it nearby neighbor LZK 18. These stars are lighting up the surrounding gas and sculpting it into the wispy shape seen in this image. However, the most dramatic part of the image seems to be a dark stream of smoke piling outwards from [B77] 63 and its stars ? a dark nebula called Dobashi 4173. Dark nebulae are incredibly dense clouds of pitch-dark material that obscure the patches of sky behind them, seemingly creating great rips and eerily empty chunks of sky. The stars speckled on top of this extreme blackness actually lie between us and Dobashi 4173. European Space Agency Credit: ESA/NASA...
29 Aug 2014
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ESA Launchers
ESA Launchers

  • Galileo has started its operational deployment phase

    The next pair of Galileo satellites, Galileo 5 and 6, has been successfully delivered into orbit today. This launch marks the start of a new phase in the European satellite navigation programme where the full constellation will be deployed with short intervals between launches. 



  • ATV set loose

    Watch from close by as ATV-5 separates from the Ariane 5 rocket that took it into orbit

  • Full ATV-5 launch replay

    Watch the full launch and lead-up to the Ariane 5 launch with ESA's last Automated Transfer Vehicle

  • Replay ATV-5 liftoff

    Watch the launch of ESA's last Automated Transfer Vehicle – now enroute to the International Space Station

  • Last ATV lifts off to supply the Space Station

    The fifth and final mission of ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle got off to a flying start today with its launch from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, heading for the International Space Station.



  • ESA’s spaceplane set for flight

    All eyes are on ESA’s spaceplane to showcase reentry technologies after its unconventional launch on a Vega rocket this November. 



  • Unboxing a spaceplane

    Technology image of the week: The moment when ESA’s IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is removed from its protective container

  • Experimental spaceplane unboxed for final tests

    The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle arrived in the Netherlands last night to undergo final tests at ESA’s main technical centre ahead of its November launch.



  • ATV's last journey

    Astonishing images from the ATV-5 launch

  • Rehearsing IXV recovery

    See the day in pictures as the team practise the recovery of IXV off the coast of Tuscany, Italy

  • Bringing back our spaceplane

    Yesterday, the ship and crew aiming to recover Europe’s unmanned IXV spacecraft in November had a practice run off the coast of Tuscany, Italy.



  • Tracking Europe’s family of launchers from Gabon

    As Europe lofts more rockets, ESA’s network of tracking stations used to follow their progress has never been more important. 



  • Commercial liftoff for Europe’s smallest launcher

    The third launch by Europe’s new small launcher, Vega, has delivered Kazakhstan’s first satellite for high-resolution Earth observation into its planned orbit.



  • Europe lofts first Copernicus environmental satellite

    The ability of European citizens, policymakers and service providers to access key environmental data on a routine basis will take a major step forward following the launch today of ESA’s Sentinel-1A satellite.



  • Ariane 5’s second launch of 2014

    An Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecom satellites, Astra-5B and Amazonas-4A, into their planned transfer orbits.



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