Open star cluster NGC 7380 is still embedded in its natal cloud of interstellar gas and dust popularly known as the Wizard Nebula. Seen with foreground and background stars along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy it lies some 8,000 light-years distant, toward the constellation Cepheus.
Why does this galaxy have such a long tail? In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Draco. Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 - from right to left in this view - and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy's stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapour erupting from the frigid surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, in one or more localised plumes near its south pole.
Europa is already thought to harbour a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, making the moon one of the main targets in the search for habitable worlds away from Earth. This new finding is the first observational evidence of water vapour being ejected off the moon's surface.
The new transparent solar cells are made from tiny organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight such as ultraviolet and near infrared light. This invisble light is then guided to the edge of the solar panel, where thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells pick it up and convert it into energy. "Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye," Lunt said.
NASA 'dream fund' selects submarine for Saturn moon
A robot submarine for exploring the methane oceans of Saturn's giant moon, Titan, a greenhouse on Mars and a spacecraft that hitches rides on comets to the outer solar system are just three of the far-out ideas NASA is backing in its latest round of funding for the distant future of space exploration.
Each year NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) programme asks researchers to submit ideas for space technology that could prove useful in the next few decades. Last year selections included two-dimensional spacecraft and suspended animation.