The universe might be big and wonderful and scary, but that doesn’t mean we can’t understand it.
1. This is what a nebula looks like in visible light versus infrared.
2. This is the Earth-moon distance to scale.
3. This is how thin our atmosphere actually is.
There’s a reason scientists sometimes refer to it as the thin blue line.
4. We actually see slightly more than half the moon.
Thanks to something called lunar libration (basically, a wobbly orbit) we can get a peek of the other side of the moon.
5. This is what a sunset looks like on Mars.
6. For the first astronauts on Mars, Earth will be just a tiny speck in the sky.
7. This is what it looks like when planets form around a star.
ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
The orange disk that surrounds the star it is made up of dust and gas. The dark bands in the image are where the gas and dust has been swept up by newly formed planet.
8. This picture shows the sun reflecting off the sea on Saturn’s moon Titan.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho / Via jpl.nasa.gov
Yes, some moons have seas.
9. This is what Saturn looks like from the other side, with the sun behind it.
10. And that tiny dot just inside Saturn’s second ring is Earth.
To paraphrase Carl Sagan, everyone you’ve ever loved or hated or even just met once and have no strong opinion on lives on those few pixels.
11. This is the sharpest image the Hubble Space Telescope has ever taken.
NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler
It’s part of our neighbour the Andromeda galaxy. The full size version contains more than a 100 million stars.
12. This is what it looks like when a small galaxy passes behind a bigger spiral one.
NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA) / Via spacetelescope.org
The encounter has been going on for hundred of million years already.
13. This is what it looks like when two spiral galaxies collide.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Consider it a bit of a preview for when our galaxy the Milky Way merges with our neighbouring galaxy Andromeda in billions of years.
14. This is what the south pole of Jupiter looks like.
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute / Via nasa.gov
The map is made up of pictures taken in 2000 by the Cassini spacecraft.
15. There’s a volcanic region on Jupiter’s moon Io and this is what it looks like when it erupts.
This five-frame sequence was taken over eight minutes.
16. This is a tiny patch of the sky, and every speck of light in this image is a galaxy.
NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team / Via hubblesite.org
(Apart from a few, which are stars – you can tell those apart because there are little spikes of light radiating from them.)
17. This is what a spiral galaxy looks like side on.