Horsehead Emerges

Rising from a sea of dust and gas, the legendary Horsehead Nebula emerges. This amazing NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope close-up reveals the cloud’s intricate structure. Also known as Barnard 33, the Horsehead is a cold, dark cloud of gas and dust, silhouetted against the bright nebula, IC 434. The bright area at the top left edge is a young star still embedded in its nursery of gas and dust. The top of the nebula also is being sculpted by radiation from a massive star located out of view. 

Image Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2014 July 30

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy 

Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Our Galaxy is thought to look much like Andromeda. Together these two galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies. The diffuse light from Andromeda is caused by the hundreds of billions of stars that compose it. The several distinct stars that surround Andromeda’s image are actually stars in our Galaxy that are well in front of the background object.

Andromeda is frequently referred to as M31 since it is the 31st object on Messier’s list of diffuse sky objects. M31 is so distant it takes about two million years for light to reach us from there. Although visible without aid, the above image of M31 was taken with a standard camera through a small telescope. Much about M31 remains unknown, including how it acquired its unusual double-peaked center.

Jim Irwin Becomes 8th Man to Walk on the Moon (31 July 1971) Astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, works at the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during the first Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site. The Lunar Module (LM) “Falcon” is on the left. The undeployed Laser Ranging Retro Reflector (LR-3) lies atop the LM’s modular equipment stowage assembly (MESA). This view is looking slightly west of south. Hadley Delta and the Apennine Front are in the background to the left. St. George crater is approximately five kilometers (about three statute miles) in the distance behind Irwin’s head. This photograph was taken by astronaut David R. Scott, commander. While astronauts Scott and Irwin descended in the LM to explore the moon, astronaut Alfred M. Worden, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit.