The Great Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or NGC 224, is a spiral galaxy that is approximately 2.5 million light-years away in the Andromeda constellation. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, but not the nearest galaxy overall. The Andromeda Galaxy is also the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 44 other smaller galaxies. Our Milky Way and the Andromeda are expected to collide in around 3.75 billion years, eventually merging to form a giant elliptical or large disk galaxy. The collision will not effect most matter in the galaxies, because space is so large most matter will only interact gravitationally. However, The Gas clouds of the the two galaxies will collide and begin to form new stars.

Credit: NASA/Hubble


The next time you want to put a poem on your iffy Photoshop job of a galaxy or nebula, remember it took someone hours of editing just like this to make the original. It’s like salting your food at a Michelin restaurant. So, I dunno, at least make it some T.S. Eliot or something worth all that effort.

NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula, is a cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across, blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. This sharp telescopic portrait uses narrow band image data that isolates light from hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the wind-blown nebula. The oxygen atoms produce the blue-green hue that seems to enshroud the detailed folds and filaments. Visible within the nebula, NGC 6888’s central star is classified as a Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136). The star is shedding its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind, ejecting the equivalent of the Sun’s mass every 10,000 years. The nebula’s complex structures are likely the result of this strong wind interacting with material ejected in an earlier phase. Burning fuel at a prodigious rate and near the end of its stellar life this star should ultimately go out with a bang in a spectacular supernova explosion. Found in the nebula rich constellation Cygnus, NGC 6888 is about 5,000 light-years away.

Object Names: NGC 6888, The Crescent Nebula

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: Michael Miller, Jimmy Walker

Time And Space


These “galaxy” tees from spiralukofficial are inexplicably named after planets (Pluto, Neptune, and Jupiter), but they are still pretty damn cool IMHO. Especially the first one, which is one of my all-time favorite space images: the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF).

Every single speck of light in the HUDF is a galaxy (save five stars) containing roughly 100 billion stars. There are a total of 10,000 galaxies in this one image which covers a patch of sky roughly equal to 1/50th area of the full moon. We have reason to believe this patch of sky is no different from any other patch of sky so imagine covering the entire sky with fields of 10,000 galaxies - that yields an estimate of 100 billion galaxies in the Universe! 

Now go buy this shirt and school all your friends with your newfound astronomy knowledge. 

- Summer


A Montage of the Carina Nebula

The Carina Nebula (known by astronomers as NGC 3372) is sometimes called the Great Nebula in Carina or the Grand Nebula. These images taken by the Hubble space telescope show the magnificent structure within the Carina Nebula. These images contain regions of dense star formation, interstellar winds, massive particle clouds and much more. Many of these structures are hundreds of light-years across and make the size of our solar system look pathetic in comparison. The Carine Nebula is about 10,000 light-years away from earth and is located in the constellation Carina.

Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble


We reblogged @staceythinx‘s @shenovafashion post, but finally we have our own to share - with designs inspired by some of our favorite images!

From top to bottom:

Butterfly Nebula (and Hubble eXtreme Field)

Jupiter (with a purple hue … read on to learn why!)

Spiral galaxy (I haven’t identified it yet - can anyone help?)

Orion nebula

And last but not least, PLUTO!!!

Holly from @shenovafashion told me the model, Gauri, is a double major in chemical engineering and philosophy who works at NASA as a research scientist and at an energy materials nanotechnology startup in Silicon Valley. Impressive!

The Shenova @etsy shop lists sizes XS-L, but @shenovafashion confirmed that she is working on larger sizes and is happy to take custom orders!

Finally, why is Jupiter purple? To represent what a cool brown dwarf might look like! Related: can you guess which dress is on its way to my house right now? Here’s a hint! ;)



Last three days to win a startorialist prize pack! We’re collaborating with science communication researcher Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau for a survey of startorialist readers. Your participation will help us improve STARtorialist, contribute to publishable research on the readers of science blogs, and enter you to win one of three STARtorialist prize packs (like we gave away earlier this year). The survey should only take you 10-15 minutes to complete. Take the survey here!

The Carina Nebula - A Birthplace Of Stars

The Carina Nebula lies at an estimated distance of 6,500 to 10,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation Carina. This nebula is one of the most well studied in astrophysics and has a high rate of star formation. The star-burst in the Carina region started around three million years ago when the nebula’s first generation of newborn stars condensed and ignited in the middle of a huge cloud of cold molecular hydrogen. Radiation from these stars carved out an expanding bubble of hot gas. The island-like clumps of dark clouds scattered across the nebula are nodules of dust and gas that are resisting being eaten away by photons (particles of light) that are ionizing the surrounding gas (giving it an electrical charge).

Credit: NASA/Hubble

Why is this galaxy so thin? Many disk galaxies are actually just as thin as NGC 5866, pictured above, but are not seen edge-on from our vantage point. One galaxy that is situated edge-on is our own Milky Way Galaxy. Classified as a lenticular galaxy, NGC 5866 has numerous and complex dust lanes appearing dark and red, while many of the bright stars in the disk give it a more blue underlying hue. The blue disk of young stars can be seen extending past the dust in the extremely thin galactic plane, while the bulge in the disk center appears tinged more orange from the older and redder stars that likely exist there. Although similar in mass to our Milky Way Galaxy, light takes about 60,000 years to cross NGC 5866, about 30 percent less than light takes to cross our own Galaxy. In general, many disk galaxies are very thin because the gas that formed them collided with itself as it rotated about the gravitational center. Galaxy NGC 5866 lies about 50 million light years distant toward the constellation of the Dragon (Draco).

Object Names: NGC 5866

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive, Hunter Wilson

Time And Space


Centaurus A, the remains of a galaxy collision that happened 600 million years ago. 

The dark clouds are made up of compressed hydrogen that act as kind of interstellar nurseries, where new stars are born. These stars appear reddish pink in the first image. Stars rely on nuclear fusion to fuel them, essentially all that is is smashing hydrogen atoms together at high speeds to create helium atoms, releasing mountains of energy in the process, which can be seen as light. This fact makes these clouds of hydrogen the ideal place for new stars to develop.

At the centre lies a supermassive black hole which is 1 billion times more massive than our sun. It consumes all matter that strays too close and upon doing so, releases huge jets of energy, which can be seen in the second image.


My new favorite shop on etsy is Galaxy Garments by Olivia (girlinalabcoat). Not only does she make awesome clothes & accessories from Hubble images, but she’s also a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering and Nanotechnology!

Dresses, tops, and accessories like collars, scarves, bow ties, available in 10 different Hubble images!

Olivia even made Hubble-image bow ties for Bill Nye!

I haven’t bought anything yet, only because I can’t decide what to get first…



Star Cluster NGC 2074 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 (top). The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies.

The high-energy radiation blazing out from clusters of hot young stars already born in NGC 2074 is sculpting the wall of the nebula by slowly eroding it away. Another young cluster may be hidden beneath a circle of brilliant blue gas at center, bottom.

In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower, right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our Sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Images