Cassiopeia A

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Remnants of supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A

Image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provides a detailed look at the tattered remains of a supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A (Cas A). It is the youngest known remnant from a supernova explosion in the Milky Way. The new Hubble image shows the complex and intricate structure of the star’s shattered fragments.

Source: Wikipedia

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A composite image of Cassiopeia A from multiple sources

Titan (From Huygens)

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Source: NASA

This image was captured by the Huygens probe over Saturn’s moon Titan from an altitude of 6 miles (10km).  At the time of this post, it remains the most distant landing of any human-made craft.

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Titan’s surface, taken by Huygens

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

Hubble ACS visible image of M51

Source: spacetelescope.org

The Whirlpool Galaxy is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Canes Venatici, “the Hunting Dogs”.

The “arms” of the Whirlpool Galaxy are star-formation factories, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters of new stars. In the Whirlpool, the assembly line begins with the dark clouds of gas on the inner edge, then moves to bright pink star-forming regions, and ends with the brilliant blue star clusters along the outer edge.

The Whirlpool Galaxy is around 60,000 light years in diameter.  There are an estimated 100 billion stars in this galaxy, so this image could theoretically contain trillions of planets.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (Jupiter Impact)

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Brown spots on Jupiter show the impact sites of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

Source: Wikipedia

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was the first comet observed to be orbiting a planet, and it was the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of Solar System objects.  The first impact occurred on July 16, 1994 (the comet broke apart and produced multiple impacts over a few days).

The impacts produced fireballs, some reaching heights of over 3,000km.

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Shoemaker-Levy9 impact on lower left

Mimas


This image taken Jan. 30 and received on Earth today by our Cassini spacecraft is of Saturn’s moon Mimas. Less than 123 miles (198 km) in mean radius, crater-covered Mimas is the smallest and innermost of Saturn’s major moons. It is not quite big enough to hold a round shape, so it is somewhat ovoid with dimensions of 129 x 122 x 119 (miles 207 x 197 x 191 km, respectively). Its low density suggests that it consists almost entirely of water ice, which is the only substance ever detected on Mimas. Most of the Mimas surface is saturated with impact craters ranging in size up to greater than 25 miles (40 km) in diameter.