Best space pictures for February 2013

The best space pictures of the month according to the magazine Astronet

On this precise telescopic photographs clearly seen against the background of striped and spotted the cloud tops of Jupiter crawl two dark shadows. Picture taken January 3, almost a month after the passage of a gas giant opposition point on the Earth's sky, it is fraught with real shadow theater. On the left you can see the nice two large Galilean satellites of Jupiter - Ganymede (top) and Io. The shadows of the satellites have not had time to slip away from the disk of the planet, and Jupiter's rapid rotation has led him famous Great Red Spot (BCP) on the right edge of the limb. Just above the center of the disc of the planet for the BCP creeps like him, but a smaller Oval BA, which is also called Red Spot Junior.

Best space pictures for February 2013

LL Orion and the Orion Nebula

On this beautiful close-up on a cosmic clouds and stellar winds special attention attracts the star LL Orionis, interacting with the flow in the Orion Nebula. Stellar wind variable star LL Orionis, which is still in its formative stages and wanders about the place of his birth, much stronger than the wind from our sun, which has already reached middle age. When a fast stellar wind collides with slow-moving gas, a shock wave, like a wave from a boat floating on the water or on aircraft flying at supersonic speed. Elegant small bow-shaped structure is slightly above and to the left of the center of the picture - a bow shock LL Ori measuring about half a light-year.

Best space pictures for February 2013

Comet Lemmon near southern celestial pole

Comet Lemmon, traveling is now the southern sky of the Earth, was named for the program Mount Lemmon Survey in which it was opened last year. In this telescopic picture taken on February 4, comet Lemmon is visible magnificent green coma and a faint forked tail. The comet is now shines brighter than previously expected, but still a little bit is not available to the naked eye. Its green tint comet owes diatomic gas C2, fluorescent in the light of the sun. This color image is composed of several individual exposures received at the observatory near Sydney in Australia. The field of view images covers about 1 degree. Stars near the southern celestial pole in the background stretched to the line, as the comet is moving too quickly past them. Heading north, to the sun, the comet will increase its brightness, which reaches the maximum value (approximately 3 magnitudes) in the end of March, at the closest point to the sun.

Best space pictures for February 2013

galaxy M106 Sleeve

The spiral arms of the galaxy M106 bright stretched at this wonderful heavenly portrait-mosaic, composed of ground-based and space-based images. M106 galaxy, also known under number NGC 4258, can be found in the sky toward the constellation of Canes Venatici. Distance to her carefully measured and is 23.5 million light-years. This means that the picture space spans about 80 000 light-years across. The spiral arms converging toward the bright core of older stars, composed of typical spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, young blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions.

Best space pictures for February 2013

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Mercury on the horizon

Its orbit is very close to the sun, so the planet will never go away from our star in Earth's sky. If Mercury follows on the heels of the sun, it can be seen low in the sky just after sunset. If Mercury is ahead of the sun, we briefly see him just before sunrise. So at a certain time, the well-trained observer with a certain degree of persistence can find Mercury against the clear sky near the horizon. To make this image, it took a lot of diligence and quite a bit of computer manipulation.

Best space pictures for February 2013

N11: star clouds in the Large Magellanic Cloud,

Massive stars, stellar destructive wind, mountains of dust and high-energy radiation formed a portrait of one of the biggest and most colorful regions of star formation in the Local Group of galaxies. This area, known as the N11, you can see in the upper right of the photo of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - galaxies neighboring the Milky Way. Today's photo was originally made by the Hubble Space Telescope with a scientific purpose. But later it was artistically reprocessed amateur astronomers to participate in the competition "Hidden Treasures of the Hubble."

Best space pictures for February 2013

of NGC 6822: Galaxy of Barnard

Large spiral galaxies always get all the glory, spread the beautiful symmetrical spiral arms filled with bright blue clusters of young stars. But in small galaxies too are born stars. For example, in our neighboring galaxy NGC 6822, also known as Barnard's Galaxy. NGC 6822 - a member of our Local Group of galaxies - is far beyond this densely populated area the stars of the constellation Sagittarius. Distance to it is about 1.5 million light-years. On the composite color image clearly shows that the dwarf irregular galaxy, which occupies a diameter of about 7000 light-years, it is literally dotted with young blue stars and pinkish star forming regions filled with glowing hydrogen

Best space pictures for February 2013

from Andromeda "Herschel"

This infrared image was taken by the space observatory "Herschel" for the study of the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest to our own Milky Way large spiral galaxy. The famous island universe, distant from us by only 2.5 million light-years across, is also known to astronomers as M31. The size of the Andromeda galaxy - more than 200 thousand light-years across, twice as much of the Milky Way. Presented in false-color image shows stripes and cold clouds of dust, which shine in the infrared, visible light, but are dark and opaque. Red hues in the outer regions are Galaxy glow dust starlight heated to a temperature only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. Blue shows more hot dust heated by stars in the dense central core. The molecular gas associated with dust, it can detect substances huge reservoir for future star in a galaxy Andromeda.

Best space pictures for February 2013

Mercury Natural color

After many years, scientists have been able to give a portrait of Mercury in natural colors.

Best space pictures for February 2013

and the rings of Saturn Hexagon

Why are the clouds on Saturn took the form of a hexagon? Nobody knows exactly. This phenomenon was first discovered during the spacecraft flyby of Saturn by Voyager in 1980. Nobody never seen anything like it in the Solar System. And if Saturn's south pole with its rotating vortex seemed strange, its north pole looks even more strange. Clouds bizarre, that you see in the picture, has recently been photographed in detail the Cassini spacecraft, which is orbiting Saturn. This and similar images suggest that the hexagon remains stable for more than 20 years after the Voyager flyby.

Best space pictures for February 2013