This was a neat week for space enthusiasts and those who love space photos. We had SpaceX launch a mission that they claim went fine but the government says is lost, and a supermassive black hole “burping,” there’s been a lot of news to take in!
But also this week, NASA released a visualization of the galactic core of the Milky Way. Most galaxies have black holes near their centers, and our is no exception. One reason to study the center of our galaxy is to see how this supermassive black hole interacts with the dense nearby stars. Don’t worry, though, we’ll all be long gone before this black hole devours our solar system.
And with all that news, comes the space photos.
WIRED posted some of the more interesting space photos, adding this:
The Hubble observatory has been staring into the depths of the Milky Way as well. The galactic core contains tens of thousands of stars, and a healthy variety of young and old. By studying the stars nearer the center of our galaxy, scientists can learn more about how quickly they move around the core. They found that stars with different chemical compositions—those containing more hydrogen, for example—move at different speeds.
If you’re looking for spacey pictures of home, though, you can’t do much better than a snapshot of Earth taken from the International Space Station. The orbiting laboratory is the same size as a regulation-size football field, and usually has six people on board at any given time. Not only are they conducting science experiments while in zero gravity, but they take some pretty spectacular photos of our home planet—letting us all feel like armchair astronauts. Need some more space in your life? Check out the full collection of space photos here.
Here we see a supermassive black hole “burping” material out into space. Yes, that is the technical turn NASA is using. Black holes are usually dormant until an object gets close. In this case, a galaxy got a bit too cozy with a supermassive black hole named J1354. As the black hole devours its galactic meal, it “burps” out, or ejects, strings of stars and gas. (NASA)
When comets fly in from the depths of outer space, they swing around the sun and begin their journey back out again. But as this happens, their icy bodies and tails begin to melt, slowing them down. Now, astronomers have captured the fastest comet slow down yet. Comet 41p slowed more than 10 times its speed in just 60 days, a first in the comet records. (Chris Shur/NASA)
You might need sunglasses to look at this picture. Stars, stars everywhere! This twinkling photo is looking towards the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Older red dwarf stars light up this image in glowing crimsons and pinks while the younger, more active stars are seen in white and blue. (NASA)
Did you know that the International Space Station passes over your head every 90 minutes? While speeding around the planet at 18,000 miles per hour, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov snapped this photo of the Earth departing night and transitioning into day, a stunning sight the astronauts get see every hour and a half. (Anton Shkaplerov/NASA)
Hubble has been doing some detective work, and this image is proof. Hidden within this photo of the Orion Nebula is actually the largest collection of brown dwarf stars ever discovered. But that’s not all. While astronomers were examining the image, they also found three large planets. They’ve identified each object with a color coded circle: Red is a planet, orange is a brown dwarf, and yellow is a star. (NASA/ESA)
Welcome to the center of our galaxy! This image is a visualization using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory. The image shows the Milky Way’s galactic center and activity around its core. Lighter red regions are areas of outflowing gas and shockwaves created by active stars, heating gas to millions of degrees. Scientists are also studying how these waves interact with the supermassive black hole that lives in the center of our galaxy. (NASA)