Clouds on Saturn take on the appearance of strokes from a cosmic brush thanks to the wavy way that fluids interact in the planet's atmosphere.
August 16 | 2017
Neighboring bands of clouds move at different speeds and directions depending on their latitudes. This generates turbulence where bands meet and leads to the wavy structure along the interfaces. Saturn’s upper atmosphere generates the faint haze seen along the limb of the planet in this image. Now 20 years since launching from Earth, and after 13 years orbiting the ringed planet and its moons, our Cassini mission prepares for its ‘Grand Finale’ on September 15, when the mission will end with a purposeful plunge into Saturn this year in order to protect and preserve the planet's moons for future exploration – especially the potentially habitable Enceladus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
This edge-on view of a galaxy located about 45 million light-years away, showcases its beautiful arms, which swirl like a whirlpool around its bright central region.
February 04 | 2018
Astronomers took this image as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star – a supernova – near the galaxy’s central yellow core! The star rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars. By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Perdue University)
February 05 | 2018
Rhea is a heavily-cratered, airless world, while Titan’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere is even thicker than Earth’s. This natural color image was taken in visible light by the Cassini spacecraft on Nov. 19, 2009, at a distance of approximately 713,300 miles (1,148,000 kilometers) from Rhea. After a nearly 20-year mission that overflowed with discoveries, the Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute