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This celestial lightsaber does not lie in a galaxy far, far away, but rather inside our home galaxy, the Milky Way. It's inside a turbulent birthing ground for new stars known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex, located 1,350 light-years away. Just to the right of the cloaked star, a couple of bright points are young stars peeking through and showing off their own faint lightsabers — including one that has bored a tunnel through the cloud towards the upper-right side of the picture. Credit: NASA/ESA
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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
A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features. This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle. Credit: NASA/SDO