Space photos of the week: Mooooooon Shadow, Moon Shadow



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NASA has big plans to get back to the moon, so the first task is to look at lunar sites where resources are accessible. One of these main points is its south pole, where the ice is hidden in shaded craters. This black and white photo taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the center Shackleton crater – one of several craters in the south that is permanently in the shade and probably contains a large amount of water ice.

Mars goes technicolor in this elongated image. This stretch of land is the plain between Chryse and Acidalia Planitias, which, like much of Mars, has a very active past. The darker blues indicate basaltic rocks, formed during the violent volcanic history of the region; oranges are formations created by the wind and, as such, are called windstreaks. You can even see how the material was erected around the crater and pushed south.

In February, comet C2018 Y1 Iwamoto passed Earth about 56 million kilometers away. The Neowise space telescope has captured it in infrared with four different exposures, which is why it appears in the image as a series of red spots. The hottest stars appear blue here, while the colder dust and ice of the comet are displayed in red.

This is a "pre-planetary" nebula called the Egg Nebula. And it has nothing to do with eggs or planets, despite its name; was created by a dying star that pours its outer layers. These types of nebulae exist in this state for only a few thousand years as they evolve into planetary nebulae. The dark bands and protruding white arms are materials left over from a star that was not very different from our Sun. Once the star that is exhaling (hidden from view in the center by dust and debris) eventually stops spitting out the material, its remaining core heats up. Then the surrounding gas excites and ignites and transits into a planetary nebula, which again has nothing to do with planets; the name comes from its form.

This photo has a lot going on, so let's break it down: First, the vertical strip of starlight is an arm of the Milky Way, and these telescopes are called Four-Unit Telescopes on the Very Large Telescope of the Southern European Observatory on the Hill Paranal. Chile. Also note the bright orange laser pointed at the sky: this is used as a star guide to calibrate the telescope. By pointing the laser upward, researchers can tell how the atmosphere is turbulent and better prepare for a night of observation.

Messier 3, how you shine! Astronomers love this globular cluster and it is not why: it is one of the most massive already discovered in our universe, containing 500,000 stars. Many of these stars are variable stars, which vary in brightness, and a good number are newer and brighter stars, called blue latecomers. All of them were formed about the same time, 8 billion years ago.

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