This illustration lays a depiction of the sun's magnetic fields over an image captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on March 12, 2016 Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA/LMSAL
A view of an unusual surface in the Gale Crater on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
During a total solar eclipse, the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite recorded this image of the shadow of the moon over the South Pacific Ocean on March 8, 2016, at 10:05 pm EST. This total solar eclipse was the last one before an August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse that will be visible in much of the United States. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team
[Lunar crater Chaplygin] "Chappy" (informal name) is 200 m larger than Meteor crater (1200 m diameter) in Arizona, which is about 50,000 years old. Craters of this size form every 100,000 years or so on the Moon and the Earth. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University/LRO/LROC
At first glance, this cosmic kaleidoscope of purple, blue and pink offers a strikingly beautiful — and serene — snapshot of the cosmos. However, this multi-coloured haze actually marks the site of two colliding galaxy clusters, forming a single object known as MACS J0416.1-2403 (or MACS J0416 for short). Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, NRAO/AUI/NSF, STScI, and G. Ogrean (Stanford University), Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI), and the HFF team
The dark patch snaking across this spectacular image of a field of stars in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent-bearer) is not quite what it appears to be. Although it looks as if there are no stars here, they are hidden behind this dense cloud of dust that blocks out their light. This particular dark cloud is known as LDN 1768. Credit: ESO
Peering deep into the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. Except for a few blue foreground stars, the stars are part of the Milky Way’s nuclear star cluster, the most massive and densest star cluster in our galaxy. Credit: NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA, Acknowledgment: T. Do, A.Ghez (UCLA), V. Bajaj (STScI)
The colour-coded topographic view shows relative heights and depths of terrain in the Hellas Basin region on Mars. Red and white represent the highest terrain, and blues and purples show lower terrain. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
This image, captured by ESO’s OmegaCAM on the VLT Survey Telescope, shows a lonely galaxy known as Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte, or WLM for short. Although considered part of our Local Group of dozens of galaxies, WLM stands alone at the group’s outer edges as one of its most remote members. Credit: ESO, Acknowledgement: VST/Omegacam Local Group Survey
The image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The young and dense star cluster R136 can be seen at the lower right of the image. This cluster contains hundreds of young blue stars, among them the most massive star detected in the Universe so far. Credit: NASA, ESA, P Crowther (University of Sheffield)
The above are the "Best Space Images from March", of Mars, compiled by Dan Fallon for DIGG.
See below for more images of the cosmos, from the NASA archive.
A newly expanded image of the Helix nebula lends a festive touch to the fourth anniversary of the launch of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This spectacular object, a dying star unraveling into space, is a favorite of amateur and professional astronomers alike. Spitzer has mapped the expansive outer structure of the six-light-year-wide nebula, and probed the inner region around the central dead star to reveal what appears to be a planetary system that survived the star's chaotic death throes.
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a galaxy that appears to be sizzling hot, with huge plumes of smoke swirling around it. The galaxy, known as Messier 82 or the "Cigar galaxy," is in fact, smothered in smoky dust particles (red) blown out into space by the galaxy's hot stars (blue).
The visible-light picture of Messier 82, shows only a bar of light against a dark patch of space. Longer exposures of the galaxy (not pictured here) have revealed cone-shaped clouds of hot gas above and below the galaxy's plane. It took Spitzer's three sensitive instruments to show that the galaxy is also surrounded by a huge, hidden halo of smoky dust (red in infrared image).
A cluster brimming with millions of stars glistens like an iridescent opal in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Called Omega Centauri, the sparkling orb of stars is like a miniature galaxy. It is the biggest and brightest of the 150 or so similar objects, called globular clusters, that orbit around the outside of our Milky Way galaxy. Stargazers at southern latitudes can spot the stellar gem with the naked eye in the constellation Centaurus.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope observed a fledgling solar system like the one depicted in this artist's concept, and discovered deep within it enough water vapor to fill the oceans on Earth five times. This water vapor starts out in the form of ice in a cloudy cocoon (not pictured) that surrounds the embryonic star, called NGC 1333-IRAS 4B (buried in center of image).
This artist's animation (click link below) depicts a faraway solar system like our own -- except for one big difference. Planets and asteroids circle around not one, but two suns. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found evidence that such solar systems might be common in the universe.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope set its infrared eyes on one of the most famous objects in the sky, Messier 104, also called the Sombrero galaxy. In this striking infrared picture, Spitzer sees an exciting new view of a galaxy that in visible light has been likened to a "sombrero," but here looks more like a "bulls-eye."
A lumpy bubble of hot gas rises from a cauldron of glowing matter in a distant galaxy, as seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
This is an artist's concept of a hypothetical 10-million-year-old star system. The bright blur at the center is a star much like our sun. The other orb in the image is a gas-giant planet like Jupiter. Wisps of white throughout the image represent traces of gas.
This artist's animation illustrates a massive asteroid belt in orbit around a star the same age and size as our Sun. Evidence for this possible belt was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope when it spotted warm dust around the star, presumably from asteroids smashing together.
A team of astronomers led by Mark Swain of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has made the first detection ever of an organic molecule in the atmosphere of a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting another star. The breakthrough, made with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is an important step in eventually identifying signs of life on a planet outside our solar system.
During its flight, the Galileo spacecraft returned images of the Moon. The Galileo spacecraft took these images on December 7, 1992 on its way to explore the Jupiter system in 1995-97. The distinct bright ray crater at the bottom of the image is the Tycho impact basin. The dark areas are lava rock filled impact basins: Oceanus Procellarum (on the left), Mare Imbrium (center left), Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquillitatis (center), and Mare Crisium (near the right edge).
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has imaged an unusual edge-on galaxy, revealing remarkable details of its warped dusty disc and showing how colliding galaxies trigger the birth of new stars.
This artist's concept depicts a distant hypothetical solar system, similar in age to our own. Looking inward from the system's outer fringes, a ring of dusty debris can be seen, and within it, planets circling a star the size of our Sun.
In this processed Spitzer Space Telescope image, baby star HH 46/47 can be seen blowing two massive "bubbles." The star is 1,140 light-years away from Earth.
A close-up view of a star racing through space faster than a speeding bullet can be seen in this image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. The star, called Mira (pronounced My-rah), is traveling at 130 kilometers per second, or 291,000 miles per hour. As it hurls along, it sheds material that will be recycled into new stars, planets and possibly even life.
Wispy tendrils of hot dust and gas glow brightly in this ultraviolet image of the Cygnus Loop nebula, taken by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. The nebula lies about 1,500 light-years away, and is a supernova remnant, left over from a massive stellar explosion that occurred between 5,000 to 8,000 years ago. The Cygnus Loop extends over three times the size of the full moon in the night sky, and is tucked next to one of the "swan's wings" in the constellation of Cygnus.
Sometimes, the best way to understand how something works is to take it apart. The same is true for galaxies like NGC 300, which NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has divided into its various parts. NGC 300 is a face-on spiral galaxy located 7.5 million light-years away in the southern constellation Sculptor.
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found a spiral galaxy that may rotate in the opposite direction from what was expected.
NGC 7293, better known as the Helix nebula, displays its ultraviolet glow courtesy of NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX). The Helix is the nearest example of a planetary nebula, which is the eventual fate of a star, like our own Sun, as it approaches the end of its life. As it runs out of fuel, the star expels its outer envelope of gas outward to form a nebula like the Helix. The remaining core of the star is a small, hot, dense remnant known as a white dwarf.
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found a bow shock around a very young star in the nearby Orion nebula, an intense star-forming region of gas and dust.
This image combines data from four different space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of the oldest documented example of a supernova, called RCW 86. The Chinese witnessed the event in 185 A.D., documenting a mysterious "guest star" that remained in the sky for eight months. X-ray images from the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton Observatory and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory are combined to form the blue and green colors in the image.
This image shows the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light as seen by the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency-led mission with important NASA contributions, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. In the instruments' combined data, this nearby dwarf galaxy looks like a fiery, circular explosion. Rather than fire, however, those ribbons are actually giant ripples of dust spanning tens or hundreds of light-years.
This Herschel image of the Eagle nebula shows the self-emission of the intensely cold nebula's gas and dust as never seen before. Each color shows a different temperature of dust, from around 10 degrees above absolute zero (10 Kelvin or minus 442 degrees Fahrenheit) for the red, up to around 40 Kelvin, or minus 388 degrees Fahrenheit, for the blue.
This new view of the Orion nebula highlights fledgling stars hidden in the gas and clouds. It shows infrared observations taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel mission, in which NASA plays an important role.
A bubbling cauldron of star birth is highlighted in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared light that we can't see with our eyes has been color-coded, such that the shortest wavelengths are shown in blue and the longest in red. The middle wavelength range is green.
Newborn stars peek out from beneath their natal blanket of dust in this dynamic image of the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Called "Rho Oph" by astronomers, it's one of the closest star-forming regions to our own solar system. Located near the constellations Scorpius and Ophiuchus, the nebula is about 407 light years away from Earth.
This enhanced-color image shows sand dunes trapped in an impact crater in Noachis Terra, Mars. Dunes and sand ripples of various shapes and sizes display the natural beauty created by physical processes. The area covered in the image is about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) across.
This image obtained by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta. Scientists are discussing whether the circular structure that covers most of this image originated by a collision with another asteroid, or by internal processes early in the asteroid's history. Images in higher resolution from Dawn's lowered orbit might help answer that question.
This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (left panel) shows the "bow shock" of a dying star named R Hydrae, or R Hya, in the constellation Hydra.
New ultraviolet images from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows a speeding star that is leaving an enormous trail of "seeds" for new solar systems. The star, named Mira (pronounced my-rah) after the latin word for "wonderful," is shedding material that will be recycled into new stars, planets and possibly even life as it hurls through our galaxy.
This image of the Globular cluster Messier 2 (M2) was taken by Galaxy Evolution Explorer on August 20, 2003. This image is a small section of a single All Sky Imaging Survey exposure of only 129 seconds in the constellation Aquarius. This picture is a combination of Galaxy Evolution Explorer images taken with the far ultraviolet (colored blue) and near ultraviolet detectors (colored red).