NASA has big plans to return to the moon. Therefore, the first task is to search for lunar locations where resources are available. One of these main points is the South Pole, where water ice is hidden in shadow craters. This black and white photograph, taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the Shackleton Crater in the middle – one of several southern craters that are constantly in the shade and probably a large amount of water ice containing this elongated image. This stretch of land is the plain between Chryse and Acidalia Planitias, which, like so much of Mars, has a fairly active past. The dark blue indicates basalt rocks created during the region's violent volcanic history. The oranges are formations created by the wind and are called windstreaks. You can even see how the material was lifted around the crater and pushed to the south.
In February, the C201
This is a "pre-planetary" nebula called Egg Nebula. And it has nothing to do with eggs or planets, despite its name; It was created by a dying star that lost its outer layers. These types of mists exist in this state only a few thousand years as they develop into planetary nebulae. The dark bands and the protruding white arms are material left over from a star that was not very different from our sun. Once the leaking star (hidden by dust and debris in the middle) stops spitting out material, the remaining core heats up. Then the surrounding gas is stimulated and shines and goes into a planetary nebula, which in turn has nothing to do with planets. The name derives from its form.
This photo has a lot to do, so let's break it down: First, the vertical starlight band is an arm of our Milky Way galaxy, and these telescopes are called Four Unit Telescopes at the Very Large Telescope of the Southern Observatory in Cerro Paranal, Chile. Also note the bright orange laser pointing towards the sky: this is used as a guide star to calibrate the telescope. With the laser up, the researchers can see how turbulent the atmosphere is, and they can better prepare for a night of observation.
Messier 3, how you sparkle! Astronomers love this globular cluster, and it's no secret why: It's one of the most massive ever discovered in our universe and contains 500,000 stars. Many of these stars are variable stars that differ in brightness, and a good number are newer and brighter stars called blue stragglers. They were all formed more or less at the same time, 8 billion years ago.