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Home / Science / Space photos of the week: strange, hungry and fast black holes

Space photos of the week: strange, hungry and fast black holes



Fifty-five million light-years from Earth is a galaxy called M87. This galaxy houses an ultramassive black hole recently photographed by the Event Horizon Telescope. In this image, which is a combination of visible light and infrared, we can see M87 in the center and an enlarged section of the gas jets near the black hole. Because black holes are so massive when something happens in the vicinity of one, such as a star, the mass tears apart the object that expels gas and dust at a rate sufficient to cause it to glow by electromagnetic radiation. With this beacon of destruction we can even pinpoint black holes.

And with only 8000 light years away from Earth in our own Milky Way, a black hole is part of a binary star system called V404 Cygni. This black hole eats its star companion, which releases material beams into space. But that's not an average black hole. Scientists have observed that these jets move very fast like a top from the center of the black hole. This material spins so fast that the black hole actually takes up the spacetime.

We are used to looking at the impact craters in the whole solar system. The Moon and Mars are covered with them, but we rarely see them on Earth. This photo was taken by the International Space Station over the Manicouagan impact crater in Quebec, Canada. If you only look to the right of the river, you will see a white bordered circle. This is the impact crater created about 200 million years ago by a three mile wide asteroid. But what if another asteroid would shoot through the sky and hit the ground! Well, NASA is always working on "planetary defenses" and monitoring all asteroids or comets that are within 30 million miles of the planet.

The outer planets have long been neglected by our spacecraft: Only one mission has studied Neptune and Uranus, and that was Voyager 2 almost 30 years ago. We took this photo of Neptune, the deepest of the blue marbles, and it is one of the few we have of this eighth and outermost planet. Now NASA is starting to think about what it takes to return to Uranus and Neptune. And there has changed a lot. Because of Earth observations, we know that the dark oval storm has since disappeared and others have taken their place. Neptune and Uranus are absolute secrets ̵

1; it's time to return!

NASA's InSight Lander is stationary, but that does not mean it can not capture interesting scenes on Mars. In this picture taken on April 25, InSight took a picture of a cloudy Martian sunset. Imagine sitting with your sweetheart, a tank of oxygen and some astronaut ice on the deck of the lander.

After the clouds had cleared, InSight continued taking photos (including the articulated arm). The sun shines small and distant as it falls under the horizon.


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