Our Halloween Sun


Active regions on the sun combined to look something like a jack-o-lantern’s face on Oct. 8, 2014. via NASA https://ift.tt/3jyIVdi

The Ghoul of IC 2118


Inspired by the halloween season, this telescopic portrait captures a cosmic cloud with a scary visage. The interstellar scene lies within the dusty expanse of reflection nebula IC 2118 in the constellation Orion. IC 2118 is about 800 light-years from your neighborhood, close to bright bluish star Rigel at the foot of Orion. Often identified as the Witch Head nebula for its appearance in a wider field of view it now rises before the witching hour though. With spiky stars for eyes, the ghoulish apparition identified here seems to extend an arm toward Orion's hot supergiant star. The source of illumination for IC 2118, Rigel is just beyond this frame at the upper left. via NASA https://ift.tt/2TzFNU8

'Sprites' Frolic in Jupiter's Atmosphere


The lightning phenomenon known as a sprite depicted at Jupiter in this illustration. via NASA https://ift.tt/2TvmCKO

NGC 6357: The Lobster Nebula


Why is the Lobster Nebula forming some of the most massive stars known? No one is yet sure. Cataloged as NGC 6357, the Lobster Nebula houses the open star cluster Pismis 24 near its center -- a home to unusually bright and massive stars. The overall blue glow near the inner star forming region results from the emission of ionized hydrogen gas. The surrounding nebula, featured here, holds a complex tapestry of gas, dark dust, stars still forming, and newly born stars. The intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity. NGC 6357 spans about 400 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion. via NASA https://ift.tt/2TxTuCJ