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A composite image from NASA's Chandra (blue) and Spitzer (green and red-yellow) space telescopes shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star, a supernova remnant called G54.1+0.3. The white source at the center is a dead star called a pulsar, generating a wind of high-energy particles seen by Chandra in blue. The wind expands into the surrounding environment. The infrared shell that surrounds the pulsar wind, seen in red, is made up of gas and dust that condensed out of debris from the supernova explosion.
A surprisingly large collections of galaxies (red dots) stands out at a remarkably large distance in this composite image combining infrared and visible-light observations. Looking out to this distance, the cluster appears as it was 9.6 billion years ago, only about three billion years after the Big Bang. Astronomers were surprised to find such a "modern" cluster at an era when its peers tended to be much smaller, presumably taking billions of more years to collect enough galaxies to reach such a size.
M33, one of our closest galactic neighbors, is about 2.9 million light-years away in the constellation Triangulum, part of what's known as our Local Group of galaxies. This image shows in amazing detail the beautiful and complicated interlacing of the heated dust and young stars. In some regions of M33, dust gathers where there is very little far-ultraviolet light, suggesting that the young stars are obscured or that stars farther away are heating the dust. In some of the outer regions of the galaxy, just the opposite is true: There are plenty of young stars and very little dust.
The tangled arms of the Pinwheel galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 101, are decked out in red in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The Pinwheel galaxy is located 27 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is what's called a flocculent spiral, which means that its spiral arms are not well defined.
A star's spectacular death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth as the supernova of 1054 A.D. Now, almost a thousand years later, a super dense object -- called a neutron star -- left behind by the explosion is seen spewing out a blizzard of high-energy particles into the expanding debris field known as the Crab Nebula.