Say hello to the loosely bound galaxy of IC 4710, captured by the Hubble Space telescope. Unlike your average galaxy, IC 4710 has no central core or spiraled arms. Instead, this oddball is built out of a loose jumble of stars; on its outer edges are newly forming stars, shown here in the bright blues.
This stunning infrared photo, captured by the Juno spacecraft, shows Jupiter’s north pole adorned with a flower of eight massive cyclones. Somehow, each spiral remains separated—scientists aren’t sure why they haven’t merged. The size of these storms range from 2,500 to 2,900 miles across, and there are even larger cyclones on the south pole.
You know that feeling when you’re driving past Saturn and the sun hits your window? No? Well this is what it would look like. The Cassini spacecraft (RIP) took this photo of the planet and its rings when the sun hit the camera lens at just the right angle, creating streaks across the length of the photo.
Speaking of north poles, here is a photo of sand dunes near the one on Mars. It’s not the sweeping dunes that are interesting scientists, but rather what lies between them: an interesting pattern made up of boulders that have clumped together. Similar frost heaves are seen here on Earth, when the freezing and thawing of rocks brings them close to the surface, organizing them together into piles.
Jupiter isn’t the only gas giant with bizarre storms. Saturn’s great white spots, captured here, are actually swirling lightning storms. The Cassini spacecraft captured this northern storm in February 2011 just after the clouds appeared. These massive atmospheric storms occur every Saturnian year—which is every 30 years to us. Cassini’s timing couldn’t have been better.
Here, some of the telescopes that make up the ALMA array are illuminated by the full moon. These telescopes live in the Atacama desert in Chile where its known to have dark clear skies, perfect for stargazing. This time though, it’s not the stars that steal the show, but the telescopes themselves.