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User Image nasagoddard Posted: Oct 12, 2012 8:18 PM (UTC)

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Anyone Else Think This Looks Like the Cookie Monster?
Ok, so maybe it's just me. But the superposition of younger craters on older craters (in this case two smaller craters upon the rim of an older crater) can result in landforms that appear to resemble more familiar shapes to human eyes. More generally, the Law of Superposition allows scientists to determine which surface features pre- and postdate others, leading to a better understanding of the geological history of different regions of Mercury's surface.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington #nasa #nasagoddard #cookiemonster #mercury

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User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 16, 2018 5:10 PM (UTC)

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Why did astronomers nickname this enormous galaxy cluster “El Gordo” (“the Fat One” in Spanish)?
In 2014, astronomers using @NASAHubble found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns — so it’s little wonder that it has earned the nickname of “El Gordo” (“the Fat One” in Spanish)! Known officially as ACT-CLJ0102-4915, it is the largest, hottest, and brightest X-ray galaxy cluster ever discovered in the distant Universe.
Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the Universe that are bound together by gravity. They form over billions of years as smaller groups of galaxies slowly come together. In 2012, observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope showed that El Gordo is actually composed of two galaxy clusters colliding at millions of kilometers per hour.
The formation of galaxy clusters depends heavily on dark matter and dark energy; studying such clusters can therefore help shed light on these elusive phenomena. In 2014, Hubble found that most of El Gordo’s mass is concealed in the form of dark matter. Evidence suggests that El Gordo’s “normal” matter — largely composed of hot gas that is bright in the X-ray wavelength domain — is being torn from the dark matter in the collision. The hot gas is slowing down, while the dark matter is not.
This image was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 as part of an observing program called RELICS (Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey). RELICS imaged 41 massive galaxy clusters with the aim of finding the brightest distant galaxies for the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope to study.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS #NASAGoddard #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 11, 2018 8:07 PM (UTC)
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Flying through the Orion nebula
By combining the visible and infrared capabilities of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers and visualization specialists from NASA’s Universe of Learning program have created a spectacular, three-dimensional, fly-through movie of the magnificent Orion nebula, a nearby stellar nursery. Using actual scientific data along with Hollywood techniques, a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California, has produced the best and most detailed multi-wavelength visualization yet of the Orion nebula.

#nasagoddard #space #orion #nebula
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 8, 2018 4:57 PM (UTC)
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Hubble’s Barred and Booming Spiral Galaxy
This image, captured by the @NASAHubble, shows a galaxy named UGC 6093. As can be easily seen, UGC 6093 is something known as a barred spiral galaxy — it has beautiful arms that swirl outwards from a bar slicing through the galaxy’s center. It is classified as an active galaxy, which means that it hosts an active galactic nucleus, or AGN: a compact region at a galaxy’s center within which material is dragged towards a supermassive black hole. As this black hole devours the surrounding matter it emits intense radiation, causing it to shine brightly.

But UGC 6093 is more exotic still. The galaxy essentially acts as a giant astronomical laser that also spews out light at microwave, not visible, wavelengths — this type of object is dubbed a megamaser (maser being the term for a microwave laser). Megamasers such as UGC 6093 can be some 100 million times brighter than masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #galaxy #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 4, 2018 8:00 PM (UTC)

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Amazing view from space shows the #BombCyclone as this powerful winter nor'easter was moving toward New England on Jan. 4, 2018.
NOAA's GOES-East satellite provides infrared and visible data of the eastern half of the U.S. In a visible image taken Jan. 4, 2018 at 1842 UTC (1:42 p.m. EST) from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite, known as GOES East showed the center of the low pressure area off the coast of the northeastern U.S. and a thick band of clouds bringing snow and gusty winds from the Mid-Atlantic states to New England.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center noted "a strengthening Nor'easter will bring snow and gusty winds, with blizzard conditions along the coast and blowing snow elsewhere, along the Middle Atlantic and Northeast through Thursday. Minor to major coastal flooding and erosion will be possible, especially during high tides. Dangerous travel, scattered power outages, and bitter wind chill can be expected across the entire east coast." Image caption: This visible image of the U.S. was captured from NOAA's GOES-East satellite on Jan. 4, 2018 at 1842 UTC (1:42 p.m. EST). For updated forecasts, visit the NWS website: #nasagoddard #weather #science #bombcyclone #snow
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 31, 2017 7:59 PM (UTC)
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2017's trip around the sun brought us milestones, discoveries and excitement! And as always, we hope you join us as we chase the sun and push the boundaries of science and exploration in 2018!

Credit: NASA Goddard #2017 #happynewyear #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 24, 2017 9:42 PM (UTC)

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Hate to disappoint, but there aren't any "Maids a Milking" or "Lords a Leaping" in our version of this holiday favorite...just one shiny space telescope! 🎶🛰️ Wishing all our friends on Instagram a wonderful holiday!🎄 ❄️🚀 Credit: NASA Goddard
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 22, 2017 5:22 PM (UTC)
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Hubble's Holiday Nebula “Ornament”
@NASAHubble captured what looks like a colorful holiday ornament in space. It's actually an image of NGC 6326, a planetary nebula with glowing wisps of outpouring gas that are lit up by a central star nearing the end of its life.
When a star ages and the red giant phase of its life comes to an end, it starts to eject layers of gas from its surface leaving behind a hot and compact white dwarf. Sometimes this ejection results in elegantly symmetric patterns of glowing gas, but NGC 6326 is much less structured. This object is located in the constellation of Ara, the Altar, about 11,000 light-years from Earth.
Planetary nebulae are one of the main ways in which elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are dispersed into space after their creation in the hearts of stars. Eventually some of this out-flung material may form new stars and planets.
This picture was created from images taken using the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The vivid blue and red hues come from material including ionized oxygen and hydrogen glowing under the action of the fierce ultraviolet radiation from the still hot central star.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 12, 2017 7:23 PM (UTC)

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Hubble's Celestial Snow Globe ❄️🛰️🌠
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in this @NASAHubble image of a blizzard of stars, which resembles a swirling snowstorm in a snow globe.
The stars are residents of the globular star cluster Messier 79, or M79, located 41,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lepus. The cluster is also known as NGC 1904.

Globular clusters are gravitationally bound groupings of as many as 1 million stars. M79 contains about 150,000 stars packed into an area measuring only 118 light-years across. These giant “star-globes” contain some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, estimated to be 11.7 billion years old.
This video starts with a wide-field view of the sky covering the constellations of Orion, the hunter, and Lepus, the hare. The view zooms down to the relatively tiny field of the Hubble image of globular star cluster Messier 79 (M79). The sequence then dissolves to a visualization of a rotating star cluster that provides three-dimensional perspective. The simulated star cluster is modeled to reflect the number, color, and distribution of stars in M79, but not its exact structure. Finally, the scene pulls back to reveal a special holiday greeting.
In the Hubble image, Sun-like stars appear yellow. The reddish stars are bright giants that represent the final stages of a star’s life. Most of the blue stars sprinkled throughout the cluster are aging “helium-burning” stars. These bright blue stars have exhausted their hydrogen fuel and are now fusing helium in their cores.
A scattering of fainter blue stars are “blue stragglers.” These unusual stars glow in blue light, mimicking the appearance of hot, young stars. Blue stragglers form either by the merger of stars in a binary system or by the collision of two unrelated stars in M79’s crowded core.
Credit: NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: S. Djorgovski (Caltech) and F. Ferraro (University of Bologna) #nasagoddard #space #gaalaxy #star
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 9, 2017 9:37 PM (UTC)

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Hubble Frames an Explosive Galaxy

Don’t be fooled! The cosmic swirl of stars in this ESA/ @NASAHubble Space Telescope image may seem tranquil and unassuming, but this spiral galaxy, known as ESO 580-49, actually displays some explosive tendencies.

In October of 2011, a cataclysmic burst of high-energy gamma-ray radiation — known as a gamma-ray burst, or GRB — was detected coming from the region of sky containing ESO 580-49. Astronomers believe that the galaxy was the host of the GRB, given that the chance of a coincidental alignment between the two is roughly 1 in 10 million. At a distance of around 185 million light-years from Earth, it was the second-closest gamma-ray burst (GRB) ever detected.

Gamma-ray bursts are among the brightest events in the cosmos, occasionally outshining the combined gamma-ray output of the entire observable Universe for a few seconds. The exact cause of the GRB that probably occurred within this galaxy, catalogued as GRB 111005A, remains a mystery. Several events are known to lead to GRBs, but none of these explanations appear to fit the bill in this case. Astronomers have therefore suggested that ESO 580-49 hosted a new type of GRB explosion — one that has not yet been characterized.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #space #Hubble #star #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 6, 2017 7:34 PM (UTC)
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Santa Ana Winds Help Flame Huge Firestorm in Southern California

The fires in Southern California went from 0 to 30,000 (acres) in a matter of hours fueled by the Santa Ana winds. These winds, also dubbed the Diablo (Devil) Winds, are hot, dry, and ferocious. They can whip a small brush fire into a raging inferno in just hours. This is exactly what Southern California experienced on Monday night (Dec. 4). Thousands of residents found themselves evacuating when the Thomas Fire suddenly pushed into Ventura by the Santa Ana winds. These horrific winds are expected to continue through the end of the week making firefighting more difficult and much more dangerous. Winds in the area could reach 70 mph and this would have a devastating effect on the fire's movement. The fire has consumed over 50,000 acres at present as it jumped over Highway 101 and moved towards the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of homes and structures have been destroyed in this latest round of wildfires in #California. Per the National Weather Center red flag conditions are expected to continue through the end of the week. This current round of Diablo Winds has been the longest and strongest wind event recorded this season.

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument on Dec. 05, 2017. Actively burning areas (hot spots), detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. Each hot spot is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC #nasagoddard #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 5, 2017 7:33 AM (UTC)

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NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Arabian Sea on Dec. 4 and found Tropical #Cyclone Ockhi moving north as desert dust pushed into the region north of the storm.

NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image of Ockhi on Dec. 4 at 1:20 a.m. The image shows thunderstorms were being pushed to the northeast into the leading edge of an approaching trough (elongated area) of low pressure from the west. That vertical wind shear that's causing the displacement has been increasing as the tropical cyclone moves north.

The tropical cyclone is battling wind shear that is forecast to increase over the next two days, and it is moving into an area with dry air. Both factors will weaken the storm, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Ockhi is expected to continue weakening and become a remnant low pressure area by the time of landfall near the Gulf of Khambhat on Dec. 6.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response #nasagoddard #space #science #dust #duststorm
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 3, 2017 5:51 AM (UTC)

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Hubble Sees Galaxy Cluster Warping Space and Time
This picturesque view from the ESA/@NASAHubble Space Telescope peers into the distant universe to reveal a galaxy cluster called Abell 2537.
Galaxy clusters such as this one contain thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes and sizes, together totaling a mass thousands of times greater than that of the Milky Way. These groupings of galaxies are colossal — they are the largest structures in the Universe to be held together by their own gravity.
Clusters are useful in probing mysterious cosmic phenomena like dark energy and dark matter, which can contort space itself. There is so much matter stuffed into a cluster like Abell 2537 that its gravity has visible effects on its surroundings. Abell 2537’s gravity warps the very structure of its environment (spacetime), causing light to travel along distorted paths through space. This phenomenon can produce a magnifying effect, allowing us to see faint objects that lie far behind the cluster and are thus otherwise unobservable from Earth. Abell 2537 is a particularly efficient lens, as demonstrated by the stretched stripes and streaking arcs visible in the frame. These smeared shapes are in fact galaxies, their light heavily distorted by the gravitational field of Abell 2537.
Credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA #nasagoddard #Hubble #space #galaxy #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 1, 2017 4:49 PM (UTC)
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“I know for certain that having strong #women mentors in college, graduate school and NASA let me know that my goals in science were achievable. The more women in these roles, the better it will be for those who follow.” — Astronaut Peggy Whitson on the new @MediaplanetUSA #WomeninResearch campaign.

Hear from @NASAGoddard's Christyl Johnson along with esteemed colleagues Sandra Coleman, Peggy Whitson and Ellen Ochoa as they speak about finding support with fellow women in male-dominated fields at: #nasagoddard #nasa #science #stem #WomenInSTEM #WomenInScience
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Nov 18, 2017 1:53 PM (UTC)

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Hubble is searching for a missing arm, 30 million light-years away .
This new picture of the week, taken by the ESA/@NASAHubble Space Telescope, shows the dwarf galaxy NGC 4625, located about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). The image, acquired with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), reveals the single major spiral arm of the galaxy, which gives it an asymmetric appearance. But why is there only one such spiral arm, when spiral galaxies normally have at least two?
Astronomers looked at NGC 4625 in different wavelengths in the hope of solving this cosmic mystery. Observations in the ultraviolet provided the first hint: in ultraviolet light the disk of the galaxy appears four times larger than on the image depicted here. An indication that there are a large number of very young and hot — hence mainly visible in the ultraviolet — stars forming in the outer regions of the galaxy. These young stars are only around one billion years old, about 10 times younger than the stars seen in the optical center. At first astronomers assumed that this high star formation rate was being triggered by the interaction with another, nearby dwarf galaxy called NGC 4618.
They speculated that NGC 4618 may be the culprit “harassing” NGC 4625, causing it to lose all but one spiral arm. In 2004 astronomers found proof for this claim. The gas in the outermost regions of the dwarf galaxy NGC 4618 has been strongly affected by NGC 4625.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #Hubble #science #arm #space #galaxy
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Nov 10, 2017 2:06 AM (UTC)
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NASA is launching the Robotic Refueling Mission 3 early next year! This mission will test tools, technologies and techniques to transfer and freeze cryogenic propellant (e.g., liquid methane) and electric propellant (e.g., xenon) in orbit. Pictured is Senior Tools Engineer Matt Ashmore inspecting one of the tools to be used in the mission-- the Cryogen Servicing Tool.
Cryogen is used as a potent propellant or coolant to keep critical optical equipment cold and operational, and xenon is a highly efficient propellant used for solar electric propulsion. The ability to transfer and replenish both is critical to enabling long duration journeys to destinations like the Moon and Mars.
Read more:

Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Gunn #space #science #nasagoddard #tool
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Nov 9, 2017 8:13 PM (UTC)

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No matter where you are in the solar system, our Pale Blue Dot takes your breath away. This #CarlSaganDay, we'd like to share these humbling views of Earth from near and far: from here at home, the Moon, Mars, Saturn and beyond.
"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." - Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

Image credits
Blue Marble: NASA Earth Observatory
Earthrise: NASA
Saturn: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Pale Blue Dot: NASA/JPL-Caltech
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Nov 3, 2017 7:38 PM (UTC)
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This massive galaxy cluster located in the well-known constellation of Ursa Major, contains at least 300 individual galaxies

The universe contains some truly massive objects. Although we are still unsure how such gigantic things come to be, the current leading theory is known as hierarchical clustering, whereby small clumps of matter collide and merge to grow ever larger. The 14-billion-year history of the Universe has seen the formation of some enormous cosmic structures, including galaxy groups, clusters, and superclusters — the largest known structures in the cosmos!

This particular cluster is called Abell 665. It was named after its discoverer, George O. Abell, who included it in his seminal 1958 cluster catalogue. Abell 665 is located in the well-known northern constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). This incredible image combines visible and infrared light gathered by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope using two of its cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Abell 665 is the only galaxy cluster in Abell’s entire catalogue to be given a richness class of 5, indicating that the cluster contains at least 300 individual galaxies. Because of this richness, the cluster has been studied extensively at all wavelengths, resulting in a number of fascinating discoveries — among other research, Abell 665 has been found to host a giant radio halo, powerful shockwaves, and has been used to calculate an updated value for the Hubble constant (a measure of how fast the Universe is expanding).

Credit: ESA/ @nasahubble #nasagoddard #hubble #galaxy #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Oct 31, 2017 3:03 PM (UTC)
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Happy Halloween! 👻
NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites send thrilling scientific data from low-Earth orbit 24/7/365! They provide communications and tracking support for more than 40 NASA missions and just launched a new TDRS satellite in August! This illustration shows first-generation TDRS from the 1980s, overlaid with an image from @nasahubble, one of the spacecraft that TDRS supports.

Credit: NASA Goddard #nasagoddard #Halloween #HappyHalloween #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Oct 30, 2017 3:49 PM (UTC)
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NASA’s DC-8 research plane flew over the Palmer Peninsula of #Antarctica on Oct. 14, 2017. The flight was part of the Atmospheric Tomography mission to survey over 200 gases as well as airborne particles on a 30-day tour around the world. This Antarctic flight coincides with the annual formation of the hole in the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. The scientists aboard the DC-8 are interested in studying the gases present below the ozone hole to better understand the chemical processes at work in this region of the atmosphere. In addition, the flight reprises research flights made 30 years ago by the DC-8 during the Airborne Antarctic Ozone Experiment (AAOE), a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and other international agencies and universities.

The AAOE flights in 1987 paired the DC-8 with the ER-2 research plane to follow up on the British Antarctic Survey’s 1985 report characterizing the ozone layer’s destruction. The ozone layer protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet light from the Sun that can damage DNA and, for example, cause skin cancer and other health problems. In the 1980s scientists discovered that ozone was being depleted, and the AAOE data confirmed that it was indeed the result of chlorine and bromine chemistry caused by human-emitted #chlorofluorocarbons, which were banned by the Montreal Protocol in the same year.

Credit: Caltech/Paul Wennberg #nasagoddard #science #ice #snow
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Oct 27, 2017 2:07 PM (UTC)

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Hubble digs into massive galaxies in hopes to aid the forthcoming NASA James Webb Space Telescope.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is chock-full of galaxies. Each glowing speck is a different galaxy, except the bright flash in the middle of the image which is actually a star lying within our own galaxy that just happened to be in the way. At the center of the image lies something especially interesting, the center of the massive galaxy cluster called WHL J24.3324-8.477, including the brightest galaxy of the cluster.
The Universe contains structures on various scales — planets collect around stars, stars collect into galaxies, galaxies collect into groups, and galaxy groups collect into clusters. Galaxy clusters contain hundreds to thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity. Dark matter and dark energy play key roles in the formation and evolution of these clusters, so studying massive galaxy clusters can help scientists to unravel the mysteries of these elusive phenomena.
This infrared image was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 as part of an observing program called RELICS (Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey). RELICS imaged 41 massive galaxy clusters with the aim of finding the brightest distant galaxies for the forthcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to study. Such research will tell us more about our cosmic origins.
Credit: ESA/@NASAHubble #space #nasagoddard #galaxy #science #Hubble