Week's Best Space Pictures: Cassini's Crescent and Cassiopeia's Soul
Mars carves new channels and amateurs catch a falling star in this week's best space pictures.
Happy birthday, Hubble. Astronomers snapped this image of the Monkey Head Nebula—released on March 17—in honor of the famous space telescope's 24 years in orbit.
The nebula, formally known as NGC 2174, resides 6,400 light-years away, within the Orion constellation. It's a region known as a stellar nursery, where clouds of gas and dust coalesce to form young stars. (Learn more about star formation.)
Part of the planet's famed rings paint the left side of the image, breaking up Saturn's profile. Cassini captured the image from 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) away, in orbit around the ringed planet. (See "Saturn's Largest Moon Would Host Really, Really Weird Life.")
Before (left) and after (right) comparison of the Terra Sirenum