August's Stellar Space Pictures

Take a tour through the lenses of space telescopes.
A piece of James Webb Space Telescope hangs from the ceiling as engineers below it work to assemble it.

Engineers at Northrop Grumman's facilities in Redondo Beach, California assemble NASA'S James Webb Space Telescope for the first time.

Media credits
Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator

(Inside Science) -- Telescopes are the key to understanding the cosmos. From the humble citizen scientist's backyard telescope to the great Hubble Space Telescope, these devices help us determine how far away astronomical objects are and what elements they contain. This month, we take a look at objects through trusted telescopes such as NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. We also check in on the status of the anticipated James Webb Space Telescope and SMILE spacecraft.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Over the past 20 years, NASA'S Chandra X-Ray Observatory has surveilled many stellar objects, with the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant being one of the most notable. Cas A, as it is nicknamed, is a vibrant debris field located about 11,000 light years from Earth. With new observations, astronomers uncovered the central neutron star and have even constructed a 3D model of the object. (NASA/CXC/RIKEN/T. Sato et al./STScI)

James Webb Space Telescope

The long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope was assembled for the first time this month. Engineers at Northrop Grumman's facilities in Redondo Beach, California connected the two halves of NASA's most powerful and complex space telescope. Above, the teams guide Webb's suspended telescope section into place above its Spacecraft Element. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

Earth-sized exoplanet known as LHS 3844b

Forty-nine light-years away, an Earth-sized exoplanet known as LHS 3844b orbits its small star. This is an artist's conception of the rocky planet. New data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that it likely has no atmosphere and is covered with cooled volcanic material that makes it similar to our neighboring planet Mercury. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt(IPAC))

joint European-Chinese spacecraft known as SMILE

In 2023, a joint European-Chinese spacecraft known as SMILE is scheduled to launch. Shown here in the upper right of the illustration, SMILE hovers above the "bow shock" area of Earth's magnetosphere. The acronym SMILE stands for "Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer," a name that reflects the spacecraft's mission to observe how solar wind interacts with Earth's magnetosphere. (ESA/ATG medialab)

Seagull Nebula

Above is the Seagull Nebula, seeming to dive through the stars as a rosy wisp in flight. ESO's Very Large Telescope captured the stellar nursery in stunning detail, revealing individual astronomical objects. The gas cloud Sharpless 2-296 forms the nebula's "wings," spanning about 100 light-years, and it is full of actively forming new stars. (ESO/VPHAS+ team/N.J. Wright (Keele University))

Author Bio & Story Archive

Abigail Malate is a graphic designer at the American Institute of Physics, which produces the editorially independent news service Inside Science.