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December’s Stellar Space Pictures

December’s Stellar Space Pictures

Enjoy ginormous candy canes, stellar glitter, and visiting (interstellar) neighbors this month.

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Two galaxies collide in this colorful picture from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Image credits:

X-ray: Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO/E. O'Sullivan; XMM: ESA/XMM/E. O'Sullivan; Optical: SDSS

Monday, December 30, 2019 - 11:30

Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator

(Inside Science) – We’re celebrating the end of the year with a bang of stardust and comets. This December, enjoy festive pictures of celestial candy canes made of ionized gas, a fashionable look at Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and a cosmic celebration of thousands of distant galaxies.

Slideshow

In mapping the inner Milky Way, NASA’s GISMO instrument found what resembles a cosmic candy cane. The candy cane’s shaft is the vertical red swath pictured in the center, while the curve of the cane is the yellower portion bending to the right. Made of stardust instead of sugar, this massive formation spans 190 light-years of ionized gas filaments. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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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.