November’s Stellar Space Pictures

Marvel at the lives and deaths of stars across the universe.
The night sky over Guilderton Lighthouse, Western Australia.

The arch of the Milky Way is visible over a lighthouse in Western Australia, with an imagined supernova highlighted in the sky.

Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator

(Inside Science) -- This month, we look at the births, deaths, and travels of stars observed from various telescopes. NASA’s Hubble Telescope imaged arched galaxies 4.6 billion light years away, the Chandra X-ray Observatory found a star formation near a black hole, while the Anglo-Australian Telescope found a runaway star to be traveling at great speeds away from the Milky Way.

photomosaic combines 28 distinct images

This photomosaic combines 28 distinct images to form a portrait of the arch of the Milky Way over the Guilderton Lighthouse in Western Australia. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are visible as well. Highlighted to the upper-left of the lighthouse is the facsimile of a supernova that would have exploded 9,000 years ago and been visible in the night sky at that location. (Paean Ng, Astrordinary Imaging)

supermassive black holes in the center of galaxy clusters

Usually, supermassive black holes in the center of galaxy clusters stifle the birth of stars. However, in the Phoenix galaxy cluster pictured above, scientists have found the opposite. Stars are forming at a furious rate, with the black hole actually boosting star formation in the cluster. (X-ray: NASA, CXC, MIT, M.McDonald et al; Radio: NRAO, VLA; Optical: NASA, STScI)

mysterious cosmic explosion

Last June, scientists discovered a mysterious cosmic explosion known as AT2018cow. This month, astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to shed light on its origin. While still controversial, this team of researchers thinks it might have originated from a tidal disruption or a stellar explosion. This artist’s rendition imagines AT2018cow as a blinding light. (NAOJ)

star traveling at more than six million kilometers per hour

Astronomers in Australia, the U.S., the U.K., and Chile discovered a star traveling at more than six million kilometers per hour. The illustration above shows the star speeding away after it was flung from a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. The international study concluded that the star is moving so fast that it will leave the Milky Way galaxy in about 100 million years, only to keep on rocketing across the universe. (James Josephides, Swinborne Astronomy Productions)

massive galaxy cluster 4.6 billion light years

Hubble turned its telescope to a massive galaxy cluster 4.6 billion light years away this month. Distinctly encircling it are four bright arcs -- each a copy of the same galaxy nicknamed the Sunburst Arc. This galaxy’s light is being focused into multiple images by gravitational lensing. It is so brightly lensed that its image is visible at least 12 times within the four arcs. (ESA, NASA, Rivera-Thorsen et al.)

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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.