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Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat's Eye Nebula lies 3,000 light-years from Earth.

 

The Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a brief, yet glorious, phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood.




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The Eternity of Life is often mirrored in the Universe we are fortunate enough to inhabit.  By a real quirk of fate, I was given a copy of a poem in which a bereaved mother had found some solace. You have to be in the mood for it.


Click here to read the poem.

As Mark Twain might have said, reports of Earth's death have been greatly exaggerated.

 

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'This is the first example of a new class of pulsars,' says Stanford University's Peter Michelson, principal investigator for Fermi's Large Area Telescope. '[We think] it will give us fundamental insights into how these collapsed stars work.'

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Although this looks like a computer generated image from another world it has in fact been taken from Canyonlands National Park in Utah by astrophotographer Wally Pacholka. It is a composite of four separate exposures.

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The Sun provided a spectacular display of a  massive solar prominence on September 29th. The eruption, which unfurled into space over the course of several hours is suspended in giant, twisted magnetic fields and is many times the size of planet Earth. 

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Amazing! Mars has water, clouds and snow! Not quite the full skiing holiday you understand and I know Mars does look a bit bleak, writes Phil Becque. But this is great news for Mars lovers. Click on the image to see the glorious animation.

 

 

This sequence combines 32 images of clouds moving eastward across a Martian horizon. The Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander took this set of images on 18 Sept 2008, during early afternoon hours of the 113th Martian day of the mission.

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