Illustration of one of the Voyager probes passing an earthlike planet orbiting a binary star system in the distant future. A nebula is seen in the background. The two Voyager probes were launched in the late 1970s. Voyager 1 has now passed into interstellar space - beyond the influence of the Sun's magnetic field - and Voyager 2 is set to do so in the early 2020s.
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- Ross 128 b is the second-closest known rocky exoplanet - the closest being the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Ross 128 b orbits within the habitable zone of its red dwarf star, Ross 128. Unlike the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, Ross 128 is considered relatively â€˜quiet' â€“ it lacks the former's violent flaring activity. As such, astronomers believe Ross 128 b a good candidate for habit
- Illustration of alien creatures on a hospitable foreign world. View from the surface of an inhabited rocky moon orbiting a gas-giant exoplanet. The planet is encircled by a series of rings, similar to Saturn in our own Solar System. The moon is depicted as rocky with seas. The sky is a very odd ruddy-brown colour, and is populated by flying lifeforms. Astronomers have found well over a thousand ex
- Illustration of the Valles Marineris canyon system, Mars, being surveyed by a pair of astronauts. The Valles Marineris is over 4000 kilometres (km) long, up to 200 km wide and up to 7 km deep, dwarfing the Grand Canyon of Arizona, USA. The canyons are found on the southeastern edge of the Tharsis Bulge and were originally created by faulting during the formation of Tharsis. The canyons have been f
- Illustration of the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars as the Sun sets. The Valles Marineris is over 4000 kilometres (km) long, up to 200 km wide and up to 7 km deep, dwarfing the Grand Canyon of Arizona, USA. The canyons are found on the southeastern edge of the Tharsis Bulge and were originally created by faulting during the formation of Tharsis. The canyons have been further worn down by wa
- Illustration of alien creatures on a hospitable foreign world. View from the surface of an inhabited rocky moon orbiting a gas-giant exoplanet. The planet is encircled by a series of rings, similar to Saturn in our own Solar System. The moon is depicted as rocky with seas, and with strange rock formations sculpted by alien wind patterns. The sky is a very odd green colour, and is populated by flyi
- Artwork of a cataclysmic binary (or variable) star seen from a cave on a nearby planet.
- Illustration of the view from an exomoon orbiting a ringed exoplanet in a polar orbit. The exomoon is depicted as rocky, with large stalagmite-type formations on its surface. Its parent is a gas giant with a series of bright rings, similar to Saturn's, with the rings seen face-on in this depiction.
- An artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy colliding with Andromeda. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is moving towards the Andromeda galaxy. Astronomers predict that in about 4 billion years, the two galaxies will collide and begin to merge. The Solar System's fate is uncertain. It might end up in the final, larger galaxy, orbiting further from the core than it does now, or it might be ejected into
More Related Images
- Artwork of the dark exoplanet CVSO 30 c. This is one of two known gas planets around the very young T Tauri star called CVSO 30, situated 1200 light-years away in the constellation of Orion. At just 2.5 million years old, this star is but a toddler. The innermost planet (not depicted) orbits the star in a mere 11 hours. However, the outermost one, shown here, is so far out â€“ at 660 astronom
- This is a conceptual illustration representing space and astronomy in general. It shows the various objects that can be found in the Universe: planets, moons, stars, nebulae and galaxies. The centrepiece is a planetary nebula, the cast-off remains of a dying star. A woman in silhouette is seen looking up into space.
- Illustration of the exoplanet (extrasolar planet) Wasp 39b. Wasp 39b is a so-called hot Saturn, with a mass about one-third that of Jupiter. It orbits its host star, Wasp 39, at a distance of only 0.05 astronomical units, around a tenth of the distance of Mercury from the Sun. Some 700 light-years from Earth, the Wasp 39 system is the constellation of Virgo.
- Illustration of a binary star on the outskirts of a globular cluster. Recent studies of such binaries by astronomers at Warwick University, UK, suggest that globular clusters could be 4 billion years younger than thought.
- Galaxy, illustration.
- Artist's impression of an X-ray binary. These binary star systems comprise a compact star (neutron star or, as here, a black hole) which is in orbit about a larger companion (in this case, a blue giant). The compact star distorts the companion and pulls gas from its atmosphere. The gas swirls around the compact object forming an accretion disc. Particle jets are sometimes emitted from the centre o
- Illustration of the planet Venus as it may appear in the future after terraforming. Terraforming is the process of converting a hostile planet into one suitable for human habitation. The lowlands are shown flooded with water. The sea at top right is Sedna Planitia, with Guinevere Planitia below it. The large canyon the left is Devona Chasma, a rift zone located on the Beta Regio highland created b
- Illustration of a red giant star shedding its outer layers. Red giants are very evolved stars, that have depleted their stores of hydrogen. This leads to the core collapsing under gravity, which makes it hotter. This fresh heat pushes on the star's outermost layers and gradually the star loses mass as its atmosphere escapes, bit by bit, into space. This is how planetary nebulae are formed. In this