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Five stunning new images from NASA’s telescopes

If you’re looking for a new phone wallpaper, NASA has got you covered for the foreseeable future.

The US space agency has released a collection of five stunning new pictures taken by its various telescopes, including:

• Its Chandra X-ray Observatory, which is specially designed to capture images of exploded stars, the matter surrounding black holes, and clusters of galaxies

• The Very Large Telescope (VLT), actually operated from the European Southern Observatory in Chile

• The James Webb Space Telescope, which has previously provided spectacular views of stars being born, stars dying, and Neptune’s mesmeric rings

All can observe interstellar objects in light invisible to human eyes, such as infrared and radio, with the data then assigned colours we can perceive.

NASA has dubbed its latest pictures the “fab five” – and it’s easy to see why.

The Galactic Center is about 26,000 light-years from Earth, but telescopes like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (orange, green, blue, purple) allow us to visit virtually

Galactic centre

The very centre of our Milky Way galaxy is some 26,000 miles from Earth.

It contains a supermassive black hole, superheated clouds of gas, massive and neutron stars – all visible in various colours from orange to purple thanks to the Chandra observatory.

The Kepler supernova remnant is the remains of a white dwarf that exploded after undergoing a thermonuclear explosion

Kepler’s supernova remnant

This is all that’s left of a white dwarf star that died in a thermonuclear explosion, first spotted by stargazers down on Earth about 400 years ago.

The image below is the work of not just one telescope, but several: the blue bit shows the blast wave that ripped through space after the detonation, and was captured by Chandra; the cyan and yellow shows the resulting debris, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope; and infrared data is from the retired Spitzer Space Telescope.

This image combines NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observations with data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. As well as the electric blue ram pressure stripping streaks seen emanating from ESO 137-001, a giant gas stream can be seen extending towards the bottom of the frame, only visible in the X-ray part of the spectrum.

ESO 137-001

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This galaxy may not have quite as fun a name as our Milky Way, but it has some cool characteristics.

As it barrels through the constellation of Triangulum Australe at 1.5 million miles per hour, it leaves two tails behind it made of superheated gas, which Chandra detects using X-rays and images in blue. The red bits you can see are hydrogen atoms, captured by VLT.

The center of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365 contains a supermassive black hole being fed by a steady stream of material

NGC 1365

At the centre of this galaxy lies a supermassive black hole being fed a steady stream of material, including hot gas.

Some of that is what you can see here in purple, again thanks to Chandra. The picture has been mixed with infrared data from the James Webb Space Telescope, seen in red, green, and blue.

By combining data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE, shown in light blue), Chandra (purple), and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (yellow), researchers are probing Vela, the aftermath of a star that collapsed and exploded and now sends a remarkable storm of particles and energy into space. IXPE shows the average orientation of the X-rays with respect to the jet in this image.

Vela Pulsar

This is the aftermath of a star that collapsed and exploded, sending a storm of particles and energy into space.

The light blue in this image is from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE to its friends), the yellow is via Hubble and the purple comes from Chandra.

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