An Einstein Ring and an Asteroid “Dart” Are Among These Space Stunners

A lensed galaxy and a mission to manipulate a space rock feature among our picks for this week’s best space images

smithsonian.com

Hubble reveals our young galaxy's riotous behavior, Einstein shows how to play ring around the galaxy and nations join forces to nudge an asteroid off course in our selection of the week's best space-related pictures. 

Late Bloomer

If any Earthlike planets existed 10 billion years ago, every night would have been like an epic rave. At that time, our young galaxy was awash in new star formation, with stellar babies popping up at a rate 30 times higher than they do today. For planets that witnessed this spectacle, the night sky would have been filled with glowing clouds of gas littered with blue-tinged newborn stars, like the scene depicted here in an artist's rendering. Earth, though, would never have witnessed such a riotous sight. An immense galaxy survey conducted with data from the Hubble Space Telescope suggests that our Milky Way galaxy hit its star-forming peak 5 billion years before the sun and its planets were created. But being late to the party may have been good for our solar system—the explosive deaths of older stars seeded the galaxy with plenty of the raw materials needed for rocky planets, and maybe life, to form.

About Victoria Jaggard

Victoria Jaggard is the science editor for Smithsonian.com. Her writing has appeared in Chemical & Engineering News, National Geographic, New Scientist and elsewhere.

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