Animated GIF version of "Kitten Pizza Galaxy" by Beth Zimmerman.
The Horsehead Nebula, located approximately 1,300 to 1,500 lightyears from Earth in the constellation of Orion, is making buzz in the space news circuit after researchers at the Institute for Millimetric Radio Astronomy detected an unusually dense presence of hydrocarbon molecule C3H+—one of the smallest molecules that compose petroleum and natural gas—estimated to be 200 times more than the total amount of water on Earth.
Taken by the British Herschel Space Observatory with its far infrared telescope, the Carina Nebula is home to some of the most massive and brightest stars in the Milky Way galaxy that is 7500 light-years from Earth and estimated to be equivalent in mass to 900,000 suns.
The Hubble Space Telescope took this spellbinding image of Pismis 24 (shown center above), one of the most massive and luminous star clusters known, glimmering above the NGC 6357 nebula that is approximately 8150 light-years away. According to NASA's estimates, the brightest star of Pismis 24 cluster is over 200 times the mass of our Sun.
Space Shot of the Day is a feature series following the latest developments in planetary science, astrophotography, space exploration, future plans for colonization and all things related to outer space.