Nasa's selected photos of the week capture other-worldly vistas of Earth and space, showing Jupiter's moons, a star being born, and pictures from the 1969 Apollo 9 mission.
As earthly commuters trudged back and forth to work, explosions were going off in the heavens, giving star gazers a glimpse of galaxies far, far away.
Among the most beautiful shots, young blue star clusters can be seen in a still of Galaxy Centaurus A from the Hubble Telescope (slide 7.) The cloud's odd squashed shape is due to the fact it has previously collided and merged with another galaxy.
As the hydrogen gas compresses, new stars are born, which can be seen in red star bursts scattered across the firmament.
Other interesting sights from inside Nasa HQ show how researchers are testing engine icing developments.
Engineers have set up some specially designed bars which emit a cloud of ice pressure, mimicking what airliners might experience in flight.
Engine icing occurs when ice crystals get sucked into a hot engine, melt and then re-freeze. As they build up, they can break off and cause damage.
Take a look at some more of the stunning pictures below.
International Space Station night time photograph of much of the Atlantic coast of the United States. easily recognizable sights include the Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. visible in the image that spans almost to Rhode Island. Boston is just out of frame at right. Long Island and the New York City area are visible in the lower right quadrant. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are near the center. Parts of two Russian vehicles can be seen in the left foreground. This image was taken on Feb. 6, 2012.
This massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. I tis the most prolific star forming region Many of the diamond-like icy blue stars are among the most massive stars known. Several of them are 100 times more massive than our sun. These hefty stars are destined to pop off, like a string of firecrackers, as supernovas in a few million years. The image, taken in ultraviolet, visible and red light by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, spans about 100 light-years. The nebula is close enough to Earth that Hubble can resolve individual stars, giving astronomers important information about the stars' birth and evolution. The brilliant stars are carving deep cavities in the surrounding material by unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light, and hurricane-force stellar winds (streams of charged particles), which are etching away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud in which the stars were born. The image reveals a fantasy landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys, as well as a dark region in the center that roughly looks like the outline of a holiday tree. Besides sculpting the gaseous terrain, the brilliant stars can also help create a successive generation of offspring. When the winds hit dense walls of gas, they create shocks, which may be generating a new wave of star birth. These observations were taken Oct. 20-27, 2009. The blue color is light from the hottest, most massive stars; the green from the glow of oxygen; the red from fluorescing hydrogen.
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks small here, pictured to the right of the gas giant in this Cassini spacecraft view. Titan (3,200 miles across) is in the upper right. Saturn's rings appear across the top of the image, and they cast a series of shadows onto the planet across the middle of the image.
Nasa scientists are mounting a research campaign using flight and ground tests to solve the aviation mystery of engine icing.
This image of Jupiter and its moons Io and Ganymede was acquired by amateur astronomer Damian Peach on Sept. 12, 2010, when Jupiter was close to opposition. South is up and the "Great Red Spot" is visible in the image. Ground-based astronomy will play a vital role in the success of NASA's Juno mission. Because Jupiter has such a dynamic atmosphere, images from amateur astronomers will assist the JunoCam instrument team predict what features will be visible when the camera's images are taken. With its suite of science instruments, the Juno spacecraft will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map the planet's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere and observe the planet's auroras.
Gumdrop Meets Spider This image, taken on March 6, 1969, shows the Apollo 9 Command and Service Modules docked with the Lunar Module. Apollo 9 astronaut Dave Scott stands in the open hatch of the Command Module, nicknamed "Gumdrop," docked to the Lunar Module "Spider" in Earth orbit. His crewmate Rusty Schweickart, lunar module pilot, took this photograph from the porch of the lunar module. Inside the lunar module was Apollo 9 commander Jim McDivitt. The crew tested the orbital rendezvous and docking procedures that made the lunar landings possible.
Resembling looming rain clouds on a stormy day, dark lanes of dust crisscross the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths reveals the vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust. The warped shape of Centaurus A's disk of gas and dust is evidence for a past collision and merger with another galaxy. The resulting shockwaves cause hydrogen gas clouds to compress, triggering a firestorm of new star formation. These are visible in the red patches in this Hubble close-up. At a distance of just over 11 million light-years, Centaurus A contains the closest active galactic nucleus to Earth. The center is home for a supermassive black hole that ejects jets of high-speed gas into space, but neither the supermassive black hole or the jets are visible in this image. This image was taken in July 2010 with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.
Spitzer Telescope Finds Hidden Jet NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope took this image of a baby star sprouting two identical jets (green lines emanating from fuzzy star). The jet on the right had been seen before in visible-light views, but the jet at left -- the identical twin to the first jet -- could only be seen in detail with Spitzer's infrared detectors. The left jet was hidden behind a dark cloud, which Spitzer can see through. The twin jets, in a system called Herbig-Haro 34, are made of identical knots of gas and dust, ejected one after another from the area around the star. By studying the spacing of these knots, and knowing the speed of the jets from previous studies, astronomers were able to determine that the jet to the right of the star punches its material out 4.5 years later than the counter-jet.By studying the spacing of these knots, and knowing the speed of the jets from previous studies, astronomers were able to determine that the jet to the right of the star punches its material out 4.5 years later than the counter-jet. The new data also reveal that the area from which the jets originate is contained within a sphere around the star, with a radius of 3 astronomical units. An astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the sun. Previous studies estimated that the maximum size of this jet-making zone was 10 times larger. The wispy material is gas and dust. Arc-shaped bow shocks can be seen at the ends of the twin jets. The shocks consist of compressed material in front of the jets. The Herbig-Haro 34 jets are located at approximately 1,400 light-years away in the Orion constellation.