SCIENCE
01/25/2015 10:42 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

NASA Releases Stunning Space Photos To Kick Off The 'International Year Of Light'

The United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Light in order to "highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society."

NASA seems more than eager to help with the effort. It's just released a set of spectacular photos (see below) taken by its Chandra X-Ray Observatory space telescope.

"From a distant galaxy to the relatively nearby debris field of an exploded star, these images demonstrate the myriad ways that information about the universe is communicated to us through light," the agency said.

“CHANDRA”
When a massive star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way, it left behind an expanding shell of debris called SNR 0519-69.0. Here, multimillion degree gas is seen in X-rays from Chandra (blue). The outer edge of the explosion (red) and stars in the field of view are seen in visible light from Hubble. (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes; Optical: NASA/STScI)
“CHANDRA”
This galaxy, nicknamed the "Whirlpool," is a spiral galaxy, like our Milky Way, located about 30 million light years from Earth. This composite image combines data collected at X-ray wavelengths by Chandra (purple), ultraviolet by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX, blue); visible light by Hubble (green), and infrared by Spitzer (red). (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
“CHANDRA”
When X-rays, shown in blue, from Chandra and XMM-Newton are joined in this image with radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (pink) and visible light data from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS, yellow), a new view of the region emerges. This object, known as MSH 11-62, contains an inner nebula of charged particles that could be an outflow from the dense spinning core left behind when a massive star exploded. (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane et al; Optical: DSS; Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA)
“CHANDRA”
This galaxy, at a distance of some 700 million light years, contains a giant bubble filled with hot, X-ray emitting gas detected by Chandra (blue). Radio data from the NSF's Very Large Array (red) reveal "hot spots" about 300,000 light years out from the center of the galaxy where powerful jets emanating from the galaxy's supermassive black hole end. Visible light data (yellow) from both Hubble and the DSS complete this view. (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/AUI/VLA)
“CHANDRA”
This supernova remnant is the remains of an exploded star that may have been witnessed by Chinese astronomers almost 2,000 years ago. Modern telescopes have the advantage of observing this object in light that is completely invisible to the unaided human eye. This image combines X-rays from Chandra (pink and blue) along with visible emission from hydrogen atoms in the rim of the remnant, observed with the 0.9-m Curtis Schmidt telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (yellow). (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/D.Castro et al, Optical: NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO)
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