The year of exoplanets. The Kepler space observatory to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler,was launched in March 2009.

Kepler-22b, First Alien Planet In Habitable zone

First Alien Planet In Habitable zone

This artist’s conception illustrates Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. It is the first planet that NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed to orbit in a star’s habitable zone — the region around a star where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist



A Planet Orbiting two Stars

Kepler-16b, A Planet Orbiting two Stars

This artist’s concept illustrates Kepler-16b, the first planet known to definitively orbit two stars — what’s called a circumbinary planet. The planet, which can be seen in the foreground, was discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission.



Lightning Eclipse, Ikaria island

Lightning Eclipse, Ikaria island

Thunderstorms almost spoiled this view of the spectacular June 15 total lunar eclipse. Instead, storm clouds parted for 10 minutes during the total eclipse phase and lightning bolts contributed to the dramatic sky. Photograph Chris Kotsiopoulos

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog is now online

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog is now online

This image shows a composition of all the current potential habitable exoplanets candidates in the catalog. The exoplanets are ranked by similarity to Earth from best to worst, #1 being the best candidate.

Saturn’s Aurora in a new light

Saturn’s Aurora in a new light

The Hubble Space Telescope shows Saturn with the rings edge-on and both poles in view, with both of its fluttering auroras visible.

‘Rose’ made of Galaxies

‘Rose’ made of Galaxies

In celebration of the twenty-first anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment in April 2011, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute pointed Hubble’s eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.

Moon is brought down for repair

Moon is brought down for repair

Rumor has it that the Moon is brought down for repair about one day each month, but no photos support this claim.

Thank you George!