This remarkable picture from the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows one of the most perfect geometrical forms created in space. It captures the formation of an unusual pre-planetary nebula, known as IRAS 23166+1655, around the star LL Pegasi in the constellation of Pegasus. The image shows what appears to be a thin spiral pattern of astonishingly regularity winding around the star, which is itself hidden behind thick dust. The spiral pattern suggests a regular periodic origin for the nebula's shape. The material forming the spiral is moving outwards a speed of about 50 000 km/hour and, by combining this speed with the distance between layers, astronomers calculate that the shells are each separated by about 800 years. The spiral is thought to arise because LL Pegasi is a binary system, with the star that is losing material and a companion star orbiting each other.
This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionised gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation. Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions from the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the centre of the image. These jets, (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively), are signposts for new star birth and are launched by swirling gas and dust discs around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stellar surfaces. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on 1-2 February 2010.
This is a NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope picture a comet-like object called P/2010 A2, which was first discovered by the LINEAR (Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research program) sky survey on January 6th, 2010. The object has a complex structure - a pattern of filamentary structures near the point-like nucleus of the object and trailing streamers of dust - that suggests it is not a comet but instead the product of a head-on collision between two asteroids traveling five times faster than a rifle bullet (5 km per second). Astronomers have long thought that the asteroid belt is being ground down through collisions, but such a smashup has never before been seen. The filaments are made of dust and gravel, presumably recently thrown out of the 140-meter-diameter nucleus. Some of the filaments are swept back by radiation pressure from sunlight to create straight dust streaks. At the time of the Hubble observations, the object was approximately 300 million km from the Sun and 140 million km from Earth.
At first glance, the scatter of pale dots on this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image looks like a snowstorm in the night sky. But almost every one of these delicate snowflakes is a distant galaxy in the cluster MACS J0717.5+3745 and each is home to billions of stars. The amount of mass in this sea of galaxies is huge, and is great enough to visibly bend the fabric of spacetime. The strange distortion in the shapes of many of the galaxies in this picture, which appear stretched and bent as if they were looked at through a glass bottle, is a result of gravitational lensing, where the gravitational fields around massive objects bend light around them. This picture was created from images taken through near-infrared and yellow filters using the Wide Field Channel of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.
The star HD 44179 is surrounded by an extraordinary structure known as the Red Rectangle. It acquired its moniker because of its shape and its apparent colour when seen in early images from Earth. This strikingly detailed new Hubble image reveals how, when seen from space, the nebula, rather than being rectangular, is shaped like an X with additional complex structures of spaced lines of glowing gas, a little like the rungs of a ladder. The star at the centre is similar to the Sun, but at the end of its lifetime, pumping out gas and other material to make the nebula, and giving it the distinctive shape. It also appears that the star is a close binary that is surrounded by a dense torus of dust - both of which may help to explain the very curious shape. The Red Rectangle is an unusual example of what is known as a proto-planetary nebula. These are old stars, on their way to becoming planetary nebulae. Once the expulsion of mass is complete a very hot white dwarf star will remain and its brilliant ultraviolet radiation will cause the surrounding gas to glow. The Red Rectangle is found about 2,300 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros (the Unicorn).
The little-known nebula IRAS 05437+2502 billows out among the bright stars and dark dust clouds that surround it in this striking image from the Hubble Space Telescope. It is located in the constellation of Taurus (the Bull), close to the central plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Unlike many of Hubble's targets, this object has not been studied in detail and its exact nature is unclear. At first glance it appears to be a small, rather isolated, region of star formation and one might assume that the effects of fierce ultraviolet radiation from bright young stars probably were the cause of the eye-catching shapes of the gas. However, the bright boomerang-shaped feature may tell a more dramatic tale. The interaction of a high velocity young star and the cloud of gas and dust may have created this unusually sharp-edged bright arc. Such a reckless star would have been ejected from the distant young cluster where it was born and would travel at 200,000 km/hour or more through the nebula. This faint cloud was originally discovered in 1983 by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the first space telescope to survey the whole sky in the infrared.
A spectacular view of Messier 66, the largest "player" of the Leo Triplet, a galaxy with an unusual anatomy: it displays asymmetric spiral arms and an apparently displaced core. The peculiar anatomy is most likely caused by the gravitational pull of the other two members of the trio. The unusual spiral galaxy is located at a distance of about 35 million light-years in the constellation of Leo. Together with Messier 65 and NGC 3628, Messier 66 is the member of the Leo Triplet, a trio of interacting spiral galaxies, part of the larger Messier 66 group. Messier 66 wins in size over its fellow triplets - it is about 100,000 light-years across.
This light-year-tall tendril of cold hydrogen and dust and surrounding dust clouds, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, are located in the Carina Nebula. Violent stellar winds and powerful radiation from massive stars are sculpting the surrounding nebula. Inside the dense structures, new stars may be born. This image is a composite of 2005 observations taken of the region in hydrogen light (light emitted by hydrogen atoms) along with 2010 observations taken in oxygen light (light emitted by oxygen atoms), both times with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The immense Carina Nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina.
In the upper right of this image is part of NGC 4921, an unusual spiral galaxy in the Coma Galaxy Cluster some 320 million light-years from Earth, with a backdrop rich with a variety of much more distant galaxies. The long exposure times and sharp vision of Hubble allowed it to not just image NGC 4921 in fine detail but also to see far beyond into the distant Universe. All around, and even through the galaxy itself, thousands of much more remote galaxies of all shapes, sizes and colours are visible. Many have the spotty and ragged appearance of galaxies at a time before the familiar division into spirals and ellipticals had become established. This image was created from 50 separate exposures through a yellow filter and another 30 exposures through a near-infrared filter using the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on Hubble. The total exposure times were approximately seventeen hours and ten hours respectively.
A detail of a larger mosaic - the sharpest view ever taken of the Orion Nebula - a picture book of star formation with massive young stars that are shaping the nebula and pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars. The bright glow at t is from M43, a small region being shaped by ultraviolet light from a massive young star. Astronomers call the region a miniature Orion Nebula because only one star is sculpting the landscape. The Orion Nebula has four such stars. The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years away, the nearest star-forming region to Earth.
While hunting for volcanic plumes on Io, the Hubble telescope captured these images of the volatile moon sweeping across the giant face of Jupiter in 1999. Io appears to be skimming Jupiter's cloud tops, but it's actually 500,000 km (310,000 mi) away. The conspicuous black spot on Jupiter is Io's shadow and is about the size of the moon itself (3,640 km or 2,262 mi across). This shadow sails across the face of Jupiter at 17 km per second (38,000 mph). The smallest details visible on Io and Jupiter measure 93 miles (150 kilometers) across, or about the size of Connecticut.
Messier 72 is a globular cluster, an ancient spherical collection of old stars packed much closer together at its center. French astronomer Pierre Mechain discovered this rich cluster in August of 1780, but we take Messier 72's most common name from Mechain's colleague Charles Messier, who recorded it as the 72nd entry in his famous catalogue of comet-like objects just two months later. This globular cluster lies in the constellation of Aquarius (the Water Bearer) about 50,000 light-years from Earth. The total exposure time for this image was about twenty minutes, its field of view about 3.4 arcminutes across.
This mosaic image of the magnificent starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82) is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of M82. It is a galaxy remarkable for its webs of shredded clouds and flame-like plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out from its central regions where young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside in our Milky Way Galaxy. Also known as the Cigar Galaxy, M82 lies over 11 million light years away from Earth.
A colourful star-forming region is featured in this image of NGC 2467. Looking like a roiling cauldron of some exotic cosmic brew, huge clouds of gas and dust are sprinkled with bright blue, hot young stars. Strangely shaped dust clouds are silhouetted against a colourful background of glowing gas. Like the familiar Orion Nebula, NGC 2467 is a huge cloud of gas, mostly hydrogen, that serves as an incubator for new stars. Hot young stars that recently formed from the cloud are emitting fierce ultraviolet radiation that is causing the whole scene to glow while also sculpting the environment and gradually eroding the gas clouds.
Two galaxies perform an intricate dance in this new Hubble Space Telescope image. The galaxies, containing a vast number of stars, swing past each other in a graceful performance choreographed by gravity. The pair, known collectively as Arp 87, is one of hundreds of interacting and merging galaxies known in our nearby universe. The two main players comprising Arp 87 are NGC 3808 on the right (the larger of the two galaxies) and its companion NGC 3808A on the left. NGC 3808 is a nearly face-on spiral galaxy with a bright ring of star formation and several prominent dust arms. Stars, gas, and dust flow from NGC 3808, forming an enveloping arm around its companion. NGC 3808A is a spiral galaxy seen edge-on and is surrounded by a rotating ring that contains stars and interstellar gas clouds. The ring is situated perpendicular to the plane of the host galaxy disk and is called a "polar ring." As seen in other mergers similar to Arp 87, the corkscrew shape of the tidal material or bridge of shared matter between the two galaxies suggests that some stars and gas drawn from the larger galaxy have been caught in the gravitational pull of the smaller one. The shapes of both galaxies have been distorted by their gravitational interaction with one another. Arp 87 is in the constellation Leo, approximately 300 million light-years away from Earth.
A delicate sphere of gas, photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, floats serenely in the depths of space. The pristine shell, or bubble, is the result of gas that is being shocked by the expanding blast wave from a supernova. Called SNR 0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short), the bubble is the visible remnant of a powerful stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160,000 light-years from Earth. Ripples in the shell's surface may be caused by either subtle variations in the density of the ambient interstellar gas, or possibly driven from the interior by pieces of the ejecta. The bubble-shaped shroud of gas is 23 light-years across and is expanding at more than 11 million miles per hour (5,000 kilometers per second).
Small, dim galaxies appear to flit like moths around a radiant street light in this image. The brilliant central object is a supergiant elliptical galaxy, the dominant member of a galaxy cluster with the mouthful of a name MACSJ1423.8+2404. This great swarm of galaxies is located about five billion light-years away in the constellation Boötes (the Herdsman). The gentle arcs surrounding the central galaxy are distorted views of even more distant galaxies. The gravity of the closer large galaxy creates a gravitational lensing effect, distorting and amplifying the light that passes close by on its way to an observer, like us.
In one of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made, the coil-shaped Helix Nebula shows a fine web of filamentary "bicycle-spoke" features embedded in a colorful red and blue gas ring comprising one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth. Because the nebula is nearby, it appears as nearly one-half the diameter of the full Moon. The portrait offers a dizzying look down what is actually a trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases. The fluorescing tube is pointed nearly directly at Earth, so it looks more like a bubble than a cylinder. A forest of thousands of comet-like filaments, embedded along the inner rim of the nebula, points back toward the central star, which is a small, super-hot white dwarf.
Remember the earlier image of galaxy M66, a part of the Leo Triplet? This is a wider view, showing all three members of the triplet, M66 is lower right, M65 is at top right and galaxy NGC 3628 is seen nearly edge-on at left. The trio of spiral galaxies lies about about 35 million light-years away from Earth.
A ring of brilliant blue star clusters wraps around the yellowish nucleus of what was once a normal spiral galaxy in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The ring is 150,000 light-years in diameter, making it larger than our entire home galaxy, the Milky Way. The galaxy, cataloged as AM 0644-741, is a member of the class of so-called "ring galaxies." It lies 300 million light-years away in the direction of the southern constellation Dorado.
This close-up shot of the center of the Lagoon Nebula (M8) clearly shows the delicate structures formed when the powerful radiation of young stars interacts with the hydrogen cloud they formed from. The Lagoon Nebula lies some 4,100 light years away. This image was created from exposures taken with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on Hubble. Light from glowing hydrogen is colored red, light from ionised nitrogen is colored green and light through a yellow filter is colored blue.
Abell 370 is one of the very first galaxy clusters where astronomers observed the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, the warping of space-time by the cluster's gravitational field that distorts the light from galaxies lying far behind it. This is manifested as arcs and streaks in the picture, which are the stretched images of background galaxies. Ground-based telescopic observations in the mid-1980s of the most prominent arc nicknamed "the Dragon" (lower right) allowed astronomers to deduce that the arc was not a structure of some kind within the cluster, but the gravitationally lensed image of a galaxy that lies nearly 10 billion light years away. Hubble has now resolved new, previously unseen details in the arc that reveal structure in the lensed background galaxy.
Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300 is considered to be prototypical of barred spiral galaxies. Barred spirals differ from normal spiral galaxies in that the arms of the galaxy do not spiral all the way into the center, but are connected to the two ends of a straight bar of stars containing the nucleus at its center. At Hubble's resolution, a myriad of fine details are seen throughout the galaxy's arms, disk, bulge, and nucleus. Blue and red supergiant stars, star clusters, and star-forming regions are well resolved across the spiral arms, and dust lanes trace out fine structures in the disk and bar. Numerous more distant galaxies are visible in the background. In the core of the larger spiral, the nucleus shows its own extraordinary and distinct "grand-design" spiral structure that is about 3,300 light-years long. NGC 1300 lies roughly 69 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Eridanus.
Look carefully at this animated image. What you see is the Crab pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star at the heart of the Crab Nebula, propelling matter and antimatter outward at near the speed of light, seen in 24 sequential images acquired over several months by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Crab pulsar is a tiny, dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova, observed here on Earth in the year 1054. It is very small - only about 25 km (15 miles) across, has a mass about 1.5 times our own Sun, and rotates at an amazing rate of 30 times per second. Bright wisps of energetic particles can be seen moving outward from the pulsar at half the speed of light to form an expanding ring. These wisps appear to originate from a shock wave that shows up as an inner X-ray ring. Also, a turbulent jet appears to be spewing material to the left, looking much like steam from a high-pressure boiler - except it's a stream of matter and anti-matter electrons moving at half the speed of light. This little neutron star, some 6,500 light-years away, has been doing this energetic pirouette for the past thousand years, and, undisturbed, will likely continue to do so for billions of years more. One thing I always want to take away from time spent looking at Hubble images: the Universe is a very dynamic place, even if it can often appear static due to vast distances and scales.
The spectacular structure of Planetary nebula NGC 2818 contains the outer layers of a star that were expelled into interstellar space. The glowing gaseous shrouds in the nebula were shed by the central star after it ran out of fuel to sustain the nuclear reactions in its core. This Hubble image was taken in November 2008 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The colors in the image represent a range of emissions coming from the clouds of the nebula: red represents nitrogen, green represents hydrogen, and blue represents oxygen.
This composite color infrared image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy reveals a new population of massive stars and new details in complex structures in the hot ionized gas swirling around the central 300 light-years. This view combines the sharp imaging of the Hubble Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) with color imagery from a previous Spitzer Space Telescope survey to make the sharpest infrared picture ever made of the Galactic core. The core is obscured in visible light by intervening dust clouds, but infrared light penetrates the dust. At this distance - 26,000 light-years away - Hubble reveals details in objects as small as 20 times the size of our own solar system.
On February 24, 2009, the Hubble Space Telescope took a photo of four moons of Saturn passing in front of their parent planet. In this view, the giant orange moon Titan casts a large shadow onto Saturn's north polar hood. Below Titan, near the ring plane and to the left is the moon Mimas, casting a much smaller shadow onto Saturn's equatorial cloud tops. Farther to the left, and off Saturn's disk, are the bright moon Dione and the fainter moon Enceladus. These pictures were taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 when Saturn was at a distance of roughly 1.25 billion km (775 million mi) from Earth.
UGC 8335 is a strongly interacting pair of spiral galaxies. The interaction has united the galaxies via a bridge of material and has yanked two strongly curved tails of gas and stars from the outer parts of their bodies . Both galaxies show dust lanes in their centers. UGC 8335 is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, about 400 million light-years from Earth. It is the 238th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope caught scattered light from the Boomerang Nebula in images taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in early 2005. This reflecting cloud of dust and gas has two nearly symmetric lobes of matter that are being ejected from a central star. Each lobe of the nebula is nearly one light-year in length, making the total length of the nebula half as long as the distance from our Sun to our nearest neighbors - the alpha Centauri stellar system, located roughly 4 light-years away. The Boomerang Nebula resides 5,000 light-years from Earth. Hubble's sharp view is able to resolve patterns and ripples in the nebula very close to the central star that are not visible from the ground.
Stars burst to life in the chaotic Carina Nebula in this image of a huge pillar taken in visible and in infrared light by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Composed of gas and dust, the nebula resides 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. This image, taken in visible light, shows the tip of the 3-light-year-long pillar, bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure. Nestled inside this dense structure are fledgling stars. They cannot be seen in this image because they are hidden by a wall of gas and dust. Although the stars themselves are invisible, one of them is providing evidence of its existence. Thin puffs of material can be seen traveling to the left and to the right of a dark notch in the center of the pillar. The matter is part of a jet produced by a young star. Farther away, on the left, the jet is visible as a grouping of small, wispy clouds. A few small clouds are visible at a similar distance on the right side of the jet. Astronomers estimate that the jet is moving at speeds of up to 850,000 miles an hour. The jet's total length is about 10 light-years.
VV 705, or Markarian 848, consists of two galaxies that seem to be embracing each other. Two long, highly curved arms of gas and stars emerge from a central region with two cores. One arm, curving clockwise, stretches to the top of the image where it makes a U-turn and interlocks with the other arm that curves up counter-clockwise from below. The two cores are 16,000 light-years apart. The pair is thought to be midway through a merger. Markarian 848 is located in the constellation of Bootes, the Bear Watcher, and is approximately 550 million light-years away from Earth.
The core of the spectacular globular cluster Omega Centauri glitters with the combined light of 2 million stars. The entire cluster contains 10 million stars, and is among the biggest and most massive of some 200 globular clusters orbiting the Milky Way Galaxy. Omega Centauri lies 17,000 light-years from Earth. Image acquired in June of 2002.
Messier 104 (M104), the Sombrero galaxy. has a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth. X-ray emission suggests that there is material falling into the compact core, where a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole resides. In the 19th century, some astronomers speculated that M104 was simply an edge-on disk of luminous gas surrounding a young star, which is prototypical of the genesis of our solar system. But in 1912, astronomer V. M. Slipher discovered that the hat-like object appeared to be rushing away from us at 700 miles per second. This enormous velocity offered some of the earliest clues that the Sombrero was really another galaxy, and that the universe was expanding in all directions.
The Hubble Space Telescope caught the eerie, wispy tendrils of a dark interstellar cloud being destroyed by the passage of one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Like a flashlight beam shining off the wall of a cave, the star is reflecting light off the surface of pitch black clouds of cold gas laced with dust. These are called reflection nebulae.
What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour - fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes! A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed by NASA astronauts in May 2009, snapped this image of the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302, which lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. The glowing gas is the star's outer layers, expelled over about 2,200 years. NGC 6302 was imaged on July 27, 2009, with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 in ultraviolet and visible light. Filters that isolate emissions from oxygen, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur from the planetary nebula were used to create this composite image.
An international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a ghostly ring of dark matter that was formed long ago during a titanic collision between two massive galaxy clusters. It is the first time that a dark matter distribution has been found that differs substantially from the distribution of ordinary matter. This image shows the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17 (ZwCl 0024+1652) as seen by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The image displays faint faraway background galaxies that had their light bent by the cluster's strong gravitational field. By mapping the distorted light and using it to deduce how dark matter is distributed in the cluster, astronomers spotted the ring of dark matter. One of the background galaxies is located about two times further away than the yellow cluster galaxies in the foreground, and has been multiple-imaged into five separate arc-shaped components, seen in blue.
The planetary nebula, IC 4593, lies in the northern constellation Hercules, about 7,000 light-years away from Earth. Its colorful, intricate shape reveals how the glowing gas ejected by a dying Sun-like star evolved dramatically over time. Over thousands of years, the clouds of gas expand away and the nebula becomes larger. Energetic ultraviolet light from the star penetrates more deeply into the gas, causing the hydrogen and oxygen to glow more prominently. This snapshot was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in February 2007.
A peculiar system of interacting galaxies known as Arp 194 contains several galaxies, along with a "cosmic fountain" of stars, gas, and dust that stretches over 100,000 light-years. The northern (left) component of Arp 194 appears as a haphazard collection of dusty spiral arms, bright blue star-forming regions, and at least two galaxy nuclei that appear to be connected and in the early stages of merging. A third, relatively normal, spiral galaxy appears off to the right. The southern (lower) component of the galaxy group contains a single large spiral galaxy with its own blue star-forming regions. However, the most striking feature of this galaxy troupe is the impressive blue stream of material extending from the northern component. This "fountain" contains complexes of super star clusters, each one of which may contain dozens of individual young star clusters. The blue color is produced by the hot, massive stars which dominate the light in each cluster. Overall, the "fountain" contains many millions of stars. These young star clusters probably formed as a result of the interactions between the galaxies in the northern component of Arp 194. The compression of gas involved in galaxy interactions can enhance the star-formation rate and give rise to brilliant bursts of star formation in merging systems. Arp 194, located in the constellation Cepheus, resides approximately 600 million light-years away from Earth.