Hubble Spies Dying Star’s Final ‘Moments’

In the quarter-century that it’s been eyeing the cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope has taken some pretty spectacular photos. But few are as dramatic as a new image (above) of what the space agency termed “a dying star’s final moments.”

In more down-to-Earth terms, the image shows NGC 6565, a planetary nebula in the constellation Sagittarius. Planetary nebulas are glowing shells of gas given off by old stars at the end of their lives.

And the term “moments” is perhaps a bit of a stretch, as the star’s death is unfolding over a period that will last tens of thousands of years. At the end of that span of time, the star’s light will fall off dramatically and the nebula will fade from view.

For now, enjoy!

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Curiosity Discovers Mars Rock Like None Before, Sets Drill Campaign

Curiosity conducts test drill at “Buckskin” rock target at bright toned “Lion” outcrop on the lower region of Mount Sharp on Mars, seen at right.   Gale crater rim seen in the distant background at left, in this composite mosaic of navcam raw images taken to Sol 1059, July 30, 2015.  Navcam camera raw images stitched. Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

Curiosity conducts test drill at “Buckskin” rock target at bright toned “Lion” outcrop on the lower region of Mount Sharp on Mars, seen at right. Gale crater rim seen in the distant background at left, in this composite mosaic of navcam raw images taken to Sol 1059, July 30, 2015. Navcam camera raw images stitched. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

On the eve of the 3rd anniversary since her nail biting touchdown inside Gale Crater, NASA’s car sized Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover has discovered a new type of Martian rock that’s surprisingly rich in silica – and unlike any other targets found before.

Excited by this new science finding, Curiosity’s handlers are now gearing the robot up for her next full drill campaign today, July 31 (Sol 1060) into a rock target called (…)
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Honoring the Men and Women Who are at the Frontlines of Conservation

Being an ecoguard at Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is dangerous work, but it is regarded as a critical job. Elephant poaching remains a major issue in the Republic of Congo.  Photo by Emma Stokes ©WCS.

By Emma Stokes

On World Ranger Day, we laud the men and women who risk their lives to protect wildlife and wild places around the world.

Park rangers, also known as ecoguards in some parts of the world such as Central Africa, are often the sole representatives of the law when civil strife breaks out in remote, wild areas throughout the world. The men and women on the frontlines of conservation know the land and the people and serve as the eyes and ears for all who are invested in the protection of species threatened by poaching today.

Being an ecoguard at Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is dangerous work, but it is regarded as a critical job. Elephant poaching remains a major issue in the Republic of Congo. Photo by Emma Stokes ©WCS.


As they patrol an area on foot – sometimes for days or weeks – ecoguards look for signs of poachers including hunting camps, gun cartridges and wildlife carcasses. They also deduce how recently a poaching incident may have occurred—a crucial step for catching up with offenders and making arrests. Their work is not only important in helping catch poachers but also in maintaining a strong presence in important wildlife areas – thus acting as a strong deterrent to would-be offenders.

Since WCS (the Wildlife Conservation Society, where I work as a conservation scientist), and the Republic of Congo signed a public-private partnership agreement on the management of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park last year, the number of ecoguards in the park has increased fivefold: we now have close to 80 rangers here.

Being an ecoguard at Nouabalé-Ndoki is dangerous work, but it is regarded as a critical job. The park is one of the most important remaining strongholds for gorillas and forest elephants in Central Africa and it’s one of the region’s most intact —> Read More

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