Something odd is happening inside Saturn

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Something Weird Is Going On Inside Saturn


We may have found water on Mars, but something far stranger is happening inside Saturn.

Astronomers have noticed unusual movement in Saturn's rings. Here's the discovery in layman's terms: Generally, the ice and rocks that make up the rings travel outwards because of the gravitational pull -- but for some reason the debris seems to be moving towards the center of planet, leading scientists to believe something is moving deep within the gas giant. The astronomers speculate an object far beneath the surface is spinning at a speed of one rotation every seven hours.

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Saturn and moons
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Something odd is happening inside Saturn
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Space Science Institute)
This image provided by NASA shows Saturn's moon Enceladus is seen here as a white disk across the unilluminated side of Saturn's rings (black and white stripes across the bottom of the image). This image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 27, 2007. "Saturn's A-ring and Enceladus are separated by 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles), yet there’s a physical connection between the two," says Dr. William Farrell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Prior to Cassini, it was believed that the two bodies were separate and distinct entities, but Cassini’s unique observations indicate that Enceladus is actually delivering a portion of its mass directly to the outer edge of the A-ring." (AP Photo/NASA)
An image provided by NASA of Saturn's moon Enceladus was made by the Casini spacecraft during a fly-by on Aug. 11, 2008. This false-color mosaic combines Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) narrow-angle camera images obtained through ultraviolet, green, and near-infrared camera filters. Areas that are greenish in appearance are believed to represent deposits of coarser grained ice and solid boulders that are too small to be seen at this scale. The whitish deposits represent finer grained ice. The mosaic shows that coarse-grained and solid ice are concentrated along valley floors and walls, as well as along the upraised flanks of the “tiger stripe” fractures. (AP Photo/NASA)
This illustration provided by NASA and based on Cassini spacecraft measurements shows the possible interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus - an icy outer shell and a low density, rocky core with a regional water ocean sandwiched in between the two at southern latitudes. Plumes of water vapor and ice, first detected in 2005, are depicted in the south polar region. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Caltech)
AP10ThingsToSee - This July 29, 2013 image provided by NASA shows that Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission. This view looks toward the non-illuminated side of the rings from about 44 degrees below the ring plane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This Oct. 7, 2013 image provided by NASA shows the hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was able to peer through the haze and spot lakes made up of hydrocarbons. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 809,000 miles (1.303 million kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This June 16, 2011 photo provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute shows Saturn's largest and second largest moons, Titan and Rhea, appearing to be stacked on top of each other in this true-color scene from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The images were taken using red, green and blue spectral filters that were combined to create this natural-color view. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
CORRECTS YEAR TO 2013 INSTEAD OF 2011 - This July 29, 2013 image provided by NASA shows that Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission. This view looks toward the non-illuminated side of the rings from about 44 degrees below the ring plane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This image provided by NASA of Saturn's moon Enceladus was made by the Casini spacecraft during a fly-by on Aug. 11, 2008. This false-color mosaic combines Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) narrow-angle camera images obtained through ultraviolet, green, and near-infrared camera filters. Areas that are greenish in appearance are believed to represent deposits of coarser grained ice and solid boulders that are too small to be seen at this scale. The whitish deposits represent finer grained ice. The mosaic shows that coarse-grained and solid ice are concentrated along valley floors and walls, as well as along the upraised flanks of the ?tiger stripe? fractures. Every new discovery makes it seem more likely that we are not alone. The case for some kind alien life somewhere else in the universe is steadily building. In the past few days, scientists have revealed there are three times as many stars as they previously thought and that a bacteria can live on arsenic, expanding our understanding of how life can thrive under the harshest and strangest environments. Those came on the heels of the first discovery of a potentially habitable planet. (AP Photo/NASA)
AP10ThingsToSee - In this natural color mosaic image provided by NASA on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013, Saturn eclipses the Sun as seen by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013. This image spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI, File)
This photo provided by NASA Friday Nov. 22, 2013, shows a collage that includes about 1,600 images submitted by members of the public as part of the NASA Cassini mission's "Wave at Saturn" campaign. On July 19, 2013, Cassini maneuvered into a special location to take a picture of the Saturn system backlit by the sun. Blocking out the sun's rays also enabled Cassini to take a picture of Earth, which would normally require looking almost directly at the sun and risking damage to the cameras' sensitive detectors. The "Wave at Saturn" event was the first to tell earthlings in advance that their picture was being taken from interplanetary distances. This collage uses as a base image the backlit mosaic that was obtained on that same day, July 19, 2013, by the imaging cameras aboard Cassini. (AP Photo/NASA\JPL)
In this image provided by NASA Tuesday Dec. 18, 2012 NASA's Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn's shadow. The cameras were turned toward Saturn and the sun so that the planet and rings are backlit. In addition to the visual splendor, this special, very-high-phase viewing geometry lets scientists study ring and atmosphere phenomena not easily seen at a lower phase. (AP Photo/NASA)
ADDS DROPPED WORDS IN SECOND SENTENCE--An image provided by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon Titan passing in front of the giant planet in an image made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The natural color view of Saturn and one of it's moons was made by Cassini's wide-angle camera on May 6, 2012 and released by NASA on Wednesday Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA)
This July 19, 2013 image from the Cassini spacecraft provided NASA shows the planet Earth, annotated by NASA with a white arrow, lower right, below Saturn's rings. The image is only one footprint in a mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system, including Saturn itself. At each footprint, images were taken in different spectral filters for a total of 323 images: some were taken for scientific purposes and some to produce a natural color mosaic. This is the only wide-angle footprint that has the Earth-moon system in it. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This image provided by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon Titan. A new study being released on Thursday, June 14,2012 suggests the presence of a hydrocarbon lake and several ponds near the equator of Titan, a surprise to scientists who thought lakes only existed at the poles. (AP Photo/NASA)
NASA's Cassini spacecraft obtained this unprocessed image on Dec. 12, 2011. The camera was pointing toward Saturn's moon Dione from approximately 69,989 miles (112,636 kilometers) away. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its closest-ever pass over Saturn’s moon Dione on Monday, Dec. 12, slaloming its way through the Saturn system on its way to tomorrow’s close flyby of Titan. (AP Photo/NASA)
This undated true color image by the Cassini spacecraft released by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon, Titan, passing in front of the planet and its rings. A new study released Thursday, June 28, 2012 suggests there may be an ocean below Titan's frigid surface. (AP Photo/NASA)
This Oct. 6, 2004 photo provided by NASA, taken by the Cassini Saturn Probe, shows the planet Saturn and its rings. One of the most evocative mysteries of the solar system, where Saturn got its stunning rings, may actually be a case of cosmic murder with an unnamed moon of Saturn, that disappeared about 4.5 billion years ago, as the potential victim. Suspicion has fallen on a disk of hydrogen gas, that surrounded Saturn when its dozens of moons were forming, but has now fled the scene. And the cause of death? A possible forced plunge into Saturn. (AP Photo/NASA)
This false-color composite image provided by NASA, constructed from data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the glow of auroras streaking out about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the cloud tops of Saturn's south polar region. It is among the first images released from a study that identifies images showing auroral emissions out of the entire catalogue of images taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer. (AP Photo/NASA)
This image provided by NASA shows a Saturn image taken on Dec. 24, 2010 by the Cassini camera showing a storm, upper center, covering an area similar to that from London to Cape Town.(AP Photo/NASA)
A photo provided by NASA shows an image made February 24, 2009, by the Hubble Space Telescope 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. The banded structure in Saturn's atmosphere is similar to Jupiter's. The dark band running across the face of the planet slightly above the rings is the shadow of the rings cast on the planet. (AP Photo/NASA)
This image provided by NASA is a Hubble Space Telescope close-up view of Saturn's disk captures the transit of several moons across the face of the gas giant planet. The giant orange moon Titan – larger than the planet Mercury – can be seen at upper right. The white icy moons close to the ring plane are, from left,Enceladus, Dione, and Mimas, at right edge of the plaent. The dark band running across the face of the planet slightly above the rings is the shadow of the rings cast on the planet. The dark dots as the shadows cast by Enceladus and Dione. (AP Photo/NASA)
This photo provided by NASA shows water vapor jets, emitted from the southern polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Caltec, Space Science Institute)
This Nov. 27, 2005 photo provided by NASA shows Saturn's moon Enceladus, as seen from the Cassini orbiter. Scientists have found new evidence that one of Saturn's moons has an ocean beneath its surface. That's important because liquid water is a key ingredient for life. The blue color was added by NASA for dramatic effect. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)
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Scientists hope by studying the movement of the rings, they'll be able to determine what's going on inside the planet.

"Even dropping a probe into the atmosphere would not necessarily help a lot, because the probe will only get down to a pressure of five or 10 atmospheres before it gets cooked or squashed,"the planetary scientist leading the analysis told Space.com. "We need to go much deeper to understand this."

Most scientists believed Saturn was pretty uniform, but they're learning it's actually a much more complicated planet.

Can't get enough space? Check out these pics from NASA:

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Cool NASA pics
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Something odd is happening inside Saturn
First images captured of Pluto's moons by New Horizons probe in 2015. 
Of all the planets NASA has explored, none have matched the dynamic complexity of our own. Earth is constantly changing, and NASA are working constantly to explore and understand the planet on scales from local to global. This time-lapse shows a composite for the eastern hemisphere from January 18 to July 25, 2014. Subtle changes in the snow and vegetation cover of the land vie for attention with a dynamic, swirling layer of clouds that are constantly present and constantly moving. Read more at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84214&src=youtube
This image shows the VIIRS composite for the eastern hemisphere on March 30, 2014.
In this photo provided by NASA, a perigee full moon or supermoon is seen over the the Peace Monument on the grounds of the United States Capitol, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)
This TV image provided by NASA-TV shows the Orbital Sciences Cygnus resupply cargo vehicle, now full of trash for disposal, released from the International Space Statioin early Friday morning Aug. 15, 2014 near the southwest coast of Africa. (AP Photo/NASA)

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 24 May 2014

"Hubble Sees Flickering Light Display on Saturn - Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured new images of the dancing auroral lights at Saturn’s north pole. Taken from Hubble’s perspective in orbit around the Earth, these images provide a detailed look at Saturn’s stormy aurorae — revealing previously unseen dynamics in the choreography of the auroral glow. The cause of the changing patterns in Saturn's aurorae is an ongoing mystery in planetary science. These ultraviolet images, taken by Hubble’s super-sensitive Advanced Camera for Surveys, add new insight by capturing moments when Saturn’s magnetic field is affected by bursts of particles streaming out from the sun."

Image Credit: European Space Agency

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 1 June 2014

"This image shot by astronauts aboard the International Space Station is a striking view of Sarychev volcano (Russia's Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain and is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island."
 

Image Credit: NASA

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 6 June 2014

"Astronaut Reid Wiseman, aboard the International Space Station, shared this image on Twitter on Friday, June 6, 2014 wishing everyone a great weekend. He shared that this image shows 'Trinidad and Tobago in the evening sun.'

Image Credit: NASA

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 8 May 2014 

"It's a small world! The phrase "encircling the Earth" has a double entendre flavor to it in this picture showing all six Expedition 39 crew members in the Kibo module around a globe while actually orbiting the "real thing" aboard the International Space Station. Clockwise from his position are Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Tyurin of Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos."

Image Credit: NASA

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 11 June 2014

"An adult osprey returns home to its nest built on a platform in a parking lot at our Kennedy Space Center, carrying a fish in its talons. In the background is the 12,300-square-foot NASA logo painted on the side of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)."

Image Credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 10 June 2014

"The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:42 a.m. EDT on June 10, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory – which typically observes the entire sun 24 hours a day -- captured images of the flare. It is seen bursting off the left limb of the sun in this image captured by SDO and is shown in a blend of two wavelengths of light: 171 and 131 angstroms, colorized in gold and red, respectively."

Image Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard/Wiessinger

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 30 May 2014

"Violent Birth Announcement from an Infant Star - This Hubble image shows IRAS 14568-6304, a young star that is cloaked in a haze of golden gas and dust. It appears to be embedded within an intriguing swoosh of dark sky, which curves through the image and obscures the sky behind."

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Acknowledgements: R. Sahai, NASA JPL/ Serge Meunier

 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 29 May 2014

"The 'Serpent' Star-forming Cloud Hatches New Stars - Within the swaddling dust of the Serpens Cloud Core, astronomers are studying one of the youngest collections of stars ever seen in our galaxy."

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS

 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 11 May 2014

"IceBridge Concludes Arctic Field Campaign - Researchers with our Operation IceBridge have completed another successful Arctic field campaign. On May 23, NASA's P-3 research aircraft left Thule Air Base, Greenland, and returned to Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia marking the end of 11 weeks of polar research." This image is a view of mountains and sea ice near Thule Air Base, Greenland, from the NASA P-3 on May 6, 2014."

Image Credit: NASA/Michael

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 14 May 2014

"Landing time! The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, May 14, 2014."


Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 5 May 2104

"Here's what happens when galaxies collide - as seen by our Chandra X-Ray Observatory: M51 is a spiral galaxy, about 30 million light years away, that is in the process of merging with a smaller galaxy seen to its upper left. This image is part of a "quartet of galaxies" collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of NASA missions."
 
Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Detlef Hartmann; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech 
 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 19 April 2014

"Researchers were greatly surprised to discover 3-million-year-old landscape beneath Greenland Ice Sheet! The finding provides strong evidence that the Greenland Ice Sheet has persisted much longer than previously known, enduring through many past periods of global warming."
 
Image Credit: Joshua Brown, University of Vermont 
 
 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 16 April 2014

"The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station. The steep walls of the Colorado River canyon and its many side canyons make an intricate landscape that contrasts with the dark green, forested plateau to the north and south. "
 
Image Credit: NASA 
 
 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 16 April 2014

"Eclipse! From open prairie land on the 1625-acre Johnson Space Center site, one of our photographers took this multi-frame composite image of the so-called "Blood Moon" lunar eclipse in the early hours of April 15. During these rare events, the full moon rapidly darkens and then glows red as it enters the Earth's shadow."
 
Image Credit: NASA 

 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 26 March 2014

"Off into Space! This long exposure photograph shows the flight path of the Soyuz TMA-12M rocket as it launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan yesterday. The rocket carried Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos to the International Space Station."
 
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

 
 

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 2 March 2014

"Tonight, #Gravity is up for awards at the#Oscars2014 & we're sharing #RealGravity images from living & working in space. First up is this stunning picture where the bright sun greets the International Space Station in this Nov. 22, 2009 scene from the Russian section of the orbital outpost."

Image Credit: NASA

 

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 2 February 2014

"This view of the Crab Nebula in visible light comes from the Hubble Space Telescope and spans 12 light-years. The supernova remnant, located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, is among the best-studied objects in the sky."
 
Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ASU/J. Hester 
 

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 24 January 2014

"Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy donned their Russian Orlan spacesuits for a "dry run" dress rehearsal to test the suits in advance of Monday's spacewalk to reinstall a pair of cameras as part of a commercial endeavor between a Canadian firm and the Russian Federal Space Agency. The cameras will be used to downlink Earth imagery to Internet-based subscribers. The two cosmonauts also plan to retrieve an experiment package housed on the Zvezda service module's hull."
 
Image Credit: NASA

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 31 December 2013

"Quiet Corona and Upper Transition Region of the Sun: This image, taken on Dec. 31, 2013 by the AIA instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) at 171 Angstrom, shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun on the last day of 2013."

Image Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 27 December 2013

"On Dec. 24, 2013, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, participates in the second of two U.S. spacewalks, spread over a four-day period, which were designed to allow the crew to change out a faulty water pump on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. He was joined on both spacewalks by NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, whose image shows up in Hopkins' helmet visor."

Image Credit: NASA

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 22 May 2014

"On Earth Day this year, NASA asked people all around the world a simple question - "Where are you on Earth Right Now?"We asked people to answer the question on social media, with a selfie. The goal was to use each picture as a pixel in the creation of a "Global Selfie" - a mosaic image that would look like Earth appeared from space on Earth Day. The mosaic was made with 36,422 individual images that were posted to social media sites on or around Earth Day, April 22, 2014."
 
Image Credit: NASA

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 2 March 2014

"A crescent moon and Earth's horizon are featured in this nighttime image photographed by an Expedition 40 crew member on the International Space Station. Over the weekend, the station’s residents will have some free time to relax, speak with family members back on Earth and take care of weekly housekeeping chores. They’ll also have a chance to catch up on the action at the World Cup 2014 games in Brazil."

Image Credit: NASA
 

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 15 June 2014

"Our scientists have created a new recipe that captures key flavors of the brownish-orange atmosphere around Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. The recipe is used for lab experiments designed to simulate Titan’s chemistry." This Cassini image from 2012 shows Titan and its parent planet Saturn."

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 16 June 2014

"Cracks in Pluto's Moon Could Indicate it Once Had an Underground Ocean: If the icy surface of Pluto's giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new NASA-funded study."

Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

 

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 26 May 2014

"All-American Salute - Astronaut John W. Young, commander of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, leaps from the lunar surface as he salutes the United States flag at the Descartes landing site during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity. Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, took this picture."

Image Credit: NASA

Posted on NASA's Instagram on 9 May 2014

"Spacewalk Training in the Pool! In November 2012, astronaut Reid Wiseman attired in training versions of their spacesuits, submerged in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near Johnson Space Center in Houston."

Image Credit: NASA 

Posted to NASA's Instagram on 13 June 2014

"Hubble Eyes Golden Rings of Star Formation Taking center stage in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is a galaxy known as NGC 3081, set against an assortment of glittering galaxies in the distance. Located in the constellation of Hydra (The Sea Serpent), NGC 3081 is located over 86 million light-years from us."

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; acknowledgement: R. Buta (University of Alabama)

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