Feast your eyes on astronomical images from NASA that inspired (and are inspired by) the "Cosmos" TV series.
A new 'Cosmos' has made its way to television, 34 years after astronomer Carl Sagan hosted the original series. NASA is paying tribute to the TV revival by sharing pictures from robotic explores of the cosmos. This is an image from the Cassini orbiter, showing the moon Titan peeking from behind two of Saturn's rings. Small, battered Epimetheus, another of Saturn's 62 moons, appears just above the rings.
NASA's Swift satellite captured this high-resolution, ultraviolet view of the Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31. The mosaic of M31 merges 330 individual images taken by Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope, spanning an area 200,000 light-years wide.
The Cat's Eye Nebula, one of the first planetary nebulae discovered, also has one of the most complex forms known to this kind of nebula. Eleven rings, or shells, of gas surround the nebula's central star, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope caught Jupiter's moon Ganymede playing a game of peekaboo. The solar system's biggest moon is shown just before it ducked behind the solar system's biggest planet. Ice-covered Ganymede completes an orbit around Jupiter every seven days.
The Hubble Space Telescope reveals a majestic disk of stars and dust lanes in this view of the spiral galaxy NGC 2841, 46 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. A bright cusp of starlight marks the galaxy's center. Spiraling outward are dust lanes that are silhouetted against the population of whitish middle-aged stars. Much younger blue stars trace the spiral arms.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this full-disk view of the sun with a long filament of solar material erupting from the 8 o'clock position. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled outward at more than 900 miles per second. The outburst did not travel directly toward Earth, but it did cause heightened auroral displays.
This image of Asia and Australia at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by NASA's Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The nighttime readings were mapped over existing "Blue Marble" imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.
Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to photograph the iconic Horsehead Nebula in infrared wavelengths. The clouds of gas and dust look like a dark horse's head when seen in optical wavelengths, but they appear transparent and ethereal when seen in the infrared.
This spectacular false-color image from NASA's Cassini orbiter highlights the storm system at Saturn's north pole. The angry eye of a hurricane-like storm appears dark red, while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green. Low-lying clouds circling inside the hexagonal feature appear as muted orange color. A second, smaller vortex pops out in teal at the lower right of the image. The rings of Saturn appear in vivid blue at the top right.
A dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula is formed in a composite image that incorporates visible-light observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and infrared data from the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. A stylized view of the Ring Nebula serves as an icon for the new "Cosmos" TV series, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
At Carl Sagan's urging, NASA's Voyager 1 probe captured a picture of Earth as a "pale blue dot" during its journey through the solar system, back in 1990. In this 2013 picture from NASA's Cassini probe, Earth once again twinkles as a pale blue dot to the right of Saturn, beneath the rings.