Einstein Emoji, A Tsunami Of Stars, And More

Our 10 favorite images of the week

Ready To Gaze

The James Webb space telescope took NASA 20 years to build. But the long wait is finally over. The new telescope, which is about twice the size of the Hubble, will enable scientists to see galaxies born just after the Big Bang. The telescope will launch in 2018.

Recovery Practice

The launch is crucial to any space mission, but just as vital are the landing and recovery, which ensure astronauts’ safe return to Earth. This week, U.S. Navy divers, along with NASA engineers, brought the Orion space capsule out into the ocean off the coast of California to practice getting the crew and capsule safely back to shore. Orion is designed for long-duration space missions, including trips to Mars, and will splash down in the ocean at the end of its journeys.

A Drill For Squares

Sometimes, you just need to make a square hole in your wall. When that happens, you usually don’t have the proper tools and wind up creating a perhaps less than perfect square. The Quadsaw is a new tool that cuts perfect squares and rectangles. However, the shapes are all preset sizes and they can’t cut through anything tougher than plasterboard. If that works for you, it can be had for $219.

Falling Egg Rock

NASA’s Curiosity Rover, which is currently tooling around Mars, happened upon this object, shown above, that NASA scientists nicknamed Egg Rock. Upon closer examination, researchers determined the sunny-side up rock is an iron-nickel meteorite that fell from the Martian sky. Iron meteorites’ compositions allow researchers to determine how old they are. They think ‘Egg Rock’ may have fallen to the surface millions of years ago.

Eyes In The Skies

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) captured images showing masses of stars and gases colliding together and creating what looks like a pair of eyes. Only a few of these types of curved eyelid formations exist (that we know of). Researchers published their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

Talk Einstein To Me

As of this week, you can officially text in Einstein emoji. Those in charge of the late physicist’s estate teamed up with emoji company Moji to create an app with the full series of Einstein emoji. We have the exclusive here.

Up Close And In Color

Electron microscopes are capable of magnifying objects, like cells, by up to 10 million times, but what they saw was always in black and white. This week, reporting in the journal Cell Chemical Biology, researchers show that they can now see these images in three colors: red, green, and yellow. This will enable minute details to be more easily identified. The researchers hope more colors will follow soon. H/T Science Magazine

Go Cubs!

In honor of the Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series victory this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted this picture on its Twitter account. The Cubs’ victory against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night ended a 108-year streak of absence from the World Series games. (This author is a Yankees fan, to be clear, but is still very happy for the Cubs and its loyal fans.)

Birthday Buddies

Seen in the image above is a star cluster called NGC 299, which exists around 200,000 light-years away from us. This one in particular is an open star cluster which means that the stars all formed from the same gigantic cloud of gas and dust and are now weakly bound by gravity. The stars also formed at around the same time, so this ginormous cluster of twins provides researchers with a unique way to study the lifespan of all stars.

A Homeless Black Hole

Normally, supermassive black holes sit at the heart of galaxies, feasting on stars and gas and other delicious astronomical meals. But B3 1715+425 is a black hole on the run. Scientists think that a galactic merger ejected this black hole out of its galaxy a long time ago, and it’s now zooming through space at 1,200 miles per second.
Claire Maldarelli

Claire Maldarelliis the Science Editor at Popular Science. She has a particular interest in brain science, the microbiome, and human physiology. In addition to Popular Science, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Scholastic’s Science World and Super Science magazines, among others. She has a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in science journalism from New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. Contact the author here.