This image and previous, in 1995, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft sent a probe hurtling into Jupiter’s atmosphere. Among other experiments, the probe measured the abundance there of deuterium, hydrogen with an extra neutron. This measurement confirmed the prediction of the Big Bang theory that the universe was once so hot everywhere that deuterium could be formed by nuclear fusion. All images © American Museum of Natural History.
This image shows the expansion of space. The faster that galaxies recede, the redder the motion vector, symbolising a phenomenon known as red shift, in which light from objects moving away from an observer appears to be stretched out to longer, redder wavelengths.
The European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope recently completed the most detailed all-sky map of the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow of the Big Bang emitted when the early universe was as hot as the surface of the sun.
Dark matter is an invisible material that neither emits nor absorbs light but betrays its presence by interacting gravitationally with visible matter. This image shows the distribution of dark matter in the universe, as simulated with a novel, high-resolution algorithm.