See The Surprising Reason Why This 1,500-Pound Silverback Gorilla Walked Out to Stop Traffic

Humans may have spread far and wide around the world, but that doesn’t mean they are the rulers of the jungle. Just ask the silverback gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gordon Buchanan was filming with the BBC when he spotted a rare silverback gorilla in its natural habitat. Buchanan noticed the gorilla alongside the bushes, scanning the scene on a very busy road.

Buchanan instantly knew something was up when he saw a truck riding down the dirt road. The gorilla was watching from the side, with a tense look on his face. For the next 20 minutes, the trucks continued to go down the road and the gorilla made no sign of moving.

Silverback Gorilla
Source: YouTube/BBC Earth

Buchanan couldn’t figure out what the silverback was waiting for and had his crew step into the road to get a better view. With the crew in the road, they were able to stop traffic and quickly got the answer they were looking for.

Once the trucks were out of sight, the 1,500-pound silverback walked into the roadway to make sure everything was clear. Once the silverback was positioned in the middle of the road, his entire family appeared from behind the bushes.

Silverback Gorilla
Source: YouTube/BBC Earth

With the trucks out the way, the entire family was able to cross the busy road. The silverback had been on edge because he was worried about protecting his whole family. The silverback made sure to stand guard until the rest of his family was safe on the other side of the road.

This isn’t the first time Buchanan has encountered this family of silverback gorillas. The silverback, named Chimanuka, is thought to be about 30 years old. Chimanuka is known in the area and has a friendly reputation with the park rangers and tourists.

Silverback Gorilla
Source: YouTube/BBC Earth

Chimanuka has shown compassion for other gorillas in the community as well. When a baby gorilla was left as an orphan after its mother’s death, Chimanuka raised it like one of his own children.

Silverback gorillas are not known to be super friendly, so it was surprising to see Chimanuka in that light. Thankfully for Chimanuka’s family, he is very compassionate and loving.

Silverback Gorilla
Source: YouTube/BBC Earth

Check out Chimanuka’s caring actions while he stands guard over his whole family on a busy street below. Don’t forget to SHARE this touching video!

The post See The Surprising Reason Why This 1,500-Pound Silverback Gorilla Walked Out to Stop Traffic appeared first on Your Daily Dish.

The Tortured Deep-Focus Faces of Tournament Chess Players

In 1987, Russian grandmasters Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov faced off in Seville, Spain for the World Chess Championship. David Lloda, then a nine-year-old boy growing up the small northern town of Asturias, remembers being captivated by a newspaper photograph of the two chess geniuses. “Two grown men, playing a mysterious game, with those little figures carved in wood?” he recalls thinking. “That seemed interesting.”

A few days later, a teacher at Lloda’s school taught him the basic chess moves, sparking a lifelong passion for the game that has persisted throughout stints as a journalist, author, entrepreneur, and money manager—and, most recently, photographer. About five years ago, Lloda began traveling the world to shoot chess tournaments, who then hired him to help them get publicity.

Since then, he has photographed tournaments in London, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico City, and Shanghai, capturing intimate portraits of chess players of every age and nationality. At first, he was only allowed to take photos for the first five or ten minutes of a match, but he’s been able to convince most organizers to let him shoot for the full duration. After all, he says, “if Federer can be photographed when serving for a match point in Wimbledon, why can’t chess players players? Chess is not the only sport that demands concentration.”

Lloda has included over a hundred of his portraits in his new book The Thinkers, which was published earlier this month by Quality Chess Books. Llada’s favorite photos in the book are the ones he took of his childhood heroes, Kasparov and Karpov. He particularly liked Kasparov’s picture: “I think it captured his soul, all that energy in him.”

Although chess might not appear the most exciting sport to the average viewer, Lloda captures the game’s intensity through the often tortured faces of its players. “Only those who have played it know how tense a chess game is,” he says. “You spend five or six hours ‘fighting’ with someone, but you can’t touch him, you can’t talk, you can barely move…. All that pent-up tension can be felt by the observer, and I thought it could be captured, too.”

Space Photos of the Week: You Just Try to Snap a Pic at 100,000 MPH

Say hello to Jupiter’s south pole! The Juno spacecraft snapped this photo during its tenth orbit around the planet, all while speeding at over 100,000 miles per hour. The cyclones and storms in this image are highlighted in false color, and while they might appear lovely and small—they’re not! Some of these storms are bigger than entire continents on Earth.

What is this alien landscape? This is Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. A hotbed (coldbed, really) of alien chemistry, this moon is covered with lakes and rivers—but not like we have here on Earth. Titan is covered in lakes mixed with methane, ethane, and nitrogen, which is what we see here in this image of Titan’s second largest lake, Ligeia Mare.

Are you gobsmacked? Believe it or not, this is Jupiter, the same planet whose south pole we just flew under. In this mind-blowing photo, Jupiter’s famous bands are on full display. Textures in the cloud tops highlight the depths of the storms—some that go many miles below the upper atmosphere. Juno took this photo on December 16, during its most recent orbit.

This glittering image is of galaxy cluster Abell 1758. This massive cluster was first discovered in 1958 (hence the last two numbers in its name) and was first thought to be a single cluster—just an especially large one. It wasn’t until scientists took another look 40 years later that they realized it was actually two clusters. Each one contains hundreds of galaxies, and while they seem so quaint and illuminating in this image, these two massive clusters are just beginning to merge together.

Welcome to globular star cluster NGC 3201. From this distant vantage point, the cluster almost seems like one single star, speckled with the dust of starlight around it. The European Southern Observatory captured this photo as a part of its Digitized Sky Survey 2, an atlas of the sky that astronomers use to study the stars. We’re still so far away—let’s get a bit closer!

That’s better. Now that we’ve zoomed in on cluster NGC 3201, we can begin to make out the specks of individual stars. Clusters like these, some of the oldest known objects in the universe, contain millions of stars. This particular cluster is 16,000 light years from Earth and is so large its mass is equivalent to 254,000 times that of our sun.

It’s Hubble’s turn to spy on NCG 3201. This close up image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, appears almost as though the camera is inside the cluster of stars. We’re now close enough to see the color of stars: blue, white, and orange. Just this week, scientists using the Very Large Telescope in Chile discovered a black hole in NGC 3201—the first stellar mass black hole found in a cluster of this kind.

Vivien the Two-Toed Baby Sloth Is Ready for Her Closeup at the Pittsburgh National Aviary

baby sloth
Source: Post-Gazette.com

The Pittsburgh National Aviary welcomed the arrival of a two-toed baby sloth named Vivien on Aug. 21. A donor named her after the film star Vivien Leigh, and she is ready for her close-up.

At almost five months old, her adoring public may not be able to spend the night just yet, but visitors can ogle her during daily 12:30 p.m.feedings.

What does a baby sloth eat? Well, Vivien eats three square meals a day, each consisting of rice and sweet potato. As she gets older, she will consume fruits — who doesn’t love a good, crips apple? — and plenty of vegetables, primarily such leafy greens as romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach.

“She is curious, bright, and alert. Her lungs sound good. She has a low heart rate — 40 to 45 beats per minute — and that’s normal for sloths,” director of veterinary medicine Dr. Pilar Fish told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

baby sloth
Source: Post-Gazette.com

The Pittsburgh National Aviary mostly features birds from around the world, but they have invited other animals that share their ecosystem. Vivien is being groomed to be “an ambassador for her species” in educational programs that will bring her into close contact with the public.

Sloths are native to the rain forests of South and Central America, mostly observing the world upside down from the tops of trees.

This is an adventurous stage for Vivien. She spends most of her time climbing around in her enclosure — particularly at night as sloths are nocturnal and sleep 15 to 20 hours a day.

Two-toed sloth Valentino — named for 1920s movie star Rudolph — also lives at the aviary. Though they have yet to make each other’s acquaintance, the aviary hopes they will make a romantic match.

“We hope that one day, several years down the road, Vivien and Valentino will become parents to new sloths born at the National Aviary,” executive director Cheryl Tracy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Beginning Feb. 1, visitors to the aviary can pay $150 to get up close and personal with Vivien. They can even sign up to take selfies during a 30-minute private encounter.

Hopefully this sleepy baby sloth will stay awake! Don’t forget to SHARE this story with people who love adorable baby mammals.

(H/T Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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Space Photos of the Week: Home Is Where the Supermassive Black Hole Is

Here we see a supermassive black hole “burping” material out into space. Yes, that is the technical turn NASA is using. Black holes are usually dormant until an object gets close. In this case, a galaxy got a bit too cozy with a supermassive black hole named J1354. As the black hole devours its galactic meal, it “burps” out, or ejects, strings of stars and gas.

When comets fly in from the depths of outer space, they swing around the sun and begin their journey back out again. But as this happens, their icy bodies and tails begin to melt, slowing them down. Now, astronomers have captured the fastest comet slow down yet. Comet 41p slowed more than 10 times its speed in just 60 days, a first in the comet records.

You might need sunglasses to look at this picture. Stars, stars everywhere! This twinkling photo is looking towards the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Older red dwarf stars light up this image in glowing crimsons and pinks while the younger, more active stars are seen in white and blue.

Did you know that the International Space Station passes over your head every 90 minutes? While speeding around the planet at 18,000 miles per hour, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov snapped this photo of the Earth departing night and transitioning into day, a stunning sight the astronauts get see every hour and a half.

Hubble has been doing some detective work, and this image is proof. Hidden within this photo of the Orion Nebula is actually the largest collection of brown dwarf stars ever discovered. But that’s not all. While astronomers were examining the image, they also found three large planets. They’ve identified each object with a color coded circle: Red is a planet, orange is a brown dwarf, and yellow is a star.

Welcome to the center of our galaxy! This image is a visualization using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory. The image shows the Milky Way’s galactic center and activity around its core. Lighter red regions are areas of outflowing gas and shockwaves created by active stars, heating gas to millions of degrees. Scientists are also studying how these waves interact with the supermassive black hole that lives in the center of our galaxy.

The Hellish E-Waste Graveyards Where Computers Are Mined for Metal

Each year the planet generates some 50 million tons of electronic waste, ranging from batteries to mobile phones to light-up children’s toys. And although such devices may have been discarded, they’re not without value—the United Nations recently estimated the total worth of all that e-waste at $55 billion, thanks largely to the trace amounts of gold, silver, and other metals they contain. The problem, though, is getting them out.

German photographer Kai Löffelbein spent seven years documenting how those metals are extracted, often under dangerous conditions, by some of the world’s poorest people. His forthcoming book, CTRL-X: A Topography of E-Waste, contains photographs he took in Ghana, China, and India, where much of the world’s e-waste ends up. (This despite the 1989 Basel Convention, an international treaty intended to reduce the transfer of e-waste from developed countries to developing ones.)

“As a photographer, you’re surrounded by so much stuff,” Löffelbein says. “I own several computers, a laptop, many cameras. I started to ask myself where all that stuff would end up.”

To answer that question, Löffelbein first traveled to Accra, the capital of Ghana and home to Agbogbloshie, the world’s largest e-dump, where about 700 people—including children as young as 12—make a living by scavenging for electronics. “It was described to me as the gates of hell,” the photographer recalls. “And that’s what it was.” He found some of the youngest children tossing copper cables into fires to burn off their rubber coating, sending plumes of noxious black smoke into the already polluted air.

The photographer witnessed other workers using stones to break open electrical devices. One of his favorite photographs is of a boy in a Barcelona soccer jersey hoisting the skeleton of a television above his head like a trophy against a background of billowing black smoke.

Löffelbein next visited the Chinese city of Guiyu, home to a lucrative and efficient e-waste industry. Here, broken devices are disassembled in small workshops or janky warehouses. In one photograph, two women sit at work desks, an enormous pile of extracted circuit boards between them. China has tried to cut down on e-waste imports, but the total amount, including items discarded by its own citizens, doubled between 2010 and 2015. Because of the air, soil, and water pollution generated by all that e-waste, officials in Guiyu try to keep the city’s scavenging industry under wraps, an effort that lead to Löffelbein being detained by local police.

Of all the locations he visited, Löffelbein found the air pollution worst outside of New Delhi, where there’s an entire commercial district devoted to e-waste recovery, including the same kind of cable burning he saw in Accra. “That was the one time I thought it would be better to wear a gas mask, because I really felt my lungs were burning,” he says.

Löffelbein hopes governments around the world will adopt stricter environmental laws and encourage proper recycling of electronics. But the recycling industry isn’t perfect. Every year, the Seattle-based Basel Action Network hides GPS trackers in electronic devices and gives them to recycling companies or charities that say they recycle; in 2017, about a third of the devices wound up in developing countries, primarily China.

The only real solution to the rising tide of e-waste may be for consumers to give up their mania for the new new thing. “There is the iPhone 8, then there will be the iPhone 9,” Löffelbein says. “Even if our laptop has been working for six or seven years, we think it is old and we need a new one. It’s about thinking about our consumption, and how we can stop increasing it.”


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Space Photos of the Week: Juno Snatches a Shot of Jupiter’s Swirling Storms

Feast your eyes on Jupiter! This photo was taken by the Juno spacecraft currently in orbit around the gas giant, just a few weeks ago on December 16. Here, the dizzying whorls in Jupiter’s clouds are seen in unprecedented detail, as high-flying storms cast shadows onto the atmosphere below. They don’t call it the king of the planets for nothing; the scale in this image is 5.8 miles per pixel.

Scientists around the world are gearing up for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s bigger, badder successor. By using the powerful infrared instruments on the JWST, astronomers are hoping to unlock the mystery of how odd space objects form—like the brown dwarf stars in this star cluster, called NGC 133. These “failed stars” are scattered around the universe and have been intriguing astronomers since they were first discovered in 1995. Brown dwarfs are the missing puzzle piece between red dwarf stars (our sun’s ultimate fate) and gas giants like Jupiter. They begin to form like normal stars but stop before hydrogen fusion begins, a crucial step for star formation.

This is a real photo. I repeat, this is in fact a real photo of the gorgeous barred spiral galaxy NGC 1398, taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. Unlike the more traditional spiral galaxies, barred spirals like NGC 1398 have sweeping arms outside their main section, connected only by a straight band of stars (a bit hard to see in this image). Spiral galaxies like our own swirl outward from the galactic core, but barred spiral galaxies like this contain a tightly bound arm. Other galaxies like NGC 1398 have been discovered with this shape, but astronomers are still unsure how they form.

While Juno was swinging past Jupiter on December 16, asteroid 3200 Phaethon was making its closest approach to Earth, coming as close as 6.4 million miles away. Astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico captured the asteroid in the series of images seen here. Astronomers discover around 30 new near Earth asteroids every week, adding to the total 15,000 currently catalogued. Arecibo tracks them regularly because, well, no one wants to actually live out Armageddon.

This beautiful red and blue glow is a planetary nebula surrounding a dying star. When smaller stars like our own die, they don’t get a hero’s death, exploding into a supernova. Instead, they transform into what’s called a red dwarf star. Then, when its life as a red dwarf is over, it begins shedding material and spewing gas out into space—star stuff that eventually forms into planets.

This galaxy, called Kiso 5639, is seen here in an edge-on view, looking like a cosmic cigar of sorts. This odd galaxy is illuminated on one side with bright pink hues, created by hydrogen—the fuel of baby stars. This hot glowing area is an extremely active area of star formation, equal in mass to around 1 million of our suns. And it’s young! This region only formed around a million years ago.

Toronto Zoo Welcomes New White Rhino to the Family

White Rhino
Source: Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo received a very special present this Christmas!

After a 16-month pregnancy, a white rhinoceros named Zohari gave birth to a male calf on Christmas Eve. The 136-pound newborn calf is doing great, and already has a strong appetite.

“Both mom and baby are doing very well, with reports that mom is very tired but a very calm and protective first-time mom,” the Toronto Zoo wrote on Facebook.

This is the first white rhino to be born at the zoo since 1990. The birth of the white rhino is very important due to their status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The species is currently listed as “near threatened.”

The species is commonly poached in the wild due to the appeal of their horns.

“Rhino horn can be worth up to $60,000 US per kilogram on the black market,” according to CBC News.

Currently, there are about 20,000 white rhinos in the wild.

The Toronto Zoo is part of the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan. According to the zoo, the plan “aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species.”

“Zohari’s genetics are very valuable to the White Rhino Species Survival Plan, which makes this birth particularly significant,” Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the Toronto Zoo, said in a statement. “Zoo staff were monitoring her 24/7 for several weeks, and their passion and commitment should be commended.

“The Toronto Zoo is working hard to help raise awareness and funds to save this species and other rhinos in the wild.”

Zohari and her unnamed calf are currently in an indoor maternity area that is closed off to the public. See the pair hanging out together below.

Make sure to SHARE this with your friends and family, and leave your comments in the section below!

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Best WIRED Photo Stories of 2017: Fake Mountains, Space Selfies, and More

Powerful Images From Female Photographers at the Women’s March. WIRED talked with 14 women who not only attended the Women’s Marches in January, but also documented them. Nearly a year later, as women across the country break their silence about sexual harassment, these photos feel as poignant as ever.

The Fake Mountain Range That Appeared on Maps for a Century. During the 19th century, people believed a vast mountain range stretched across West Africa. It didn’t. But if it had, it might have looked something like the images in Jim Naughten’s photo series The Mountains of Kong.

From Factory to Boneyard: The Life Cycle of Planes, as Told in Stunning Aerial Photos. Planes have beginnings, middles, and ends—all of which Mike Kelley beautifully captured for Life Cycles.

Behold Burning Man’s Awesome and Totally Bizarre Architecture. Most people go to Burning Man for the costumes and parties. But Philippe Glade goes for the architecture. He’s been photographing the temporary, makeshift structures revelers construct since 1996 and compiled some recent favorites in his book Black Rock City, NV.

Humans Killed the Aral Sea. Now, It’s Come Back to Life. Few environmental stories have happy endings, but the Aral Sea one does. Photographer Didier Bizet’s photographs celebrate the Kazakh fishermen casting their nets into the lake once again.

Surreal Drone Photos Transform America Into a Roller Coaster. Turkish photographer Aydın Büyüktaş took a road trip through the American southwest for Flatlands II. His drone photos of the journey are stunning—but they might make you feel carsick.

Remarkable Photos Capture the Light That Plants Emit. All flowers glow. Don’t believe us? Check out these incredible photos of plants fluorescing by Craig Burrows.

Inside the Surreal Saudi Suburbia Built by an Oil Giant. Dhahran Camp may look like an American town, but it sits in Saudi Arabia. This exclusive, gated community houses international employees of Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company. Ayesha Malik’s photos capture the cultural limbo.

America’s Obscene Wealth, in Pictures. Lauren Greenfield examined the desire for affluence—or at least the trappings of affluence—in Generation Wealth. It’s an exhaustive study of the materialism and vanity that infects society at every level.

The Mad Opulence of Dubai, From Water Villas to Fake Forests. Some 15 million tourists visit Dubai every year. Photographer Nick Hannes documented the over-the-top luxury that attracts them for Dubai: Bread and Circuses.

Out on the Texas Ranch Where Scientists Study Death (NSFW). The 50-odd corpses that dot this 26-acre stretch of hill country belonged to people who donated their bodies so that scientists may better understand decomposition. It’s a harrowing place, but important work. Robert Shults respectfully documented it for The Washing Away of Wrongs.

Wanna See How Divided the Country Is? Visit the US-Mexico Border. Militiamen and humanitarian workers both patrol the border territory looking for folks who might try to cross. One group wants to stop them. The other wants to help them. Photographers Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri documented both.

Why Photos of President Trump Are So Aggressively Boring. For a businessman who knows the power of branding, the POTUS has showed a surprisingly inability to craft a presidential image that isn’t awkward, impersonal, and formulaic. This long read explores why.

15,000 UFO Enthusiasts Space Out Hard in Roswell. In July, WIRED sent photographer Angie Smith to document the annual UFO festival in Roswell, New Mexico. It was as weird as you’d expect. “Everywhere you looked you saw neon green,” Smith said.

An Insane View of the Milky Way From the Edge of New Zealand. There’s no place for stargazing quite like New Zealand, and this composite photograph by Paul Wilson is proof.

All Aboard Air Koryo, North Korea’s Fleet of Ancient Soviet Planes. The Hermit Kingdom’s fleet of 15 Soviet-era planes attracts aviation enthusiasts from all over the world, including Arthur Mebius. His book Dear Sky lets you fly along, too.

Before and After Photos Capture Devastating Flooding in Houston. Houston resident Aaron Cohan watched Hurricane Harvey pummel the city from the 25th floor of his high-rise apartment. His before-and-after images underlined the vast extent of the flooding from which the city is still recovering.

What It’s Like Living in the Land of Natural Disasters. Photographers Miguel Hahn and Jan-Christoph Hartung documented how Indonesians deal with the continual threat of everything from active volcanoes to wildfires for their gorgeous series Beauty and the Beast.

Explore an Abandoned Cold War Base in the Middle of the Ocean. Adak Island was once home to a sprawling US naval air station. But when photographer Ben Huff visited, he found—in his own words—“a forgotten island, now inhabited by a small group of hearty souls, living in the shadow of a war that never was.”

These Concrete Relics in Arizona Helped Satellites Spy on the Soviets. In the 1960s, the US government needed a way to calibrate its spy satellites. So it installed some 250 evenly spaced markers across the Sonoran Desert. For Ground Truth: Corona Landmarks, photographers Julie Anand and Damon Sauer tracked them down.

Magical, Striking Scenes From … Google Street View?. Jacqui Kenny takes street photography to Google Maps, capturing screen grabs of the fascinating people and places she finds there. “It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack,” she says.

Iceland Is Beautiful Except for the 2 Million Tourists. They snap selfies, squeeze onto buses and generally tramp all over the place. Denis Meyer documented Iceland’s tourist boom for his dramatically titled series Iceland: The Silent Epidemic.

Explore a Tropical Paradise Through the Eyes of the Colorblind. As many as 10 percent of people living on the Micronesian island of Pingelap are completely colorblind. Belgian photographer Sanne De Wilde imagined how their world looks in her stunning book The Island of the Colorblind.

The DIY Cyborgs Hacking Their Bodies For Fun. Hannes Wiedemann’s Grinders is not for the squeamish. The gory book captures an underground community of hackers slicing open their arms, hands and ears to insert objects ranging from magnets to RFID tags.

2 Minutes of Totality in John Day, Oregon. Brian Guido’s black-and-white photographs captured the way the eclipse united people. “Everyone was just there experiencing this thing together,” he said. “It felt pretty special.”

A $70 ‘Worry Stone’ and Other Bizarre Spiritual Products You Can Buy Online. Klaus Pichler delved into the weird world of esotericism online, purchasing $1,500 worth of products that promised to do everything from protect against radiation to ward off police. His series This Will Change Your Life Forever catalogued the very weirdest.

Motorcycle Sleds + Vodka = A Very Russian Bike Rally. Take an old Yamaha motorcycle, add some runners and other stuff you’d find in your garage, and you have a unimoto. Race it across a frozen Russian lake and you’re at Snow Dogs, the insane biker meet-up photographer Alessandro D’Angelo documented in January.

Follow Eclipse Hunters on the Pilgrimage to Totality. Many people made journeys of hundreds, even thousands, of miles to watch totality hit. Rachel Bujalski documented the travelers she encountered while driving up Highway 97 in California.

Border Wars: The Great DIY Remote Control Car Race. The cars may be tiny, but the racing is serious at Border Wars. Minesh Bacrania photographed the annual tournament, which pits remote-control car enthusiasts from New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado against each other.

Apollo Astronauts Weren’t Just Heroes—They Were Fantastic Photographers. Photos of space abound online, but not like this. The gorgeous book Apollo VII – XVII took us inside the golden age of space photography with 225 newly restored and color-corrected images.

Space Photos of the Week: When Billions of Worlds Collide

This is what it looks like when two galaxies collide. Those colorful bands of debris are gases being flung out into space as a result of this violent cosmic dance. Galaxy NGC 5256 contains both merging galaxies. Each contains its own galactic nucleus and in between the two is a supermassive black hole that’s quickly sucking up material from the impact.

This bright red star is called π1 Gruis and its bluish partner to the left is π2 Gruis. The European Southern Observatory’s Digitized Sky Survey snapped this photo of the space surrounding these stars. To the right, in bright blue, you can see the spiral galaxy IC 5201.

This photo might look a little more familiar—that’s Earth! Little Rock, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, Birmingham, and Miami to be exact. This illuminating photo was taken from the International Space Station by current crewmember Mark Vande Hei.

This glowing purple and blue image of a galaxy cluster called Perseus might help scientists solve one of the biggest mysteries in science: dark matter. To understand dark matter, scientists are trying to interpret new x-ray data from the cluster, one the largest objects in the known universe. The sudden jolts of intensity they’re observing might provide answers..

Hubble does it again! This photo is of galaxy cluster Abell 2163. One of the largest galaxy clusters on record, containing around 4,000 galaxies, Abell 2163 is also the hottest ever found. Scientists are studying the material jutting out from inside the cluster to better understand dark matter and phenomena like gravitational lensing.

A peep at our home galaxy is always heartwarming. In this dazzling image, the Milky Way arches over the Very Large Telescope. See those two bright smudges at the bottom? Those are the Large and Small Magallenic Clouds.