On Aug. 23, 2003, the Spitzer Space Telescope was launched into space. Ever since, it has peered at the sky, looking for infrared light from objects as close as near-Earth asteroids to galaxies halfway to the edge of the observable Universe.
To celebrate, the good folks from JPL have issued a 12-month calendar, with each month featuring a gorgeous image from the venerable observatory. A lot of them are personal favorites of mine … in fact, as I was scrolling down the calendar I was thinking, “C’mon, you have to have Zeta Oph here …” and sure enough:
Zeta Ophiuchi is a massive, hot star that is blowing a fierce wind, and also moving rapidly through space. The wind it blows is plowing into gas and dust in its nearby environment, creating this incredibly beautiful bow shock. I wrote about this image when it came out in 2012.
I’ve written about a lot of Spitzer images, because so many of them are so spectacular and so drenched in scientific awesomeness.
The calendar is free, a downloadable PDF you can print yourself or just keep around on your monitor. Trust me. You want this.