An amazing volcanic plume on Io, taken by the New Horizons probe during its flyby of Jupiter. Tvashtar–the volcano responsile for this beaut–is your standard sulfuric volcano, and the plume is about 290 km long. Two other plumes are visible.

And here we have a nice shot of an Einstein Cross. A quasar (QSO2237+0305) is behind a spiral galaxy the gravity of which bends its light, making it appear in four different places! A gravitational funhouse mirror. Both objects are quite far, although the galaxy is much closer to us than the quasar: redshift 0.04 vs 1.7.

Some wonderful space art, including extraterrestrial planets (about which, more later), lives at Nova Celestia.

I am going to attempt to produce one little column on the current work in my astronomical pet interests–which as of now include the search for terrestrial extrasolar planets and astrobiology–once a week, probably on Monday or Tuesday. Hold me to it. Meanwhile, I should really sleep.