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North America. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Excellent larger image.

The North Pole, once an almost mythical place visited only by the heartiest of explorers (and Santa Claus) is now a tourist destination.


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2011 January 20: Andromeda M31. Two European space observatories teamed up to produce this image of the Andromeda Galaxy. The Herschel space telescope focused on rings of star formation in infrared light, shown here in shades of red and orange. The XMM-Newton probe registered the X-ray emissions from exploding stars, shown here in blue. M31 is the largest Galaxy of the Local Group, which consists of: Andromeda Galaxy, Milky Way Galaxy, Triangulum Galaxy, and at least 30 other smaller…

The Great Lakes by NASA Goddard Photo and Video, via Flickr

Believe it or not, this is the North Pole of Saturn. It is unclear how an unusual hexagonal cloud system that surrounds Saturn's north pole was created, keeps its shape, or how long it will last. Originally discovered during the Voyager flybys of Saturn in the 1980s, nobody has ever seen anything like it elsewhere in the Solar System.