Messier objects, full set
Messier objects. These 110 astronomical objects were catalogued by the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817), a comet hunter who wanted to list the permanent objects in the sky that might be mistaken for comets. They range from the Crab nebula (M1) at top left to the dwarf elliptical galaxy M110 at bottom right. Other notable Messier objects include the Orion nebula (M42, upper left), the Ring nebula (M57, centre right) and the Whirlpool galaxy (M51, centre left edge). Trying to observe all 110 objects in one night is known as the Messier Marathon. This is easiest to accomplish in the spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
© SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
UFOs over statues
UFOs over Easter Island statues. Computer artwork of spacecraft (unidentified flying objects, UFOs) hovering over moai statues. This could represent the belief that alien life forms visited Earth and imparted knowledge to ancient man. There are around 1000 statues that stand on Easter Island in the South Pacific, carved out of volcanic rock by islanders between 400 and 1500.
© VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Face of an antique skeleton clock, showing gearing
Antique clock. Face of an antique skeleton clock, revealing the internal gearing. The main face shows the time in hours and minutes; the smaller face at upper centre shows seconds. A skeleton clock is so called because the internal components are not hidden behind an opaque covering. This is a regulator clock, using balance wheels to govern the motion of the hands. Photographed at the British Horological Institute at Newark, UK.
© David Parker/Science Photo Library