The universe simply doesn't operate on a human timescale. Events that are right about to happen in the cosmic sense could still be centuries away. But an extensive search discovered a star that really was right about to explode.
The Whirlpool Galaxy looks beautiful and swirling in a visible light image (at left.) But the infrared view, at right, shows a maelstrom of chaos, revealing the dense lanes of dust around normally invisible clusters of stars.
Europe and the USA have joined forces to bring the world some beautiful images of distant galaxies. The image above, of the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, combines pictures from the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory and the Hubble telescope.