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Astronomy with a helping of physics and a pinch of the other sciences.


Hubble Views Stellar Genesis in the Southern Pinwheel

This Hubble mosaic of the spiral galaxy M83 or Southern Pinwheel, lies 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. It contains thousands of star clusters, hundreds of thousands of individual stars, and “ghosts” of dead stars called supernova remnants.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA/HHT/STScI/AURA/W.Blair, JHU/R.O’Connell, UV. Via NASA.gov

— 9 months ago with 518 notes
#astronomy  #galaxy  #M83  #Southern Pinwheel 

Hubble Reveals First Pictures of Milky Way’s Formative Years

The present view of our Milky Way galaxy, compared to how it may have looked 11 billion years ago. 

Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)

— 11 months ago with 404 notes
#astronomy  #Milky Way  #galaxy  #hubble 
Stellar explosions in NGC 6984
A new Hubble image showing a type Ib supernova, SN 2013ek, the bright object just above and to the right of the galactic centre. 
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, via spacetelescope.org

Stellar explosions in NGC 6984

A new Hubble image showing a type Ib supernova, SN 2013ek, the bright object just above and to the right of the galactic centre. 

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, via spacetelescope.org

— 11 months ago with 38 notes
#astronomy  #galaxy  #NGC6984  #supernova  #SN 2013ek 
APOD | 6 October 2013 | Hubble Remix: Active Galaxy NGC 1275
Image Credit: Data - Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA; Processing - Al Kelly

Active galaxy NGC 1275 is the central, dominant member of the large and relatively nearby Perseus Cluster of Galaxies. Wild-looking at visible wavelengths, the active galaxy is also a prodigious source of x-rays and radio emission. NGC 1275 accretes matter as entire galaxies fall into it, ultimately feeding a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core. This colour composite image, recreated from archival Hubble Space Telescope data, highlights the resulting galactic debris and filaments of glowing gas, some up to 20,000 light-years long. The filaments persist in NGC 1275, even though the turmoil of galactic collisions should destroy them. What keeps the filaments together? Observations indicate that the structures, pushed out from the galaxy’s centre by the black hole’s activity, are held together by magnetic fields. Also known as Perseus A, NGC 1275 spans over 100,000 light years and lies about 230 million light years away.

APOD | 6 October 2013 | Hubble Remix: Active Galaxy NGC 1275

Image Credit: Data - Hubble Legacy ArchiveESANASAProcessing - Al Kelly

Active galaxy NGC 1275 is the central, dominant member of the large and relatively nearby Perseus Cluster of Galaxies. Wild-looking at visible wavelengths, the active galaxy is also a prodigious source of x-rays and radio emission. NGC 1275 accretes matter as entire galaxies fall into it, ultimately feeding a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core. This colour composite image, recreated from archival Hubble Space Telescope data, highlights the resulting galactic debris and filaments of glowing gas, some up to 20,000 light-years long. The filaments persist in NGC 1275, even though the turmoil of galactic collisions should destroy them. What keeps the filaments together? Observations indicate that the structures, pushed out from the galaxy’s centre by the black hole’s activity, are held together by magnetic fields. Also known as Perseus A, NGC 1275 spans over 100,000 light years and lies about 230 million light years away.

— 1 year ago with 40 notes
#APOD  #Astronomy Picture of the Day  #Astronomy  #galaxy  #NGC 1275  #hubble 
The Densest GalaxyCredit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), Jay Strader (Michigan St. Univ.) et al.

The bright core and outer reaches of giant elliptical galaxy M60 (NGC 4649) loom large at the upper left of this sharp close-up from the Hubble Space Telescope. Some 54 million light-years away and 120,000 light-years across, M60 is one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo Cluster. In cosmic contrast, the small, round smudge at picture centre is now recognized as an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy. Catalogued as M60-UCD1, it may well be the densest galaxy in the nearby universe. Concentrating half of its total mass of 200 million suns into a radius of only 80 light-years, stars in the inner regions of M60-UCD1 are on average 25 times closer together than in planet Earth’s neighborhood of the Milky Way. Exploring the nature of M60-UCD1, astronomers are trying to determine if ultra-compact dwarf galaxies are the central remnants of larger galaxies that have been tidally stripped by gravitatonal encounters, or evolved as massive globular star clusters. Recently discovered, a bright X-ray source seen at its centre could be due to a supermassive black hole. If so, that would favour a remnant galaxy origin for M60-UCD1.

Via APOD.

The Densest Galaxy
Credit: NASAESAHubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), Jay Strader (Michigan St. Univ.) et al.

The bright core and outer reaches of giant elliptical galaxy M60 (NGC 4649) loom large at the upper left of this sharp close-up from the Hubble Space Telescope. Some 54 million light-years away and 120,000 light-years across, M60 is one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo Cluster. In cosmic contrast, the small, round smudge at picture centre is now recognized as an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy. Catalogued as M60-UCD1, it may well be the densest galaxy in the nearby universe. Concentrating half of its total mass of 200 million suns into a radius of only 80 light-years, stars in the inner regions of M60-UCD1 are on average 25 times closer together than in planet Earth’s neighborhood of the Milky Way. Exploring the nature of M60-UCD1, astronomers are trying to determine if ultra-compact dwarf galaxies are the central remnants of larger galaxies that have been tidally stripped by gravitatonal encounters, or evolved as massive globular star clusters. Recently discovered, a bright X-ray source seen at its centre could be due to a supermassive black hole. If so, that would favour a remnant galaxy origin for M60-UCD1.

Via APOD.

— 1 year ago with 51 notes
#astronomy  #Astronomy Picture of the Day  #APOD  #galaxy  #M60  #NGC 4649  #hubble 
M106 Close Up Credit: Composite Image Data - Hubble Legacy Archive; Adrian Zsilavec, Michelle Qualls, Adam Block / NOAO / AURA / NSF Processing - André van der Hoeven

Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalogue of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106. Modern deep telescopic views reveal it to be an island universe: a spiral galaxy around 30 thousand light-years across located only about 21 million light-years beyond the stars of the Milky Way. Along with prominent dust lanes and a bright central core, this colourful composite image highlights youthful blue star clusters and reddish stellar nurseries that trace the galaxy’s spiral arms. The high resolution galaxy portrait is a mosaic of data from Hubble’s sharp ACS camera combined with groundbased colour image data. M106 (aka NGC 4258) is a nearby example of the Seyfert class of active galaxies, seen across the spectrum from radio to X-rays. Energetic active galaxies are powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.

Even though the usual APOD website is down along with the other NASA pages, you can still access it here!

M106 Close Up 
Credit: Composite Image Data - Hubble Legacy ArchiveAdrian Zsilavec, Michelle Qualls, Adam Block / NOAO / AURA / NSF 
Processing - André van der Hoeven

Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalogue of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106. Modern deep telescopic views reveal it to be an island universe: a spiral galaxy around 30 thousand light-years across located only about 21 million light-years beyond the stars of the Milky Way. Along with prominent dust lanes and a bright central core, this colourful composite image highlights youthful blue star clusters and reddish stellar nurseries that trace the galaxy’s spiral arms. The high resolution galaxy portrait is a mosaic of data from Hubble’s sharp ACS camera combined with groundbased colour image data. M106 (aka NGC 4258) is a nearby example of the Seyfert class of active galaxies, seen across the spectrum from radio to X-rays. Energetic active galaxies are powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.

Even though the usual APOD website is down along with the other NASA pages, you can still access it here!

— 1 year ago with 30 notes
#APOD  #Astronomy Picture of the Day  #astronomy  #galaxy  #M106 
We’ll Ride the Spiral to the End
Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

Spiral galaxy NGC 4274 lies 60 million light years away from us in the constellaion of Coma Berenices. It contains much star fuel, in the form of the gas and dust that give the galaxy’s disk a fluffy appearance. The spiral arms serve as the nurseries that give rise to stars, traced by lines of luminous young blue stars.

— Tom Chao, via SPACE.com

We’ll Ride the Spiral to the End

Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

Spiral galaxy NGC 4274 lies 60 million light years away from us in the constellaion of Coma Berenices. It contains much star fuel, in the form of the gas and dust that give the galaxy’s disk a fluffy appearance. The spiral arms serve as the nurseries that give rise to stars, traced by lines of luminous young blue stars.

— Tom Chao, via SPACE.com

— 1 year ago with 63 notes
#astronomy  #galaxy  #NGC 4274 
A flock of stars

The glittering specks in this image, resembling a distant flock of flying birds, are the stars that make up a dwarf galaxy. 
Captured in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31 lies just over 11 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). The background of this image is full of many other galaxies, all at vast distances from us.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: L. Limatola.

A flock of stars

The glittering specks in this image, resembling a distant flock of flying birds, are the stars that make up a dwarf galaxy. 

Captured in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31 lies just over 11 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). The background of this image is full of many other galaxies, all at vast distances from us.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: L. Limatola.

— 1 year ago with 27 notes
#astronomy  #galaxy  #dwarf galaxy  #ESO 540-31 
The Peanut at the Heart of our Galaxy

Two groups of astronomers have used data from ESO telescopes to make the best three-dimensional map yet of the central parts of the Milky Way. They have found that the inner regions take on a peanut-like, or X-shaped, appearance from some angles. This odd shape was mapped by using public data from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope along with measurements of the motions of hundreds of very faint stars in the central bulge.

Continue reading via ESO
Image: Artist’s impression of the central bulge of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. Hurt.

The Peanut at the Heart of our Galaxy

Two groups of astronomers have used data from ESO telescopes to make the best three-dimensional map yet of the central parts of the Milky Way. They have found that the inner regions take on a peanut-like, or X-shaped, appearance from some angles. This odd shape was mapped by using public data from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope along with measurements of the motions of hundreds of very faint stars in the central bulge.

Continue reading via ESO

Image: Artist’s impression of the central bulge of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. Hurt.

— 1 year ago with 71 notes
#ESO  #Milky Way  #galaxy 
Stargazer Sees a Pink Space Pinwheel

Astrophotographer John Chumack took this image of The Pinwheel Galaxy, also called the Triangulum Galaxy or M33, after 4.3 hours of exposure on Aug. 14 from his observatories in Yellow Springs Research Station and the Miami Valley Astronomical Society dark sky site at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He took this shot with his homemade 16” diameter F4.5 Fork Mounted Newtonian Telescope, Baader CLS filter and Coma Corrector, 16” scope. He used PHD guiding software, 4” Celestron refractor guide scope and QHY5 mono CCD to capture the image.

Credit: John Chumack, via SPACE.com

Stargazer Sees a Pink Space Pinwheel

Astrophotographer John Chumack took this image of The Pinwheel Galaxy, also called the Triangulum Galaxy or M33, after 4.3 hours of exposure on Aug. 14 from his observatories in Yellow Springs Research Station and the Miami Valley Astronomical Society dark sky site at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He took this shot with his homemade 16” diameter F4.5 Fork Mounted Newtonian Telescope, Baader CLS filter and Coma Corrector, 16” scope. He used PHD guiding software, 4” Celestron refractor guide scope and QHY5 mono CCD to capture the image.

Credit: John Chumack, via SPACE.com

— 1 year ago with 52 notes
#astronomy  #astrophotography  #galaxy  #pinwheel galaxy  #Triangulum Galaxy  #M33 
Like a Star Exploding in the Night
Credit: ESO/PESSTO/S. Smartt

Messier 74, a spiral galaxy with well-defined whirling arms, seems stunning enough. However, this image contains another amazing sight: a Type II supernova named SN2013ej, visible as the brightest star at the bottom left of the image. SN2013ej represents the third supernova spotted in Messier 74 since the turn of the millennium, the other two being SN 2002ap and SN 2003gd. The latest supernova was first reported on July 25, 2013 by the KAIT telescope team in California. Amateur astronomer Christina Feliciano took the first “precovery image,” using the public access SLOOH Space Camera to peer at the region in the days and hours immediately before the explosion.

— Tom Chao, via SPACE.com

Like a Star Exploding in the Night

Credit: ESO/PESSTO/S. Smartt

Messier 74, a spiral galaxy with well-defined whirling arms, seems stunning enough. However, this image contains another amazing sight: a Type II supernova named SN2013ej, visible as the brightest star at the bottom left of the image. SN2013ej represents the third supernova spotted in Messier 74 since the turn of the millennium, the other two being SN 2002ap and SN 2003gd. The latest supernova was first reported on July 25, 2013 by the KAIT telescope team in California. Amateur astronomer Christina Feliciano took the first “precovery image,” using the public access SLOOH Space Camera to peer at the region in the days and hours immediately before the explosion.

— Tom Chao, via SPACE.com

— 1 year ago with 84 notes
#astronomy  #galaxy  #M74  #Messier 74  #supernova  #SN2013ej 
A spiral in the Air Pump

Lying over 110 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump) is the spiral galaxy IC 2560, shown here in an image from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. At this distance it is a relatively nearby spiral galaxy, and is part of the Antlia cluster — a group of over 200 galaxies held together by gravity. This cluster is unusual; unlike most other galaxy clusters, it appears to have no dominant galaxy within it.
In this image, it is easy to spot IC 2560’s spiral arms and barred structure. This spiral is what astronomers call a Seyfert-2 galaxy, a kind of spiral galaxy characterised by an extremely bright nucleus and very strong emission lines from certain elements — hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen. The bright centre of the galaxy is thought to be caused by the ejection of huge amounts of super-hot gas from the region around a central black hole.
There is a story behind the naming of this quirky constellation — Antlia was originally named antlia pneumatica by French astronomer Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, in honour of the invention of the air pump in the 17th century.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Nick Rose.
Image released today (2 September 2013), via spacetelescope.org

A spiral in the Air Pump

Lying over 110 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump) is the spiral galaxy IC 2560, shown here in an image from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. At this distance it is a relatively nearby spiral galaxy, and is part of the Antlia cluster — a group of over 200 galaxies held together by gravity. This cluster is unusual; unlike most other galaxy clusters, it appears to have no dominant galaxy within it.

In this image, it is easy to spot IC 2560’s spiral arms and barred structure. This spiral is what astronomers call a Seyfert-2 galaxy, a kind of spiral galaxy characterised by an extremely bright nucleus and very strong emission lines from certain elements — hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen. The bright centre of the galaxy is thought to be caused by the ejection of huge amounts of super-hot gas from the region around a central black hole.

There is a story behind the naming of this quirky constellation — Antlia was originally named antlia pneumatica by French astronomer Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, in honour of the invention of the air pump in the 17th century.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Nick Rose.

Image released today (2 September 2013), via spacetelescope.org

— 1 year ago with 72 notes
#astronomy  #hubble  #galaxy  #IC 2560 
Blue Swirl

The spectacular swirling arms and central bar of the Sculptor galaxy are revealed in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, an infrared composite combining data from two of Spitzer’s detectors taken during its early cold, or cryogenic, mission. Also known as NGC 253, the Sculptor galaxy is part of a cluster of galaxies visible to observers in the Southern hemisphere. It is known as a starburst galaxy for the extraordinarily strong star formation in its nucleus. This activity warms the surrounding dust clouds, causing the brilliant yellow-red glow in the center of this infrared image.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, via SPACE.com

Blue Swirl

The spectacular swirling arms and central bar of the Sculptor galaxy are revealed in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, an infrared composite combining data from two of Spitzer’s detectors taken during its early cold, or cryogenic, mission. Also known as NGC 253, the Sculptor galaxy is part of a cluster of galaxies visible to observers in the Southern hemisphere. It is known as a starburst galaxy for the extraordinarily strong star formation in its nucleus. This activity warms the surrounding dust clouds, causing the brilliant yellow-red glow in the center of this infrared image.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, via SPACE.com

— 1 year ago with 43 notes
#astronomy  #galaxy  #sculptor galaxy  #spitzer space telescope  #NGC 253