Posts tagged astronomy
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Flying along the Vela ridge
A beautiful blue butterfly flutters towards a nest of warm dust and gas, above an intricate network of cool filaments in this image of the Vela C region by ESA’s Herschel space observatory.Vela C is the most massive of the four parts of the Vela complex, a massive star nursery just 2300 light-years from the Sun. It is an ideal natural laboratory for us to study the birth of stars.
Herschel’s far-infrared detectors can spot regions where young high and low-mass stars have heated dense clumps of gas and dust, where new generations of stars may be born.
The eye is immediately drawn to two prominent features in this image: a delicate blue and yellow butterfly shape just right of centre that appears to be flying towards a nest of coiled blue material in the lower right.
These regions stand out from their surroundings because their dust has been heated by young hot stars. A cluster of very hot, massive stars are strung out along the butterfly’s ‘body’, their radiation heating up the surrounding dust seen as yellow in this scene.
These heavy stars will follow ‘live fast, die young’, burning brightly for only a short time in cosmic terms. Those with more than eight times the mass of our own Sun will explode as cataclysmic supernovas within 10 million years of forming.
A particularly dense trunk of cool gas and dust weaves its way through the centre of the image, surrounded by a complex network of wispy red filaments.
Deeply embedded inside the filaments are numerous point-like sources, particularly evident towards the left of the scene: these are protostars, the seeds of new stars that will soon also light up the Vela region of the sky.
Credits: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortia, T. Hill, F. Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU – CNRS/INSU – Uni. Paris Diderot, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium

Flying along the Vela ridge

A beautiful blue butterfly flutters towards a nest of warm dust and gas, above an intricate network of cool filaments in this image of the Vela C region by ESA’s Herschel space observatory.

Vela C is the most massive of the four parts of the Vela complex, a massive star nursery just 2300 light-years from the Sun. It is an ideal natural laboratory for us to study the birth of stars.

Herschel’s far-infrared detectors can spot regions where young high and low-mass stars have heated dense clumps of gas and dust, where new generations of stars may be born.

The eye is immediately drawn to two prominent features in this image: a delicate blue and yellow butterfly shape just right of centre that appears to be flying towards a nest of coiled blue material in the lower right.

These regions stand out from their surroundings because their dust has been heated by young hot stars. A cluster of very hot, massive stars are strung out along the butterfly’s ‘body’, their radiation heating up the surrounding dust seen as yellow in this scene.

These heavy stars will follow ‘live fast, die young’, burning brightly for only a short time in cosmic terms. Those with more than eight times the mass of our own Sun will explode as cataclysmic supernovas within 10 million years of forming.

A particularly dense trunk of cool gas and dust weaves its way through the centre of the image, surrounded by a complex network of wispy red filaments.

Deeply embedded inside the filaments are numerous point-like sources, particularly evident towards the left of the scene: these are protostars, the seeds of new stars that will soon also light up the Vela region of the sky.

Credits: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortia, T. Hill, F. Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU – CNRS/INSU – Uni. Paris Diderot, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium

(via distant-traveller)

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The Orion Complex
Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky’s most recognizable constellations, the glowing Orion Nebula and the dark Horsehead Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. But even fainter filaments of glowing gas are easily traced throughout the region in this stunning composite image that includes exposures filtered to record emission from hydrogen atoms. The view reveals extensive nebulosities associated with the giant Orion Molecular Cloud complex, itself hundreds of light-years across.
A magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42) lies at the upper right of the picture. Immediately to its left are a cluster of prominent bluish reflection nebulae sometimes called the Running Man. The Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow left of center. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion’s belt and the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. Completing the trio of Orion’s belt stars, bluish Alnilam and Mintaka form a line with Alnitak, extending to the upper left.

The Orion Complex

Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky’s most recognizable constellations, the glowing Orion Nebula and the dark Horsehead Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. But even fainter filaments of glowing gas are easily traced throughout the region in this stunning composite image that includes exposures filtered to record emission from hydrogen atoms. The view reveals extensive nebulosities associated with the giant Orion Molecular Cloud complex, itself hundreds of light-years across.

A magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42) lies at the upper right of the picture. Immediately to its left are a cluster of prominent bluish reflection nebulae sometimes called the Running Man. The Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow left of center. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion’s belt and the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. Completing the trio of Orion’s belt stars, bluish Alnilam and Mintaka form a line with Alnitak, extending to the upper left.

(Source: ancient-magics, via distant-traveller)

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expose-the-light:

Gravitational wave

In physics, gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which propagate as a wave, travelling outward from the source. Predicted to exist by Albert Einstein in 1916 on the basis of his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves theoretically transport energy as gravitational radiation.

1. Two stars of similar mass are in highly elliptical orbits about their center of mass

2. Two stars of dissimilar mass are in circular orbits. Each rotates about their common center of mass (denoted by the small red cross) in a circle with the larger mass having the smaller orbit.

3. Two stars of similar mass are in circular orbits about their center of mass

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Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217
This is the first image of a celestial object taken with the newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The camera was restored to operation during the STS-125 Servicing Mission to upgrade the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was photographed as part of the initial testing and calibration of Hubble’s ACS. The galaxy lies 6 million light-years away in the north circumpolar constellation Ursa Major.


Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217

This is the first image of a celestial object taken with the newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The camera was restored to operation during the STS-125 Servicing Mission to upgrade the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was photographed as part of the initial testing and calibration of Hubble’s ACS. The galaxy lies 6 million light-years away in the north circumpolar constellation Ursa Major.

Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

(via distant-traveller)

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Saturn

1. Saturn Mosaic

Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

A total of 126 images taken over the course of two hours make up this mosaic picture of Saturn. The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft snapped the photos on October 6, 2004, when it was approximately 3.9 million miles (6.3 million kilometers) from Saturn. Cassini was on a four-year mission to explore the ringed planet.

2. Titan Halo

Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

A halo surrounds Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Titan’s atmosphere, almost entirely nitrogen, extends some 370 miles (600 kilometers) into space—ten times as far as Earth’s atmosphere.

3. Saturn and Moons

Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Two of Saturn’s 48 known moons are barely visible in this picture of the ringed planet. Mimas, at the upper right, has an enormous impact crater on one side, and Tethys, at the bottom, has a huge rift zone called Ithaca Chasma that runs nearly three-quarters of the way around the moon.

4. Saturn’s Rings

Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Saturn’s otherworldly rings encircle the planet and extend out for hundreds of thousands of kilometers. The rings—there are thousands—are made up of billions of ice and rock particles, thought to be pieces of comets, asteroids, or shattered moons.

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(via shychemist)

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