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Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 15

User Thread
 37yrs • F •
24 March 2013

Dust Pillar of the Carina Nebula
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (U. California, Berkeley) et al., and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
quote:
Inside the head of this interstellar monster is a star that is slowly destroying it. The monster, actually an inanimate pillar of gas and dust, measures over a light year in length. The star, not itself visible through the opaque dust, is bursting out partly by ejecting energetic beams of particles. Similar epic battles are being waged all over the star-forming Carina Nebula (NGC 3372). The stars will win in the end, destroying their pillars of creation over the next 100,000 years, and resulting in a new open cluster of stars. The pink dots are newly formed stars that have already been freed from their birth monster. The above image is only a small part of a highly detailed panoramic mosaic of the Carina Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007. The technical name for the stellar jets are Herbig-Haro objects. How a star creates Herbig-Haro jets is an ongoing topic of research, but it likely involves an accretion disk swirling around a central star. A second impressive Herbig-Haro jet is visible across the bottom of a larger image.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 37yrs • F •
25 March 2013

Planck Maps the Microwave Background
Image Credit: European Space Agency, Planck Collaboration
quote:
What is our universe made of? To help find out, ESA launched the Planck satellite to map, in unprecedented detail, slight temperature differences on the oldest surface known -- the background sky left billions of years ago when our universe first became transparent to light. Visible in all directions, this cosmic microwave background is a complex tapestry that could only show the hot and cold patterns observed were the universe to be composed of specific types of energy that evolved in specific ways. The results, reported last week, confirm again that most of our universe is mostly composed of mysterious and unfamiliar dark energy, and that even most of the remaining matter energy is strangely dark. Additionally, Planck data impressively peg the age of the universe at about 13.81 billion years, slightly older than that estimated by various other means including NASA's WMAP satellite, and the expansion rate at 67.3 (+/- 1.2) km/sec/Mpc, slightly lower than previous estimates. Some features of the above sky map remain unknown, such as why the temperature fluctuations seem to be slightly greater on one half of the sky than the other.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 37yrs • F •
26 March 2013

Waterfalls, Auroras, Comet: Iceland
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephane Vetter (Nuits sacrees)
quote:
If not distracted by the picturesque landscape, waterfalls, stars, and auroras, you might be able to find Comet PANSTARRS. The above image, capturing multiple terrestrial and celestial wonders in a single shot, was taken last week in southwest Iceland. The popular Gullfoss waterfalls are pictured under brilliant auroras that followed a M1-class solar flare and powerful Coronal Mass Ejection two days earlier. Give up on locating the comet? Comet PANSTARRS is faintly visible as a light blip just above the horizon toward the left of the above image. The comet remains more directly visible to northern observers with binoculars looking toward the western sky just after sunset.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
[  Edited by Dawn at   ]
 37yrs • F •
27 March 2013

A Horizon Rainbow in Paris
Image Credit & Copyright: Bertrand Kulik
quote:
Why is this horizon so colorful? Because, opposite the Sun, it is raining. What is pictured above is actually just a common rainbow. It's uncommon appearance is caused by the Sun being unusually high in the sky during the rainbow's creation. Since every rainbow's center must be exactly opposite the Sun, a high Sun reflecting off of a distant rain will produce a low rainbow where only the very top is visible -- because the rest of the rainbow is below the horizon. Furthermore, no two observers can see exactly the same rainbow -- every person finds themselves exactly between the Sun and rainbow's center, and every observer sees the colorful circular band precisely 42 degrees from rainbow's center. The above image featuring the Eiffel Tower was taken in Paris, France last week. Although the intermittent thunderstorms lasted for much of the day, the horizon rainbow lasted for only a few minutes.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 37yrs • F •
28 March 2013

Unraveling NGC 3169
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, University of Arizona
quote:
Bright spiral galaxy NGC 3169 appears to be unraveling in this cosmic scene, played out some 70 million light-years away just below bright star Regulus toward the faint constellation Sextans. Its beautiful spiral arms are distorted into sweeping tidal tails as NGC 3169 (left) and neighboring NGC 3166 interact gravitationally, a common fate even for bright galaxies in the local universe. In fact, drawn out stellar arcs and plumes, indications of gravitational interactions, seem rampant in the deep and colorful galaxy group photo. The picture spans 20 arc minutes, or about 400,000 light-years at the group's estimated distance, and includes smaller, dimmer NGC 3165 at the right. NGC 3169 is also known to shine across the spectrum from radio to X-rays, harboring an active galactic nucleus that is likely the site of a supermassive black hole.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 37yrs • F •
29 March 2013

Ringside with Rhea
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA
quote:
Orbiting in the plane of Saturn's rings, Saturnian moons have a perpetual ringside view of the gas giant planet. Of course, while passing near the ring plane the Cassini spacecraft also shares their stunning perspective. The thin rings themselves slice across the middle of this Cassini snapshot from April 2011. The scene looks toward the dark night side of Saturn, in the frame at the left, and the still sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. Centered, over 1,500 kilometers across, Rhea is Saturn's second largest moon and is closest to the spacecraft, around 2.2 million kilometers away. To Rhea's right, shiny, 500 kilometer diameter Enceladus is about 3 million kilometers distant. Dione, 1,100 kilometers wide, is 3.1 million kilometers from Cassini's camera on the left, partly blocked by Saturn's night side.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
[  Edited by Dawn at   ]
Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 15
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