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Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 3

User Thread
 18yrs • F •
helladella is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
That last picture is so beautiful. So magical looking.

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 32yrs • F •
28 September 2012

Stars in a Dusty Sky
Image Credit & Copyright: John Davis
quote:
Bright star Markab anchors this dusty skyscape. At the top right corner of the frame, Markab itself marks a corner of an asterism known as the Great Square, found within the boundaries of the constellation Pegasus, the flying horse. The wide and deep telescopic view rides along for some 5 degrees or about 10 times the angular diameter of the Full Moon, with blue reflection nebulae scattered around the scene. And even though this line-of-sight looks away from the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, it covers a region known to be filled with nearby molecular clouds. The associated dust clouds, high latitude galactic cirrus, are less than 1,000 light-years distant. Still apparent, but far beyond the Milky Way, are background galaxies, like the prominent edge-on spiral NGC 7497 near picture center.

I really like this image and recommend looking at the full-scale version of it (just click on the image). When you look at the large version, look at the bright star in the center and moving outwards at about north-west direction you'll see the the galaxy.
This image is so spiritually beautiful.



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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   ]
 32yrs • F •
29 September 2012

NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Tony Hallas
quote:
Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023 this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this remarkable image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the dusty clouds glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula is about six light-years across.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
30 September 2012

A Galaxy Collision in NGC 6745
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Acknowledgment: Roger Lynds (KPNO/NOAO) et al.
quote:
Galaxies don't normally look like this. NGC 6745 actually shows the results of two galaxies that have been colliding for only hundreds of millions of years. Just off the above digitally sharpened photograph to the lower right is the smaller galaxy, moving away. The larger galaxy, pictured above, used to be a spiral galaxy but now is damaged and appears peculiar. Gravity has distorted the shapes of the galaxies. Although it is likely that no stars in the two galaxies directly collided, the gas, dust, and ambient magnetic fields do interact directly. In fact, a knot of gas pulled off the larger galaxy on the lower right has now begun to form stars. NGC 6745 spans about 80 thousand light-years across and is located about 200 million light-years away.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
1 October 2012

Introducing Comet ISON
Image Credit & Copyright: Ligustri Rolando
quote:
Could this dim spot brighten into one of the brightest comets ever? It's possible. Alternatively, the comet could break up when it gets closer to the Sun, or brighten much more modestly. Sky enthusiasts the world over are all abuzz, though, from the more optimistic speculations -- that the newly discovered C/2012 S1 (ISON) could develop a spectacular tail or briefly approach the brightness of the full Moon toward the end of 2013. Comet ISON currently is very faint but is just visible at magnitude 18 in the above image. The comet, discovered just over a week ago from Russia by Vitali Nevski (Belarus) and Artyom Novichonok (Russia), is currently falling toward the Sun from between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. In early 2013 October it will pass very near Mars and possibly be visible to rovers and orbiting spacecraft. Comet ISON appears on course to achieve sungrazer status as it passes within a solar diameter of Sun's surface in late 2013 November. Whatever survives will then pass nearest the Earth in late 2013 December. Astronomers around the world will be tracking this large dirty snowball closely to better understand its nature and how it might evolve during the next 15 months.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
2 October 2012

An Ancient Stream Bank on Mars
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS
quote:
Fresh evidence of an ancient stream has been found on Mars. The robotic rover Curiosity has run across unusual surface features that carry a strong resemblance to stream banks on Earth. Visible in the above image, for example, is a small overhanging rock ledge that was quite possibly created by water erosion beneath. The texture of the ledge appears to be a sedimentary conglomerate, the dried remains of many smaller rocks stuck together. Beneath the ledge are numerous small pebbles, possibly made smooth by tumbling in and around the once-flowing stream. Pebbles in the streambed likely fell there as the bank eroded. Circled at the upper right is a larger rock possibly also made smooth by stream erosion. Curiosity has now discovered several indications of dried streambeds on Mars on its way to its present location where it will be exploring the unusual conjunction of three different types of landscape.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
3 October 2012

Goat Aurora Over Greenland
Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN)
quote:
Sometimes it's hard to believe what you see in the sky. During the Shelios Expedition to Greenland in late August, even veteran sky enthusiasts saw auroras so colorful, so fast changing, and so unusual in form that they could remember nothing like it. As the ever changing auroras evolved, huge shapes spread across the sky morphed from one familiar form into another, including what looked to be the head of a goat (shown above), the head of an elephant, a strange green-tailed comet, and fingers on a celestial hand. Even without the aurora, the sky would be notable for the arching band of our Milky Way Galaxy and the interesting field of stars, nebulas, and galaxies. In contrast, in the foreground is a farm house in Tasiusaq, Kujalleq. Greenland. The Shelios project exists not only to observe auroras but to motivate students to consider a career in science.

This is amazing. I have never seen real auroras in my life and I can't imagine not being blown out of my mind and falling even more in love with our planet and the workings of the world at large if I saw something like this in the sky above me. Astounding.





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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
4 October 2012

NGC 7293: The Helix Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh
quote:
A mere seven hundred light years from Earth, in the constellation Aquarius, a sun-like star is dying. Its last few thousand years have produced the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of a Planetary Nebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution. A total of 58 hours of exposure time have gone in to creating this deep view of the nebula. Accumulating narrow band data from emission lines of hydrogen atoms in red and and oxygen atoms in blue-green hues, it shows remarkable details of the Helix's brighter inner region, about 3 light-years across, but also follows fainter outer halo features that give the nebula a span of well over six light-years. The white dot at the Helix's center is this Planetary Nebula's hot, central star. A simple looking nebula at first glance, the Helix is now understood to have a surprisingly complex geometry.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
5 October 2012

Aurora and Fireball Over Norway
Image Credit & Copyright: Ole C. Salomonsen (Arctic Light Photo)
quote:
What's happening behind that mountain? A convergence of variable sky spectacles. One night in mid-September near Tromsø, Norway, high red aurora could be seen shimmering through lower green aurora in a way that created a striking and somewhat unusual violet glow. Suddenly, though, the sky flashed with the brightest fireball the astrophotographer had ever seen, as a small pebble from outer space violently crashed into the Earth's atmosphere. The glow illuminated the distant mountain peak known as Otertinden of the Lyngen Alps. The bright meteor, which coincidently disappeared behind the same mountain, was also reflected in the foreground Signalelva River. Although you might consider yourself lucky to see either an aurora or a bright meteor, pictures of them together have been recorded several times previously.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
6 October 2012

At the Heart of Orion
Credit: Image Data - Hubble Legacy Archive, Processing - Robert Gendler
quote:
Near the center of this sharp cosmic portrait, at the heart of the Orion Nebula, are four hot, massive stars known as the Trapezium. Gathered within a region about 1.5 light-years in radius, they dominate the core of the dense Orion Nebula Star Cluster. Ultraviolet ionizing radiation from the Trapezium stars, mostly from the brightest star Theta-1 Orionis C powers the complex star forming region's entire visible glow. About three million years old, the Orion Nebula Cluster was even more compact in its younger years and a recent dynamical study indicates that runaway stellar collisions at an earlier age may have formed a black hole with more than 100 times the mass of the Sun. The presence of a black hole within the cluster could explain the observed high velocities of the Trapezium stars. The Orion Nebula's distance of some 1500 light-years would make it the closest known black hole to planet Earth.



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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   ]
 32yrs • F •
7 October 2012

The Same Color Illusion
Image Credit: Edward H. Adelson, Wikipedia
quote:
Are square A and B the same color? They are! To verify this, either run your cursor over the image or click here to see them connected (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121007.html) The above illusion, called the same color illusion, illustrates that purely human observations in science may be ambiguous or inaccurate. Even such a seemingly direct perception as relative color. Similar illusions exist on the sky, such as the size of the Moon near the horizon, or the apparent shapes of astronomical objects. The advent of automated, reproducible, measuring devices such as CCDs have made science in general and astronomy in particular less prone to, but not free of, human-biased illusions.





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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
8 October 2012

Spherical Planetary Nebula Abell 39
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, University of Arizona
quote:
Ghostly in appearance, Abell 39 is a remarkably simple, spherical nebula about five light-years across. Well within our own Milky Way galaxy, the cosmic sphere is roughly 7,000 light-years distant toward the constellation Hercules. Abell 39 is a planetary nebula, formed as a once sun-like star's outer atmosphere was expelled over a period of thousands of years. Still visible, the nebula's central star is evolving into a hot white dwarf. Although faint, the nebula's simple geometry has proven to be a boon to astronomers exploring the chemical abundances and life cycles of stars. In this deep image recorded under dark night skies, very distant background galaxies can be found -- some visible right through the nebula itself.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
9 October 2012

Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant
Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)
quote:
It's easy to get lost following the intricate filaments in this detailed mosaic image of faint supernova remnant Simeis 147 (S147). Also cataloged as Sh2-240, it covers nearly 3 degrees or 6 full moons on the sky. That's about 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. Anchoring the frame at the right, bright star Elnath (Beta Tauri) is seen towards the boundary of the constellations Taurus and Auriga, almost exactly opposite the galactic center in planet Earth's sky. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
10 October 2012

Nauset Light Star Trails
Image Credit & Copyright: Chris Cook
quote:
In myth, Atlas holds up the heavens, but in this scene they seem to pivot around a lighthouse beacon. Photographed with a camera fixed to a tripod, the well-planned 30 minute exposure records star trails in the northern sky, reflecting the daily rotation of planet Earth. Hidden behind the top of the prominent Nauset Lighthouse on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, the North Celestial Pole is at the center of all the star trail arcs. Making a complete circle, 360 degrees, in 24 hours, the star trail arcs cover 15 degrees each hour or 7.5 degrees in thirty minutes. Foreground lighting is courtesy of September 23rd's first quarter moonlight.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 32yrs • F •
11 October 2012

Aurorae over Planet Earth
Image Credit : NASA, NOAA, GSFC, Suomi NPP, Earth Observatory,
processing by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon

quote:
North America at night is easy to recognize in this view of our fair planet from orbit, acquired by the Suomi-NPP satellite on October 8. The spectacular waves of visible light emission rolling above the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario in the upper half of the frame are the Aurora Borealis or northern lights. Encircling the poles and extending to lower latitudes, impressive aurorae seen during the past few days are due to strong geomagnetic storms. The storms were triggered by a solar coronal mass ejection on October 4/5, impacting Earth's magnetosphere some three days later. The curtains of light, shining well over 100 kilometers above the surface, are formed as charged particles accelerated in the magnetosphere excite oxygen and nitrogen in the upper atmosphere.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 3
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