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Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 5

User Thread
 39yrs • F •
27 October 2012

A Halo for NGC 6164
Image Credit & Copyright: Don Goldman
quote:
Beautiful emission nebula NGC 6164 was created by a rare, hot, luminous O-type star, some 40 times as massive as the Sun. Seen at the center of the cosmic cloud, the star is a mere 3 to 4 million years old. In another three to four million years the massive star will end its life in a supernova explosion. Spanning around 4 light-years, the nebula itself has a bipolar symmetry. That makes it similar in appearance to more familiar planetary nebulae - the gaseous shrouds surrounding dying sun-like stars. Also like many planetary nebulae, NGC 6164 has been found to have an extensive, faint halo, revealed in this deep telescopic image of the region. Expanding into the surrounding interstellar medium, the material in the halo is likely from an earlier active phase of the O star. The gorgeous skyscape is a composite of narrow-band image data highlighting the glowing gas, and broad-band data of the surrounding starfield. NGC 6164 is 4,200 light-years away in the southern constellation of Norma.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
28 October 2012

Doomed Moon of Mars
Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA
quote:
This moon is doomed. Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These martian moons may well be captured asteroids originating in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter or perhaps from even more distant reaches of the Solar System. The larger moon, Phobos, is indeed seen to be a cratered, asteroid-like object in this stunning color image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, recorded at a resolution of about seven meters per pixel. But Phobos orbits so close to Mars - about 5,800 kilometers above the surface compared to 400,000 kilometers for our Moon - that gravitational tidal forces are dragging it down. In 100 million years or so Phobos will likely be shattered by stress caused by the relentless tidal forces, the debris forming a decaying ring around Mars.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
29 October 2012

The Red Spider Planetary Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Carlos Milovic, Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA
quote:
Oh what a tangled web a planetary nebula can weave. The Red Spider Planetary Nebula shows the complex structure that can result when a normal star ejects its outer gases and becomes a white dwarf star. Officially tagged NGC 6537, this two-lobed symmetric planetary nebula houses one of the hottest white dwarfs ever observed, probably as part of a binary star system. Internal winds emanating from the central stars, visible in the center, have been measured in excess of 1000 kilometers per second. These winds expand the nebula, flow along the nebula's walls, and cause waves of hot gas and dust to collide. Atoms caught in these colliding shocks radiate light shown in the above representative-color picture by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Red Spider Nebula lies toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). It's distance is not well known but has been estimated by some to be about 4,000 light-years.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
30 October 2012

Planetary Nebula PK 164 +31.1
Image Credit & Copyright: Descubre Foundation, CAHA, OAUV, DSA,
quote:
Vicent Peris (OAUV), Jack Harvey (SSRO), PixInsight

Is this what will become of our Sun? Quite possibly. The bubble of expanding gas pictured above is the planetary nebula PK 164 +31.1, the remnants of the atmosphere of a Sun-like star expelled as its supply of fusion-able core hydrogen became depleted. Visible near the center of the nebula is what remains of the core itself -- a blue-hot white dwarf star. This particularly photogenic planetary nebula shows intricate shells of gas likely expelled at different times toward the end the star's demise, and whose structure is not fully understood. This deep image of PK 164 +31.1 from the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain shows many other stars from our own Milky Way Galaxy as well as several galaxies far in the distance. PK 164 +31, also known as Jones-Emberson 1, lies about 1,600 light years away toward the constellation of the Wildcat (Lynx). Due to its faintness (magnitude 17) and low surface brightness, the object is only visible with a good-sized telescope. Although the expanding nebula will fade away over the next few thousand years, the central white dwarf may well survive for billions of years -- to when our universe may be a very different place.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
31 October 2012

VdB 152: A Ghost in Cepheus
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Leshin
quote:
Described as a "dusty curtain" or "ghostly apparition", mysterious reflection nebula VdB 152 really is very faint. Far from your neighborhood on this Halloween Night, the cosmic phantom is nearly 1,400 light-years away. Also catalogued as Ced 201, it lies along the northern Milky Way in the royal constellation Cepheus. Near the edge of a large molecular cloud, pockets of interstellar dust in the region block light from background stars or scatter light from the embedded bright star giving parts of the nebula a characteristic blue color. Ultraviolet light from the star is also thought to cause a dim reddish luminescence in the nebular dust. Though stars do form in molecular clouds, this star seems to have only accidentally wandered into the area, as its measured velocity through space is very different from the cloud's velocity. This deep telescopic image of the region spans about 7 light-years.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
1 November 2012

Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble -- maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. The suggestively shaped reflection nebula is associated with the bright star Rigel in the constellation Orion. More formally known as IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula spans about 50 light-years and is composed of interstellar dust grains reflecting Rigel's starlight. In this cosmic portrait, the blue color of the Witch Head Nebula and of the dust surrounding Rigel is caused not only by Rigel's intense blue starlight but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth's daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in Earth's atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. Rigel, the Witch Head Nebula, and gas and dust that surrounds them lie about 800 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."
 39yrs • F •
2 November 2012

The Black Hole in the Milky Way
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, NuSTAR project
quote:
At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, a mere 27,000 light-years away, lies a black hole with 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Fondly known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star), the Milky Way's black hole is fortunately mild-mannered compared to the central black holes in distant active galaxies, much more calmly consuming material around it. From time to time it does flare-up, though. An outburst lasting several hours is captured in this series of premier X-ray images from the orbiting Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Launched last June 13, NuSTAR is the first to provide focused views of the area surrounding Sgr A* at X-ray energies higher than those accessible to Chandra and XMM observatories. Spanning two days of NuSTAR observations, the flare sequence is illustrated in the panels at the far right. X-rays are generated in material heated to over 100 million degrees Celsius, accelerated to nearly the speed of light as it falls into the Miky Way's central black hole. The main inset X-ray image spans about 100 light-years. In it, the bright white region represents the hottest material closest to the black hole, while the pinkish cloud likely belongs to a nearby supernova remnant.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
3 November 2012

Hunter's Moon over the Alps
Image Credit & Copyright: Stefano De Rosa
quote:
A Full Moonset can be a dramatic celestial sight, and Full Moons can have many names. Late October's Full Moon, the second Full Moon after the northern hemisphere autumnal equinox, has been traditionally called the Hunter's Moon. According to lore, the name is a fitting one because this Full Moon lights the night during a time for hunting in preparation for the coming winter months. In this scene, last week's Hunter's Moon shines with a rich yellow light, setting as dawn comes to the Italian Alps. Topping out at over 11,000 feet, the snowy peak known as Rochemelon glows, just catching the first reddened light of the rising Sun.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
4 November 2012

Lenticular Clouds Over Washington
Credit & Copyright: Tim Thompson
quote:
Are those UFOs near that mountain? No -- they are multilayered lenticular clouds. Moist air forced to flow upward around mountain tops can create lenticular clouds. Water droplets condense from moist air cooled below the dew point, and clouds are opaque groups of water droplets. Waves in the air that would normally be seen horizontally can then be seen vertically, by the different levels where clouds form. On some days the city of Seattle, Washington, USA, is treated to an unusual sky show when lenticular clouds form near Mt. Rainier, a large mountain that looms just under 100 kilometers southeast of the city. This image of a spectacular cluster of lenticular clouds was taken last in 2008 December.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
5 November 2012

Saturn's Moon Dione in Slight Color
Image Credit: NASA, JPL, SSI, ESA; Post Processing: Marc Canale
quote:
Why does one half of Dione have more craters than the other? Start with the fact that Saturn's moon Dione has one side that always faces Saturn, and one side that always faces away. This is similar to Earth's Moon. This tidal locking means that one side of Dione always leads as the moon progresses in its orbit, while the other side always trails. Dione should therefore have undergone a significant number of impacts on its leading half. Strangely, the current leading half of Dione is less cratered than the trailing half. A leading explanation is that some crater-forming impacts were so large they spun Dione, changing the part that suffered the highest impact rate before the moon's spin again became locked. The above detailed image of Dione highlighting the moon's subtle hues is a meticulously-constructed mosaic -- by an dedicated amateur -- of pictures taken during the April 2010 flyby of Dione by NASA's robotic Cassini spacecraft.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
6 November 2012

Methone: Smooth Egg Moon of Saturn
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA
quote:
Why is this moon shaped like a smooth egg? The robotic Cassini spacecraft completed the first flyby ever of Saturn's small moon Methone in May and discovered that the moon has no obvious craters. Craters, usually caused by impacts, have been seen on every moon, asteroid, and comet nucleus ever imaged in detail -- until now. Even the Earth and Titan have craters. The smoothness and egg-like shape of the 3-kilometer diameter moon might be caused by Methone's surface being able to shift -- something that might occur were the moon coated by a deep pile of sub-visual rubble. If so, the most similar objects in our Solar System would include Saturn's moons Telesto, Pandora, Calypso, as well as asteroid Itokawa, all of which show sections that are unusually smooth. Methone is not entirely featureless, though, as some surface sections appear darker than others. Although flybys of Methone are difficult, interest in the nature and history of this unusual moon is sure to continue.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
7 November 2012

Superstorm Sandy From Formation to Landfall
Image Credit: NASA, GOES-13 Satellite
quote:
It was the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The cost of its devastation is still unknown. Pictured above is a movie of Superstorm Sandy taken by the Earth-orbiting GOES-13 satellite over eight days in late October as the hurricane formed, gained strength, advanced across the Caribbean, moved up the Atlantic Ocean along the US east coast, made an unusual turn west, made landfall in New Jersey, turned back to the north over Pennsylvania, and then broke up moving north-east over the northern US and Canada. Although Sandy's winds were high and dangerous, perhaps even more damaging was the storm surge of water pushed onto land ahead of Sandy, a surge that flooded many coastal areas, streets, and parts of the New York City subway system. Spanning over 1500 kilometers, US states as far west as Wisconsin experienced parts of the storm. Although Hurricane Sandy might have formed at any almost time, concerns are being raised that large storms like Sandy might become more common if water in the Atlantic continues to edge higher in power-enhancing surface temperature.
This video appears to have been removed



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
8 November 2012

Arp 188 and the Tadpole's Tail
Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA; Processing - Bill Snyder (Heavens Mirror Observatory)
quote:
In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Draco. Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 - from right to left in this view - and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy's stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail. The intruder galaxy itself, estimated to lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the Tadpole, can be seen through foreground spiral arms at the upper right. Following its terrestrial namesake, the Tadpole Galaxy will likely lose its tail as it grows older, the tail's star clusters forming smaller satellites of the large spiral galaxy.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
9 November 2012

Melotte 15 in the Heart
Image Credit & Copyright: Stefano Cancelli, Paul Mortfield
quote:
Cosmic clouds seem to form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. Of course, the clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula's newborn star cluster, Melotte 15. About 1.5 million years young, the cluster stars are toward the right in this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds in silhouette against glowing atomic gas. A composite of narrow and broad band telescopic images, the view spans about 30 light-years and includes emission from hydrogen in green, sulfur in red, and oxygen in blue hues. Wider field images reveal that IC 1805's simpler, overall outline suggests its popular name - The Heart Nebula. IC 1805 is located about 7,500 light years away toward the constellation Cassiopeia.



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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   ]
 39yrs • F •
10 November 2012

Polar Ring Galaxy NGC 660
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory, AURA, Travis Rector (Univ. Alaska Anchorage)
quote:
NGC 660 is featured in this cosmic snapshot, a sharp composite of broad and narrow band filter image data from the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea. Over 20 million light-years away and swimming within the boundaries of the constellation Pisces, NGC 660's peculiar appearance marks it as a polar ring galaxy. A rare galaxy type, polar ring galaxies have a substantial population of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings nearly perpendicular to the plane of the galactic disk. The bizarre-looking configuration could have been caused by the chance capture of material from a passing galaxy by a disk galaxy, with the captured debris eventually strung out in a rotating ring. The violent gravitational interaction would account for the myriad pinkish star forming regions scattered along NGC 660's ring. The polar ring component can also be used to explore the shape of the galaxy's otherwise unseen dark matter halo by calculating the dark matter's gravitational influence on the rotation of the ring and disk. Broader than the disk, NGC 660's ring spans over 50,000 light-years.



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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 5
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