A little space collage for your enjoyment!
A little space collage for your enjoyment!
Will this caterpillar-shaped interstellar cloud one day evolve into a butterfly-shaped nebula? No one is sure. What is sure is that IRAS 20324+4057, on the inside, is contracting to form a new star. On the outside, however, energetic winds are blowing and energetic light is eroding away much of the gas and dust that might have been used to form the star. Therefore, no one is sure what mass the resulting star will have, and, therefore, no one knows the fate of this star. Were the winds and light to whittle the protostar down near the mass of the Sun, the outer atmosphere of this new star may one day expand into a
planetary nebula, possibly even one that looks like a butterfly. Alternatively, if the stellar cocoon retains enough mass, a massive star will form that will one day explode in a supernova. The eroding protostellar nebula IRAS 20324+4057 spans about one light year and lies about 4,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). The above image of IRAS 20324+4057 was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 but released last week. The battle between gravity and light will likely take over 100,000 years to play out, but clever observations and deductions may yet yield telling clues well before that.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and IPHAS
NGC 2359: Thor’s Helmet
Image Credit & Copyright: Bob and Janice Fera (Fera Photography)
This helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages is popularly called Thor’s Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor’s Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble’s center sweeps through a surrounding molecular cloud. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the nebula is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. The sharp image, made using broadband and narrowband filters, captures striking details of the nebula’s filamentary structures. It shows off a blue-green color from strong emission due to oxygen atoms in the glowing gas.
"The eye of the cosmos"
Long after sunset on January 25 an unusually intense red airglow floods this south-looking skyscape. The scene was recorded with a long exposure using a digital camera over Yunnan Province in southwest China. At best faintly visible to the eye, the lingering airglow is due to chemiluminescence, the production of light through chemical excitation. Originating at an altitude similar to aurora, it can found around the globe. The chemical energy is initially provided by the Sun’s extreme ultraviolet radiation On this night, despite the luminous atmosphere, the band of the Milky Way clearly stretches above the horizon with bright star Sirius near the top of the frame. Both airglow and starry sky are beautifully reflected in region’s watery Yuanyang rice terraces below.
Image Credit & Copyright: Cui Yongjiang
There is a road that connects the Northern to the Southern Cross but you have to be at the right place and time to see it. The road, as pictured above, is actually the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy; the right place, in this case, is dark Laguna Cejar in Salar de Atacama of Northern Chile; and the right time was in early October, just after sunset. Many sky wonders were captured then, including the bright Moon, inside the Milky Way arch; Venus, just above the Moon; Saturn and Mercury, just below the Moon; the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds satellite galaxies, on the far left; red airglow near the horizon on the image left; and the lights of small towns at several locations across the horizon. One might guess that composing this 30-image panorama would have been a serene experience, but for that one would have required earplugs to ignore the continued brays of wild donkeys.
Image Credit & Copyright: Nicholas Buer
High resolution picture of our galactic centre!!
A breathtaking picture taken of the Endeavour space shuttle at launch!
The temperature of the core of the Earth is approximately 5700 K, the same temperature as the surface of the Sun!
This was the APOD for June 25, 1995, with this explanation:
"Imagine a hurricane that lasted for 300 years! This picture of the planet Jupiter was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it passed the planet in 1979. Jupiter, a gas giant planet with no solid surface, is the largest planet in the solar system and is made mostly of the hydrogen and helium. Clearly visible in the photo is the Great Red Spot, a giant, hurricane-like storm system that rotates with the clouds of Jupiter. It is so large three complete Earths could fit inside it. Astronomers have observed this giant storm on Jupiter for over 300 years."
Crazy how much better quality our pictures have gotten!
Picture Credit: NASA, JPL, NSSDC,
Big, bright, and beautiful, spiral galaxy M83 lies a mere twelve million light-years away, near the southeastern tip of the very long constellation Hydra. This deep view of the gorgeous island universe includes observations from Hubble, along with ground based data from the European Southern Observatory’s very large telescope units, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Subaru telescope, and Australian Astronomical Observatory photographic data by D. Malin. About 40,000 light-years across, M83 is popularly known as the Southern Pinwheel for its pronounced spiral arms. But the wealth of reddish star forming regions found near the edges of the arms’ thick dust lanes, also suggest another popular moniker for M83, the Thousand-Ruby Galaxy. Arcing near the top of the novel cosmic portrait lies M83’s northern stellar tidal stream, debris from the gravitational disruption of a smaller, merging satellite galaxy. The faint, elusive star stream was found in the mid 1990s by enhancing photographic plates.
Image Credit & Copyright: R. Gendler, D. Martinez-Delgado (ARI-ZAH, Univ. Heidelberg) D. Malin (AAO), NAOJ, ESO, HLA - Assembly and Processing: Robert Gendler
I am not quite sure what you mean by that. However I do have two interpretations of it.
If you mean, “if the solar system ends with respect to distance”, then yes it does!
Our solar system is surrounded by something called the heliosphere, and it represents our “space” in space. The outermost section of the heliosphere is the heliopause. Plasma “blown” out from the Sun (aka the solar wind) creates and maintains this “bubble” against the outside pressure of the interstellar medium (the hydrogen and helium that permeates our galaxy).
Voyager 1, a probe sent out by NASA, officially left the heliosphere in August 2012, making it officially in interstellar space (the space between stars).
So in this sense, our solar system does have an end, distance wise.
But does our solar system have an end time wise? Yup!
As the Sun grows old, it will expand. As the core runs out of hydrogen and then helium, the core will contact and the outer layers will expand, cool, and become less bright. It will become a red giant star.
After this phase, the outer layers of the Sun will continue to expand. As this happens, the core will contract; the helium atoms in the core will fuse together, forming carbon atoms and releasing energy. This will stabilize the core since the carbon atoms are not further compressible.
Then the outer layers of the Sun will drift off into space, forming a planetary nebula (a planetary nebula has nothing to do with planets), exposing the core.
Most of its mass will go to the nebula. The remaining Sun will cool and shrink; it will eventually be only a few thousand miles in diameter! Very small compared to our Sun now!
The star is now a white dwarf, a stable star with no nuclear fuel. It radiates its left-over heat for billions of years. When its heat is all dispersed, it will be a cold, dark black dwarf - essentially a dead star.
If I didn’t answer your question at all, feel free to ask again! If you have any questions about anything I said in my answer, also feel free to ask :)
The Seagull Nebula
A broad expanse of glowing gas and dust presents a bird-like visage to astronomers from planet Earth, suggesting its popular moniker - The Seagull Nebula. This portrait of the cosmic bird covers a 1.6 degree wide swath across the plane of the Milky Way, near the direction of Sirius, alpha star of the constellation Canis Major. Of course, the region includes objects with other catalog designations: notably NGC 2327, a compact, dusty emission region with an embedded massive star that forms the bird’s head (aka the Parrot Nebula, above center). Dominated by the reddish glow of atomic hydrogen, the complex of gas and dust clouds with bright young stars spans over 100 light-years at an estimated 3,800 light-year distance.
Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Miller
A remarkably intense auroral band flooded the northern night with shimmering colors on December 7. The stunning sequence captured here was made with a camera fixed to a tripod under cold, clear skies near Ester, just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Left to right, spanning a period of about 30 minutes, the panels follow changes in the dancing curtains of northern lights extending to altitudes of over 100 kilometers in a band arcing directly overhead. The panels span 150 degrees vertically, covering about 500 kilometers of aurora laying across the sky from edge to edge. The auroral activity was triggered by a moderate level geomagnetic storm, as a high speed solar wind stream buffeted planet Earth’s magnetosphere.
Image Credit & Copyright: LeRoy Zimmerman (TWAN)
If the Andromeda Galaxy was brighter in the sky, that is what it would look like!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your 2013 orbit was awesome, and I hope your 2014 orbit is even better!!