NASA Hubble Space Telescope Images (via Hubble Heritage)
“I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up—many people feel small, because they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars” - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Just when you thought that Dr. Tyson’s video exploration of everything that makes us special in our world and beyond couldn’t get any better, it gets the GIF treatment. Nice work.
Watch it again, and then again.
NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, better known as the Antennae galaxy, located over 70 million light years. The nuclei of both galaxies are joining to form a giant spiral galaxy. The object got its name from its two long stream of stars which resemble the antennae of insects.
The image shows the Jellyfish Nebula or IC443 to the right, and IC444 to the the left. The first is a planetary nebula which shelters a neutron star, the product of a star that exploded about 30,000 years ago and left a very large remnant; it is located about 5,000 light years away. In the picture the nebulae are flanked by the stars Mu and Etas in the constellation Gemini.
Ancient Galaxy Collision Created Enormous Stellar Swirls
New simulations suggest that enormous swirls of stars surrounding a distant galaxy formed when two equal-sized galaxies collided. The galaxy, named NGC 5907, is located 50 million light-years away in the constellation Draco.
Its loops and currents, containing stars, gas and dust, are 150,000 light-years across. Researchers studying these swirls previously thought they were formed when a relatively small galaxy hit a larger one, getting torn apart in the process.
But in the new study, a massive computer simulation shows that it would have been impossible for a very small galaxy to produce the observed streams. More likely, two roughly equal-sized galaxies crashed into each other 8 or 9 billion years ago. The simulation also showed that the galaxies must have been very gas-rich in order to produce the swirls surrounding NGC 5907.
Most large spiral galaxies are thought to have formed from similar processes. Over the history of the universe, smaller galaxies have collided with one another and merged, producing ever-larger galaxies. Our own Milky Way galaxy is headed on a crash course with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy in 4.5 billion years.
Above: (1) Visible light image of NGC 5907. (2) Simulation of the collisions that produced NGC 5907 (1 Gyr = 1 billion years).
NGC 2174: Stars Versus Mountains
Credit: ESA, Hubble, NASA
NGC 6823: Cloud Sculpting Star Cluster
Credit & Copyright: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT)
Stellar Interlopers Caught Speeding Through Space
Resembling comets streaking across the sky, these four speedy stars are plowing through regions of dense interstellar gas and creating brilliant arrowhead structures and trailing tails of glowing gas.
These bright arrowheads, or bow shocks, can be seen in these four images taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The bow shocks form when the stars’ powerful stellar winds, streams of matter flowing from the stars, slam into surrounding dense gas. The phenomenon is similar to that seen when a speeding boat pushes through water on a lake.
Distance: 1,500 Light Years
Directly in front of M42 is a small grouping of hot O and B type stars known as the trapezium which shine between 5th and 8th magnitude. This grouping represents the 4 brightest members of an extended cluster of several thousand young stars many of which lie unseen within the opaque gas and dust. The bright trapezium grouping represents the cluster core where stars are packed so tight they exceed the stellar concentration of our suns vicinity some 20,000 times. Stars within the trapezium are separated by only 0.12 light years whereas our sun’s nearest neighbor is 4 light years away.
Credit: Robert Gendler
APOD: Young Suns of NGC 7129
Explanation: Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus. While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only a few million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago. Most noticeable in the sharp imageare the lovely bluish dust clouds that reflect the youthful starlight. But the compact, deep red crescent shapes are also markers of energetic, young stellar objects. Known as Herbig-Haro objects, their shape and color is characteristic of glowing hydrogen gas shocked by jets streaming away from newborn stars. Paler, extended filaments of redish emission mingling with the bluish clouds are caused by dust grains effectively converting the invisible ultraviolet starlight to visible red light throughphotoluminesence. Ultimately the natal gas and dust in the region will be dispersed, the stars drifting apart as the loose cluster orbits the center of the Galaxy. At the estimated distance of NGC 7129, this telescopic view spans about 40 light-years.
VISTA finds new globular star clusters
Two newly discovered globular clusters have been added to the total of just 158 known in our Milky Way. They were found in new images from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope as part of the Via Lactea (VVV) survey.
The first globular cluster, called UKS 1, dominates the right-hand side of the first image. But if you can drag your gaze away, there is a surprise lurking in this very rich star field — a fainter globular cluster that was discovered in the data from one of VISTA’s surveys. You will have to look closely to see the other star cluster, which is called VVV CL001: it is a small collection of stars in the left half of the image.
The second object, dubbed VVV CL002, which appears in the second image, is a small and faint globular cluster that is the closest known to the centre of the Milky Way. This means its light has had to travel right through the dust and gas in the heart of our galaxy to get to us.
Because of the absorption and reddening of starlight by interstellar dust, these objects can only be seen in infrared light and VISTA, the world’s largest survey telescope, is ideally suited to searching for new clusters hidden behind dust in the central parts of the Milky Way.