Cerro Paranal, in the high, dry, Atacama desert in Chile, is where some of the best astronomy in the world is done. It’s graced with incredibly dark and steady skies, and a view of the southern hemisphere skies that, frankly, makes me jealous.
Credit: Babak Tafreshi
Posts tagged "astronomy"
When the word nebula entered English in the early 15th century, it had nothing to do with astronomy. Arriving as nebule meaning a cloud or mist from the Latin word nebula meaning mist, which in turn came from the Proto Indo-European root word *nebh-meaning cloud, vapor, fog, moist, sky. Ancient Greek had the related word nephele, nephos which also meant cloud. When the word nebula reappeared in English it had a medical meaning for cataracts or cloudy defects in the eye. The astronomical meaning of a cloud-like patch in the night sky was first recorded around 1730. It wasn’t until the early 20th century with the advent of modern and powerful telescopes that nebula were fully understood as massive clouds of gas and dust.
Image of the Bubble nebula, the Carina Nebula, the Lagoon Nebula and the 30 Doradus nebula, all courtesy NASA from Hubble Space Telescope Program.
(via uraniaproject)Source kidsneedscience
Astronomers have created a vast cosmic map revealing an intricate web of dark matter and galaxies spanning a distance of one billion light-years.Source news.discovery.com
Supercomputers Give Inside Look at Sunspots
The simulation shows the interface between a sunspot’s umbra (dark center) and penumbra (outer region) shows a complex structure with narrow, almost horizontal (lighter to white) filaments embedded in a background with more vertical (darker to black) magnetic field.
Credit: UCAR/ Matthias Rempel, NCARSource the-star-stuff
(via the-star-stuff)Source thenewenlightenmentage
Hourglass Nebula.Source heythereuniverse
An Odd Planetary Nebula In Hercules
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a striking high resolution image of the curious planetary nebula NGC 6210. Located about 6500 light-years away, in the constellation of Hercules, NGC 6210 was discovered in 1825 by the German astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve. Although in a small telescope it appears only as a tiny disc, it is fairly bright.
Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA
(via scinerds)Source kenobi-wan-obi
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.
(via likeaphysicist)Source sflorg.com
New research using observations from dwarf galaxies has set a lower limit on the mass of dark matter particles. But the results contradict findings from several previous experiments, which observed dark matter particles with masses below this threshold.
Dark matter is an invisible substance found throughout the universe that doesn’t emit any light. Scientists know that if dark matter exists, then so does anti-dark matter, and putting the two together will cause them to annihilate each other and produce gamma radiation.
“We are looking for this byproduct of the annihilation,” said physicist Savvas Koushiappas of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who co-authored one of the papers, which will both be published Dec. 1 in Physical Review Letters.
Comet Hyakutake is a comet, discovered on January 31, 1996, which passed very close to Earth in March of that year. It was dubbed The Great Comet of 1996; its passage near the Earth was one of the closest cometary approaches of the previous 200 years.Source spacetimecontinumm
The NGC 2440 nucleus (the white dot in the cent of the photo) is one of the hottest known star: 200000 degrees Celsius (or 360000 degree Fahrenheit). It is more than 30 times hotter than that of our own Sun. (via ESA/Hubble)Source spacetelescope.org
Shuttle Plume Shadow Points to the Moon
In early 2001 during a launch of Atlantis, the Sun, Earth, Moon, and rocket were all properly aligned for this photogenic coincidence. First, for the space shuttle’s plume to cast a long shadow, the time of day must be either near sunrise or sunset. Only then will the shadow be its longest and extend all the way to the horizon. Finally, during a Full Moon, the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the sky. Just after sunset, for example, the Sun is slightly below the horizon, and, in the other direction, the Moon is slightly above the horizon. Therefore, as Atlantis blasted off, just after sunset, its shadow projected away from the Sun toward the opposite horizon, where the Full Moon just happened to be.
Image Credit: Pat McCracken, NASA
(via scinerds)Source apod.nasa.gov
Photo by Copyright Robert Gendler and Josch Hambsch 2005Source astronomy.com
Houston we have liftoff! NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory lifted off from the launch pad at 7:02 a.m. EST today.
The one-ton Mini Cooper-sized rover, which is the largest machine NASA can currently put down on the Martian surface, will now look forward to an eight-month cruise to the Red Planet, arriving in August 2012. The probe will survey the Martian landscape with HD cameras, search for signs of habitability and life past or present, and drill inside rocks to examine the planet’s composition.