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APOD: 2018 November 7 - NGC 6188: The Dragons of Ara
Explanation: Dark shapes with bright edges winging their way through dusty NGC 6188 are tens of light-years long. The emission nebula is found near the edge of an otherwise dark large molecular cloud in the southern constellation Ara, about 4,000 light-years away. Born in that region only a few million years ago, the massive young stars of the embedded Ara OB1 association sculpt the fantastic shapes and power the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation. The recent star formation itself was likely triggered by winds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massive stars, that swept up and compressed the molecular gas. With image data from the Chilescope Observatory, a false-color Hubble palette was used to create this gorgeous wide-field image and shows emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in red, green, and blue hues. The field of view spans about four full Moons, corresponding to about 150 light years at the estimated distance of NGC 6188.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
yesterday by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 October 31 - R Leporis: A Vampire's Star
Explanation: Better known as Hind's Crimson Star, R Leporis is a rare star in planet Earth's night sky. It's also a shocking shade of red. The star's discoverer, 19th century English astronomer John Russell Hind, reported that it appeared in a telescope "... like a drop of blood on a black field." Located 1,360 light-years away in the constellation Lepus the star is a Mira-type variable, changing its brightness over a period of about 14 months. R Leporis is now recognized as a carbon star, a very cool and highly evolved red giant with an extreme abundance of carbon. Extra carbon in carbon stars is created by helium fusion near the dying stellar core and dredged up into the stars' outer layers. The dredge-up results in an overabundance of simple carbon molecules, like CO, CH, CN, and C2. While it's true that cool stars radiate most of their energy in red and infrared light, the carbon molecules strongly absorb what little blue light is left and give carbon stars an exceptionally deep red color. R Leporis is losing its carbon-rich atmosphere into the surrounding interstellar material through a strong stellar wind though, and could be near the transition to a planetary nebula. Oh, and Happy Halloween from the folks at APOD.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
15 days ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 October 26 - IC 59 and IC 63 in Cassiopeia
Explanation: These bright rims and flowing shapes look ghostly on a cosmic scale. A telescopic view toward the constellation Cassiopeia, the colorful (zoomable) skyscape features the swept-back, comet-shaped clouds IC 59 (left) and IC 63. About 600 light-years distant, the clouds aren't actually ghosts, but they are slowly disappearing under the influence of energetic radiation from hot,luminous star gamma Cas. Gamma Cas is physically located only 3 to 4 light-years from the nebulae, just off the top right edge of the frame. Slightly closer to gamma Cas, IC 63 is dominated by red H-alpha light emitted as hydrogen atoms ionized by the star's ultraviolet radiation recombine with electrons. Farther from the star, IC 59 shows proportionally less H-alpha emission but more of the characteristic blue tint of dust reflected star light. The field of view spans about 1 degree or 10 light-years at the estimated distance of gamma Cas and friends.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
20 days ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 October 13 - Skygazers on the Beach
Explanation: Kona, a young boxer, is a dog who loves splashing in the waves along Solana Beach near San Diego, planet Earth. But he paused here, at least briefly, during an early evening romp on October 7. Along with two people friends he gazes skyward in this snapshot, dazzled by the flight of a Falcon 9 rocket. Their seaside view is of the sunlit exhaust plumes from the rocket's first stage thrusters as it returns to Vandenberg Air Force base, its launch site over 250 miles to the north.
astronomy  photography  APOD  dogs 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 October 6 - Aurora: The Frog's View
Aurora: The Frog's View
Image Credit & Copyright: Mia Stalnacke
Explanation: What does an aurora look like to a frog? "Awesome!" is the likely answer, suggested by this imaginative snapshot taken on October 3rd from Kiruna, Sweden. Frequented by apparitions of the northern lights, Kiruna is located in Lapland north of the Arctic Circle, and often under the auroral oval surrounding planet Earth's geomagnetic north pole. To create a tantalizing view from a frog's perspective the photographer turned on the flashlight on her phone and placed it on the ground facing down, resting her camera's lens on top. The "diamonds" in the foreground are icy pebbles right in front of the lens, lit up by the flashlight. Reflecting the shimmering northern lights, the "lake" is a frozen puddle on the ground. Of course, in the distance is the Bengt Hultqvist Observatory.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 September 24 - Rover 1A Hops on Asteroid Ryugu
Explanation: Two small robots have begun hopping around the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The rovers, each the size of a small frying pan, move around the low gravity of kilometer-sized 162173 Ryugu by hopping, staying aloft for about 15 minutes and typically landing again several meters away. On Saturday, Rover 1A returned an early picture of its new home world, on the left, during one of its first hops. On Friday, lander MINERVA-II-1 detached from its mothership Hayabusa2, dropped Rovers 1A and 1B, and then landed on Ryugu. Studying Ryugu could tell humanity not only about Ryugu's surface and interior, but about what materials were available in the early Solar System for the development of life. Two more hopping rovers are planned for release, and Hayabusa2 itself is scheduled to collect a surface sample from Ryugu and return it to Earth for detailed analysis before 2021.
space  astronomy  photography  APOD  japan 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 September 14 - Ice Halos at Yellowknife
Explanation: You've probably seen a circle around the Sun before. More common than rainbows, ice halos, like a 22 degree circular halo for example, can be easy to spot, especially if you can shade your eyes from direct sunlight. Still it's rare to see such a diverse range of ice halos, including sundogs, tangent, infralateral, and Parry arcs, all found in this snapshot from planet Earth. The picture was quickly taken in the late morning of September 4 from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. The beautiful patterns are generated as sunlight (or moonlight) is reflected and refracted in six-sided water ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere. Of course, atmospheric ice halos in the skies of other worlds are likely to be different.
astronomy  photography  canada  APOD 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 August 24 - Messier 20 and 21
Image Credit & Copyright: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo
Explanation: The beautiful Trifid Nebula, also known as Messier 20, is easy to find with a small telescope in the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. About 5,000 light-years away, the colorful study in cosmic contrasts shares this well-composed, nearly 1 degree wide field with open star cluster Messier 21 (bottom right). Trisected by dust lanes the Trifid itself is about 40 light-years across and a mere 300,000 years old. That makes it one of the youngest star forming regions in our sky, with newborn and embryonic stars embedded in its natal dust and gas clouds. Estimates of the distance to open star cluster M21 are similar to M20's, but though they share this gorgeous telescopic skyscape there is no apparent connection between the two. In fact, M21's stars are much older, about 8 million years old.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
11 weeks ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 August 10 - Spiral Galaxy NGC 6744
Explanation: Beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 6744 is nearly 175,000 light-years across, larger than our own Milky Way. It lies some 30 million light-years distant in the southern constellation Pavo and appears as only a faint, extended object in small telescopes. We see the disk of the nearby island universe tilted towards our line of sight. This remarkably detailed galaxy portrait covers an area about the angular size of the full moon. In it, the giant galaxy's elongated yellowish core is dominated by the light from old, cool stars. Beyond the core, grand spiral arms are filled with young blue star clusters and speckled with pinkish star forming regions. An extended arm sweeps past a smaller satellite galaxy at the upper left. NGC 6744's galactic companion is reminiscent of the Milky Way's satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
august 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 August 7 - Eclipsed Moon and Mars over Mountains
Explanation: There is something unusual about this astronomically-oriented photograph. It's not obvious -- it was discovered only during post-processing. It is not the Moon, although capturing the Moon rising during a total lunar eclipse is quite an unusually interesting sight. (Other interesting images also captured during last month's eclipse can be found here.) It is not Mars, found to the lower right of the Moon, although Mars being captured near its brightest also makes for an unusually interesting sight. (Mars is visible nearly the entire night this month; other interesting images of it can be found here.) It is not the foreground mountains, although the French Alps do provide unusually spectacular perspectives on planet Earth. (Other interesting mountainous starscapes can be found here.) It is the goat.
astronomy  photography  nature  APOD  europe 
august 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 August 4 - Central Cygnus Skyscape
Explanation: Supergiant star Gamma Cygni lies at the center of the Northern Cross, famous asterism in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Known by its proper name, Sadr, the bright star also lies at the center of this gorgeous skyscape, featuring a complex of stars, dust clouds, and glowing nebulae along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. The field of view spans almost 4 degrees (eight Full Moons) on the sky and includes emission nebula IC 1318 and open star cluster NGC 6910. Left of Gamma Cygni and shaped like two glowing cosmic wings divided by a long dark dust lane, IC 1318's popular name is understandably the Butterfly Nebula. Above and left of Gamma Cygni, are the young, still tightly grouped stars of NGC 6910. Some distance estimates for Gamma Cygni place it at around 1,800 light-years while estimates for IC 1318 and NGC 6910 range from 2,000 to 5,000 light-years.
photography  astronomy  APOD 
august 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 July 7 - A Northern Summer s Night
Explanation: Near a summer's midnight a mist haunts the river bank in this dreamlike skyscape taken on July 3rd from northern Denmark. Reddened light from the Sun a little below the horizon gives an eerie tint to low hanging clouds. Formed near the edge of space, the silvery apparitions above them are noctilucent or night shining clouds. The icy condensations on meteoric dust or volcanic ash are still in full sunlight at the extreme altitudes of the mesophere. Usually seen at high latitudes in summer months, wide spread displays of the noctilucent clouds are now being reported.
APOD  astronomy  photography  nature 
july 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 June 22 - Galaxy in a Crystal Ball
Explanation: A small crystal ball seems to hold a whole galaxy in this creative snapshot. Of course, the galaxy is our own Milky Way. Its luminous central bulge marked by rifts of interstellar dust spans thousands of light-years. On this long southern hemisphere night it filled dark Chilean skies over Paranal Observatory. The single exposure image did not require a Very Large Telescope, though. Experiments with a digital camera on a tripod and crystal ball perched on a handrail outside the Paranal Residencia produced the evocative, cosmic marble portrait of our home galaxy.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
june 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 June 2 - Jupiter Season, Hawaiian Sky
Explanation: Volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaii has increased since this Hawaiian night skyscape was recorded earlier this year. Recent vents and lava flows are about 30 kilometers to the east, the direction of the blowing smoke and steam in the panoramic view of the Kilauea caldera with Halemaumau crater taken from Volcanoes National Park. Still, this year Jupiter is bright in late spring to early summer skies. High in the south it is easily the brightest celestial beacon in the scene where the central bulge of the Milky Way seems to rise above vapors and clouds. Yellowish Antares is the bright star near the end of the dark rivers of dust seen toward the center of our galaxy. Near the horizon, stars Alpha and Beta Centauri and the compact Southern Cross shine through the almost too bright volcanic smoke.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
june 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 May 24 - The Gum Nebula Expanse
Explanation: Named for a cosmic cloud hunter, Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum (1924-1960), The Gum Nebula is so large and close it is actually hard to see. In fact, we are only about 450 light-years from the front edge and 1,500 light-years from the back edge of this interstellar expanse of glowing hydrogen gas. Covered in this 40+ degree-wide monochrome mosaic of Hydrogen-alpha images, the faint emission region stands out against the background of Milky Way stars. The complex nebula is thought to be a supernova remnant over a million years old, sprawling across the Ship's southern constellations Vela and Puppis. This spectacular wide field view also explores many objects embedded in The Gum Nebula, including the younger Vela supernova remnant.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
may 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 May 19 - Reflections of Venus and Moon
Explanation: Posing near the western horizon, a brilliant evening star and slender young crescent shared reflections in a calm sea last Thursday after sunset. Recorded in this snapshot from the Atlantic beach at Santa Marinella near Rome, Italy, the lovely celestial conjunction of the two brightest beacons in the night sky could be enjoyed around the world. Seaside, light reflected by briefly horizontal surfaces of the gentle waves forms the shimmering columns across the water. Similar reflections by fluttering atmospheric ice crystals can create sometimes mysterious pillars of light. Of course, earthlight itself visibly illuminates the faint lunar night side.
astronomy  moon  photography  APOD 
may 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 April 27 - Gaia's Milky Way
Explanation: This grand allsky view of our Milky Way and nearby galaxies is not a photograph. It's a map based on individual measurements for nearly 1.7 billion stars. The astronomically rich data set used to create it, the sky-scanning Gaia satellite's second data release, includes remarkably precise determinations of position, brightness, colour, and parallax distance for 1.3 billion stars. Of course, that's about 1 percent of the total number of stars in the Milky Way. The flat plane of our galaxy still dominates the view. Home to most Milky Way stars it stretches across the center of Gaia's stellar data map. Voids and rifts along the galactic plane correspond to starlight-obscuring interstellar dust clouds. At lower right are stars of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, neighboring galaxies that lie just beyond the Milky Way.
astronomy  photography  APOD  maps 
may 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 May 8 - The Observable Universe
Explanation: How far can you see? Everything you can see, and everything you could possibly see, right now, assuming your eyes could detect all types of radiations around you -- is the observable universe. In visible light, the farthest we can see comes from the cosmic microwave background, a time 13.8 billion years ago when the universe was opaque like thick fog. Some neutrinos and gravitational waves that surround us come from even farther out, but humanity does not yet have the technology to detect them. The featured image illustrates the observable universe on an increasingly compact scale, with the Earth and Sun at the center surrounded by our Solar System, nearby stars, nearby galaxies, distant galaxies, filaments of early matter, and the cosmic microwave background. Cosmologists typically assume that our observable universe is just the nearby part of a greater entity known as "the universe" where the same physics applies. However, there are several lines of popular but speculative reasoning that assert that even our universe is part of a greater multiverse where either different physical constants occur, different physical laws apply, higher dimensions operate, or slightly different-by-chance versions of our standard universe exist.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
may 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 May 2 - Moon Halo over Stone Circle
Explanation: Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon? This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens. Because most of the crystals have a similar elongated hexagonal shape, light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the Moon Halo. A similar Sun Halo may be visible during the day. Exactly how ice-crystals form in clouds remains under investigation. In the featured image, the ice circle in the sky is mirrored by a stone circle on the ground. Taken just over a month ago in Pontypridd Common, Wales, UK, the central Rocking Stone survives from the last ice age, while the surrounding stones in the circles were placed much more recently -- during the 1800s.
astronomy  photography  APOD  moon  uk 
may 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 April 10 - Dragon Aurora over Norway
Explanation: What's that in the sky? An aurora. A large coronal hole opened last month, a few days before this image was taken, throwing a cloud of fast moving electrons, protons, and ions toward the Earth. Some of this cloud impacted our Earth's magnetosphere and resulted in spectacular auroras being seen at high northern latitudes. Featured here is a particularly photogenic auroral curtain captured above Tromsø Norway. To the astrophotographer, this shimmering green glow of recombining atmospheric oxygen appeared as a large dragon, but feel free to share what it looks like to you. Although now past Solar Maximum, our Sun continues to show occasional activity creating impressive auroras on Earth visible even last week.
astronomy  photography  aurora_borealis  APOD 
april 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 April 6 - NGC 3324 in Carina
Explanation: This bright cosmic cloud was sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from the hot young stars of open cluster NGC 3324. With dust clouds in silhouette against its glowing atomic gas, the pocket-shaped star-forming region actually spans about 35 light-years. It lies some 7,500 light-years away toward the nebula rich southern constellation Carina. A composite of narrowband image data, the telescopic view captures the characteristic emission from ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms mapped to red, green, and blue hues in the popular Hubble Palette. For some, the celestial landscape of bright ridges of emission bordered by cool, obscuring dust along the right side create a recognizable face in profile. The region's popular name is the Gabriela Mistral Nebula for the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet.
APOD  astronomy  photography 
april 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 April 5 - NGC 289: Swirl in the Southern Sky
Explanation: About 70 million light-years distant, gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 289 is larger than our own Milky Way. Seen nearly face-on, its bright core and colorful central disk give way to remarkably faint, bluish spiral arms. The extensive arms sweep well over 100 thousand light-years from the galaxy's center. At the lower right in this sharp, telescopic galaxy portrait the main spiral arm seems to encounter a small, fuzzy elliptical companion galaxy interacting with enormous NGC 289. Of course the spiky stars are in the foreground of the scene. They lie within the Milky Way toward the southern constellation Sculptor.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
april 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 April 3 - The Milky Way over the Seven Strong Men Rock Formations
Explanation: You may have heard of the Seven Sisters in the sky, but have you heard about the Seven Strong Men on the ground? Located just west of the Ural Mountains, the unusual Manpupuner rock formations are one of the Seven Wonders of Russia. How these ancient 40-meter high pillars formed is yet unknown. The persistent photographer of this featured image battled rough terrain and uncooperative weather to capture these rugged stone towers in winter at night, being finally successful in February of 2014. Utilizing the camera's time delay feature, the photographer holds a flashlight in the foreground near one of the snow-covered pillars. High above, millions of stars shine down, while the band of our Milky Way Galaxy crosses diagonally down from the upper left.
astronomy  photography  APOD  russia  nature 
april 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 30 - NGC 247 and Friends
Explanation: About 70,000 light-years across, NGC 247 is a spiral galaxy smaller than our Milky Way. Measured to be only 11 million light-years distant it is nearby though. Tilted nearly edge-on as seen from our perspective, it dominates this telescopic field of view toward the southern constellation Cetus. The pronounced void on one side of the galaxy's disk recalls for some its popular name, the Needle's Eye galaxy. Many background galaxies are visible in this sharp galaxy portrait, including the remarkable string of four galaxies just below and left of NGC 247 known as Burbidge's Chain. Burbidge's Chain galaxies are about 300 million light-years distant. The deep image even reveals that the two leftmost galaxies in the chain are apparently interacting, joined by a faint bridge of material. NGC 247 itself is part of the Sculptor Group of galaxies along with the shiny spiral NGC 253.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 29 - NGC 2023 in the Horsehead's Shadow
Explanation: Carved by a bright young star in Orion's dusty molecular clouds, NGC 2023 is often overlooked in favor of the nearby dramatic silhouette of the Horsehead Nebula. In its own right it is seen as a beautiful star forming emission and reflection nebula though, a mere 1500 light-years distant. Surprisingly colorful and complex filaments are detailed in this rare NGC 2023 portrait. Scattered points of emission are also from the region's Herbig-Haro objects, associated with the energetic jets from newborn stars. The sharp telescopic view spans about 10 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 2023. Off the right edge of the frame lies the more familiar cosmic Horsehead.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 16 - The Seagull and The Duck
Explanation: Seen as a seagull and a duck, these nebulae are not the only cosmic clouds to evoke images of flight. But both are winging their way across this broad celestial landscape, spanning almost 7 degrees across planet Earth's night sky toward the constellation Canis Major. The expansive Seagull (top center) is itself composed of two major cataloged emission nebulae. Brighter NGC 2327 forms the head with the more diffuse IC 2177 as the wings and body. Impressively, the Seagull's wingspan would correspond to about 250 light-years at the nebula's estimated distance of 3,800 light-years. At the lower right, the Duck appears much more compact and would span only about 50 light-years given its 15,000 light-year distance estimate. Blown by energetic winds from an extremely massive, hot star near its center, the Duck nebula is cataloged as NGC 2359. Of course, the Duck's thick body and winged appendages also lend it the slightly more dramatic popular moniker, Thor's Helmet.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 17 - The Crab from Space
Explanation: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messier's famous list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, expanding debris from the death explosion of a massive star. This intriguing false-color image combines data from space-based observatories, Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer, to explore the debris cloud in X-rays (blue-white), optical (purple), and infrared (pink) light. One of the most exotic objects known to modern astronomers, the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star spinning 30 times a second, is the bright spot near picture center. Like a cosmic dynamo, this collapsed remnant of the stellar core powers the Crab's emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spanning about 12 light-years, the Crab Nebula is 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 13 - The Complete Galactic Plane: Up and Down
Explanation: Is it possible to capture the entire plane of our galaxy in a single image? Yes, but not in one exposure -- and it took some planning to do it in two. The top part of the featured image is the night sky above Lebanon, north of the equator, taken in 2017 June. The image was taken at a time when the central band of the Milky Way Galaxy passed directly overhead. The bottom half was similarly captured six months later in latitude-opposite Chile, south of Earth's equator. Each image therefore captured the night sky in exactly the opposite direction of the other, when fully half the Galactic plane was visible. The southern half was then inverted -- car and all -- and digitally appended to the top half to show the entire central band of our Galaxy, as a circle, in a single image. Many stars and nebulas are visible, with the Large Magellanic Cloud being particularly notable inside the lower half of the complete galactic circle.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 9 - Horsehead: A Wider View
Explanation: Combined image data from the massive, ground-based VISTA telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope was used to create this wide perspective of the interstellar landscape surrounding the famous Horsehead Nebula. Captured at near-infrared wavelengths, the region's dusty molecular cloud sprawls across the scene that covers an angle about two-thirds the size of the Full Moon on the sky. Left to right the frame spans just over 10 light-years at the Horsehead's estimated distance of 1,600 light-years. Also known as Barnard 33, the still recognizable Horsehead Nebula stands at the upper right, the near-infrared glow of a dusty pillar topped with newborn stars. Below and left, the bright reflection nebula NGC 2023 is itself the illuminated environs of a hot young star. Obscuring clouds below the base of the Horsehead and on the outskirts of NGC 2023 show the tell-tale far red emission of energetic jets, known as Herbig-Haro objects, also associated with newborn stars.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 March 6 - Colorful Airglow Bands Surround Milky Way
Explanation: Why would the sky glow like a giant repeating rainbow? Airglow. Now air glows all of the time, but it is usually hard to see. A disturbance however -- like an approaching storm -- may cause noticeable rippling in the Earth's atmosphere. These gravity waves are oscillations in air analogous to those created when a rock is thrown in calm water. Red airglow likely originates from OH molecules about 87-kilometers high, excited by ultraviolet light from the Sun, while orange and green airglow is likely caused by sodium and oxygen atoms slightly higher up. While driving near Keluke Lake in Qinghai Provence in China, the photographer originally noticed mainly the impressive central band of the Milky Way Galaxy. Stopping to photograph it, surprisingly, the resulting sensitive camera image showed airglow bands to be quite prominent and span the entire sky. The featured image has been digitally enhanced to make the colors more vibrant.
photography  astronomy  nature  APOD 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 February 27 - Dueling Bands in the Night
Explanation: What are these two bands in the sky? The more commonly seen band is the one on the right and is the central band of our Milky Way galaxy. Our Sun orbits in the disk of this spiral galaxy, so that from inside, this disk appears as a band of comparable brightness all the way around the sky. The Milky Way band can also be seen all year -- if out away from city lights. The less commonly seem band, on the left, is zodiacal light -- sunlight reflected from dust orbiting the Sun in our Solar System. Zodiacal light is brightest near the Sun and so is best seen just before sunrise or just after sunset. On some evenings in the north, particularly during the months of March and April, this ribbon of zodiacal light can appear quite prominent after sunset. It has recently been determined that zodiacal dust was mostly expelled by comets that have passed near Jupiter. Only on certain times of the year will the two bands be seen side by side, in parts of the sky, like this. Here the two streaks of light appear like the continuation of the banks of the Liver River into the sky. The featured panorama of consecutive exposures was recorded about three weeks ago in North Jutland, Denmark.
astronomy  photography  APOD  europe 
march 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 February 24 - Facing NGC 6946
Explanation: From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 6946 face-on. The big, beautiful spiral galaxy is located just 20 million light-years away, behind a veil of foreground dust and stars in the high and far-off constellation of Cepheus. From the core outward, the galaxy's colors change from the yellowish light of old stars in the center to young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions along the loose, fragmented spiral arms. NGC 6946 is also bright in infrared light and rich in gas and dust, exhibiting a high star birth and death rate. In fact, since the early 20th century at least nine supernovae, the death explosions of massive stars, were discovered in NGC 6946. Nearly 40,000 light-years across, NGC 6946 is also known as the Fireworks Galaxy. This remarkable portrait of NGC 6946 is a composite that includes image data from the 8.2 meter Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
february 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 February 7 - NGC 7331 Close-Up
Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. Since the galaxy's disk is inclined to our line-of-sight, long telescopic exposures often result in an image that evokes a strong sense of depth. In this Hubble Space Telescope close-up, the galaxy's magnificent spiral arms feature dark obscuring dust lanes, bright bluish clusters of massive young stars, and the telltale reddish glow of active star forming regions. The bright yellowish central regions harbor populations of older, cooler stars. Like the Milky Way, a supermassive black hole lies at the core of spiral galaxy NGC 7331.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
february 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 January 21 - The Upper Michigan Blizzard of 1938
Explanation: Yes, but can your blizzard do this? In Upper Michigan's Storm of the Century in 1938, some snow drifts reached the level of utility poles. Nearly a meter of new and unexpected snow fell over two days in a storm that started 80 years ago this week. As snow fell and gale-force winds piled snow to surreal heights; many roads became not only impassable but unplowable; people became stranded; cars, school buses and a train became mired; and even a dangerous fire raged. Fortunately only two people were killed, although some students were forced to spend several consecutive days at school. The featured image was taken by a local resident soon after the storm. Although all of this snow eventually melted, repeated snow storms like this help build lasting glaciers in snowy regions of our planet Earth.
winter  nature  weather  photography  30s  APOD 
january 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 January 16 - An Elephant's Trunk in Cepheus
Explanation: With image data from telescopes large and small, this close-up features the dusty Elephant's Trunk Nebula. It winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, the cosmic elephant's trunk is over 20 light-years long. The colorful view highlights bright, swept-back ridges that outline the region's pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. Such embedded, dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. This dramatic scene spans a 1 degree wide field, about the size of 2 Full Moons.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
january 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 January 17 - In the Valley of Orion
Explanation: This exciting and unfamiliar view of the Orion Nebula is a visualization based on astronomical data and movie rendering techniques. Up close and personal with a famous stellar nursery normally seen from 1,500 light-years away, the digitally modeled frame transitions from a visible light representation based on Hubble data on the left to infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope on the right. The perspective at the center looks along a valley over a light-year wide, in the wall of the region's giant molecular cloud. Orion's valley ends in a cavity carved by the energetic winds and radiation of the massive central stars of the Trapezium star cluster. The single frame is part of a multiwavelength, three-dimensional video that lets the viewer experience an immersive, three minute flight through the Great Nebula of Orion.
astronomy  photography  APOD  visualization 
january 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 January 11 - RCW 114: A Dragon's Heart in Ara
Explanation: Large and dramatically shaped, this cosmic cloud spans nearly 7 degrees or 14 full moons across planet Earth's sky toward the southern constellation Ara. Difficult to image, the filamentary apparition is cataloged as RCW 114 and traced in this telescopic mosaic by the telltale reddish emission of ionized hydrogen atoms. In fact, RCW 114 has been recognized as a supernova remnant. Its extensive filaments of emission are produced as the still expanding shockwave from the death explosion of a massive star sweeps up the surrounding interstellar medium. Consistent estimates place its distance at over 600 light-years, indicating a diameter of about 100 light-years or so. Light from the supernova explosion that created RCW 114 would have reached Earth around 20,000 years ago. A spinning neutron star or pulsar has recently been identified as the remains of the collapsed stellar core.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
january 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 January 10 - NGC 2623: Merging Galaxies from Hubble
Explanation: Where do stars form when galaxies collide? To help find out, astronomers imaged the nearby galaxy merger NGC 2623 in high resolution with the Hubble Space Telescope. Analysis of this and other Hubble images as well as images of NGC 2623 in infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope, in X-ray light by XMM-Newton, and in ultraviolet light by GALEX, indicate that two originally spiral galaxies appear now to be greatly convolved and that their cores have unified into one active galactic nucleus (AGN). Star formation continues around this core near the featured image center, along the stretched out tidal tails visible on either side, and perhaps surprisingly, in an off-nuclear region on the upper left where clusters of bright blue stars appear. Galaxy collisions can take hundreds of millions of years and take several gravitationally destructive passes. NGC 2623, also known as Arp 243, spans about 50,000 light years and lies about 250 million light years away toward the constellation of the Crab (Cancer). Reconstructing the original galaxies and how galaxy mergers happen is often challenging, sometimes impossible, but generally important to understanding how our universe evolved.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
january 2018 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 29 - M78 Wide Field
Explanation: Interstellar dust clouds and glowing nebulae abound in the fertile constellation of Orion. One of the brightest, M78, is centered in this colorful, wide field view, covering an area north of Orion's belt. At a distance of about 1,500 light-years, the bluish reflection nebula is around 5 light-years across. Its tint is due to dust preferentially reflecting the blue light of hot, young stars. Reflection nebula NGC 2071 is just to the left of M78. To the right, and much more compact in appearance, the intriguing McNeil's Nebula is a recently recognized variable nebula associated with a young sun-like star. Deeper red flecks of emission from Herbig-Haro objects, energetic jets from stars in the process of formation, stand out against the dark dust lanes. The exposure also brings out the region's fainter pervasive glow of atomic hydrogen gas.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 28 - Recycling Cassiopeia A
Explanation: Massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnaces ignite and create heavy elements in their cores. After a few million years, the enriched material is blasted back into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew. The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an example of this final phase of the stellar life cycle. Light from the explosion which created this supernova remnant would have been first seen in planet Earth's sky about 350 years ago, although it took that light about 11,000 years to reach us. This false-color Chandra X-ray Observatory image shows the still hot filaments and knots in the Cassiopeia A remnant. High-energy emission from specific elements has been color coded, silicon in red, sulfur in yellow, calcium in green and iron in purple, to help astronomers explore the recycling of our galaxy's star stuff - Still expanding, the blast wave is seen as the blue outer ring. The sharp X-ray image, spans about 30 light-years at the estimated distance of Cassiopeia A. The bright speck near the center is a neutron star, the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of the massive stellar core.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 27 - The Horsehead Nebula
Explanation: One of the most identifiable nebulae in the sky, the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, is part of a large, dark, molecular cloud. Also known as Barnard 33, the unusual shape was first discovered on a photographic plate in the late 1800s. The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust, although the lower part of the Horsehead's neck casts a shadow to the left. Streams of gas leaving the nebula are funneled by a strong magnetic field. Bright spots in the Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming. Light takes about 1,500 years to reach us from the Horsehead Nebula. The featured image was taken with the large 3.6-m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, USA.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 25 - Fireball in the Arctic
Explanation: Something very bright suddenly lit up the arctic -- what was it? The original idea was to take a series of aurora images that could be made into a time-lapse video. But when night suddenly turned into day, the astrophotographer quickly realized that he was seeing something even more spectacular. Moving through the sky -- in front of the Big Dipper no less -- was a Geminid meteor so bright it could be called a fireball. The meteor brightened and flashed for several seconds as it went. By a stroke of good fortune, the aurora camera was able to capture the whole track. Taken the night after the Geminids Meteor Shower peaked, the astrophotographer's location was near Lovozero Lake in Murmansk, Russia, just north of the Arctic Circle.
photography  astronomy  APOD  russia 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 22 - Gemini's Meteors
Explanation: From dark skies above Heilongjiang province in northeastern China, meteors rain down on a wintry landscape in this beautiful composited night scene. The 48 meteors are part of last week's annual Geminid meteor shower. Despite temperatures of -28 degrees C, all were recorded in camera exposures made during the peak hour of the celestial spectacle. They stream away from the shower's radiant high above the horizon near the two bright stars of the zodiacal constellation of the Twins. A very active shower, this year the December 13-14 peak of the Geminids arrived just before the December 16 closest approach of asteroid 3200 Phaethon to planet Earth. Mysterious 3200 Phaethon is the Geminid shower's likely parent body.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 21 - Solstice Sun and Milky Way
Explanation: Welcome to December's solstice, first day of winter in the north and summer for the southern hemisphere. Astronomical markers of the seasons, solstice and equinox dates are based on the Sun's place in its annual journey along the ecliptic, through planet Earth's sky. At this solstice, the Sun reaches its maximum southern declination of -23.5 degrees today at 16:28 UTC, while its right ascension coordinate on the celestial sphere is 18 hours. That puts the Sun in the constellation Sagittarius in a direction near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, if you could see today's Solstice Sun against faint background stars and nebulae (that's really hard to do, especially in the daytime ...) your view might look something like this composited panorama. To make it, images of our fair galaxy were taken under dark Namibian night skies, then stitched together in a panoramic view. From a snapshot made on December 21, 2015, the Sun was digitally overlayed as a brilliant star at today's northern winter solstice position, close to the center of the Milky Way.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 16 - A Wintry Shower
Explanation: Four Geminids flash through northern skies in this wintry night skyscape. The bright fireball and 3 fainter meteors were captured in a single 10 second exposure, near the peak of December's Geminid meteor shower. Reflecting the fireball's greenish light, a partially frozen Lake Edith in Alberta Canada's Jasper National Park lies in the foreground, with the Canadian Rocky Mountains ranging along the northern horizon. Of course, the glacial lake is cold even in summer. But photographer Jack Fusco reports that he experienced -9 degree C temperatures that night while enjoying one of the most active meteor showers he's ever seen.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 13 - Meteors over Inner Mongolia
Explanation: Did you ever get caught in a meteor shower? If yes, then every minute or so the sky sparked with fleeting flashes of light. This was the fate of the pictured astrophotographer during last year's Perseids meteor shower. During the featured three-hour image composite, about 90 Perseids rained down above Lake Duolun of Inner Mongolia, China. If you trace back the meteor streaks, you will find that most of them appear to radiate from a single constellation -- in this case Perseus. In fact, you can even tell which meteors are not Perseids because they track differently. Tonight promises to be another good night to get caught in a meteor shower because it is the peak for the Geminids. Gemini, the shower radiant, should rise shortly after sunset and be visible most of the night.
perseid  astronomy  photography  APOD  asia 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 10 - In Green Company: Aurora over Norway
Explanation: Raise your arms if you see an aurora. With those instructions, two nights went by with, well, clouds -- mostly. On the third night of returning to same peaks, though, the sky not only cleared up but lit up with a spectacular auroral display. Arms went high in the air, patience and experience paid off, and the creative featured image was captured as a composite from three separate exposures. The setting is a summit of the Austnesfjorden fjord close to the town of Svolvear on the Lofoten islands in northern Norway. The time was early 2014. Although our Sun is nearing Solar Minimum and hence showing relatively little surface activity, holes in the upper corona have provided some nice auroral displays over the last few months.
photography  astronomy  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 7 - All the Eclipses of 2017
Explanation: As seen from planet Earth, all the lunar and solar eclipses of 2017 are represented at the same scale in these four panels. The year's celestial shadow play was followed through four different countries by one adventurous eclipse chaser. To kick off the eclipse season, at top left February's Full Moon was captured from the Czech Republic. Its subtle shading, a penumbral lunar eclipse, is due to Earth's lighter outer shadow. Later that month the New Moon at top right was surrounded by a ring of fire, recorded on film from Argentina near the midpoint of striking annular solar eclipse. The August eclipse pairing below finds the Earth's dark umbral shadow in a partial eclipse from Germany at left, and the vibrant solar corona surrounding a totally eclipsed Sun from the western USA. If you're keeping score, the Saros numbers (eclipse cycles) for all the 2017 eclipses are at bottom left in each panel.
astronomy  photography  eclipse  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 4 - Earth and Moon
Explanation: On rare occasions, the Earth and Moon are photographed together. One of most spectacular times this occurred was 25 years ago this month when the Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft zoomed past our home planetary system. Then, robotic Galileo watched from about 15-times the Earth-Moon separation as our only natural satellite glided past our home world. The featured video combines 52 historic color-enhanced images. Although our Moon may appear small next to the Earth, no other planet in our Solar System has a satellite so comparable in size . The Sun, far off to the right, illuminated about half of each sphere, and shows the spinning Earth's white clouds, blue oceans, and tan continents. Tonight, a nearly full Oak supermoon will be visible from all of Earth from sunset to sunrise.
astronomy  photography  earth  moon  video  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
2017 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar - The Atlantic
Time once more for one of my favorite holiday traditions, the 10th annual Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar. Every day until Monday, December 25, this page will present one new incredible image of our universe from NASA's Hubble telescope. Be sure to bookmark this calendar and come back every day until the 25th, or follow on Twitter (@TheAtlPhoto), Facebook, or Tumblr for daily updates. I hope you enjoy these amazing and awe-inspiring images and the efforts of the science teams who have brought them to Earth. Again, I want to say how fortunate I feel to have been able to share photo stories with you all year, and how happy I am to put together the 10th edition of this calendar. Wishing you a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and peace on Earth.
astronomy  photography  christmas  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 December 1 - North America and the Pelican
Explanation: Fans of our fair planet might recognize the outlines of these cosmic clouds. On the left, bright emission outlined by dark, obscuring dust lanes seems to trace a continental shape, lending the popular name North America Nebula to the emission region cataloged as NGC 7000. To the right, just off the North America Nebula's east coast, is IC 5070, whose profile suggests the Pelican Nebula. The two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away, part of the same large and complex star forming region, almost as nearby as the better-known Orion Nebula. At that distance, the 6 degree wide field of view would span 150 light-years. This careful cosmic portrait uses narrow band images to highlight the bright ionization fronts and the characteristic red glow from atomic hydrogen gas. These nebulae can be seen with binoculars from a dark location. Look northeast of bright star Deneb in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.
APOD  astronomy  photography 
december 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 30 - M33: Triangulum Galaxy
Explanation: The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way. About 3 million light-years from the Milky Way, M33 is itself thought to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy and astronomers in these two galaxies would likely have spectacular views of each other's grand spiral star systems. As for the view from planet Earth, this sharp composite image nicely shows off M33's blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions along the galaxy's loosely wound spiral arms. In fact, the cavernous NGC 604 is the brightest star forming region, seen here at about the 7 o'clock position from the galaxy center. Like M31, M33's population of well-measured variable stars have helped make this nearby spiral a cosmic yardstick for establishing the distance scale of the Universe.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
december 2017 by rgl7194
Our Story in 1 Minute - YouTube
melodysheep
Published on Oct 30, 2012
Get the song on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/our...
// A tapestry of footage tracing the cosmic and biological origins of our species, set to original music.
Also on Bandcamp: http://melodysheep.bandcamp.com/track...
Inspired by: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrqqD_...
Video sources:
Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman
Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
Do We Really Need the Moon? BBC
How Planet Earth Was Made
David Attenborough's First Life
Life
Dinosaurs Alive
Journey to the Edge of the Universe
Last Day of the Dinosaurs
Walking With Cavemen
Human Planet
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Hubble Ultra Deep Field
Wonders of the Universe
Quest for Fire
Baraka
The Tree of Life
Category
Science & Technology
License
Standard YouTube License
Suggested by PioneerProductionsUK
Puberty - The First Kiss
astronomy  photography  history  video  APOD  youtube 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 26 - Our Story in One Minute
Video Credit & Copyright: MelodySheep, Symphony of Science, John Boswell; Music Credit: Our Story
Explanation: Do you have a minute -- to see the entire backstory of human existence? This thrilling video culls together multiple teasing video snippets in an attempt to succinctly summarize our history. And sets it to music. Briefly depicted, from start to finish, is an artistic animation of the Big Bang, a trip across the early universe, the formation of the Earth and Moon, the emergence of multi-celled life and plants, the rise of reptiles and dinosaurs, a devastating meteor strike, the rise of mammals and humans, and finally the rise of modern civilization. The minute movie ends with a flyover of the modern skyscraper and a human standing atop a snow covered mountain.
astronomy  photography  video  history  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 22 'Oumuamua: Interstellar Asteroid
Explanation: Nothing like it has ever been seen before. The unusual space rock 'Oumuamua is so intriguing mainly because it is the first asteroid ever detected from outside our Solar System -- although likely many more are to follow given modern computer-driven sky monitoring. Therefore humanity's telescopes -- of nearly every variety -- have put 'Oumuamua into their observing schedule to help better understand this unusual interstellar visitor. Pictured is an artist's illustration of what 'Oumuamua might look like up close. 'Oumuamua is also intriguing, however, because it has unexpected parallels to Rama, a famous fictional interstellar spaceship created by the late science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Like Rama, 'Oumuamua is unusually elongated, should be made of strong material to avoid breaking apart, is only passing through our Solar System, and passed unusually close to the Sun for something gravitationally unbound. Unlike a visiting spaceship, though, 'Oumuamua's trajectory, speed, color, and even probability of detection are consistent with it forming naturally around a normal star many millions of years ago, being expelled after gravitationally encountering a normal planet, and subsequently orbiting in our Galaxy alone. Even given 'Oumuamua's likely conventional origin, perhaps humanity can hold hope that one day we will have the technology to engineer 'Oumuamua -- or another Solar System interloper -- into an interstellar Rama of our own.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 21 - Big Dipper over Pyramid Mountain
Explanation: When did you first learn to identify this group of stars? Although they are familiar to many people around the world, different cultures have associated this asterism with different icons and folklore. Known in the USA as the Big Dipper, the stars are part of a constellation designated by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 as the Great Bear (Ursa Major). The recognized star names of these stars are (left to right) Alkaid, Mizar/Alcor, Alioth, Megrez, Phecda, Merak, and Dubhe. Of course, stars in any given constellation are unlikely to be physically related. But surprisingly, most of the Big Dipper stars do seem to be headed in the same direction as they plough through space, a property they share with other stars spread out over an even larger area across the sky. Their measured common motion suggests that they all belong to a loose, nearby star cluster, thought to be on average only about 75 light-years away and up to 30 light-years across. The cluster is more properly known as the Ursa Major Moving Group. The featured image captured the iconic stars recently above Pyramid Mountain in Alberta, Canada.
astronomy  photography  nature  APOD  canada 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 17 - Major Fireball Meteor
Explanation: The sky glows with soft pinkish colors of fading twilight in this serendipitous mountaintop vista. Taken in subfreezing temperatures, the thoughtfully composed photo shows snowy, rugged peaks seen from a mountain pass on November 14. Below lies the village of La Villa, Alta Badia in Italy's Dolomite Alps. Above the nestled village lights, the constellation Ursa Major hangs over the northern horizon. But most stunning is the intense fireball meteor. It was captured during the camera's exposure by chance as it flashed east to west across the northern horizon, under Ursa Major's familiar Big Dipper asterism. In fact, sightings of this major fireball meteor were widely reported in European skies, the most reported fireball event ever for planet Earth's American Meteor Society and the International Meteor Organization. The meteor's measured track over Germany is consistent with its origin near the active radiant of November's Taurid Meteor Shower. Taurid meteors are associated with dust from Encke's comet.
astronomy  photography  APOD  nature 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 16 - The Tarantula Nebula
Explanation: The Tarantula Nebula is more than a thousand light-years in diameter, a giant star forming region within nearby satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 180 thousand light-years away. The largest, most violent star forming region known in the whole Local Group of galaxies, the cosmic arachnid sprawls across this spectacular view composed with narrowband data centered on emission from ionized hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Within the Tarantula (NGC 2070), intense radiation, stellar winds and supernova shocks from the central young cluster of massive stars, cataloged as R136, energize the nebular glow and shape the spidery filaments. Around the Tarantula are other star forming regions with young star clusters, filaments, and blown-out bubble-shaped clouds. In fact, the frame includes the site of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A, right of center. The rich field of view spans about 1 degree or 2 full moons, in the southern constellation Dorado. But were the Tarantula Nebula closer, say 1,500 light-years distant like the local star forming Orion Nebula, it would take up half the sky.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 15 - NGC 7789: Caroline's Rose
Explanation: Found among the rich starfields of the Milky Way, star cluster NGC 7789 lies about 8,000 light-years away toward the constellation Cassiopeia. A late 18th century deep sky discovery of astronomer Caroline Lucretia Herschel, the cluster is also known as Caroline's Rose. Its flowery visual appearance in small telescopes is created by the cluster's nestled complex of stars and voids. Now estimated to be 1.6 billion years young, the galactic or open cluster of stars also shows its age. All the stars in the cluster were likely born at the same time, but the brighter and more massive ones have more rapidly exhausted the hydrogen fuel in their cores. These have evolved from main sequence stars like the Sun into the many red giant stars shown with a yellowish cast in this lovely color composite. Using measured color and brightness, astronomers can model the mass and hence the age of the cluster stars just starting to "turn off" the main sequence and become red giants. Over 50 light-years across, Caroline's Rose spans about half a degree (the angular size of the Moon) near the center of the wide-field telescopic image.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 10 - Williamina Fleming's Triangular Wisp
Explanation: Chaotic in appearance, these tangled filaments of shocked, glowing gas are spread across planet Earth's sky toward the constellation of Cygnus as part of the Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, an expanding cloud born of the death explosion of a massive star. Light from the original supernova explosion likely reached Earth over 5,000 years ago. Blasted out in the cataclysmic event, the interstellar shock waves plow through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material. The glowing filaments are really more like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge on, remarkably well separated into the glow of ionized hydrogen atoms shown in red and oxygen in blue hues. Also known as the Cygnus Loop, the Veil Nebula now spans nearly 3 degrees or about 6 times the diameter of the full Moon. While that translates to over 70 light-years at its estimated distance of 1,500 light-years, this field of view spans less than one third that distance. Often identified as Pickering's Triangle for a director of Harvard College Observatory, the complex of filaments is cataloged as NGC 6979. It is also known for its discoverer, astronomer Williamina Fleming, as Fleming's Triangular Wisp.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 9 - NGC 1055 Close up
Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1055 is a dominant member of a small galaxy group a mere 60 million light-years away toward the aquatically intimidating constellation Cetus. Seen edge-on, the island universe spans over 100,000 light-years, a little larger than our own Milky Way. The colorful stars in this cosmic close-up of NGC 1055 are in the foreground, well within the Milky Way. But the telltale pinkish star forming regions are scattered through winding dust lanes along the distant galaxy's thin disk. With a smattering of even more distant background galaxies, the deep image also reveals a boxy halo that extends far above and below the central bluge and disk of NGC 1055. The halo itself is laced with faint, narrow structures, and could represent the mixed and spread out debris from a satellite galaxy disrupted by the larger spiral some 10 billion years ago.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 7 - The Prague Astronomical Clock
Explanation: In the center of Prague there's a clock the size of a building. During the day, crowds gather to watch the show when it chimes in a new hour. The Prague Astronomical Clock's face is impressively complex, giving not only the expected time with respect to the Sun (solar time), but the time relative to the stars (sidereal time), the times of sunrise and sunset at several latitudes including the equator, the phase of the Moon, and much more. The clock began operation in 1410, and even though much of its inner workings have been modernized several times, original parts remain. Below the clock is a nearly-equal sized solar calendar that rotates only once a year. Pictured, the Prague Astronomical Clock was photographed alone during an early morning in 2009 March. The Prague Astronomical Clock and the Old Town Tower behind it are currently being renovated once again, with the clock expected to be restarted in 2018 June.
astronomy  photography  europe  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 4 - Hubble s Messier 5
Explanation: "Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] ..." begins the description of the 5th entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous catalog of nebulae and star clusters. Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter. It lies some 25,000 light-years away. Roaming the halo of our galaxy, globular star clusters are ancient members of the Milky Way. M5 is one of the oldest globulars, its stars estimated to be nearly 13 billion years old. The beautiful star cluster is a popular target for Earthbound telescopes. Of course, deployed in low Earth orbit on April 25, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has also captured its own stunning close-up view that spans about 20 light-years across the central region of M5. Even close to its dense core the cluster's aging red and blue giant stars and rejuvenated blue stragglers stand out in yellow and blue hues in the sharp color image.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
november 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 28 - NGC 6369: The Little Ghost Nebula
Explanation: Wraithlike NGC 6369 is a faint apparition in night skies popularly known as the Little Ghost Nebula. It was discovered by 18th century astronomer Sir William Herschel as he used a telescope to explore the medicinal constellation Ophiucus. Herschel historically classified the round and planet-shaped nebula as a Planetary Nebula. But planetary nebulae in general are not at all related to planets. Instead they are gaseous shrouds created at the end of a sun-like star's life, the dying star's outer layers expanding into space while its core shrinks to become a white dwarf. The transformed white dwarf star, seen near the center, radiates strongly at ultraviolet wavelengths and powers the expanding nebula's glow. Surprisingly complex details and structures of NGC 6369 are revealed in this tantalizing image composed from Hubble Space Telescope data. The nebula's main round structure is about a light-year across and the glow from ionized oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen atoms are colored blue, green, and red respectively. Over 2,000 light-years away, the Little Ghost Nebula offers a glimpse of the fate of our Sun, which could produce its own planetary nebula about 5 billion years from now.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 27 - Mirach's Ghost
Explanation: As far as ghosts go, Mirach's Ghost isn't really that scary. Mirach's Ghost is just a faint, fuzzy galaxy, well known to astronomers, that happens to be seen nearly along the line-of-sight to Mirach, a bright star. Centered in this star field, Mirach is also called Beta Andromedae. About 200 light-years distant, Mirach is a red giant star, cooler than the Sun but much larger and so intrinsically much brighter than our parent star. In most telescopic views, glare and diffraction spikes tend to hide things that lie near Mirach and make the faint, fuzzy galaxy look like a ghostly internal reflection of the almost overwhelming starlight. Still, appearing in this sharp image just above and to the left of Mirach, Mirach's Ghost is cataloged as galaxy NGC 404 and is estimated to be some 10 million light-years away.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 24 - Where Your Elements Came From
Explanation: The hydrogen in your body, present in every molecule of water, came from the Big Bang. There are no other appreciable sources of hydrogen in the universe. The carbon in your body was made by nuclear fusion in the interior of stars, as was the oxygen. Much of the iron in your body was made during supernovas of stars that occurred long ago and far away. The gold in your jewelry was likely made from neutron stars during collisions that may have been visible as short-duration gamma-ray bursts or gravitational wave events. Elements like phosphorus and copper are present in our bodies in only small amounts but are essential to the functioning of all known life. The featured periodic table is color coded to indicate humanity's best guess as to the nuclear origin of all known elements. The sites of nuclear creation of some elements, such as copper, are not really well known and are continuing topics of observational and computational research.
science  astronomy  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 20 - A Beautiful Trifid
Explanation: The beautiful Trifid Nebula is a cosmic study in contrasts. Also known as M20, it lies about 5,000 light-years away toward the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. A star forming region in the plane of our galaxy, the Trifid does illustrate three different types of astronomical nebulae; red emission nebulae dominated by light from hydrogen atoms, blue reflection nebulae produced by dust reflecting starlight, and dark nebulae where dense dust clouds appear in silhouette. But the red emission region roughly separated into three parts by obscuring dust lanes is what lends the Trifid its popular name. Pillars and jets sculpted by newborn stars, below and left of the emission nebula's center, appear in famous Hubble Space Telescope close-up images of the region. The Trifid Nebula is about 40 light-years across. Just too faint to be seen by the unaided eye, it almost covers the area of the Moon in planet Earth's sky.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 19 - M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy
Explanation: Find the Big Dipper and follow the handle away from the dipper's bowl until you get to the last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you'll come upon this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (bottom), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canes Venatici. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the eye, deep images like this one can reveal striking colors and the faint tidal debris around the smaller galaxy
astronomy  photography  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 21 - Lynds Dark Nebula 183
Explanation: Beverly Lynds Dark Nebula 183 lies a mere 325 light-years away, drifting high above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Obscuring the starlight behind it when viewed at optical wavelengths, the dark, dusty molecular cloud itself seems starless. But far infrared explorations reveal dense clumps within, likely stars in the early stages of formation as enhanced regions of the cloud undergo gravitational collapse. One of the closest molecular clouds, it is seen toward the constellation Serpens Caput. This sharp cosmic cloud portrait spans about half a degree on the sky. That's about 3 light-years at the estimated distance of Lynds Dark Nebula 183.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 12 - NGC 1365: Majestic Island Universe
Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This impressively sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the central black hole.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 October 10 - Milky Way and Zodiacal Light over Australian Pinnacles
Explanation: What strange world is this? Earth. In the foreground of the featured image are the Pinnacles, unusual rock spires in Nambung National Park in Western Australia. Made of ancient sea shells (limestone), how these human-sized picturesque spires formed remains a topic of research. The panorama was taken last month. A ray of zodiacal light, sunlight reflected by dust grains orbiting between the planets in the Solar System, rises from the horizon near the image center. Arching across the top is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. The planets Jupiter and Saturn, as well as several famous stars are also visible in the background night sky.
astronomy  photography  nature  australia  APOD 
october 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 26 - Cassinis Last Ring Portrait at Saturn
Explanation: How should Cassini say farewell to Saturn? Three days before plunging into Saturn's sunny side, the robotic Cassini spacecraft swooped far behind Saturn's night side with cameras blazing. Thirty-six of these images have been merged -- by an alert and adept citizen scientist -- into a last full-ring portrait of Cassini's home planet for the past 13 years. The Sun is just above the frame, causing Saturn to cast a dark shadow onto its enormous rings. This shadow position cannot be imaged from Earth and will not be visible again until another Earth-launched spaceship visits the ringed giant. Data and images from Cassini's mission-ending dive into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15 continue to be analyzed.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 25 - Massive Shell Expelling Star G79 29 0 46
Explanation: Stars this volatile are quite rare. Captured in the midst of dust clouds and visible to the right and above center is massive G79.29+0.46, one of less than 100 luminous blue variable stars (LBVs) currently known in our Galaxy. LBVs expel shells of gas and may lose even the mass of Jupiter over 100 years. The star, itself bright and blue, is shrouded in dust and so not seen in visible light. The dying star appears green and surrounded by red shells, though, in this mapped-color infrared picture combining images from NASA's Spitzer Space Observatory and NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer. G79.29+0.46 is located in the star-forming Cygnus X region of our Galaxy. Why G79.29+0.46 is so volatile, how long it will remain in the LBV phase, and when it will explode in a supernova is not known.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 20 - The Big Corona
Explanation: Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun's corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is unparalleled. The human eye can adapt to see coronal features and extent that average cameras usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The featured picture is a combination of forty exposures from one thousandth of a second to two seconds that, together, were digitally combined and processed to highlight faint features of the total solar eclipse that occurred in August of 2017. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields in the Sun's corona. Looping prominences appear bright pink just past the Sun's limb. Faint details on the night side of the New Moon can even be made out, illuminated by sunlight reflected from the dayside of the Full Earth.
eclipse  photography  astronomy  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 15 - 100 Steps Forward
Explanation: A beautiful conjunction of Venus and Moon, human, sand, and Milky Way is depicted in this night skyscape from planet Earth. The scene is a panorama of 6 photos taken in a moment near the end of a journey. In the foreground, footsteps along the wind-rippled dunes are close to the Huacachina oasis in the southwestern desert of Peru. An engaging perspective on the world at night, the stunning final image was also chosen as a winner in The World at Night's 2017 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.
photography  astronomy  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 12 - A Total Solar Eclipse Close Up in Real Time
Explanation: How would you feel if the Sun disappeared? Many eclipse watchers across the USA surprised themselves with the awe that they felt and the exclamations that they made as the Sun momentarily disappeared behind the Moon. Perhaps expecting just a brief moment of dusk, the spectacle of unusually rapid darkness, breathtakingly bright glowing beads around the Moon's edge, shockingly pink solar prominences, and a strangely detailed corona stretching across the sky caught many a curmudgeon by surprise. Many of these attributes were captured in the featured real-time, three-minute video of last month's total solar eclipse. The video frames were acquired in Warm Springs, Oregon with equipment specifically designed by Jun Ho Oh to track a close-up of the Sun's periphery during eclipse. As the video ends, the Sun is seen being reborn on the other side of the Moon from where it departed.
APOD  astronomy  photography  video  eclipse 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 August 31 - Lunar View, Solar Eclipse
Explanation: Swinging around the lunar nearside on August 21, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter turned to look back on a bright, Full Earth. As anticipated its Narrow Angle Camera scanned this sharp view of our fair planet, catching the shadow of the Moon racing along a path across the United States at about 1,500 miles per hour. In fact, the dark lunar shadow is centered over Hopkinsville, Kentucky at 1:25:30pm Central Daylight Time. From there, the New Moon blocked the Sun high in clear skies for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds in a total solar eclipse.
eclipse  moon  astronomy  photography  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 6 - The Climber and the Eclipse
Explanation: What should you do if your rock climbing picture is photobombed by a total eclipse of the Sun? Rejoice -- because your planning paid off. After months of considering different venues, and a week of scouting different locations in Oregon's Smith Rock State Park, a group of photographers and rock climbers led by Andrew Struder, Ted Hesser, Martina Tibell, and Michael Shainblum settled on picturesque 100-meter tall Monkey Face tower as the dramatic foreground for their images of the pending total solar eclipse. Tension mounted as the eclipse time approached, planned juxtapositions were scrutinized, and the placement of rock climber Tommy Smith was adjusted. Right on schedule, though, the Moon moved in front of the Sun, and Smith moved in front of the Moon, just as planned. The solar eclipse image displayed here actually shows a diamond ring, an eclipse phase when a bit of the distant Sun is still visible beyond the Moon's surface.
nature  adventure  photography  astronomy  eclipse  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 September 1 - A First Glimpse of the Great American Eclipse
Explanation: Making landfall in Oregon, the Moon's dark umbral shadow toured the United States on August 21. Those gathered along its coast to coast path were witness to a total eclipse of the Sun, possibly the most widely shared celestial event in history. But first, the Moon's shadow touched the northern Pacific and raced eastward toward land. This dramatic snapshot was taken while crossing the shadow path 250 miles off the Oregon coast, 45,000 feet above the cloudy northern Pacific. Though from a shorter totality, it captures the eclipse before it could be seen from the US mainland. With the eclipsed Sun not far above, beautiful colors appear along the western horizon giving way to a clear, pitch-black, stratospheric sky in the shadow of the Moon.
astronomy  photography  APOD  eclipse 
september 2017 by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 August 28 - A Fleeting Double Eclipse of the Sun
Explanation: Last week, for a fraction of a second, the Sun was eclipsed twice. One week ago today, many people in North America were treated to a standard, single, partial solar eclipse. Fewer people, all congregated along a narrow path, experienced the eerie daytime darkness of a total solar eclipse. A dedicated few with fast enough camera equipment, however, were able to capture a double eclipse -- a simultaneous partial eclipse of the Sun by both the Moon and the International Space Station (ISS). The Earth-orbiting ISS crossed the Sun in less than a second, but to keep the ISS from appearing blurry, exposure times must be less than 1/1000th of a second. The featured image composite captured the ISS multiple times in succession as it zipped across the face of the Sun. The picture was taken from Huron, California in a specific color emitted by hydrogen which highlights the Sun's chromosphere, a layer hotter and higher up than the usually photographed photosphere.
astronomy  photography  eclipse  APOD 
september 2017 by rgl7194
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