jump to navigation

Central IC 1805 July 29, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Keith Quattrocchi

Explanation:

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

High Cliffs Surrounding Echus Chasma on Mars July 28, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit:

G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., Mars Express, DLR, ESA

Explanation:

What created this great cliff on Mars? Did giant waterfalls once plummet through its grooves? With a four-kilometer drop, this high cliff surrounding Echus Chasma, near an impressive impact crater, was carved by either water or lava. A leading hypothesis is that Echus Chasma, at 100-kilometers long and 10-kilometers wide, was once one of the largest water sources on Mars. If true, water once held in Echus Chasma likely ran over the Martian surface to carve the impressive Kasei Valles, which extends over 3,000 kilometers to the north. Even if initially carved by water, lava appears to have later flowed in the valley, leaving an extraordinarily smooth floor. Echus Chasma lies north of tremendous Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the Solar System. The above image was taken by the robotic Mars Express spacecraft currently orbiting Mars.

“No Organics” Zone Circles Pinwheel July 25, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space.
Tags: , , , , , ,
comments closed

Messier 101 galaxy

Description:

The Pinwheel galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 101, sports bright reddish edges in this new infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Research from Spitzer has revealed that this outer red zone lacks organic molecules present in the rest of the galaxy. The red and blue spots outside of the spiral galaxy are either foreground stars or more distant galaxies.

The organics, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are dusty, carbon-containing molecules that help in the formation of stars. On Earth, they are found anywhere combustion reactions take place, such as barbeque pits and exhaust pipes. Scientists also believe this space dust has the potential to be converted into the stuff of life.

Spitzer found that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons decrease in concentration toward the outer portion of the Pinwheel galaxy, then quickly drop off and are no longer detected at its very outer rim. According to astronomers, there’s a threshold at the rim where the organic material is being destroyed by harsh radiation from stars. Radiation is more damaging at the far reaches of a galaxy because the stars there have less heavy metals, and metals dampen the radiation.

The findings help researchers understand how stars can form in these harsh environments, where polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are lacking. Under normal circumstances, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons help cool down star-forming clouds, allowing them to collapse into stars. In regions like the rim of the Pinwheel — as well as the very early universe — stars form without the organic dust. Astronomers don’t know precisely how this works, so the rim of the Pinwheel provides them with a laboratory for examining the process relatively close up.

In this image, infrared light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is colored blue; 8-micron light is green; and 24-micron light is red. All three of Spitzer’s instruments were used in the study: the infrared array camera, the multiband imaging photometer and the infrared spectrograph.

Image credit:

NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI

› Browse image
› High-resolution TIF (16Mb)

Layered Rocks in Orson Welles Crater (PSP_008391_1790) July 24, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets.
Tags: , , , , ,
comments closed

Layered Rocks in Orson Welles Crater

Credit:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


Description:

This image shows part of the floor of Orson Welles Crater, an old impact crater now connected with the Shalbatana Valles outflow channel. Part of the floor of the crater is comprised of large hummocks comparable to those found in other “chaotic terrain” on Mars; such areas are often the sources of giant flood channels.

Examined closely, the light-toned areas consist of finely-layered materials, partially buried by dark mantling material and sand dunes. Such light-toned rocks are found at a number of sites on Mars and are thought to be sedimentary. Notable color variations occur in the rocks may be a result of different compositions.

In addition to the varying light and dark bands, some of the rocks appear pale blue in the false color image while others have a yellowish tone. Another sign of variation in the rocks is the way some layers seem to form benches, while others have steep edges. This indicates that layers have different strengths, and that whatever process formed these rocks varied during deposition of the layers.

The origin of such light, layered rocks on Mars is still uncertain and probably variable. Some may be wind-deposited sandstone, like that at the MER Opportunity landing site while other outcrops could be volcanic ash like that at the MER Spirit landing site. Others may be lakebed deposits. Unraveling the history of these rocks helps provide a window into events in the Martian past.

Wallpaper:

800×600
1024×768
1152×864
1280×960
1440×1080
1600×1200
1920×1440
2048×1536
2560×1600

Midnight Sun on Mars July 23, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Midnight Sun on Mars

Image credit:

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University

Description:

This panorama mosaic of images was taken by the Surface Stereo Imager on board NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. This mosaic documents the midnight sun during several days of the mission.

The foreground and sky images were taken on Sol 54, or the 54th Martian day of the mission (July 20, 2008). The solar images were taken between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., local solar time, during the nights of sols 46 to 56. During this period of 11 sols, the sun’s path got slightly lower over the northern horizon, causing the lack of smoothness to the curve. This pan captures the polar nature of the Phoenix mission in its similarity to time lapse pictures taken above the Arctic Circle on Earth.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Additional Images:

Larger image
Higher Resolution

Potential Mars Science Laboratory Landing Site: Nili Fossae Trough (PSP_008927_2010) July 23, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Nili Fossae Trough

Credit:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Description:

Nili Fossae trough is a linear trough about 25 kilometers wide, formed in response to the creation of the Isidis basin.

Nili Fossae has diverse deposits, some containing phyllosilicates (clay deposits which typically form in the presence of water), and others with the minerals olivine and pyroxene.

This image is part of a series covering the 25 km landing ellipse; these images are used to determine the safest possible landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory rover. In this image, relatively smooth rock exposures is visible, as well as sand ripples and some small knobs. There are few large rocks in the area, while the surface seems to be mostly flat, fractured rock. This image is located in the southeastern part of the landing ellipse.

Wallpaper:

800×600
1024×768
1152×864
1280×960
1440×1080
1600×1200
1920×1440
2048×1536
2560×1600

Makemake of the Outer Solar System July 23, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit:

R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech), JPL-Caltech, NASA

Explanation:

Recently discovered Makemake is one of the largest objects known in the outer Solar System. Pronounced MAH-kay MAH-kay, this Kuiper belt object is only slightly smaller than Pluto, orbits the Sun only slightly further out than Pluto, and appears only slightly dimmer than Pluto. Makemake, however, has an orbit much more tilted to the ecliptic plane of the planets than Pluto. Designated 2005 FY9 soon after its discovery by a team led by Mike Brown (Caltech) in 2005, the outer Solar System orb was recently renamed Makemake for the creator of humanity in the Rapa Nui mythology of Easter Island. Additionally, Makemake has been recently classified as a dwarf planet under the new subcategory plutoid, making Makemake the third cataloged plutoid after Pluto and Eris. Makemake is known to be a world somewhat red in appearance, with spectra indicating it is likely covered with frozen methane. Since no images of Makemake‘s surface yet exist, an artist’s illustration originally meant to depict Sedna has been boldly co-opted above to now illustrate Makemake. A hypothetical moon is visualized above nearly in the direction of our distant Sun.

Gas and Dust of the Lagoon Nebula July 22, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space.
Tags: , , , , , ,
comments closed

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Fred Vanderhaven

Explanation:

This beautiful cosmic cloud is a popular stop on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius. Eighteenth century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged the bright nebula as M8, while modern day astronomers recognize the Lagoon Nebula as an active stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years distant, in the direction of the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Striking details can be traced through this remarkable picture, processed to remove stars and hence better reveal the Lagoon’s range of filaments of glowing hydrogen gas, dark dust clouds, and the bright, turbulent hourglass region near the image center. This color composite view was recorded under dark skies near Sydney, Australia. At the Lagoon’s estimated distance, the picture spans about 50 light-years.

Mystery Mounds (PSP_008778_1685) July 22, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

Mystery Mounds

Credit:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Description:

This image was targeted because a previous MOC image (R1100035) showed an distinctive field of mounds on the floor of an ancient, large, filled-in crater.

The origin of the mounds was unclear, so we hoped that a HiRISE image with higher resolution and color would solve the mystery. The HiRISE image shows much more detail on the mounds and other rough textures, indicating that this is an eroded bedrock surface, perhaps exposed by removal of an overlying layer of fine-grained materials by the wind.

But how did the rocks form, and why did they erode onto mounds? It could have been lava or impact ejecta or fluvial sediments, perhaps altered and indurated by groundwater. The mounds could be due to how it was deposited—like hummocky impact ejecta—or how it was indurated. In other words, we haven’t solved the mystery!

Yet we may get new clues from future images of similar terrains in places where the origin is more interpretable, or from other datasets such as the mineral content determined by CRISM.

Wallpaper:

800×600
1024×768
1152×864
1280×960
1440×1080
1600×1200
1920×1440
2048×1536
2560×1600

Extra Galaxies July 22, 2008

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Dietmar Hager

Explanation:

A careful look at the full field of view for this sharp image reveals a surprising number of galaxies both near and far toward the constellation Ursa Major. The most striking is clearly NGC 3718, the warped spiral galaxy right of center. NGC 3718’s faint spiral arms look twisted and extended, its bright central region crossed by obscuring dust lanes. A mere 150 thousand light-years to the left is another large spiral galaxy, NGC 3729. The two are likely interacting gravitationally, accounting for the peculiar appearance of NGC 3718. While this galaxy pair lies about 52 million light-years away, the remarkable Hickson Group 56 can also be seen clustered just below NGC 3718. Hickson Group 56 consists of five interacting galaxies and lies over 400 million light-years away.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers

%d bloggers like this: