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The Tadpoles of IC 410 January 9, 2014

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deep space

Image Credit & Copyright:

 Martin Pugh

Explanation: 

This telescopic close-up shows off the otherwise faint emission nebula IC 410 in striking false-colors. It also features two remarkable inhabitants of the cosmic pond of gas and dust below and right of center, the tadpoles of IC 410. The picture is a composite of images taken through narrow band filters. The narrow band image data traces atoms in the nebula, with emission from sulfur atoms in red, hydrogen atoms in green, and oxygen in blue. Partly obscured by foreground dust, the nebula itself surrounds NGC 1893, a young galactic cluster of stars that energizes the glowing gas. Composed of denser cooler gas and dust the tadpoles are around 10 light-years long, potentially sites of ongoing star formation. Sculpted by wind and radiation from the cluster stars, their tails trail away from the cluster’s central region. IC 410 lies some 12,000 light-years away, toward the constellation Auriga.

The Seven Sisters January 26, 2012

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Description:

In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier object 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. Pleiades has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternate name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium that the stars are currently passing through. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

Additional Info:

18 exp. x 300 ‘ISO 1600
Canon 450D Jap REFRIGERACION
SW 200/1000
Nq6pro
Kit lunatic pursuit
DSS
1.7 Core Pixinsight

Submitted by:

Alcarreño (Raul Villaverde)

Location:

Ocentejo (Guadalajara)-Spain-

Date:

October 02 2011

NGC 4449: Star Stream for a Dwarf Galaxy January 26, 2012

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See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

Image Credit & Copyright:

R Jay Gabany (Blackbird Obs.),

Insert:

Subaru/Suprime-Cam (NAOJ),

Collaboration:

David Martinez-Delgado (MPIA, IAC), et al.

Explanation:

A mere 12.5 million light-years from Earth, irregular dwarf galaxy NGC 4449 lies within the confines of Canes Venatici, the constellation of the Hunting Dogs. About the size of our Milky Way’s satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, NGC 4449 is undergoing an intense episode of star formation, evidenced by its wealth of young blue star clusters, pinkish star forming regions, and obscuring dust clouds in this deep color portrait. It also holds the distinction of being the first dwarf galaxy with an identified tidal star stream, faintly seen at the lower right. Placing your cursor over the image reveals an inset of the stream resolved into red giant stars. The star stream represents the remains of a still smaller infalling satellite galaxy, disrupted by gravitational forces and destined to merge with NGC 4449. With relatively few stars, small galaxies are thought to possess extensive dark matter halos. But since dark matter interacts gravitationally, these observations offer a chance to examine the significant role of dark matter in galactic merger events. The interaction is likely responsible for NGC 4449’s burst of star formation and offers a tantalizing insight into how even small galaxies are assembled over time.

Barred Spiral Galaxy Swirls in the Night Sky January 24, 2012

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Barred Spiral Galaxy Swirls in the Night Sky

Description:

This image shows the swirling shape of galaxy NGC 2217, in the constellation of Canis Major (The Great Dog). In the central region of the galaxy is a distinctive bar of stars within an oval ring. Further out, a set of tightly wound spiral arms almost form a circular ring around the galaxy. NGC 2217 is therefore classified as a barred spiral galaxy, and its circular appearance indicates that we see it nearly face-on.

The outer spiral arms have a bluish colour, indicating the presence of hot, luminous, young stars, born out of clouds of interstellar gas. The central bulge and bar are yellower in appearance, due to the presence of older stars. Dark streaks can also be seen in places against the galaxy’s arms and central bulge, where lanes of cosmic dust block out some of the starlight.

The majority of spiral galaxies in the local Universe — including our own Milky Way — are thought to have a bar of some kind, and these structures play an important role in the development of a galaxy. They can, for example, funnel gas towards the centre of the galaxy, helping to feed a central black hole, or to form new stars.

Credit:

ESO

PIA15260: Herschel Sees Through Ghostly Pillars January 24, 2012

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click here for larger version for PIA15260 click here for larger version for PIA15260
Description:

This Herschel image of the Eagle nebula shows the self-emission of the intensely cold nebula’s gas and dust as never seen before. Each color shows a different temperature of dust, from around 10 degrees above absolute zero (10 Kelvin or minus 442 degrees Fahrenheit) for the red, up to around 40 Kelvin, or minus 388 degrees Fahrenheit, for the blue.

Herschel reveals the nebula’s intricate tendril nature, with vast cavities forming an almost cave-like surrounding to the famous pillars, which appear almost ghostly in this view. The gas and dust provide the material for the star formation that is still under way inside this enigmatic nebula.

Far-infrared light has been color-coded to 70 microns for blue and 160 microns for green using the Photodetector Array Camera, and 250 microns for red using the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver.

Figure 1 combines data from almost opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum. Herschel captured longer-wavelength, or far, infrared light, and the space telescope XMM-Newton imaged X-rays. The X-ray data show the hot young stars in the center of the cloud, which are sculpting and interacting with the surrounding ultra-cool gas and dust, seen in infrared. Both wavelengths would be blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, so space telescopes such as these are critical to our understanding of the life cycle of stars.

Both Herschel and XMM-Newton are European Space Agency missions. NASA plays an important role in Herschel. NASA’s Herschel Project Office is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel’s three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Image Credit:

Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/Hill, Motte, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium; X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC/XMM-Newton-SOC/Boulanger

Image Addition Date:

2012-01-18

A Dwarf Galaxy’s Star Bar and Dusty Wing January 12, 2012

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Image Credit

ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI

Explanation:

This new image shows the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light from the Herschel Space Observatory a European Space Agency-led mission with important NASA contributions, and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are the two biggest satellite galaxies of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, though they are still considered dwarf galaxies compared to the big spiral of the Milky Way.

In combined data from Herschel and Spitzer, the irregular distribution of dust in the Small Magellanic Cloud becomes clear. A stream of dust extends to the left in this image, known as the galaxy’s “wing,” and a bar of star formation appears on the right.

The colors in this image indicate temperatures in the dust that permeates the Cloud. Colder regions show where star formation is at its earliest stages or is shut off, while warm expanses point to new stars heating surrounding dust. The coolest areas and objects appear in red, corresponding to infrared light taken up by Herschel’s Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver at 250 microns, or millionths of a meter. Herschel’s Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer fills out the mid-temperature bands, shown here in green, at 100 and 160 microns. The warmest spots appear in blue, courtesy of 24- and 70-micron data from Spitzer.

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The Case of the Missing Supernova Companion January 12, 2012

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See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

Image Credit: 

X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Hughes et al., Optical: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI /AURA)

Explanation: 

Where’s the other star? At the center of this supernova remnant should be the companion star to the star that blew up. Identifying this star is important for understanding just how Type Ia supernova detonate, which in turn could lead to a better understanding of why the brightness of such explosions are so predictable, which in turn is key to calibrating the entire nature of our universe. The trouble is that even a careful inspection of the center of SNR 0509-67.5 has not found any star at all. This indicates that the companion is intrinsically very faint — much more faint that many types of bright giant stars that had been previous candidates. In fact, the implication is that the companion star might have to be a faint white dwarf, similar to — but less massive than — the star that detonated. SNR 0509-67.5 is shown above in both visible light, shining in red as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, and X-ray light, shown in false-color green as imaged by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Putting your cursor over the picture will highlight the central required location for the missing companion star.

VISTA’s look at the Helix Nebula January 12, 2012

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VISTA’s look at the Helix Nebula

Explanation:

ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) has captured this unusual view of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a planetary nebula located 700 light-years away. The coloured picture was created from images taken through Y, J and K infrared filters. While bringing to light a rich background of stars and galaxies, the telescope’s infrared vision also reveals strands of cold nebular gas that are mostly obscured in visible images of the Helix.

Credit:

ESO/VISTA/J. Emerson

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Supernova Primo January 11, 2012

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Supernova SN Primo

Explanation:

These three images taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal the emergence of an exploding star, called a supernova. Nicknamed SN Primo, the exploding star belongs to a special class called Type Ia supernovae, which are distance markers used for studying dark energy and the expansion rate of the universe. The top image shows part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, the region where astronomers were looking for a supernova blast. The white box shows where the supernova is later seen. The bottom left image is a close-up of the field without the supernova. A new bright object, identified as the supernova, appears in the image at bottom right.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, A. Riess (Space Telescope Science Institute and The Johns Hopkins University), and S. Rodney (The Johns Hopkins University)

Additional Image:

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Evidence for Two More Earth-Sized Planets …Orbiting Former Red Giant Star January 11, 2012

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Artist's rendition of two hot Earth-sized planets orbiting a subdwarf B star, KOI 55. (Illustration: S. Charpinet)

Explanation:

[Note: The "modulations in the pulsations" in the star's brightness, referred to in the article, are not transit signals, and these are not confirmed planets by the criteria and established methods of the Kepler Science Team.]

Article excerpts: …two planets, KOI 55.01 and KOI 55.02, orbit the star KOI 55, a subdwarf B star, which is the leftover core of a red giant star. …According to lead author Stephane Charpinet, “Having migrated so close, they probably plunged deep into the star’s envelope during the red giant phase, but survived” …(albeit “deep-fried”). They are estimated to have radii of 0.76 and 0.87 that of Earth, the smallest … so far orbiting an active star. …the star had already been the subject of study using the telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of a project to examine pulsating stars. …the team used data from the orbiting Kepler space telescope which is free of interfering atmospheric effects. …Two tiny modulations in the pulsations of the star were found, which further analysis indicated could only come from planets passing in front of the star (from our viewpoint) every 5.76 and 8.23 hours.

See the abstract of the paper on the Nature website. Downloading the full article requires a single-article payment of $32.00 US or a subscription to Nature.

See also University of Arizona press release of 2011 December 21, by Daniel Stolte, Excerpts from press release: …Two Earth-sized planets … circling a dying star that has passed the red giant stage. Because of their close orbits, the planets must have been engulfed by their star while it swelled up to many times its original size. …Researchers believed that this unimaginable inferno would make short work of any planet caught in it – until now. …The team was led by Stephane Charpinet, an astronomer at the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Université de Toulouse-CNRS, in France.

…The two planets, named KOI 55.01 and KOI 55.02, circle their host star in extremely tight orbits. Having migrated so close, they probably plunged deep into the star’s envelope during the red giant phase, but survived….

The host star, KOI 55, is what astronomers call a subdwarf B star: It consists of the exposed core of a red giant that has lost nearly its entire envelope. In fact, the authors write, the planets may have contributed to the increased mass loss necessary for the formation of this type of star.

The authors concluded that planetary systems may therefore influence the evolution of their parent stars.

…the research team had not set out to find new planets far away from our solar system, but to study pulsating stars. Caused by rhythmic expansions and contractions brought about by pressure and gravitational forces that go along with the thermonuclear fusion process inside the star, such pulsations are a defining feature of many stars.

By studying the pulsations of a star, astronomers can deduce the object’s mass, temperature, size and sometimes even its interior structure. This is called asteroseismology.

“Those pulsation frequency patterns are almost like a finger print of a star,” Green said. “It’s very much like seismology, where one uses earthquake data to learn about the inner composition of the Earth.” … the team used data obtained from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope for this study.

…While analyzing KOI 55’s pulsations, the team noticed the intriguing presence of two tiny periodic modulations occurring every 5.76 and 8.23 hours that caused the star to flicker ever so slightly, at one five thousandth percent of its overall brightness. They showed that these two frequencies could not have been produced by the star’s own internal pulsations.

The only explanation came from the existence two small planets passing in front of the star every 5.76 and 8.23 hours. To complete their orbits so rapidly, KOI 55.01 and KOI 55.02 have to be extremely close to the star, much closer than Mercury is to our sun. On top of that, the sun is a cool star compared to KOI 55, which burns at about 28,000 Kelvin, or 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

…”We think this is the first documented case of planets influencing a star’s evolution,” Charpinet said. …”I find it incredibly fascinating that after hundreds of years of being able to only look at the outsides of stars, now we can finally investigate the interiors of a few stars – even if only in these special types of pulsators – and compare that with how we thought stars evolved,” Green said. “We thought we had a pretty good understanding of what solar systems were like as long as we only knew one – ours. Now we are discovering a huge variety of solar systems that are nothing like ours, including, for the first time, remnant planets around a stellar core like this one.”

Credits:

Illustration: S. Charpinet; sources: UANews and Universe Today,  Nature,  NASA,  Daniel Stolte, Kepler Space Telescope,  Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Université de Toulouse-CNRS, Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Green

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