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Changing Face of the North American Nebula February 11, 2011

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech/Luisa M. Rebull (SSC/Caltech)


This image layout reveals how the appearance of the North American nebula can change dramatically using different combinations of visible and infrared observations from the Digitized Sky Survey and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively.

In this progression, the visible-light view (upper left) shows a striking similarity to the North American continent. The image highlights the eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico regions. The red region to the right is known as the “Pelican nebula,” after its resemblance in visible light to a pelican.

The view at upper right includes both visible and infrared observations. The hot gas comprising the North American continent and the Pelican now takes on a vivid blue hue, while red colors display the infrared light. Inky black dust features start to glow in the infrared view.

In the bottom two images, only infrared light from Spitzer is shown — data from the infrared array camera is on the left, and data from both the infrared array camera and the multiband imaging photometer, which sees longer wavelengths, is on the right. These pictures look different in part because infrared light can penetrate dust whereas visible light cannot. Dusty, dark clouds in the visible image become transparent in Spitzer’s view. In addition, Spitzer’s infrared detectors pick up the glow of dusty cocoons enveloping baby stars.

Color is used to display different parts of the spectrum in each of these images. In the visible-light view (upper right) from the Digitized Sky Survey, colors are shown in their natural blue and red hues. The combined visible/infrared image (upper left) shows visible light as blue, and infrared light as green and red. The infrared array camera (lower left) represents light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns as blue, 4.5 microns as green, 5.8 microns as orange, and 8.0 microns as red. In the final image, incorporating the multiband imaging photometer data, light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns has been color coded blue; 4.5-micron light is blue-green; 5.8-micron and 8.0-micron light are green; and 24-micron light is red.


Arp 147: Giant Ring of Black Holes February 10, 2011

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Arp 147

X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/S.Rappaport et al, Optical: NASA/STSc


Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a new image of a ring — not of jewels — but of black holes. This composite image of Arp 147, a pair of interacting galaxies located about 430 million light years from Earth, shows X-rays from the NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue) produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md.

Arp 147 contains the remnant of a spiral galaxy (right) that collided with the elliptical galaxy on the left. This collision has produced an expanding wave of star formation that shows up as a blue ring containing in abundance of massive young stars. These stars race through their evolution in a few million years or less and explode as supernovas, leaving behind neutron stars and black holes.

A fraction of the neutron stars and black holes will have companion stars, and may become bright X-ray sources as they pull in matter from their companions. The nine X-ray sources scattered around the ring in Arp 147 are so bright that they must be black holes, with masses that are likely ten to twenty times that of the Sun.

An X-ray source is also detected in the nucleus of the red galaxy on the left and may be powered by a poorly-fed supermassive black hole. This source is not obvious in the composite image but can easily be seen in the X-ray image. Other objects unrelated to Arp 147 are also visible: a foreground star in the lower left of the image and a background quasar as the pink source above and to the left of the red galaxy.

Infrared observations with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and ultraviolet observations with NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) have allowed estimates of the rate of star formation in the ring. These estimates, combined with the use of models for the evolution of binary stars have allowed the authors to conclude that the most intense star formation may have ended some 15 million years ago, in Earth’s time frame.

X-ray, Optical, Infrared and UV Image
X-ray, Optical, Infrared and UV Image

These results were published in the October 1st, 2010 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. The authors were Saul Rappaport and Alan Levine from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Pooley from Eureka Scientific and Benjamin Steinhorn, also from MIT.

Flowing movement of the Nimrod Glacier February 1, 2011

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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The Nimrod Glacier flowing around an ice peak




The detailed picture of around 30 kilometres sent from the TerraSAR-X radar satellite shows the Antarctic Nimrod Glacier flowing around the Kon-Tiki Nunatak, a rock protruding through the ice sheet. It is even possible to pick out the fissures in the glacier’s main body.

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