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The Antennae June 30, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Antilhue Observatory, APoD, Deep Space, Space Fotos, Telescopes, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

Daniel Verschatse (Antilhue Observatory)


Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies have collided. But stars in the two galaxies – NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 – don’t collide in the course of the ponderous, billion year or so long event. Instead, their large clouds of molecular gas and dust do, triggering furious episodes of star formation. Spanning about 500 thousand light-years, this stunning view reveals new star clusters and matter flung far from the scene of the accident by gravitational tidal forces. Of course, the visual appearance of the far-flung arcing structures gives the galaxy pair their popular name – The Antennae. Recorded in this deep image of the region at the tip of the upper arc is a tidal dwarf galaxy NGC 4028S, formed in the cosmic debris.


X-ray diffuse emission in S308 June 11, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, European Space Agency, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Telescopes, XMM-Newton X-ray observatory.
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Y-H.Chu and R.A. Gruendl and ESA


  XMM-Newton EPIC image (left) and optical image with X-ray superimposed (right) of the northwest quadrant of the WR bubble S308. Colors indicate: Red: Hα, Green: O[III], Blue: X-ray. The optical images were taken by R.A. Gruendl with the San Diego State University 1m telescope at Mount Laguna.

NGC 6164: A Bipolar Emission Nebula June 6, 2006

Posted by jtintle in AURA, Deep Space, Gemini Observatory, Nebula, NSF, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Telescopes.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Gemini Obs., AURA, NSF


How did a star form this beautiful nebula? In the middle of emission nebula NGC 6164-5 is an unusually massive star nearing the end of its life. The star, visible in the center of the above image and catalogued as HD 148937, is so hot that the ultraviolet light it emits heats up gas that surrounds it. That gas was likely thrown off from the star, possibly by its fast rotation, like a rotating lawn sprinkler. Expelled material might have been further channeled by the magnetic field of the star, creating the symmetric shape of the bipolar nebula. Several cometary knots of gas are also visible on the lower left. NGC 6164-5 spans about four light years and is located about 4,000 light years away toward the southern constellation Norma.

Cometary Globule CG4 May 31, 2006

Posted by jtintle in AURA, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), Deep Space, NOAO, NSF, People, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Telescopes.
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T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, T. Abbott and NOAO/AURA/NSF


The flower-like image of this star-forming region in Earth’s southern skies was imaged using a 64-megapixel Mosaic imaging camera on the National Science Foundation’s Victor M. Blanco telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

Cometary globules are isolated, relatively small clouds of gas and dust within the Milky Way. This example, called CG4, is about 1,300 light years from Earth. Its head is some 1.5 light-years in diameter, and its tail is about 8 light-years long. The dusty cloud contains enough material to make several Sun-sized stars. CG4 is located in the constellation of Puppis.

The head of the nebula is opaque, but glows because it is illuminated by light from nearby hot stars. Their energy is gradually destroying the dusty head of the globule, sweeping away the tiny particles which scatter the starlight. This particular globule shows a faint red glow from electrically charged hydrogen, and it seems about to devour an edge-on spiral galaxy (ESO 257-19) in the upper left. In reality, this galaxy is more than a hundred million light-years further away, far beyond CG4.

The image from the 4-meter telescope was taken in four filters, three of which are for blue, green and near-infrared light. The fourth is designed to isolate a specific color of red, known as hydrogen-alpha, which is produced by warm hydrogen gas.

NGC 1275 May 31, 2006

Posted by jtintle in AURA, Deep Space, NGC 1275, NOAO, NSF, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, WIYN.
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NGC 1275


C. Conselice/Caltech and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF


This image shows a deep Hydrogen-alpha image of the brightest X-ray source in the sky, NGC 1275, taken by the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ, in 1999.

The filaments emanating from this galaxy are produced through largely unknown mechanisms, but they likely are the result of an interaction between the black hole in the center of the galaxy and the intracluster medium surrounding it. (The glowing background objects in this image are galaxies in that same galaxy cluster.)

At a distance of about 230 million light-years, this is the nearest example to Earth of such vast structures, which are seen surrounding the most massive galaxies throughout the Universe.

Far-Ultraviolet Detector Status May 31, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Galaxy Evolution Explorer(GALEX), Space Fotos, Telescopes.
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Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX)


Galaxy Evolution Explorer engineers are working on the telescope's far-ultraviolet detector, which has not been in use since it began experiencing excessive high-voltage current draw on March 30. The team is using a technique referred to as "hi-potting," or cycling the detector on and off at progressively higher voltage, to correct the problem. About a year ago the detector experienced the same type of anomaly, and applying the hi-pot technique restored the detector to full operations. Three years after its launch, the spacecraft continues to return images of galaxies and stars obtained by its near-ultraviolet detector, which is operating normally.

NGC281 May 28, 2006

Posted by jtintle in AURA, Deep Space, NOAO, NSF, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, WIYN.
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T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF


This image is a wide-field view of the star-forming region NGC 281 taken with the WIYN 0.9-meter at Kitt Peak National Observatory

Jupiter and Io in the Infrared May 28, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Io, Jupiter, Palomar Observatory, Planets, Space Fotos, Telescopes.
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Tom Jarrett (Infrared Processing and Analysis Center / Spitzer Science Center / Caltech), Palomar Observatory


The image above shows Jupiter and its moon Io under a excellent seeing conditions as photographed using the 200-inch Hale Telescope. It was observed UT May 14, 2006 at 06:46:10 (11:46 pm May 13 PDT) using the Hale Telescope's Wide-Field Infrared Camera.

The bright spot in the image is Jupiter's volcanic satellite Io. The bright regions near the planet's poles mark the location of auroral emissions from Jupiter's powerful magnetic field.

A Five Quasar Gravitational Lens May 24, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, European Space Agency, Hubble Telescope, NASA, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit: K. Sharon (Tel Aviv U.) and E. Ofek (Caltech), ESA, NASA

Explanation: What's happening near the center of this cluster of galaxies? At first glance, it appears that several strangely elongated galaxies and fully five bright quasars exist there. In reality, an entire cluster of galaxies is acting as a gigantic gravitational lens that distorts and multiply-images bright objects that occur far in the distance. The five bright white points near the cluster center are actually images of a single distant quasar. This Hubble Space Telescope image is so detailed that even the host galaxy surrounding the quasar is visible. Close inspection of the above image will reveal that the arced galaxies at 2 and 4 o'clock are actually gravitationally lensed images of the same galaxy. A third image of that galaxy can be found at about 10 o'clock from the cluster center. Serendipitously, numerous strange and distant galaxies dot the above image like colorful jewels. The cluster of galaxy that acts as the huge gravitational lens is cataloged as SDSS J1004+4112 and lies about 7 billion light years distant toward the constellation of Leo Minor.

A, B, C, D, Electric Solar System May 13, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Aurora, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Jupiter, NASA, Planets, SAO, Space Fotos, TPOD.
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NASA investigators now recognize that Jupiter's auroras are electrical phenomena. But they are struggling to understand the electrical connections of the aurora's "tails" to other bodies in the Jovian system—not just to Jupiter's closest moon Io, but also to its second moon Europa.

For almost two years now, we have been making the case in these pages that the "volcanic"plumes on Jupiter's moon Io are plasma discharge arcs from the moon's electrical transactions with the gas giant. In recent years a growing number of scientists have acknowledged the electrical exchange between the two bodies, as confirmed by Io's "footprint" in the Jovian aurora above.

But now a new study reports that one of the bright spots in this aurora is the footprint of a continuous electrical exchange between Jupiter and another moon, Europa. In October of 2005, the journal Geophysical Research Letters published a report from a research team headed by Denis Grodent of the University of Liège, Belgium, noting the team's discovery of a short auroral tail linking Jupiter to Europa. The report notes that this footprint is similar to that of Io, but less energetic. Grodent's team based its report on a study of 45 Hubble images of the Jovian aurora showing Europa's footprint and its swirling "tail".

In previous attempts to explain the electrical connection of Io to Jupiter, astronomers suggested that Jupiter's tidal influence on Io provoked the release of the observed charged particles in Io''s "volcanic" plumes. The particles then flowed as an electric current to Jupiter, as evidenced by the glowing electrical signature (footprint) in the gas giant's aurora. But in electrical terms this supposed one way transaction could not be valid, and it left Europa dangling in "neutral" space. How would its electric connection to Jupiter be explained?

"…Europa is not thought to be volcanic, so what could produce the electrical current that zips along and eventually gives rise to Europa's auroral footprint?" the writers of the report ask.

Here we meet an old dilemma once again. Standard astronomy begins its investigations with the assumption–usually unspoken—of an electrically neutral universe. So when investigators encounter electrical phenomena, they rely upon local "generators" no matter improbable. And they will ignore the evidence for larger electric circuits that have, in fact, already answered the question posed: the local transactions involve circuits, not one-way paths. And the local circuits are subsidiaries of larger circuits.

In the case of Jupiter, the larger circuit is that between the gas giant and the Sun. In the case of the Sun, the larger circuit connects the Sun to a spiraling arm of the Milky Way. And there is evidence aplenty that galaxies themselves are joined in still larger electrical exchange. Where the hierarchy ends, no one can say. But that it exists is substantiated by every line of investigation that has been opened up in recent decades. There are no isolated islands in space: All objects in space are connected in a web of cosmic circuitry.

An electrical interaction between Jupiter and its moons means that the bodies are charged. (As soon as you grant that one body is charged, the other body is also charged in relationship to it). Jupiter is not an island. It stands in a dynamic electrical relationship to the Sun, just as does the Earth. It is now known that charged particles from the Sun, not a terrestrial "dynamo", power Earth's auroras. The same thing can be said of Jupiter's auroras, though this was as contrary to astronomers' assumptions as was the confirmation of the Sun's input to terrestrial auroras. Work by scientists at the University of Leicester in the UK found “a strong correlation between the strength of the solar wind and the behaviour of [Jupiter’s] auroras". But this was "completely the opposite result to the one we were expecting from our predictions".

Of course, what is surprising or illogical from one vantage point may be "reasoning from the obvious" in another.

A: Jupiter interacts electrically with its moons.

B: Jupiter interacts electrically with the Sun, as does the Earth.

C: The planets in the Solar System are charged bodies.

D: The sun has an electric field.

Suddenly the elephant so long "hidden" in the living room of astrophysics is exposed. Since the sun gives off proton storms, and the protons in the solar wind are being accelerated away from the sun, it should have been obvious all along that the Sun is the center of an electric field…

E. Electrical transactions between the Sun, the planets, and the planets' moons are only to be expected in the Electric Universe.

Electrical connectivity is thus confirmed by every level of investigation; it is not just the reason for Io's "volcanic" plumes; it is the reason why Saturn's moon Enceladus similarly spews out icy particles in high energy jets; it is why Europa and other moon of Jupiter and Saturn and Uranus display vast networks of channels that can only be explained as electric discharge scars; it is why the planets have teardrop shaped Langmuir sheaths; it is why Mars, moving on an orbit more elliptical than Earth's, is periodically overtaken by global dust storms and Everest-sized "dust devils"; it is why the Earth discharges to space through sprites and elves; it is why remote comets discharge so brilliantly as they approach the inner solar system; it is why "asteroids" can become comets if their orbits are sufficiently eccentric; it is why comets sometimes break up as they move through the Sun's electric field.

Once admitted, the Electric Universe will not just alter a few imagined "islands" in space; it will change the picture entirely.

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