Posts tagged galaxy
Skeletal ‘Nessie’ Discovered in Our Galaxy: The image above, looking into the plane of the galaxy, shows a long thin strand of dark, cold material stretching between two brighter regions in the lower half — this is a segment of what’s being called a “bone” of the Milky Way, a part of the vast skeletal structure that forms its framework.
And the bone is nicknamed… wait for it… “Nessie.” I love astronomers.
Oh Andromeda, stop flashing that quasar bling. Milky Way has got ‘em too!
When we talk of quasars, we think: early universe; angry black holes in the centers of galaxies; gobs of energy; the ancient light of which is used today by astronomers to understand the primordial cosmos and the expansion of space-time. But what if I told you that astronomers have not only discovered a quasar in our modern Universe, but they’ve also discovered it right in our intergalactic back yard?
Do Robots Rule the Galaxy? “…the rulers of our galaxy may have brains made of the semiconductor materials silicon, germanium and gallium. In other words, they are artificially intelligent machines that have no use — or patience — for entities whose ancestors slowly crawled out of the mud onto primeval shores.”
(And while we’re looking at this pretty picture, try spotting the asteroid that photobombed the Perseus galaxy cluster…)
A new celestial wonder has stolen the title of most distant object ever seen in the universe, astronomers report. The new record holder is the galaxy MACS0647-JD, which is about 13.3 billion light-years away. The universe itself is only 13.7 billion years old, so this galaxy’s light has been traveling toward us for almost the whole history of space and time.
Astronomers have cataloged 84 million stars at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy using an enormous cosmic photo snapped by a telescope in Chile, a view that is billed as the largest survey ever of the stars in our galaxy’s core.
The staggering 9-gigapixel picture was created with data gathered by the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), an instrument at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. The zoomable image is so large that it would measure 30 feet long by 23 feet tall (9 by 7 meters) if printed with the resolution of a typical book, researchers said.
The huge new picture probes the Milky Way’s central bulge, a concentration of ancient stars found near the core of most spiral galaxies. Getting good looks at this region is not an easy task.
“Observations of the bulge of the Milky Way are very hard because it is obscured by dust,” said co-author Dante Minniti, also of Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. “To peer into the heart of the galaxy, we need to observe in infrared light, which is less affected by the dust.”
- We’ve all heard of supernovae, but what are “recurrent novae”?
In the case of the binary star system RS Ophiuchi, a small but dense white dwarf star orbits with a large, puffy red giant that is shedding huge quantities of matter. This matter is blasted into space in the form of a strong stellar wind, forming a spiral.
Interestingly, in this star system, the white dwarf captures some of the gas from its companion star, gradually accumulating it.
Once the gas reaches a critical mass and temperature, a massive explosion occurs, wiping out the expanding spiral. The process then repeats every 20 years or so.
- In 2010, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged a ghostly pinwheel spiral surrounding a binary star system called LL Pegasi.
This bizarre cosmic phenomenon is caused by one of the stars dying, venting huge amounts of gas and dust into space. As the stars orbit one another every 800 years, the material expands into space like water being sprayed from a spinning garden sprinkler.
- Meet R Sculptoris, a dying star that is shedding its outer layers of gas, generating a beautiful spiral of radio emissions. This amazing sight was captured by the newly commissioned Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in the Chilean desert.
Although rare, this kind of space spiral isn’t unprecedented. In fact, there have been several spirals seen in recent years that have excited, spooked, but, above all, awed onlookers — here are a few of the most memorable.
This name derives from its appearance as a dim “milky” glowing band arching across the night sky, in which the naked eye cannot distinguish individual stars.
A new photo from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows two star clusters that appear to be in the early stages of merging.
how did we find out our galaxy is a spiral? It’s not like we flew out there and took a look. Grab a cup and find out…
The fact that we know it resembles the Milky Way is pretty clever given that no one has ever come remotely close to getting such a stunning view of the galaxy we live in. It’s a testament to human logic that has granted us the knowledge of the shape of our galaxy and it’s a story that starts back at the beginning of civilization.
Back when our ancestors, the view would have been stunning with the ghostly glow of thousands of visible stars arching overhead…