Posts Tagged ‘Chandra’

Astral “J”

Credit: NASA, ESA and K. Cook (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA)

What looks like a astral “J” is a combined view from NASA’s Hubble, Chandra and NRAO’s Very Large Array showing a galaxy cluster called M3735.6+7421 bound together by gravity.

The “J” in this far view is more than 1.5 million light-years tall and about 750,000 light-years wide. Astronomers suspect that a supermassive black hole lurks in the central bright galaxy. The image, combining views from the three telescopes, shows how black holes impact their surroundings. The black hole in this galaxy cluster generates some of the most powerful outbursts seen in the universe and is seen in the VLA radio image as red. The jets have smashed into the hot, diffuse gas surrounding the the galaxy cluster. The hot, X-ray emitting gas glows blue in this image. The jets, moving at nearly the speed of light, have punched two huge cavities into the surrounding gas. Each cavity spans an area of about 640,000 light-years in diameter. That size of an area could contain about seven Milky Way Galaxies.

M3735.6+7421 lies about 2.6 billion light-years away toward the faint northern constellation of Camelopardalis, the Giraffe.

Sleepy Not

Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO.

Sleepy looking eyes stare out from the galactic core in this image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Telescope. But this scene is nothing but serene with a wide range of stellar evolution underway.

Explore the diffuse fog of X-ray light in this image. What stories and images do you see? Leave a note below and share your imagination.

With our naked eyes, the view of the center of the galaxy is blocked by thick clouds of gas and dust. Chandra, with its X-ray eyes, can see right through the haze giving scientists a good idea of the processes going on in the center of our galaxy about 26,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer. Searing winds and blistering ultraviolet light from young super-massive stars heat the gas near the center of the galaxy causing it to glow. The two bright “eyes” in the initial frame are Sagittarius A, on the right and IE 1743.1-2843 on the left. Sagittarius A, at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, is home to supermassive new stars as well as a black hole and dying stars. Surrounding Sagittarius A are mysterious X-ray filaments. These are probably gigantic magnetic structures that interact with energetic particles streaming from rapidly spinning neutron stars. IE 1743.1-2843 is one of the strongest sources of X-rays in the galactic center. But its true nature remains a mystery. It may be a close binary system where material from one star falls on the surface of another denser object. Or it may be a new, unknown class of astronomical object.

As you wander about the image, look for small points of light. These are created by normal stars feeding material into stars that are at the end of their lives, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Glowing clouds of blue mark star-forming regions in the center of the galaxy.

This image is a mosaic of 88 separate images from Chandra. Chandra was launched from the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999.

Astral “J”

Credit: NASA, ESA and K. Cook (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA)

What looks like a astral “J” is a combined view from NASA’s Hubble, Chandra and NRAO’s Very Large Array showing a galaxy cluster called M3735.6+7421 bound together by gravity.

The “J” in this far view is more than 1.5 million light-years tall and about 750,000 light-years wide. Astronomers suspect that a supermassive black hole lurks in the central bright galaxy. The image, combining views from the three telescopes, shows how black holes impact their surroundings. The black hole in this galaxy cluster generates some of the most powerful outbursts seen in the universe and is seen in the VLA radio image as red. The jets have smashed into the hot, diffuse gas surrounding the the galaxy cluster. The hot, X-ray emitting gas glows blue in this image. The jets, moving at nearly the speed of light, have punched two huge cavities into the surrounding gas. Each cavity spans an area of about 640,000 light-years in diameter. That size of an area could contain about seven Milky Way Galaxies.

M3735.6+7421 lies about 2.6 billion light-years away toward the faint northern constellation of Camelopardalis, the Giraffe.

Star Glasses

Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

Star glasses look fetching on the odd-looking galaxy called Arp 220. Zoomed out, sunglasses is what sticks out for me. What stories do you see in this image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope? Share them with us.

Arp 220 is not a single galaxy but the merger between two spiral galaxies. The collision began about 700 million years ago when life was just beginning during the Proterozoic Period here on Earth. The light from that galaxy, traveling 6 trillion miles per year, has taken a long time to reach Earth.

Explore the image. The “sunglasses” is a distinct band of dust along the plane of the galaxy. Besides the wacky shapes and far-flung galactic tails, the neatest thing about these galactic mergers is the burst of star formation we see. Find the bluish-white clouds throughout the galaxy. These new stars form when gas and dust gets stretched and twisted together. Some of the gas and dust begins to condense due to gravity and stars are born. Also find huge star clusters; the bluish bright knots of stars. Dozens of background galaxies complete the tour of this stunning Hubble Space Telescope image.

Arp 220 is about 5,000 light years across; about five times smaller than our Milky Way Galaxy. Using other telescopes that can see through the galactic dust, astronomers have found that the cores of the two merging galaxies are only about 1,200 light-years apart. Astronomers using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory also have found X-rays streaming from both cores, indicating two supermassive black holes.

Arp 220 lies about 700 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Serpens, the Serpent. The merging galaxy pair is the 220th galaxy in Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.

Flying Dust

NASA/CXC/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Dust from the remains of a collapsed star flies past a nearby family of stars in this image from NASA’s Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes.

The star cluster may have been home to a supernova explosion, scientists believe. The dust from G54.1+0.3 is just now engulfing the neighboring stars. Supernovae occur when stars that are five to ten times more massive than our Sun reach the end of their lives. These massive stars burn through their hydrogen and helium fuel so quickly that they live only a few million years. Once the fuel is used up, they collapse suddenly and then blast their outer layers into space. For a short time, supernova can outshine an entire galaxy.

The leftover remains of the star is seen in this image as the white spot near the center. This remaining core has become a pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star. This star is spewing a blistering wind of high-energy particles. The high-speed particles light up the glowing blue cloud of material. The nebula spans more than 6 light-years. The pulsar and surrounding nebula are similar to the Crab and Vela supernova remnants.

Explore this composite image. Scientists combined light from the observatories to get a clearer picture of what is going on. Chandra observes the universe in X-ray which is blue in the image. Spitzer, with its infrared telescopes, sees much longer wavelength light, seen as red and green in the image.

G54.1+03 offers scientists are rare view of a freshly formed supernova. The stars surrounding the supernova actually offer clues for scientists because without them, the dust would not glow. As gas and dust move away from the supernova it cools rapidly making it too cold for Spitzer to observe. The red glow is that dust warmed by the suns of the cluster. Dust near the stars is hottest and glows yellow in the image.

Scientists estimate G54.1+03 lies about 20,000 light-years from Earth toward the constellation Sagitta, the Arrow. In ancient Greek mythology, the constellation depicted the arrow Hercules used to kill the eagle Aquila.

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The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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