Posts Tagged ‘Lynx’

Sparkling Hook

NASA/ESA Hubble

As if waiting for cosmic fish, this hook-shaped galaxy sparkles in a deep image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Or perhaps you’ve turned your head and you see a galactic smile.

Explore the beautiful galaxy known as J082354.96+280621.6, or J082354.96 for short. Let us know what shapes or stories you see in the comments below.

J082354.96 is a starburst galaxy. These types of galaxies have high rates of star formation. As you explore the image, look for bright blue areas. These are new stars being born. J082354.96 is also warped meaning another galaxy has interacted with it millions of years in the past. As galaxies move near each other, gravity pushes and pulls the stars into unusual shapes. Gravity also pushes gas and dust together where it might collect, collapse and form a new star. You can see the cores and warped arms of the two interacting galaxies at the ends of the hook.

As you zoom across the image, look for faint galaxies far in the dark background. The two bright stars are actually stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy between Earth and J082354.96. The galaxy is found about 650 million light-years from Earth toward the northern constellation Lynx.

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Landing a UFO

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope lands a UFO in this near edge-on extragalactical image of spiral galaxy NGC 2683.

What shapes and stories do you see in this spiral galaxy? Leave a note below.

Astronomers named the galaxy “UFO Galaxy” because NGC 2683 has the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship such as the one in The Day the Earth Stood Still. One wonders what English astronomer William Herschel thought of it when he discovered the galaxy in 1788.

Zoom across this barred spiral galaxy. The UFO Galaxy has a similar structure as our own Milky Way Galaxy. Travel from the golden haze of the galactic core and across the dusty and delicate dust lanes. As we pass the dark dust that makes up the spiral arms, look for patches of blue stars. These are clusters of bright and new blue stars newly born in star-forming regions of the galaxy. Red clouds of hydrogen gas point the way to these star nurseries. Look in the background for dozens of faraway galaxies.

NGC 2683 is found about 35 million light years away toward the constellation of Lynx. Lynx was first introduced by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in 1687. Lynx is named not for the animal but because it is hard to see. One needs the sharp eyes of a cat to see this dim constellation.

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Curling C

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

Galaxy interactions create all sorts of curls and odd shapes. In this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of UGC 4881, the letter ‘C’ spirals out in deep space.

Or maybe you see a grasshopper as astronomers saw while gazing through earth-bound telescopes. UGC 4881, also known as “The Grasshopper,” is a dramatic view of two merging galaxies from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the image. Dozens of other background galaxies can be seen. Zoom in on the center of UGC 4881. The cores of the parent galaxies are distinct but are clearly overlapping. Astronomers believe these galaxies are halfway through their merger. Zoom out and follow the tail as it spirals out into space. The curly tail glows blue with the light of star clusters full of hot, young stars. The flurry of star formation is a result of the interactions between the galaxies. Streams of gas and dust are stretched and pushed together. Some areas of gas and dust come together to form stars. Astronomers noticed a supernova explosion in this galaxy in 1999. Supernovae occur in young stars with mass 10 to 50 times larger than our Sun. These stars are short-lived and burn through their hydrogen and helium fuel at very high-rates. Eventually, when they can no longer sustain nuclear reactions in their cores, they collapse on themselves and rebound in spectacular explosions. The light from a supernova can easily outshine an entire galaxy for a short time. Heavier elements such as gold and silver are created.

Galactic mergers are surprisingly common even when distances between galaxies are very great. Gravity brings the galaxies together in a dance that lasts billions of years. The ultimate result of the collision is the formation of a larger, elliptical galaxy.

UGC 4881 lies about 500 million miles away toward the faint constellation Lynx. The galaxy is also the 55th galaxy in Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.

The Grasshopper

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

Some 500 million light-years from Earth, a seal plays in a cosmic sea.

Or maybe you see a grasshopper as astronomers saw while gazing through earth-bound telescopes. UGC 4881, also known as “The Grasshopper,” is a dramatic view of two merging galaxies from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the image. Dozens of other background galaxies can be seen. Zoom in on the center of UGC 4881. The cores of the parent galaxies are distinct but are clearly overlapping. Astronomers believe these galaxies are halfway through their merger. Zoom out and follow the tail as it spirals out into space. The curly tail glows blue with the light of star clusters full of hot, young stars. The flurry of star formation is a result of the interactions between the galaxies. Streams of gas and dust are stretched and pushed together. Some areas of gas and dust come together to form stars. Astronomers noticed a supernova explosion in this galaxy in 1999. Supernovae occur in young stars with mass 10 to 50 times larger than our Sun. These stars are short-lived and burn through their hydrogen and helium fuel at very high-rates. Eventually, when they can no longer sustain nuclear reactions in their cores, they collapse on themselves and rebound in spectacular explosions. The light from a supernova can easily outshine an entire galaxy for a short time. Heavier elements such as gold and silver are created.

Galactic mergers are surprisingly common even when distances between galaxies are very great. Gravity brings the galaxies together in a dance that lasts billions of years. The ultimate result of the collision is the formation of a larger, elliptical galaxy.

UGC 4881 lies about 500 million miles away toward the faint constellation Lynx. The galaxy is also the 55th galaxy in Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.

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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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