Posts Tagged ‘Pinwheel Galaxy’

Carnival of Space #272

It’s time for another roundup of the latest space news from various blogs around cyberspace; something we call Carnival of Space. Watch your step and look up as you board the latest ride through the carnival.

Perhaps the biggest, certainly the most exciting, news last week was the announcement from the European Southern Observatory of a scorching world orbiting uber-close to Alpha Centauri B. It’s also the lightest exoplanet discovered around a Sun-like star, reports Next Big Future.  Nancy Atkinson at our host Universe Today detailed the new finding. Astroblogger offers reflections (and a celestia file) on the recent Earth-sized red-hot planet.

Artist's impression of the planet around Alpha Centauri B.

This artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth. Alpha Centauri B is the most brilliant object in the sky and the other dazzling object is Alpha Centauri A. Our own Sun is visible to the upper right. Credit: ESO

The Carnival is full of more information on this nearby world from The Meridian Journal and Aartscope

The official countdown toward the end of the world has begun (if you believe in that sort of thing). Nancy Atkinson of Universe Today explores the 2012 craziness and why people are so willing to get sucked into the hype.

CosmoQuest hits one million total craters between the Moon and asteroid Vesta. What are the fruits of this citizen science labor of love?

Next Big Future writes that Keck observations reveal the more details of Uranus than even the Voyager flyby in 1986.

Researchers presented infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry analyses of Apollo samples that reveal the presence of significant amounts of hydroxyl inside glasses formed in the lunar regolith by micrometeorite impacts.Lunar regolith is everywhere on the lunar surface, and glasses make up about half of lunar regolith. Finding hydroxl in the glass means that a huge amount of material that could be turned into water on the moon.

Spacex is developing a new more powerful engine that will enable a rocket to take 200 tons of payload to low earth orbit. Musk said the new rocket, which he calls MCT, will be “several times” as powerful as the 1 Merlin series, and won’t use Merlin’s RP-1 fuel. Beyond adding that it will have “a very big core size”, he declined to elaborate, promising more details in “between one and three years”.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner Blue Origin has successfully fired the thrust chamber assembly for its new 100,000 pound thrust BE-3 liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine. As part of Blue’s Reusable Booster System (RBS), the engines are designed eventually to launch the biconic-shaped Space Vehicle the company is developing. Blue Origin is a reusable rocket being developed by Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon.

The NH National Guard Child and Youth Program and NHNG Military Education Outreach Committee were proud to present a pilot science event with the Chandra Education & Outreach Group on October 14, 2012 in Concord, New Hampshire.

Cheap Astronomy presents a podcast on the Hubble Servicing Missions and the expected future for the telescope.

While Any Shira Teitel of Vintage Space readily admits Felix Baumgartner’s high altitude sky dive was awesome to watch, we may have missed an opportunity to teach a huge audience a thing or two about science.
Tranquility Base asks during the Cold War, did the U.S. or the Soviet Union ever launch an armed spacecraft? And, have there been any weapons in space since the cold war ended?
Encounter with Unidentified Flying Object in Southern Finland. The bright light and the irregular pace of the craft caught my attention. Read more on Links Through Space.

Eruptions on Io from Earth

Observations of several bright & young eruptions detected at short wavelengths (~2.1 microns) on the top and longer wavelengths (~3.2 microns) on the bottom since 2004 using the W. M. Keck 10-meter telescope (May 2004, Aug 2007, Sep 2007, July 2009), the Gemini North 8-meter telescope (Aug 2007), and the ESO VLT-Yepun 8-meter telescope (Feb 2007), all with their adaptive optics systems. The thermal signature of the Tvashtar outburst can be seen near the north pole on images collected in 2007. A new eruption on Pillan Patera was seen in Aug 2007. A young and bright eruption was detected on Loki Patera in July 2009. This is the last bright eruption that was detected in our survey; since then, Io’s volcanic activity has been quiescent. Credit: F. Marchis

You fancy yourself an armchair astronomer? John Williams writes at Universe Today about a group of California researchers who have stepped it up a notch by monitoring the intense volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s strangest moon Io from the comfort of their home.

Lastly, peer into a tightly spun rainbow. Explore the arching tails of the Pinwheel Galaxy in this composite image featuring imagery from NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra and GALEX telescopes.

A Rainbow Tightly Spun

NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL, Caltech and STScI

Tightly spun filaments of color wind around the core of the Pinwheel galaxy in this combo image from four of NASA’s Great Observatories.

Explore the arching tails of color in this image. What stories or pictures do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

The Pinwheel Galaxy lies fairly close to Earth; just 21 million light-years away toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear or the Big Dipper. It is considered a grand design spiral galaxy and we see it nearly face-on allowing astronomers a good look at the tight, bright nucleus and long, graceful spiral arms. This galaxy is also about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy. It dwarfs our galaxy with a diameter of 170,000 light-years.

Composite images, images made from several telescopes, like this help astronomers match up features that show brightly in some parts of the light spectrum with those in others. They are more than just a rainbow of pretty colors. Each color tells a different story about how stars form and how they die. Red colors in this image come from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Warm dust, where stars are being born, shine brightly for Spitzer. Yellow bits of starlight shining through are from the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble sees the Universe as we would see it with our own eyes in visible light. Blue areas shine brightly in ultraviolet. These are young, hot stars seen by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer, or GALEX, telescope. The Chandra X-ray telescope sees areas in purple. This is light given off by supernovae, exploded stars, hot gas and material falling into black holes.

Send as an ECard

A Giant Among Giants

Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Kuntz (JHU), F. Bresolin (University of Hawaii), J. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Lab), J. Mould (NOAO), Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois, Urbana), and STScI

Galaxies are among the largest structures in the universe. But some galaxies, such as Messier 101, are giants among smaller giants.

M101, also called the Pinwheel Galaxy, is considered a giant galaxy and is best known example of a “grand design spiral.” Explore the mirrored spiral arms as they curve away from the bright galactic core in this image from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope. The face-on spiral galaxy shows us vast regions of star-forming nebulae, brilliant, blue areas of new stars and lanes of dark dust. Thick dust and gas give M101 the fuel it needs to create new stars far into the future. M101 is nearly twice as large as our Milky Way. As you move from one side of this galaxy to the other, you will cross 170,000 light-years. Astronomers estimate that the galaxy contains more than 1 trillion stars. Explore also dozens of distant background galaxies seen in the image.

The Pinwheel Galaxy lies just a stone’s throw away, about 25 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. Light that we’re seeing from this galaxy has been traveling for 25 million years to reach our eyes here on Earth. When the light rays left M101, Earth was cooling into a series of ice ages, mammals were flourishing along with many modern birds, and whales were appearing in the oceans along with modern sharks.

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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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