Astronomy Cmarchesin

Releases from NASA, NASA Galex, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Hubble, Hinode, Spitzer, Cassini, ESO, ESA, Chandra, HiRISE, Royal Astronomical Society, NRAO, Astronomy Picture of the Day, Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics, etc.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Pluto's Moons - Credit Nasa/ESA

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of two new moons around the distant planet Pluto. The moons were first discovered by Hubble in May 2005, but the Pluto Companion Search team probed even deeper into the Pluto system with Hubble on Feb. 15 to look for additional satellites and to characterize the orbits of the moons. In the image, Pluto is in the center and Charon is just below it. The moons, provisionally designated S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2, are located to the right of Pluto and Charon.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Kepler's Supernova Remnant - Credit Nasa/JPL-Caltech

Views from Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer

These images represent views of Kepler's supernova remnant taken in X-rays, visible light, and infrared radiation.

Each top panel shows the entire remnant. Each color in this image represents a different region of the electromagnetic spectrum, from X-rays to infrared light. The X-ray and infrared data cannot be seen with the human eye. Astronomers have color-coded those data so they can be seen in these images.

The bottom panels are close-up views of the remnant. In the bottom, center image, Hubble sees fine details in the brightest, densest areas of gas. The region seen in these images is outlined in the top, center panel.

View of Distant Galaxies - Courtesy Nasa/JPL-Caltech

The larger picture (top) depicts one-tenth of the Spitzer Wide-area Infrarede Extragalatic (SWIRE) survey field called ELAIS-N1. In this image, the bright blue sources are hot stars in our own Milky Way, which range anywhere from 3 to 60 times the mass of our Sun. The fainter green spots are cooler stars and galaxies beyond the Milky Way whose light is dominated by older stellar populations. The red dots are dusty galaxies that are undergoing intense star formation. The faintest specks of red-orange are galaxies billions of light-years away in the distant universe.

The three lower panels highlight several regions of interest within the ELAIS-N1 field.

The Tadpole galaxy (bottom left) is the result of a recent galactic interaction in the local universe. Although these galactic mergers are rare in the universe's recent history, astronomers believe that they were much more common in the early universe. Thus, SWIRE team members will use this detailed image of the Tadpole galaxy to help understand the nature of the "faint red-orange specks" of the early universe.

The middle panel features an unusual ring-like galaxy called CGCG 275-022. The red spiral arms indicate that this galaxy is very dusty and perhaps undergoing intense star formation. The star-forming activity could have been initiated by a near head-on collision with another galaxy.

The most distant galaxies that SWIRE is able to detect are revealed in a zoom of deep space (bottom right). The colors in this feature represent the same objects as those in the larger field image of ELAIS-N1.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Fire Within the Antennae Galaxies - Courtesy Nasa/JPL - Caltech/Z

This false-color image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveals hidden populations of newborn stars at the heart of the colliding "Antennae" galaxies. These two galaxies, known individually as NGC 4038 and 4039, are located around 68 million light-years away and have been merging together for about the last 800 million years. The latest Spitzer observations provide a snapshot of the tremendous burst of star formation triggered in the process of this collision, particularly at the site where the two galaxies overlap.

Stellar Snowflake Cluster - Courtesy Nasa/JPL

Newborn stars, hidden behind thick dust, are revealed in this image of a section of the Christmas Tree Cluster from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, created in joint effort between Spitzer's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) instruments.

The newly revealed infant stars appear as pink and red specks toward the center of the combined IRAC-MIPS image (left panel). The stars appear to have formed in regularly spaced intervals along linear structures in a configuration that resembles the spokes of a wheel or the pattern of a snowflake. Hence, astronomers have nicknamed this the "Snowflake Cluster."

Star-forming clouds like this one are dynamic and evolving structures. Since the stars trace the straight line pattern of spokes of a wheel, scientists believe that these are newborn stars, or "protostars." At a mere 100,000 years old, these infant structures have yet to "crawl" away from their location of birth. Over time, the natural drifting motions of each star will break this order, and the snowflake design will be no more.

Cosmic Tornado - HH49/50 - Courtesy Nasa/JPL-Caltech


This "tornado," designated Herbig-Haro 49/50, is shaped by a cosmic jet packing a powerful punch as it plows through clouds of interstellar gas and dust.

The tornado-like feature is actually a shock front created by a jet of material flowing downward through the field of view. A still-forming star located off the upper edge of the image generates this outflow. The jet slams into neighboring dust clouds at a speed of more than 100 miles per second, heating the dust to incandescence and causing it to glow with infrared light detectable by Spitzer. The triangular shape results from the wake created by the jet's motion, similar to the wake behind a speeding boat.

HH 49/50 is located in the Chamaeleon I star-forming complex, a region containing more than 100 young stars. Most of the new stars are smaller than the sun, although some are more massive. Visible-light observations have found a number of outflows in the region, however most of those outflows have no infrared counterpart.

Andromeda Galaxy Nucleus - M31 - Courtesy Nasa/ESA

Eta Carinae Starforming Region - Courtesy Nasa/JPL-Caltech

Ring Nebula - Messier 57 - Courtesy Nasa/JPL-Caltech

Infra Red - Milky Way - Courtesy JPL/NASA