Thursday, January 19, 2006

Core of Galaxy NGC 4314 - Courtesy Nasa/Hubblesite

Bluish-purple clumps of infant stars form a ring around the core of galaxy NGC 4314. It's unusual to find a galaxy with spiral arms full of young stars close to the core. Just outside the star-forming ring are two dark, wispy lanes of dust and an extra pair of blue spiral arms.

Nebula N83B - Courtesy Nasa/Esa

Intense radiation from newly born, ultra-bright stars in nebula N83B, also known as NGC 1748, carve out a large cavity in the gas surrounding them. The "bubble" of vanished gas is 25 light years in diameter.

The Southern Ring Nebula (NGC 3132) - Courtesy Nasa/Hubble Heritage

This planetary nebula, also known as the "Eight-Burst" Nebula because of its figure-8 appearance through amateur astronomer telescopes, is visible in the southern hemisphere. NGC 3132 is nearly half a light year in diameter and 2,000 light years away. Gases are moving away from the dying star at its center at a speed of nine miles per second (14.4 km/s).

The Ghost Head Nebula - NGC 2028 - Courtesy Nasa/Esa

This nebula is one of a chain of star-forming regions lying south of the 30 Doradus nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The red and blue light comes from regions of hydrogen gas heated by nearby stars. The green light comes from glowing oxygen, illuminated by the energy of a stellar wind. The white center shows a core of hot, massive stars.

Nebula DEM L 106 - Courtesy Nasa/Hubble Heritage

Within nebula DEM L 106 is a second nebula, N30B. The peanut-shaped cocoon of dust, called a reflection nebula, surrounds a cluster of young, hot stars. The bright, supergiant star at the top of the picture illuminates the dusty cocoon. Wispy filaments from DEM L 106 fill the rest of the image.

Boomerang Nebula

The Hubble Space Telescope has "caught" the Boomerang Nebula in these new images taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys. This reflecting cloud of dust and gas has two nearly symmetric lobes (or cones) of matter that are being ejected from a central star. Over the last 1,500 years, nearly one and a half times the mass of our Sun has been lost by the central star of the Boomerang Nebula in an ejection process known as a bipolar outflow. The nebula's name is derived from its symmetric structure as seen from ground-based telescopes. Hubble's sharp view is able to resolve patterns and ripples in the nebula very close to the central star that are not visible from the ground.

The Eagle Has Risen: Stellar Spire in the Eagle Nebula

A billowing tower of gas and dust rises from the stellar nursery known as the Eagle Nebula. This small piece of the Eagle Nebula is 57 trillion miles long (91.7 trillion km).

Supernova Remnant N 63A Menagerie

When a massive star exploded, spewing out its gaseous layers into a turbulent, star-forming region of the Large Magellanic Cloud, it left behind this chaotic cloud of gas and dust. The star that produced this supernova remnant was probably 50 times the mass of our Sun.

Cat's Eye Nebula - NGC 6543

The Cat's Eye Nebula, one of the first planetary nebulae discovered, also has one of the most complex forms known to this kind of nebula. Eleven rings, or shells, of gas make up the Cat's Eye.

Orion Nebula - Courtesy Nasa/Hubble Heritage

January 12, 2006—If beauty is in the details, this is one of the most beautiful pictures ever made.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured one of the most detailed astronomical images in history. Released yesterday, the original of this Orion Nebula image is a mosaic of a billion pixels—nearly 5,000 times sharper than the 212,521-pixel version on this page.

Despite their stunning depiction of stars still forming in wombs of gas and dust (as well as thousands of heretofore unseen stars), these details aren't simply in the service of beauty.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cartwheel Galaxy

Image Left:
This false-color composite image shows the Cartwheel galaxy. Although astronomers have not identified exactly which galaxy collided with the Cartwheel, two of three candidate galaxies can be seen in this image to the bottom left of the ring, one as a neon blob and the other as a green spiral. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Planetary Nebula NGC 7293 - Courtesy Nasa/JPL

Color Composite of Solar Features - Courtesy Nasa/JPL

NGC 5128 (Centaurus-A) - Courtesy Nasa/JPL

Galaxy Pair NGC 3314

This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field Planetary Camera 2
(WFPC2) shows the unique galaxy pair called NGC 3314. Through an extraordinary chance alignment, a face-0n spiral galaxy lies precisely
in front of another larger spiral. This line-up provides us with rare chance to visualize dark material within the front galaxy, seen only because it is silhouetted against the object behind it.

Phoebe - Courtesy Nasa/JPL