суббота, 1 октября 2016 г.

Lynds Dark Nebula 1251

Stars are forming in Lynds Dark Nebula (LDN) 1251. About 1,000 light-years away, the dusty molecular cloud is part of a complex of dark nebulae mapped toward the Cepheus flare region, drifting above the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Across the spectrum, astronomical explorations of the obscuring interstellar clouds reveal energetic shocks and outflows associated with newborn stars, including the telltale reddish glow from scattered Herbig-Haro objects seen in this sharp image. Distant background galaxies also lurk on the scene, visually buried behind the dusty expanse. The deep telescopic field of view spans about two full moons on the sky, or 17 light-years at the estimated distance of LDN 1251. via NASA http://ift.tt/2dEZJ22

среда, 28 сентября 2016 г.

Jupiters Europa from Spacecraft Galileo

What mysteries might be solved by peering into this crystal ball? In this case, the ball is actually a moon of Jupiter, the crystals are ice, and the moon is not only dirty but cracked beyond repair. Nevertheless, speculation is rampant that oceans exist under Europa's fractured ice-plains that could support life. This speculation was bolstered again this week by released images from the Hubble Space Telescope indicating that plumes of water vapor sometimes emanate from the ice-crusted moon -- plumes that might bring microscopic sea life to the surface. Europa, roughly the size of Earth's Moon, is pictured here in natural color as photographed in 1996 by the now-defunct Jupiter-orbiting Galileo spacecraft. Future observations by Hubble and planned missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope later this decade and a Europa flyby mission in the 2020s may further humanity's understanding not only of Europa and the early Solar System but also of the possibility that life exists elsewhere in the universe. via NASA http://ift.tt/2cI4cSM

понедельник, 26 сентября 2016 г.

Saturn from Above

This image of Saturn could not have been taken from Earth. No Earth based picture could possibly view the night side of Saturn and the corresponding shadow cast across Saturn's rings. Since Earth is much closer to the Sun than Saturn, only the day side of the ringed planet is visible from the Earth. In fact, this image mosaic was taken earlier this year by the robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn, just before filming a 44-hour video of Saturn rotating. The beautiful rings of Saturn are seen in full expanse, while cloud details are visible including the polar hexagon surrounding the north pole. The Cassini mission is now in its final year as the spacecraft is scheduled to be programmed to dive into Saturn's atmosphere next September. via NASA http://ift.tt/2cu6CBa

суббота, 24 сентября 2016 г.

Harvest Moon Eclipse

A Harvest Moon rises over Sesimbra Castle south of Lisbon in this impressive series of telephoto exposures. Captured at its full phase, the golden Moon was also gliding through the Earth's more diffuse outer shadow during September's penumbral lunar eclipse. The eclipse shading is subtle compared to a total lunar eclipse. Still, the penumbral shadow does darken the Moon's upper limb, the pale shadow receding as the Moon climbs into Portugal's evening sky. In this eclipse timelapse the effect of sunlight and earthshadow on the Moon looks remarkably like the coloring of light and shadow along the illuminated castle walls. via NASA http://ift.tt/2dfYw5e

пятница, 23 сентября 2016 г.

Sunset at Edmontonhenge

On September 18, the setting Sun illuminated both sides of the steep brick and steel canyon otherwise known as Jasper Avenue in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, planet Earth. The Stonehenge-like alignment is captured from the middle of the road in this daring snapshot. In Edmonton streets are laid out on a grid almost oriented along the cardinal directions, so aligned Edmonton sunsets (and sunrises) occur along the nearly east-west streets twice a year, close to the Equinox. In fact, at today's Equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator at 1421 UT and on this day the Sun will rise due east and set due west, bringing approximately equal hours of day and night to denizens of planet Earth. The September Equinox marks the astronomical beginning of Fall in the north and Spring in the southern hemisphere. via NASA http://ift.tt/2cTwMRD

среда, 21 сентября 2016 г.

The Helix Nebula in Infrared

What makes this cosmic eye look so red? Dust. The featured image from the robotic Spitzer Space Telescope shows infrared light from the well-studied Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) a mere 700 light-years away in the constellation of the Water Carrier Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf has long been considered an excellent example of a planetary nebula, representing the final stages in the evolution of a Sun-like star. But the Spitzer data show the nebula's central star itself is immersed in a surprisingly bright infrared glow. Models suggest the glow is produced by a dust debris disk. Even though the nebular material was ejected from the star many thousands of years ago, the close-in dust could have been generated by collisions in a reservoir of objects analogous to our own solar system's Kuiper Belt or cometary Oort cloud. Had the comet-like bodies formed in the distant planetary system, they would have survived even the dramatic late stages of the star's evolution. via NASA http://ift.tt/2d57iOX

вторник, 20 сентября 2016 г.

50000 Kilometers over the Sun

What's happening at the edge of the Sun? Although it may look like a monster is rampaging, what is pictured is actually only a monster prominence -- a sheath of thin gas held above the surface by the Sun's magnetic field. The solar event was captured just this past weekend with a small telescope, with the resulting image then inverted and false-colored. As indicated with illustrative lines, the prominence rises over 50,000 kilometers above the Sun's surface, making even our 12,700-diameter Earth seem small by comparison. Below the monster prominence is active region 12585, while light colored filaments can be seen hovering over a flowing solar carpet of fibrils. Filaments are actually prominences seen against the disk of the Sun, while similarly, fibrils are actually spicules seen against the disk. Energetic events like this are becoming less common as the Sun evolves toward a minimum in its 11-year activity cycle. via NASA http://ift.tt/2d5Ewlt