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  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Perseid Meteors over Slovakia


    Tonight is a good night to see meteors. Comet dust will rain down on planet Earth, streaking through dark skies during the peak of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. The featured composite image was taken during last year's Perseids from the Poloniny Dark Sky Park in Slovakia.

    The unusual building in the foreground is a planetarium on the grounds of Kolonica Observatory. Although the comet dust particles travel parallel to each other, the resulting shower meteors clearly seem to radiate from a single point on the sky in the eponymous constellation Perseus. The radiant effect is due to perspective, as the parallel tracks appear to converge at a distance, like train tracks.

    The Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to peak after midnight tonight, although unfortunately this year the sky will be brightened by a near full Moon.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    cee134 wrote: »
    Two things:

    1. Go to the NASA website to have your name sent on a chip with the new Mars Rover in 2020 🎫

    2. Get your eyeballs outside and check out the Perseid Meteor Shower 💫


    I feel I should warn you about using your full name on a public website

    It's ok, it will be on Mars soon.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Moon Phase and Libration, 2019
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Supernova Cannon Expels Pulsar J0002


    What could shoot out a neutron star like a cannon ball? A supernova. About 10,000 years ago, the supernova that created the nebular remnant CTB 1 not only destroyed a massive star but blasted its newly formed neutron star core -- a pulsar -- out into the Milky Way Galaxy. The pulsar, spinning 8.7 times a second, was discovered using downloadable software [email protected] searching through data taken by NASA's orbiting Fermi Gamma-Ray Observatory.

    Traveling over 1,000 kilometers per second, the pulsar PSR J0002+6216 (J0002 for short) has already left the supernova remnant CTB 1, and is even fast enough to leave our Galaxy. Pictured, the trail of the pulsar is visible extending to the lower left of the supernova remnant. The featured image is a combination of radio images from the VLA and DRAO radio observatories, as well as data archived from NASA's orbiting IRAS infrared observatory.

    It is well known that supernovas can act as cannons, and even that pulsars can act as cannonballs -- what is not known is how supernovas do it.

  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Saturn Behind the Moon


    What's that next to the Moon? Saturn. In its monthly trip around the Earth -- and hence Earth's sky -- our Moon passed nearly in front of Sun-orbiting Saturn earlier this week. Actually the Moon passed directly in front of Saturn from the viewpoints of a wide swath of Earth's Southern Hemisphere.

    The featured image from Sydney, Australia captured the pair a few minutes before the eclipse. The image was a single shot lasting only 1/500th of a second, later processed to better highlight both the Moon and Saturn. Since Saturn is nearly opposite the Sun, it can be seen nearly the entire night, starting at sunset, toward the south and east.

    The gibbous Moon was also nearly opposite the Sun, and so also visible nearly the entire night -- it will be full tomorrow night. The Moon will occult Saturn again during every lap it makes around the Earth this year.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    The Perseids and the Plough


    Despite interfering moonlight, many denizens of planet Earth were able to watch this year's Perseid meteor shower. This pastoral scene includes local skygazers admiring the shower's brief, heavenly flashes in predawn hours near peak activity on August 13 from Nalati Grassland in Xinjiang, China.

    A composite, the image registers seven frames taken during a two hour span recording Perseid meteor streaks against a starry sky. Centered along the horizon is the Plough, the north's most famous asterism, though some might see the familiar celestial kitchen utensil known as the Big Dipper.

    Perhaps the year's most easily enjoyed meteor shower, Perseid meteors are produced as Earth itself sweeps through dust from periodic comet Swift-Tuttle. The dust particles are vaporized at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so as they plow through the atmosphere at 60 kilometers per second.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Proxima Centauri: The Closest Star


    Does the closest star to our Sun have planets? No one is sure -- but you can now follow frequent updates of a new search that is taking place during the first few months of 2016. The closest star, Proxima Centauri, is the nearest member of the Alpha Centauri star system. Light takes only 4.24 years to reach us from Proxima Centauri. This small red star, captured in the center of the featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope, is so faint that it was only discovered in 1915 and is only visible through a telescope.

    Telescope-created X-shaped diffraction spikes surround Proxima Centauri, while several stars further out in our Milky Way Galaxy are visible in the background. The brightest star in the Alpha Centauri system is quite similar to our Sun, has been known as long as recorded history, and is the third brightest star in the night sky. The Alpha Centauri system is primarily visible from Earth's Southern Hemisphere.

    Starting back in January 2016, the European Southern Observatory's Pale Red Dot project began investigating slight changes in Proxima Centauri to see if they result from a planet -- possibly an Earth-sized planet. Although unlikely, were a modern civilization found living on a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, its proximity makes it a reasonable possibility that humanity could communicate with them.
  • honeybee__12honeybee__12 Posts: 9,770Member, Premium Member Posts: 9,770Member, Premium Member


    Pluto, taken from the New Horizons
    edited August 16
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member


    Pluto, taken from the New Horizons

    That's so awesome that in our lifetime we can see Pluto this close.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    The Elephant's Trunk Nebula in Cepheus


    Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, the cosmic elephant's trunk is over 20 light-years long.

    This colorful close-up view was recorded through narrow band filters that transmit the light from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms in the region. The resulting composite highlights the bright swept-back ridges that outline pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. Such embedded, dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within.

    Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. The dramatic scene spans a 1 degree wide field, about the size of 2 Full Moons.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Hubble’s Portrait of Star’s Gaseous Glow


    Although it looks more like an entity seen through a microscope than a telescope, this rounded object, named NGC 2022, is certainly not algae or tiny, blobby jellyfish. Instead, it is a vast orb of gas in space, cast off by an aging star. The star is visible in the orb's center, shining through the gases it formerly held onto for most of its stellar life.

    When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red. These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space. More than half of such a star's mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas. At the same time, the star's core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.

    This type of object is called, somewhat confusingly, a planetary nebula, though it has nothing to do with planets. The name derives from the rounded, planet-like appearance of these objects in early telescopes.

    NGC 2022 is located in the constellation of Orion (the Hunter).
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    1901 Photograph: The Orion Nebula


    By the turn of the 20th century advances in photography contributed an important tool for astronomers. Improving photographic materials, long exposures, and new telescope designs produced astronomical images with details not visible at the telescopic eyepiece alone.

    Remarkably recognizable to astrophotographers today, this stunning image of the star forming Orion Nebula was captured in 1901 by American astronomer and telescope designer George Ritchey. The original glass photographic plate, sensitive to green and blue wavelengths, has been digitized and light-to-dark inverted to produce a positive image.

    His hand written notes indicate a 50 minute long exposure that ended at dawn and a reflecting telescope aperture of 24 inches masked to 18 inches to improve the sharpness of the recorded image. Ritchey's plates from over a hundred years ago preserve astronomical data and can still be used for exploring astrophysical processes.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    The Orion You Can Almost See


    Do you recognize this constellation? Although it is one of the most recognizable star groupings on the sky, this is a more full Orion than you can see -- an Orion only revealed with long exposure digital camera imaging and post-processing.

    Here the cool red giant Betelgeuse takes on a strong orange tint as the brightest star at the lower left. Orion's hot blue stars are numerous, with supergiant Rigel balancing Betelgeuse on the upper right, and Bellatrix at the upper left. Lined up in Orion's belt are three stars all about 1,500 light-years away, born from the constellation's well-studied interstellar clouds.

    To the right of Orion's belt is a bright but fuzzy patch that might also look familiar -- the stellar nursery known as Orion's Nebula. Finally, just barely visible to the unaided eye but quite striking here is Barnard's Loop -- a huge gaseous emission nebula surrounding Orion's Belt and Nebula discovered over 100 years ago by the pioneering Orion photographer E. E. Barnard.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    NGC 1499: The California Nebula


    Drifting through the Orion Arm of the spiral Milky Way Galaxy, this cosmic cloud by chance echoes the outline of California on the west coast of the United States. Our own Sun also lies within the Milky Way's Orion Arm, only about 1,500 light-years from the California Nebula.

    Also known as NGC 1499, the classic emission nebula is around 100 light-years long. The California Nebula shines with the telltale reddish glow characteristic of hydrogen atoms recombining with long lost electrons. The electrons have been stripped away, ionized by energetic starlight.

    Most likely providing the energetic starlight that ionizes much of the nebular gas is the bright, hot, bluish star Xi Persei just to the right of the nebula. A popular target for astrophotographers, this deep California Nebula image is a 6 panel telecopic mosaic and covers a wide field of view. The nebula lies toward the constellation Perseus, not far from the Pleiades.
    edited August 23
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Hubble Captures Dynamic Dying Star


    This atmospheric image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a dark, gloomy scene in the constellation of Gemini (the Twins). The subject of this image confused astronomers when it was first studied — rather than being classified as a single object, it was instead recorded as two objects, owing to its symmetrical lobed structure (known as NGC 2371 and NGC 2372, though sometimes referred to together as NGC 2371/2).

    These two lobes are visible to the lower left and upper right of the frame, and together form something known as a planetary nebula. Despite the name, such nebulas have nothing to do with planets; NGC 2371/2 formed when a Sun-like star reached the end of its life and blasted off its outer layers, shedding the constituent material and pushing it out into space to leave just a superheated stellar remnant behind. This remnant is visible as the bright star at the center of the frame, sitting neatly between the two lobes.

    The structure of this region is complex. It is filled with dense knots of gas, fast-moving jets that appear to be changing direction over time, and expanding clouds of material streaming outwards on diametrically opposite sides of the remnant star. Patches of this scene glow brightly as the remnant star emits energetic radiation that excites the gas within these regions, causing it to light up. This scene will continue to change over the next few thousand years. Eventually the knotty lobes will dissipate completely, and the remnant star will cool and dim to form a white dwarf.
  • honeybee__12honeybee__12 Posts: 9,770Member, Premium Member Posts: 9,770Member, Premium Member

    Dwarf Star Erupts in Giant Flare.
    The star, called GJ 3685A, just happened to be in the Galaxy Evolution Explorer's field of view while the telescope was busy observing galaxies.
    The seemingly serene star suddenly exploded once, then even more intensely a second time, pouring out in total about one million times more energy than a typical flare from our Sun.
    The second blast of light constituted an increase in brightness by a factor of at least 10,000.

    Flares are huge explosions of energy stemming from a single location on a star's surface.
    They are caused by the brief destruction of a star's magnetic fields.
    Many types of stars experience them, though old, small, rapidly rotating "red dwarfs" like GJ 3685A tend to flare more frequently and dramatically.
    These stars, called flare stars, can experience powerful eruptions as often as every few hours.
    Younger stars, in general, also erupt more often.
    One of the reasons astronomers study flare stars is to gain a better picture and history of flare events taking place on the Sun.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Dark Dust and Colorful Clouds near Antares


    Why is the sky near Antares and Rho Ophiuchi so dusty yet colorful? The colors result from a mixture of objects and processes. Fine dust illuminated from the front by starlight produces blue reflection nebulae. Gaseous clouds whose atoms are excited by ultraviolet starlight produce reddish emission nebulae. Backlit dust clouds block starlight and so appear dark.

    Antares, a red supergiant and one of the brighter stars in the night sky, lights up the yellow-red clouds on the lower left of the featured image. Rho Ophiuchi lies at the center of the blue nebula near the top. The distant globular cluster M4 is visible to the right of Antares. These star clouds are even more colorful than humans can see, emitting light across the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • cee134cee134 Posts: 33,842Member Member Posts: 33,842Member Member
    Dragon being released from ISS right now

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