Keyword: messierobject

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M27: The Dumbbell Nebula

    09/13/2014 9:28:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | September 14, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The first hint of what will become of our Sun was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of diffuse objects not to be confused with comets. The 27th object on Messier's list, now known as M27 or the Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebula, the type of nebula our Sun will produce when nuclear fusion stops in its core. M27 is one of the brightest planetary nebulae on the sky, and can be seen toward the constellation of the Fox (Vulpecula) with binoculars. It takes light about 1000 years to reach us...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

    07/31/2014 10:49:52 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | July 30, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Our Galaxy is thought to look much like Andromeda. Together these two galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies. The diffuse light from Andromeda is caused by the hundreds of billions of stars that compose it. The several distinct stars that surround Andromeda's image are actually stars in our Galaxy that are well in front of the background object. Andromeda is frequently referred to as M31 since it is the 31st object on Messier's list of diffuse sky objects. M31 is so distant it takes about two...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Hubble's Messier 5

    04/25/2014 5:23:47 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 25, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: "Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] ..." begins the description of the 5th entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous catalog of nebulae and star clusters. Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter. It lies some 25,000 light-years away. Roaming the halo of our galaxy, globular star clusters are ancient members of the Milky Way. M5 is one...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Hydrogen Clouds of M33

    12/27/2013 1:05:16 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | December 26, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Gorgeous spiral galaxy M33 seems to have more than its fair share of glowing hydrogen gas. A prominent member of the local group of galaxies, M33 is also known as the Triangulum Galaxy and lies about 3 million light-years distant. Its inner 30,000 light-years are shown in this telescopic galaxy portrait that enhances the reddish ionized hydrogen clouds or HII regions. Sprawling along loose spiral arms that wind toward the core, M33's giant HII regions are some of the largest known stellar nurseries, sites of the formation of short-lived but very massive stars. Intense ultraviolet radiation from the luminous,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Lovejoy with M44

    11/09/2013 11:29:50 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | November 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: While anxiously waiting for Comet ISON to brighten further as it falls toward the Sun, northern skygazers can also find three other bright comets in the east before dawn. In fact, Comet Lovejoy C/2013 R1 is currently the morning sky's brightest. Only discovered in September and not a sungrazing comet, this Comet Lovejoy is nearing the edge of naked-eye visibility and might be spotted from very dark sky sites. Sporting a greenish coma and tail in this telescopic view taken on November 7, Comet Lovejoy is about 0.5 AU from our fair planet and 1.2 AU from the Sun....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Sagittarius Triplet

    08/30/2013 7:49:25 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | August 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 on the right. The third, NGC 6559, is above M8, separated from the larger nebula by a dark dust lane. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M8: The Lagoon Nebula

    08/17/2013 3:54:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | August 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This beautiful cosmic cloud is a popular stop on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius. Eighteenth century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged the bright nebula as M8. Modern day astronomers recognize the Lagoon Nebula as an active stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years distant, in the direction of the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Hot stars in the embedded open star cluster NGC 6530 power the nebular glow. Remarkable features can be traced through this sharp picture, showing off the Lagoon's filaments of glowing gas and dark dust clouds. Twisting near the center of the Lagoon, the small, bright...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M74: The Perfect Spiral

    08/12/2013 3:44:34 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | August 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces, M74 presents a gorgeous face-on view. Classified as an Sc galaxy, the grand design of M74's graceful spiral arms are traced by bright blue star clusters and dark cosmic dust lanes. Constructed from image data recorded in 2003 and 2005, this sharp composite is from the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Spanning about 30,000 light-years across the face of M74, it includes exposures recording emission from...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Beautiful Trifid

    07/25/2013 4:39:18 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | July 25, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The beautiful Trifid Nebula is a cosmic study in contrasts. Also known as M20, it lies about 5,000 light-years away toward the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. A star forming region in the plane of our galaxy, the Trifid illustrates three different types of astronomical nebulae; red emission nebulae dominated by light emitted by hydrogen atoms, blue reflection nebulae produced by dust reflecting starlight, and dark nebulae where dense dust clouds appear in silhouette. The bright red emission region, roughly separated into three parts by obscuring dust lanes, lends the Trifid its popular name. But in this sharp, colorful scene,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Pillars of Eagle Castle

    07/13/2013 10:04:36 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | July 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What lights up this castle of star formation? The familiar Eagle Nebula glows bright in many colors at once. The above image is a composite of three of these glowing gas colors. Pillars of dark dust nicely outline some of the denser towers of star formation. Energetic light from young massive stars causes the gas to glow and effectively boils away part of the dust and gas from its birth pillar. Many of these stars will explode after several million years, returning most of their elements back to the nebula which formed them. This process is forming an open...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier's Eleven

    07/12/2013 3:59:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | July 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This fifteen degree wide field of view stretches across the crowded starfields of Sagittarius toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the center of the galaxy lies near the right edge of the rich starscape and eleven bright star clusters and nebulae fall near the center of the frame. All eleven are numbered entries in the catalog compiled by 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier. Gaining celebrity status with skygazers, M8 (Lagoon), M16 (Eagle), M17 (Omega), and M20 (Trifid) show off the telltale reddish hues of emission nebulae associated with star forming regions. But also eye-catching...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier 109

    05/23/2013 3:51:36 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | May 23, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Beautiful barred spiral galaxy M109, 109th entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog of bright Nebulae and Star Clusters, is found just below the Big Dipper's bowl in the northern constellation Ursa Major. In telescopic views, its striking central bar gives the galaxy the appearance of the Greek letter "theta", θ, a common mathematical symbol representing an angle. Of course M109 spans a very small angle in planet Earth's sky, about 7 arcminutes or 0.12 degrees. But that small angle corresponds to an enormous 120,000 light-year diameter at the galaxy's estimated 60 million light-year distance. The brightest member of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier 77

    05/10/2013 4:36:33 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | May 10, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Face-on spiral galaxy M77 lies a mere 47 million light-years away toward the aquatic constellation Cetus. At that estimated distance, the gorgeous island universe is about 100 thousand light-years across. Also known as NGC 1068, its compact and very bright core is well studied by astronomers exploring the mysteries of supermassive black holes in active Seyfert galaxies. M77 is also seen at x-ray, ultraviolet, infrared, and radio wavelengths. But this sharp visible light image based on Hubble data follows its winding spiral arms traced by obscuring dust clouds and red-tinted star forming regions close in to the galaxy's luminous...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Star Factory Messier 17

    04/18/2013 4:02:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this degree wide field of view spans almost 100 light-years. The sharp, composite, color image utilizing data from space and ground based telescopes, follows faint details of the region's gas and dust clouds against a backdrop of central Milky Way stars. Stellar winds and energetic light from hot, massive stars formed from M17's stock of cosmic gas and dust have slowly carved away at the remaining interstellar material producing the cavernous appearance and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Grand Spiral Galaxy M81 and Arp's Loop

    04/16/2013 4:00:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky is similar in size to our Milky Way Galaxy: big, beautiful M81. This grand spiral galaxy lies 11.8 million light-years away toward the northern constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major). The deep image of the region reveals details in the bright yellow core, but at the same time follows fainter features along the galaxy's gorgeous blue spiral arms and sweeping dust lanes. It also follows the expansive, arcing feature, known as Arp's loop, that seems to rise from the galaxy's disk at the upper right. Studied in the 1960s,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet of the North

    04/05/2013 3:58:40 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | April 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It looks like a double comet, but Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) is just offering skygazers a Messier moment. Outward bound and fading in this starry scene, the well-photographed comet is remarkably similar in brightness to M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Tracking through northern skies just below the galaxy, the comet was captured as local midnight approached on April 3. Both comet and galaxy were visible to the eye and are immersed in the faint glow of northern lights as our own Milky Way galaxy arcs over a snowy field near Tänndalen, Sweden. Double star cluster h and chi Persei can...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M64: The Black Eye Galaxy

    04/04/2013 4:41:18 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This beautiful, bright, spiral galaxy is Messier 64, often called the Black Eye Galaxy or the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy for its heavy-lidded appearance in telescopic views. M64 is about 17 million light-years distant in the otherwise well-groomed northern constellation Coma Berenices. In fact, the Red Eye Galaxy might also be an appropriate moniker in this colorful composition of narrow and wideband images. The enormous dust clouds obscuring the near-side of M64's central region are laced with the telltale reddish glow of hydrogen associated with star forming regions. But they are not this galaxy's only peculiar feature. Observations show that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M42: Inside the Orion Nebula

    03/20/2013 3:37:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the above deep image in assigned colors highlighted by emission in oxygen and hydrogen, wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. In addition to housing a bright open cluster of stars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy in Dust and Stars

    02/24/2013 3:59:38 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. The above image is a digital combination of a ground-based image from the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and a space-based image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting sharp features normally too red to be seen. Anyone with a good pair of binoculars, however, can see this Whirlpool toward the constellation of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Herschel's Andromeda

    02/02/2013 9:46:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This infrared view from the Herschel Space Observatory explores the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. Only 2.5 million light-years distant, the famous island universe is also known to astronomers as M31. Andromeda spans over 200,000 light-years making it more the twice the size of the Milky Way. Shown in false color, the image data reveal the cool dust lanes and clouds that still shine in the infrared but are otherwise dark and opaque at visual wavelengths. Red hues near the galaxy's outskirts represent the glow of dust heated by starlight to a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 1365: Majestic Spiral with Supernova

    11/24/2012 4:51:09 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | November 24, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Ring Nebula Drawn

    09/15/2012 10:55:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | September 15, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A planetary nebula with a simple symmetry familiar to telescopic sky gazers, the Ring Nebula (M57) is some 2,000 light-years away in the musical constellation Lyra. Hints of changing colors and subtle details are brought out in this remarkable sketch of the cosmic ring. The sketch was made with 800x magnification and excellent seeing conditions directly at the eyepiece of a 40 inch reflecting telescope. Colored pencils on white paper were used to create the original drawing, shown here digitally scanned with an inverted palette applied. About one light-year across, the nebula is composed of outer layers expelled from...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Elliptical M60, Spiral NGC 4647

    09/15/2012 10:53:41 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | September 14, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Giant elliptical galaxy M60 and spiral galaxy NGC 4647 do look like an odd couple in this sharp cosmic portrait from the Hubble Space Telescope. But they are found in a region of space where galaxies tend to gather, on the eastern side of the nearby Virgo Galaxy Cluster. About 54 million light-years distant, bright M60's simpler egg-like shape is created by its randomly swarming older stars, while NGC 4647's young blue stars, gas and dust are organized into winding arms rotating in a flattened disk. Spiral NGC 4647 is estimated to be more distant than M60, some 63...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M16: Pillars of Creation

    07/22/2012 7:18:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | July 22, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It was one of the most famous images of the 1990s. This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. The giant pillars are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas contracts gravitationally to form stars. At each pillars' end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density material to boil away, leaving stellar nurseries of dense EGGs exposed. The Eagle Nebula, associated with the open star cluster M16, lies about 7000 light years away. The pillars of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 21st Century M101

    07/13/2012 4:12:38 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 13, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One of the last entries in Charles Messier's famous catalog, big, beautiful spiral galaxy M101 is definitely not one of the least. About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is enormous, almost twice the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. M101 was also one of the original spiral nebulae observed with Lord Rosse's large 19th century telescope, the Leviathan of Parsontown. In contrast, this mulitwavelength view of the large island universe is a composite of images recorded by space-based telescopes in the 21st century. Color coded From X-rays to infrared wavelengths (high to low energies), the image data was...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M13: The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules

    06/14/2012 4:10:19 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 14, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In 1716, English astronomer Edmond Halley noted, "This is but a little Patch, but it shews itself to the naked Eye, when the Sky is serene and the Moon absent." Of course, M13 is now modestly recognized as the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, one of the brightest globular star clusters in the northern sky. Telescopic views reveal the spectacular cluster's hundreds of thousands of stars. At a distance of 25,000 light-years, the cluster stars crowd into a region 150 light-years in diameter, but approaching the cluster core upwards of 100 stars could be contained in a cube just...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy

    06/02/2012 3:23:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | June 02, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (top), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day 7-10-02

    07/10/2002 1:45:33 AM PDT · by petuniasevan · 10 replies · 301+ views
    NASA ^ | 7-10-02 | Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2002 July 10 M51: Cosmic Whirlpool Credit & Copyright: Tony and Daphne Hallas Explanation: Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl, until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you'll likely find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula,...