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Keyword: milkyway

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Arp 286: Trio in Virgo

    07/06/2016 6:12:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, July 06, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A remarkable telescopic composition in yellow and blue, this scene features a trio of interacting galaxies almost 90 million light-years away, toward the constellation Virgo. On the right, two, spiky, foreground Milky Way stars echo the trio galaxy hues, a reminder that stars in our own galaxy are like those in the distant island universes. With sweeping spiral arms and obscuring dust lanes, NGC 5566 is enormous, about 150,000 light-years across. Just above it lies small, blue NGC 5569. Near center, the third galaxy, NGC 5560, is multicolored and apparently stretched and distorted by its interaction with NGC 5566....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- From Alpha to Omega in Crete

    06/29/2016 7:39:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This beautiful telephoto composition spans light-years in a natural night skyscape from the island of Crete. Looking south, exposures both track the stars and record a fixed foreground in three merged panels that cover a 10x12 degree wide field of view. The May 15 waxing gibbous moonlight illuminates the church and mountainous terrain. A mere 18 thousand light-years away, huge globular star cluster Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) shining above gives a good visual impression of its appearance in binoculars on that starry night. Active galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) is near the top of the frame, some 11 million...
  • New Map Shows the Dark Side of Artificial Light at Night

    06/11/2016 8:53:26 AM PDT · by samtheman · 76 replies
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ ^ | June 10, 2016 | Lee Billings
    New Map Shows the Dark Side of Artificial Light at Night ... The most fundamental difficulty, however, has been that no one knows exactly how severe the problem is.
  • Light Pollution Hides Milky Way From 80 Percent Of North Americans, Atlas Shows

    06/10/2016 12:01:21 PM PDT · by C19fan · 67 replies
    NPR ^ | June 10, 2016 | Nell Greenfieldboyce
    The luminous glow of light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of people in North America from seeing the Milky Way in the night sky. That's according to a new atlas of artificial night sky brightness that found our home galaxy is now hidden from more than one-third of humanity.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 5078 and Friends

    05/25/2016 3:16:55 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This sharp telescopic field of view holds two bright galaxies. Barred spiral NGC 5101 (top right) and nearly edge-on system NGC 5078 are separated on the sky by about 0.5 degrees or about the apparent width of a full moon. Found within the boundaries of the serpentine constellation Hydra, both are estimated to be around 90 million light-years away and similar in size to our own large Milky Way galaxy. In fact, if they both lie at the same distance their projected separation would be only 800,000 light-years or so. That's easily less than half the distance between the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way Over the Spanish Peaks

    05/24/2016 4:28:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That's not lightning, and it did not strike between those mountains. The diagonal band is actually the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, while the twin peaks are actually called the Spanish Peaks -- but located in Colorado, USA. Although each Spanish peak is composed of a slightly different type of rock, both are approximately 25 million years old. This serene yet spirited image composite was meticulously created by merging a series of images all taken from the same location on one night and early last month. In the first series of exposures, the background sky was built...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way and Planets Near Opposition

    05/21/2016 12:47:18 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, May 21, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this early May night skyscape, a mountain road near Bursa, Turkey seems to lead toward bright planets Mars and Saturn and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, a direction nearly opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. The brightest celestial beacon on the scene, Mars, reaches its opposition tonight and Saturn in early June. Both will remain nearly opposite the Sun, up all night and close to Earth for the coming weeks, so the time is right for good telescopic viewing. Mars and Saturn form the tight celestial triangle with red giant star Antares just right of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Falcon 9 and Milky Way

    05/14/2016 1:08:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, May 14, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On May 6, the after midnight launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up dark skies over Merritt Island, planet Earth. Its second stage bound for Earth orbit, the rocket's arc seems to be on course for the center of the Milky Way in this pleasing composite image looking toward the southeast. Two consecutive exposures made with camera fixed to a tripod were combined to follow rocket and home galaxy. A 3 minute long exposure at low sensitivity allowed the rocket's first stage burn to trace the bright orange arc and a 30 second exposure at high sensitivity...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way in Moonlight

    04/23/2016 11:47:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, April 23, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A waning crescent moon, early morning twilight, and Al Hamra's city lights on the horizon can't hide the central Milky Way in this skyscape from planet Earth. Captured in a single exposure, the dreamlike scene looks southward across the region's grand canyon from Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain), near the highest peak in Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula. Mist, moonlight, and shadows still play along the steep canyon walls. Dark rifts along the luminous band of the Milky Way are the galaxy's cosmic dust clouds. Typically hundreds of light-years distant, they obscure starlight along the galactic plane, viewed edge-on from...
  • Never-before-seen galaxy spotted orbiting the Milky Way

    04/15/2016 7:44:48 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 21 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 14 Apr, 2016 | Ken Croswell
    The galaxy’s empire has a new colony. Astronomers have detected a dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way whose span stretches farther than nearly all other Milky Way satellites. It may belong to a small group of galaxies that is falling into our own. Giant galaxies like the Milky Way grew large when smaller galaxies merged, according to simulations. The simulations also suggest that whole groups of galaxies can fall into a single giant at the same time. The best examples in our cosmic neighbourhood are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, the Milky Way’s two brightest satellites, which probably orbit...
  • Milky Way’s black hole may be spewing out cosmic rays

    03/19/2016 9:24:38 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 20 replies
    Science ^ | 16 Mar, 2016 | Daniel Clery
    Mysterious high-energy particles known as cosmic rays zip through space at a wide range of energies, some millions of times greater than those produced in the world’s most powerful atom smasher. Scientists have long thought cosmic rays from inside our galaxy come from supernova explosions, but a new study has fingered a second source: the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. With this new result, the search for cosmic ray origins, which has frustrated scientists for more than 100 years, has taken an unexpected new twist. “It’s very exciting,” says astrophysicist Andrew Taylor of the Dublin...
  • Milky Way Grew From the Inside Out

    03/17/2016 8:09:54 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 17 replies
    D News ^ | 11 Jan, 2016 | IRENE KLOTZ
    Scientists have made a cosmic growth chart of the Milky Way galaxy, an innovative blending of data collected by the ongoing Sloan Digital Sky Survey and a new technique to determine the ages of stars. As expected, the analysis shows the galaxy’s central disk formed from the inside out, with red giant stars as old as about 13 billion years clustered toward the center and younger stars about 1 billion years old closer to the disk’s edge, astronomer Melissa Ness, with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, told reporters at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee,...
  • Telescope used on Armstrong's moon landing finds new galaxies

    02/24/2016 5:09:08 PM PST · by Gamecock · 18 replies
    Reuters ^ | 2/24/2016 | PAULINE ASKIN
    An Australian telescope used to broadcast live vision of man's first steps on the moon in 1969 has found hundreds of new galaxies hidden behind the Milky Way by using an innovative receiver that measures radio waves. Scientists at the Parkes telescope, 355 km (220 miles) west of Sydney, said they had detected 883 galaxies, a third of which had never been seen before. The findings were reported in the latest issue of Astronomical Journal under the title 'The Parkes HI Zone of Avoidance Survey'. "Hundreds of new galaxies were discovered, using the same telescope that was used to broadcast...
  • Scientists discover hidden galaxies behind the Milky Way (explanation for "The Great Attractor?")

    02/10/2016 10:28:26 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 18 replies
    UWA ^ | 2/10/16
    Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been studied for the first time, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the Great Attractor. Despite being just 250 million light years from Earth—very close in astronomical terms—the new galaxies had been hidden from view until now by our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Using CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope equipped with an innovative receiver, an international team of scientists were able to see through the stars and dust of the Milky Way, into a previously unexplored region of space. The discovery may help to explain the Great Attractor region, which appears to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Big Dipper, Deep Sky

    01/22/2016 10:26:00 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | January 23, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Big Dipper is an easy to recognize, well-known asterism in northern skies, though many see the Plough or Wagon. Famous bright nebulae of the north can also be found along its familiar lines, highlighted in this carefully composed scene with telescopic insets framed in the wider-field skyview. All from Messier's catalog, M101 and M51 are cosmic pinwheel and whirlpool on the left, spiral galaxies far beyond the Milky Way. To the right, M108, a distant edge-on spiral galaxy is seen close to our galaxy's own owl-faced planetary nebula M97. Taken on January 16, the wider-field view seems to...
  • What Will It Take for Humans to Colonize the Milky Way?

    01/13/2016 9:28:58 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 107 replies
    Scientific American ^ | 1/13/16 | Kim Stanley Robinson
    It's a common theme in science fiction, but migrating to planets beyond our solar system will be a lot more complicated and difficult than you might imagineThe idea that humans will eventually travel to and inhabit other parts of our galaxy was well expressed by the early Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who wrote, “Earth is humanity’s cradle, but you’re not meant to stay in your cradle forever.” Since then the idea has been a staple of science fiction, and thus become part of a consensus image of humanity’s future. Going to the stars is often regarded as humanity’s destiny,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Southern Craters and Galaxies

    12/26/2015 9:00:26 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | December 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Henbury craters in the Northern Territory, Australia, planet Earth, are the scars of an impact over 4,000 years old. When an ancient meteorite fragmented into dozens of pieces, the largest made the 180 meter diameter crater whose weathered walls and floor are lit in the foreground of this southern hemisphere nightscape. The vertical panoramic view follows our magnificent Milky Way galaxy stretching above horizon, its rich central starfields cut by obscuring dust clouds. A glance along the galactic plane also reveals Alpha and Beta Centauri and the stars of the Southern Cross. Captured in the region's spectacular, dark...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Geminids of the South

    12/17/2015 12:18:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | December 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Earth's annual Geminid meteor shower did not disappoint, peaking before dawn on December 14 as our fair planet plowed through dust from active asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Captured in this southern hemisphere nightscape the meteors stream away from the shower's radiant in Gemini. To create the image, many individual frames recording meteor streaks were taken over period of 5 hours. In the final composite they were selected and registered against the starry sky above the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes of Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Rigel in Orion, and Sirius shine brightly as the Milky Way stretches toward...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- When Gemini Sends Stars to Paranal

    12/12/2015 9:52:57 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: From a radiant point in the constellation of the Twins, the annual Geminid meteor shower rain down on planet Earth. Tonight, the Geminds reach their peak and could be quite spectacular. The featured blended image, however, captured the shower's impressive peak in the year 2012. The beautiful skyscape collected Gemini's lovely shooting stars in a careful composite of 30 exposures, each 20 seconds long, from the dark of the Chilean Atacama Desert over ESO's Paranal Observatory. In the foreground Paranal's four Very Large Telescopes, four Auxillary Telescopes, and the VLT Survey telescope are all open and observing. The skies...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Milky Way Over Monument Valley

    10/31/2015 9:14:38 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | November 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: You don't have to be at Monument Valley to see the Milky Way arch across the sky like this -- but it helps. Only at Monument Valley USA would you see a picturesque foreground that includes these iconic rock peaks called buttes. Buttes are composed of hard rock left behind after water has eroded away the surrounding soft rock. In the featured image taken in 2012, the closest butte on the left and the butte to its right are known as the Mittens, while Merrick Butte can be seen just further to the right. High overhead stretches a band...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- IC 1871: Inside the Soul Nebula

    10/29/2015 2:31:38 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | October 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This cosmic close-up looks deep inside the Soul Nebula. The dark and brooding dust clouds outlined by bright ridges of glowing gas are cataloged as IC 1871. About 25 light-years across, the telescopic field of view spans only a small part of the much larger Heart and Soul nebulae. At an estimated distance of 6,500 light-years the star-forming complex lies within the Perseus spiral arm of the Milky Way, seen in planet Earth's skies toward the constellation Cassiopeia. An example of triggered star formation, the dense star-forming clouds of IC 1871 are themselves sculpted by the intense winds and...
  • Deeply embedded stellar clusters found in Milky Way

    08/03/2003 5:43:34 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 1 replies · 213+ views
    Peering into a giant molecular cloud in the Milky Way galaxy - known as W49 - astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a whole new population of very massive newborn stars. This research was presented at the International Astronomical Union's 25th General Assembly held in Sydney, Australia, by ESO-scientist Joao Alves. With the help of infrared images obtained during a period of excellent observing conditions with the ESO 3.5-m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at the La Silla Observatory (Chile), the astronomers looked deep into this molecular cloud and discovered four massive stellar clusters, with hot and energetic...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy, Stars, and Dust

    10/12/2015 8:13:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | October 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is this galaxy trapped in a web of dust? No -- it is far in the background. However, spiky stars and spooky shapes are abound in this deep cosmic skyscape. Its well-composed field of view covers about a Full Moon on the sky toward the constellation Pegasus. Of course the brighter stars show diffraction spikes, the commonly seen effect of internal supports in reflecting telescopes, and lie well within our own Milky Way galaxy. The faint but pervasive clouds of interstellar dust ride above the galactic plane and dimly reflect the Milky Way's combined starlight. Known as high latitude...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Central Cygnus Skyscape

    08/18/2015 10:55:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | August 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In cosmic brush strokes of glowing hydrogen gas, this beautiful skyscape unfolds across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy and the center of the northern constellation Cygnus the Swan. The featured image spans about six degrees. Bright supergiant star Gamma Cygni (Sadr) to the upper left of the image center lies in the foreground of the complex gas and dust clouds and crowded star fields. Left of Gamma Cygni, shaped like two luminous wings divided by a long dark dust lane is IC 1318, whose popular name is understandably the Butterfly Nebula. The more compact, bright nebula at...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Uluru

    07/30/2015 1:16:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | July 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The central regions of our Milky Way Galaxy rise above Uluru/Ayers Rock in this striking night skyscape. Recorded on July 13, a faint airglow along the horizon shows off central Australia's most recognizable landform in silhouette. Of course the Milky Way's own cosmic dust clouds appear in silhouette too, dark rifts along the galaxy's faint congeries of stars. Above the central bulge, rivers of cosmic dust converge on a bright yellowish supergiant star Antares. Left of Antares, wandering Saturn shines in the night.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Galaxy Tree

    05/25/2015 12:23:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | May 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: First came the trees. In the town of Salamanca, Spain, the photographer noticed how distinctive a grove of oak trees looked after being pruned. Next came the galaxy. The photographer stayed up until 2 am, waiting until the Milky Way Galaxy rose above the level of a majestic looking oak. From this carefully chosen perspective, dust lanes in the galaxy appear to be natural continuations to branches of the tree. Last came the light. A flashlight was used on the far side of the tree to project a silhouette. By coincidence, other trees also appeared as similar silhouettes across...
  • Andromeda And The Milky Way Might Collide Sooner Than We Think

    05/16/2015 2:26:25 PM PDT · by ETL · 61 replies
    Universe Today via io9 ^ | May 16, 2015 | Bob King
    The merger of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy won’t happen for another 4 billion years, but the recent discovery of a massive halo of hot gas around Andromeda may mean our galaxies are already touching. Andromeda’s halo is gargantuan. Extending for at least 2 million light years, if we could see in our night sky it would be 100 times the diameter of the Moon or 50 degrees across! [the entire sky, from horizon to horizon, is approx 180 deg -ETL] Credit: NASA University of Notre Dame astrophysicist Nicholas Lehner led a team of scientists using the Hubble Space...
  • More evidence that the Milky Way has four spiral arms

    05/12/2015 12:33:15 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 30 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 05-12-2015 | by Dan Majaess, Universe Today
    Astronomers have been arguing over just how many spiral arms our galaxy exhibits. Is the Milky Way a four or two-armed spiral galaxy? Astronomers had often assumed the Milky Way was potentially a four-armed spiral galaxy, but comparatively recent observations from NASA's Spitzer telescope implied the galaxy had two spiral arms. In 2013, astronomers mapped star forming regions and argued they had found the two missing arms, bringing the total number of arms back to four. The case for a four-armed Milky Way may have just gotten stronger. A team of Brazilian astronomers used star clusters embedded in their natal...
  • Size of the Milky Way Upgraded, Solving Galaxy Puzzle

    05/04/2015 2:19:04 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 17 replies
    Space.com ^ | 4/4/15 | Shannon Hall
    The Corrugated Galaxy The disk of the Milky Way Galaxy disk may actually be rippled. Two ringlike structures of stars wrapping around the Milky Way's outer disk now appear to belong to the disk itself. The results, outlined in a new study, show that the disk is about 60 percent larger than previously thought. Not only do the results extend the size of the Milky Way, they also reveal a rippling pattern, which raises intriguing questions about what sent wavelike fluctuations rippling through the disk. The researchers said the likely culprit was a dwarf galaxy. It might have plunged...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M46 Plus Two

    04/17/2015 10:30:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Galactic or open star clusters are young. These swarms of stars are born together near the plane of the Milky Way, but their numbers steadily dwindle as cluster members are ejected by galactic tides and gravitational interactions. In fact, this bright open cluster, known as M46, is around 300 million years young. It still contains a few hundred stars within a span of 30 light-years or so. Located about 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation Puppis, M46 also seems to contain contradictions to its youthful status. In this pretty starscape, the colorful, circular patch above and right of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Erupting Volcano

    04/13/2015 7:30:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The view was worth the trip. Battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala -- while carrying sensitive camera equipment -- was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28. Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further...
  • Milky Way's center unveils supernova 'dust factory'

    03/20/2015 3:05:24 AM PDT · by samtheman · 20 replies
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ ^ | Cornell University
    Sifting through the center of the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have made the first direct observations -- using an infrared telescope aboard a modified Boeing 747 -- of cosmic building-block dust resulting from an ancient supernova.
  • The corrugated galaxy: Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimated

    03/13/2015 7:50:24 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 38 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | Mar 11, 2015 | Provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. The research, conducted by an international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, revisits astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which, in 2002, established the presence of a bulging ring of stars beyond the known plane of the Milky Way. "In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn't just a disk of stars in a flat plane—it's corrugated," said...
  • In theory, the Milky Way could be a 'galactic transport system' (it could be a huge wormhole!)

    01/22/2015 2:13:28 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 13 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 1/21/15 | Source: Sissa Medialab
    Based on the latest evidence and theories our galaxy could be a huge wormhole (or space-time tunnel, have you seen the movie "Interstellar?") and, if that were true, it would be "stable and navigable." This is the hypothesis put forward in a study published in Annals of Physics and conducted with the participation of SISSA in Trieste. The paper, the result of a collaboration between Indian, Italian and North American researchers, prompts scientists to re-think dark matter. "If we combine the map of the dark matter in the Milky Way with the most recent Big Bang model to explain the...
  • Astronomers find 'new' dwarf galaxy in Milky Way's neighborhood

    12/27/2014 4:18:14 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 37 replies
    latimes.com ^ | Amina Khan
    Astronomers searching the sky with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an odd little dwarf galaxy in our very own backyard -- a mere 7 million light years away.. ... Given that these isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxies are so hard to find, there could be many more of these fascinating galactic fossils just hanging out in the darkness of our own intergalactic neighborhood, just waiting to be found,
  • Illustration sequence of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy colliding (as seen from Earth)

    12/09/2014 12:27:37 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 20 replies
  • Throwback Thursday: Seeing through our galaxy

    11/21/2014 10:58:31 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 7 replies
    Medium ^ | 11/20/14 | Ethan Siegel
    When we look out at the Universe, our view is pretty consistently dominated by the stars within our own galaxy. Although we know that many interesting things lie beyond — globular clusters, individual galaxies, and rich clusters and superclusters of galaxies — being in the Milky Way makes it very hard to see a great many of them. This is because our own galaxy, from our vantage point within it, dominates a huge fraction of the sky overhead. Image credit: Richard Payne, of Arizona Astrophotography.The plane of the Milky Way itself obscures about a total of 20% of our night sky. What appears...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Devils Tower

    10/31/2014 12:44:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | October 31, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A mysterious formation known as Devils Tower rises into the dark above northeastern Wyoming's prairie landscape in this 16 frame panoramic view. Seen against the night sky's thin, pale clouds and eerie green airglow, star clusters and nebulae of the Milky Way arc toward the galaxy's central realm at right. Of course the scene contains the Milky Way's own haunting and grisly visages of halloween, including ghosts, a flaming skull, a glowing eye and a witch's broom. To find them, slide your cursor over the picture or just follow this link, if you dare. And have a safe and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Shoreline of the Universe

    09/20/2014 12:38:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | September 20, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Against dark rifts of interstellar dust, the ebb and flow of starlight along the Milky Way looks like waves breaking on a cosmic shore in this night skyscape. Taken with a digital camera from the dunes of Hatteras Island, North Carolina, planet Earth, the monochrome image is reminiscent of the time when sensitive black and white film was a popular choice for dimmly lit night- and astro-photography. Looking south, the bright stars of Sagittarius and Scorpius are near the center of the frame. Wandering Mars, Saturn, and Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae) form the compact triangle of bright celestial beacons farther...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Yellowstone

    08/28/2014 7:20:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | August 27, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Milky Way was not created by an evaporating lake. The colorful pool of water, about 10 meters across, is known as Silex Spring and is located in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. Illuminated artificially, the colors are caused by layers of bacteria that grow in the hot spring. Steam rises off the spring, heated by a magma chamber deep underneath known as the Yellowstone hotspot. Unrelated and far in the distance, the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy arches high overhead, a band lit by billions of stars. The above picture is a 16-image panorama taken...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- New York to London Milky Way

    06/14/2014 5:23:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | June 14, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Bright stars of Sagittarius and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lie just off the wing of a Boeing 747 in this astronomical travel photo. The stratospheric scene was captured earlier this month during a flight from New York to London, 11,0000 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. Of course the sky was clear and dark at that altitude, ideal conditions for astronomical imaging. But there were challenges to overcome while looking out a passenger window of the aircraft moving at nearly 1,000 kilometers per hour (600 mph). Over 90 exposures of 30 seconds or less were attempted with...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Meteors, Planes, and a Galaxy over Bryce Canyon

    05/19/2014 3:51:18 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | May 19, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes land and sky are both busy and beautiful. The landscape pictured in the foreground encompasses Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA, famous for its many interesting rock structures eroded over millions of years. The skyscape above, photogenic in its own right, encompasses the arching central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy, streaks that include three passing airplanes and at least four Eta Aquariid meteors, and bright stars that include the Summer Triangle. The above image is a digital panorama created from 12 smaller images earlier this month on the night May 6. If you missed the recent Eta Aquariids...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- That Night over Half Dome

    05/02/2014 7:21:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | May 02, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Captured one night last May this eight frame mosaic starts on the left, down Northside Drive through Yosemite National Park. It ends thousands of light-years away though, as the arc of the Milky Way tracks toward the center of our galaxy on the right, far beyond the park's rugged skyline. That night was still moonless when the storm clouds retreated, so the rocky faces of the surrounding mountains are lit by campfires and artifical lights. Yosemite Falls is at the left. The granite face of Half Dome juts above the far horizon, near the center of the view. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Clouds and Crosses over Haleakala

    04/12/2014 3:18:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 12, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Aloha and welcome to a breathtaking skyscape. The dreamlike panoramic view from March 27 looks out over the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala on Maui, Hawai'i. A cloud layer seeps over the volcanic caldera's edge with the Milky Way and starry night sky above. Head of the Northern Cross asterism, supergiant star Deneb lurks within the Milky Way's dust clouds and nebulae at the left. From there you can follow the arc of the Milky Way all the way to the stars of the more compact Southern Cross, just above the horizon at the far right. A yellowish Mars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Milky Way Dawn

    03/29/2014 5:39:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 29, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As dawn broke on March 27, the center of the Milky Way Galaxy stood almost directly above the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory. In the dry, clear sky of Chile's Atacama desert, our galaxy's dusty central bulge is flanked by Paranal's four 8 meter Very Large Telescope units in this astronomical fisheye view. Along the top, Venus is close to the eastern horizon. The brilliant morning star shines very near a waning crescent Moon just at the edge of one of the telescope structures. Despite the bright pairing in the east, the Milky Way dominates the scene though. Cut...
  • Big Pic: An Ultramassive Black Hole

    01/26/2014 7:26:30 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    Popular Science ^ | January 24, 2014 | Francie Diep
    One of the most powerful things in the universe wears a sparkly purple coat. Well, at least it looks that way in this image combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. This is an image of the galaxy cluster RX J1532.9+3021... At the cluster's center is one of the most powerful black holes astronomers have ever found. The black hole is surrounded by hot gas, which appears here in purple. Normally, astronomers would expect dense, hot gas like this to form stars, but they haven't found any evidence of stars here. Instead, they think, the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- From the Northern to the Southern Cross

    01/27/2014 4:22:54 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | January 27, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: There is a road that connects the Northern to the Southern Cross but you have to be at the right place and time to see it. The road, as pictured above, is actually the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy; the right place, in this case, is dark Laguna Cejar in Salar de Atacama of Northern Chile; and the right time was in early October, just after sunset. Many sky wonders were captured then, including the bright Moon, inside the Milky Way arch; Venus, just above the Moon; Saturn and Mercury, just below the Moon; the Large and...
  • A cosmic feast! Milky Way’s mysterious black hole set to gobble up giant gas cloud

    01/14/2014 5:41:54 AM PST · by C19fan · 29 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | January 14, 2014 | Ellie Zolfaghasifard
    The Milky Way’s black hole is about to gobble up its first dinner, and astronomers are hoping to have front row seats when it happens. A huge gas cloud, about three times the mass of Earth, is on course to collide with the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy in March. Astronomers expect the gas cloud will swing so close to the black hole that it will heat up to the point where it produces spectacular X-rays.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Local Fluff

    09/24/2013 5:47:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | September 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The stars are not alone. In the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy about 10 percent of visible matter is in the form of gas, called the interstellar medium (ISM). The ISM is not uniform, and shows patchiness even near our Sun. It can be quite difficult to detect the local ISM because it is so tenuous and emits so little light. This mostly hydrogen gas, however, absorbs some very specific colors that can be detected in the light of the nearest stars. A working map of the local ISM within 20 light-years, based on ongoing observations and recent...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way Over Spain's Bardenas Reales

    09/02/2013 12:33:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | September 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that below the Milky Way? First, across the top of the above image, lies the faint band that is our planet's sideways view of the central disk of our home Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way band can be seen most clear nights from just about anywhere on Earth with a dark sky. What lies beneath is, by comparison, is a much less common sight. It is the striking peak of Castildetierra, a rock formation located in Bardenas Reales, a natural badlands in northeast Spain. Standing 50 meters tall, the rock spire includes clay and sandstone left over...