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Astronomy Picture of the Day (General/Chat)

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  • Asteroid Bennu keeps spinning faster and scientists aren't sure why

    03/14/2019 2:53:36 PM PDT · by ETL · 63 replies
    Space.com ^ | Mar 13, 2019 | Meghan Bartels
    On a distant space rock being explored by a NASA probe, days are slowly shortening — and scientists are still trying to figure out why.Right now, the asteroid known as Bennu is spinning once every 4.3 hours. But scientists working on NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission to the space rock have used data gathered before the probe's arrival to calculate that Bennu's rotation rate is speeding up over time — by about 1 second each century."As it speeds up, things ought to change, and so we're going to be looking for those things and detecting this speed up gives us some clues...
  • Hubble's dazzling display of two colliding galaxies

    03/08/2019 3:14:44 PM PST · by ETL · 64 replies
    Phys.org ^ | March 8, 2019 | Rob Garner, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
    Located in the constellation of Hercules, about 230 million light-years away, NGC 6052 is a pair of colliding galaxies. They were first discovered in 1784 by William Herschel and were originally classified as a single irregular galaxy because of their odd shape. However, we now know that NGC 6052 actually consists of two galaxies that are in the process of colliding. This particular image of NGC 6052 was taken using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. A long time ago gravity drew the two galaxies together into the chaotic state we now observe. Stars from...
  • Solar Wind Leaves 'Sunburn' Scars on the Moon

    03/04/2019 2:39:34 PM PST · by ETL · 34 replies
    Space.com ^ | Mar 4, 2019 | Samantha Mathewson
    People on Earth who've gotten sunburns are familiar with the sun's powerful rays — but the moon suffers from sunburn, too. Some regions of the lunar surface exhibit a distinctive pattern of darker and lighter swirls. Using NASA's ARTEMIS mission — which stands for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun — astronomers have revealed new clues about the origin of these swirls. The sun releases a constant flow of charged particles known as solar wind into space. While Earth's natural magnetic field deflects solar-wind particles, the moon has a weaker magnetic field, leaving some areas of...
  • Cosmic dust survives obliteration in massive red supernova, NASA shows in stunning visual

    02/11/2019 8:25:46 AM PST · by ETL · 41 replies
    FoxNews.com/Science ^ | Feb 11, 2019 | Christopher Carbone | Fox News
    When dying red giant stars throw off material, dust particles form; those particles are later destroyed by supernova blast waves, which move through space at more than 6,000 miles per second, according to NASA. Supernova explosions are among the most powerful events in the universe and can produce a brightness equivalent to the light from billions of individual stars, NASA reports, adding that the blast wave from these explosions will destroy almost everything in its path.Observations from SOFIA — a Boeing747SP jetliner that's been modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope — tell a more mysterious story and show more...
  • On This Day in Space: Feb. 7, 1984: 1st Untethered Spacewalk

    02/07/2019 2:49:40 PM PST · by ETL · 18 replies
    Space.com ^ | February 7, 2019 | Hanneke Weitering, Space.com Staff Writer
    McCandless was wearing a type of jetpack known as the Manned Maneuvering Unit, or MMU. The MMU fit over a regular EMU spacesuit and included gas thrusters that allowed astronauts to venture much farther away from the space shuttle. McCandless was able to venture 320 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger. The MMU was used during three space shuttle missions in 1984, and astronauts used it to retrieve two faulty communications satellites.
  • Hubble Captures Striking New Image of Grand Design Spiral Galaxy Messier 100

    12/11/2018 8:51:35 AM PST · by ETL · 17 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Dec 10, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    Messier 100, also known as M100, NGC 4321 and LEDA 40153, is located approximately 50 million light-years away in the constellation of Coma Berenices.This galaxy is one of the brightest members of the Virgo Cluster, a group of about 1,300 (and possibly up to 2,000) galaxies.Its apparent magnitude of 10.1 means that, while it can be seen through small telescopes, it will appear only as a faint patch of light. Larger telescopes can resolve more details of the galaxy.The galaxy was discovered on March 15, 1781 by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain, Charles Messier’s fellow comet hunter who discovered eight...
  • Chandra Captures Collision of Two Galaxy Clusters: Abell 1033

    11/19/2018 9:18:25 AM PST · by ETL · 14 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Nov 19, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    Galaxy clusters are cosmic structures containing hundreds or even thousands of galaxies. Multi-million-degree gas fills the space in between the individual galaxies. The mass of the hot gas is about six times greater than that of all the galaxies combined.This superheated gas is invisible to optical telescopes, but shines brightly in X-rays, so an X-ray telescope like Chandra is required to study it.By combining X-rays with other types of light, such as radio waves, a more complete picture of these important cosmic objects can be obtained.Using X-ray and radio data, a team of astronomers led by Leiden Observatory’s Dr. Francesco...
  • One of Milky Way’s Oldest Stars Discovered

    11/06/2018 11:51:00 AM PST · by ETL · 26 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Nov 6, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    The Universe’s first stars after the Big Bang would have consisted entirely of elements like hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium.Those stars then produced elements heavier than helium in their cores and seeded the Universe with them when they exploded as supernovae.The next generation of stars formed from clouds of material laced with those metals, incorporating them into their makeup.The metal content, or metallicity, of stars in the Universe increased as the cycle of star birth and death continued.2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, also known as Gaia DR2 6702907209758894848 B, is unusual because unlike other stars with very low metal content,...
  • Astronomers Find Proto-Supercluster of Galaxies in Early Universe

    10/19/2018 7:20:53 AM PDT · by ETL · 19 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Oct 18, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    “This is the first time that such a large structure has been identified at such a high redshift, just over 2 billion years after the Big Bang [~13.7 billion],” said lead author Dr. Olga Cucciati, an astronomer at the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy.“Normally these kinds of structures are known at lower redshifts, which means when the Universe has had much more time to evolve and construct such huge things. It was a surprise to see something this evolved when the Universe was relatively young!”Located in the COSMOS field in the constellation of Sextans, Hyperion was identified by analyzing the...
  • Hubble Finds Strong-Lensing Galaxy Cluster

    10/15/2018 9:07:07 AM PDT · by ETL · 26 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Oct 15, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    Galaxy clusters contain thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes and sizes. Typically, they have a mass of about one million billion times the mass of the Sun and form over billions of years as smaller groups of galaxies slowly come together.The large mass of the galaxy cluster SDSS J0952+3434 creates the fascinating phenomenon of strong gravitational lensing.The cluster’s gravity bends light coming from behind it in a similar way to how the base of a wine glass bends light.The effects of this lensing can be clearly seen as an arc of light in the lower part of the new...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day: The Lonely Neutron Star in Supernova Remnant E0102-72.3

    09/30/2018 9:30:54 AM PDT · by ETL · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | Sept 30, 2018
    2018 September 30 The Lonely Neutron Star in Supernova Remnant E0102-72.3 Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/ESO/F. Vogt et al.); Optical (ESO/VLT/MUSE & NASA/STScI) Explanation: Why is this neutron star off-center? Recently a lone neutron star has been found within the debris left over from an old supernova explosion. The "lonely neutron star" in question is the blue dot at the center of the red nebula near the bottom left of E0102-72.3. In the featured image composite, blue represents X-ray light captured by NASA's Chandra Observatory, while red and green represent optical light captured by Very Large Telescope in Chile and NASA's Hubble...
  • Astronomers Detect Matter Falling into Black Hole

    09/25/2018 7:29:19 AM PDT · by ETL · 34 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | News Staff / Source | Sept 25, 2018
    University of Leicester’s Professor Ken Pounds and co-authors report the detection of matter falling into a black hole at 30% of the speed of light Using data from ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory, Professor Pounds and colleagues looked at X-ray spectra from PG1211+143, a Seyfert galaxy (characterized by a very bright AGN resulting from the presence of the massive black hole at its nucleus) located in the constellation Coma Berenices, about one billion light-years away. The team found the spectra to be strongly red-shifted, showing the observed matter to be falling into PG1211+143’s black hole at the enormous speed of 30%...
  • Hubble Space Telescope Catches Giant Cluster: SDSS J1050+0017

    09/24/2018 10:21:20 AM PDT · by ETL · 16 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sept 24, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    SDSS J1050+0017, also known as ClG J1050+0017, is approximately 6 billion light-years away from Earth. The gigantic mass of this galaxy cluster creates the fascinating phenomenon of strong gravitational lensing.SDSS J1050+0017’s gravity bends light coming from behind it in a similar way to how the base of a wine glass bends light.The effects of this lensing can be clearly seen as curved streaks forming a circular shape around the center of the Hubble image.Astronomers can use these distorted galaxies to calculate the mass of the cluster — including the mass of the dark matter within it — and to peer...
  • Satellite Flare Photobombs a Lunar Eclipse Under the Milky Way (Photo)

    09/23/2018 9:11:52 AM PDT · by ETL · 29 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 23, 2018 | Miguel Claro, Space.com Contributor
    Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join him here as he takes us through his photograph "An Eclipsed Moon with Mars, Milky Way with Saturn, and a Satellite near Jupiter." Captured 15 minutes after the end of totality during the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, this...
  • Hubble Space Telescope Focuses on Coma Cluster

    09/17/2018 10:47:54 AM PDT · by ETL · 42 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sep 17, 2018 | News Staff / SourcE
    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a detailed image of a spectacular part of the Coma cluster, a structure of over a thousand galaxies bound together by gravity. The Coma Cluster, also known as Abell 1656, lies in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices, about 300 million light-years away from Earth.Many of the galaxies in the cluster are ellipticals, as is NGC 4860, the brighter of the two galaxies dominating this Hubble image.However, the outskirts of the cluster also host younger spiral galaxies that proudly display their swirling arms.Again, this image shows a wonderful example of such a galaxy...
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory Discovers Ring of Dense Compact Objects in Distant Galaxy

    09/07/2018 7:29:12 AM PDT · by ETL · 30 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sept 7, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    A remarkable ring of bright X-ray sources — black holes or neutron stars — has been discovered in a galaxy approximately 300 million light years from Earth. This ring was forged when one galaxy smashed through the middle of another, creating ripples in the gas. “Where did the ring of black holes or neutron stars in this galaxy — the so-called ring galaxy AM 0644-741 — come from? We think that it was created when one galaxy was pulled into another galaxy by the force of gravity,” said Dr. Anna Wolter of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera and co-authors.“The first...
  • Sprawling galaxy cluster found hiding in plain sight

    08/18/2018 5:42:48 PM PDT · by ETL · 31 replies
    MIT ^ | Aug 15, 2018 | Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
    MIT scientists have uncovered a sprawling new galaxy cluster hiding in plain sight. The cluster, which sits a mere 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is made up of hundreds of individual galaxies and surrounds an extremely active supermassive black hole, or quasar. The central quasar goes by the name PKS1353-341 and is intensely bright — so bright that for decades astronomers observing it in the night sky have assumed that the quasar was quite alone in its corner of the universe, shining out as a solitary light source from the center of a single galaxy. But as the MIT...
  • True Colors of Pluto and Its Largest Moon Charon

    08/07/2018 8:49:37 AM PDT · by ETL · 36 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Aug 2, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    Marking the anniversary of New Horizons’ historic flight through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, NASA released high-resolution natural-color images of Pluto and Charon. These color images result from refined calibration of data gathered by New Horizons’ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC).The processing creates images that would approximate the colors that the human eye would perceive, bringing them closer to ‘true color’ than the images released near the encounter.The image of Pluto was taken as New Horizons zipped toward the dwarf planet and its moons on July 14, 2015, from a range of 22,025 miles (35,445 km).The striking features...
  • Tiny, Mars-bound satellite snaps its first image of Earth and the Moon

    05/20/2018 7:13:18 PM PDT · by ETL · 19 replies
    FoxNews.com/Science ^ | May 17, 2018 | Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer
    A tiny satellite on its way to Mars has opened its eyes and captured a view of home. One of NASA's two Mars Cube One (MarCO) cubesats, which launched toward the Red Planet along with the agency's InSight lander on May 5, took a photo on May 9 to help confirm that its high-gain antenna had deployed properly. The antenna is in the photo. And so are the moon and Earth, the latter of which appears as a pale blue dot, just as it did in a famous photo taken by NASA's Voyager 1 probe in 1990. ..." (snip) Despite...
  • APOD: The Cone Nebula from Hubble

    03/15/2017 8:19:34 AM PDT · by Purdue77 · 4 replies
    Astronomy Picture of the Day ^ | 15 March 2017 | Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA
    Explanation: Stars are forming in the gigantic dust pillar called the Cone Nebula. Cones, pillars, and majestic flowing shapes abound in stellar nurseries where natal clouds of gas and dust are buffeted by energetic winds from newborn stars. The Cone Nebula, a well-known example, lies within the bright galactic star-forming region NGC 2264. The Cone was captured in unprecedented detail in this close-up composite of several observations from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. While the Cone Nebula, about 2,500 light-years away in Monoceros, is around 7 light-years long, the region pictured here surrounding the cone's blunted head is a mere...