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  • richardmitnick 10:21 am on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA Herschel: “Herschel and Hubble see the Horsehead in new light” Spectacular – Don’t Miss It 

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    19 April 2013

    “New views of the Horsehead Nebula and its turbulent environment have been unveiled by ESA’s Herschel space observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble space telescope.

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    Herschel’s view
    Stunning new far-infrared view from ESA’s Herschel space observatory of the iconic Horsehead Nebula in the context of its surroundings. The image is a composite of the wavelengths of 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 250 microns (red), and covers 4.5×1.5 degrees. The image is oriented with northeast towards the left of the image and southwest towards the right.

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    Hubble’s view of the Horsehead Nebula

    The Horsehead Nebula lies in the constellation Orion, about 1300 light-years away, and is a popular target for amateur and professional astronomers alike. It sits just to the south of star Alnitak, the easternmost of Orion’s famous three-star belt, and is part of the vast Orion Molecular Cloud complex.

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    Nebula-Barnard’s-Loop

    The new far-infrared Herschel view shows in spectacular detail the scene playing out around the Horsehead Nebula at the right-hand side of the image, where it seems to surf like a ‘white horse’ in the waves of turbulent star-forming clouds.

    It appears to be riding towards another favourite stopping point for astrophotographers: NGC 2024, also known as the Flame Nebula. This star-forming region appears obscured by dark dust lanes in visible light images, but blazes in full glory in the far-infrared Herschel view.

    Here is a neat video to complete the picture.

    See the full article here.

    Markus Bauer
    ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer
    Tel: +31 71 565 6799
    Mob: +31 61 594 3 954
    Email: markus.bauer@esa.int

    Göran Pilbratt
    ESA Herschel Project Scientist
    Tel: +31 71 565 3621
    Email: gpilbratt@rssd.esa.int

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 3:11 pm on April 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA: “Star factory in the early Universe challenges galaxy evolution theory” 

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    17 April 2013

    “ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered an extremely distant galaxy making stars more than 2000 times faster than our own Milky Way. Seen at a time when the Universe was less than a billion years old, its mere existence challenges our theories of galaxy evolution.

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    The galaxy, known as HFLS3, appears as little more than a faint, red smudge in images from the Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey (HerMES). Yet appearances can be deceiving: this small smudge is actually a star-building factory, furiously transforming gas and dust into new stars.

    Our own Milky Way makes stars at a rate equivalent to one solar mass per year, but HFLS3 is seen to be churning out new stars at more than two thousand times more rapidly. This is one of the highest star formation rates ever seen in any galaxy.

    The extreme distance to HFLS3 means that its light has travelled for almost 13 billion years across space before reaching us. We therefore see it as it existed in the infant Universe, just 880 million years after the Big Bang or at 6.5% of the Universe’s current age.

    Even at that young age, HFLS3 was already close to the mass of the Milky Way, with roughly 140 billion times the mass of the Sun in the form of stars and star-forming material. After another 13 billion years, it should have grown to be as big as the most massive galaxies known in the local Universe.”

    Markus Bauer
    ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer
    Tel: +31 71 565 6799
    Mob: +31 61 594 3 954
    Email: markus.bauer@esa.int

    Dominik A. Riechers
    Cornell University, New York, USA
    Tel: +1 626 395 4670
    Email: riechers@astro.cornell.edu

    Dave Clements
    Imperial College London, UK
    Tel: +44 20 75947693
    Email: d.clements@imperial.ac.uk

    Göran Pilbratt
    ESA Herschel Project Scientist
    Tel: +31 71 565 3621
    Email: gpilbratt@rssd.esa.int

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 5:28 pm on April 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA: “Retired star found with planets and debris disc” 

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    9 April 2013
    Markus Bauer
    ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer
    Tel: +31 71 565 6799
    Mob: +31 61 594 3 954
    Email: markus.bauer@esa.int

    Amy Bonsor
    Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, France
    Email: amy.bonsor@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr

    Göran Pilbratt
    ESA Herschel Project Scientist
    Tel: +31 71 565 3621
    Email: gpilbratt@rssd.esa.int

    ESA’s Herschel space observatory has provided the first images of a dust belt – produced by colliding comets or asteroids – orbiting a subgiant star known to host a planetary system.

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    Dust disc around Kappa Coronae Borealis

    After billions of years steadily burning hydrogen in their cores, stars like our Sun exhaust this central fuel reserve and start burning it in shells around the core. They swell to become subgiant stars, before later becoming red giants.

    At least during the subgiant phase, planets, asteroids and comet belts around these retired stars are expected to survive, but observations are needed to measure their properties. One approach is to search for discs of dust around the stars, generated by collisions between populations of asteroids or comets.

    Thanks to the sensitive far-infrared detection capabilities of the Herschel space observatory, astronomers have been able to resolve bright emission around Kappa Coronae Borealis (κ CrB, or Kappa Cor Bor), indicating the presence of a dusty debris disc.

    The star is a little heavier than our own Sun at 1.5 solar masses, is around 2.5 billion years old and lies at a distance of roughly 100 light years.

    From ground-based observations, it is known to host one giant planet roughly twice the mass of Jupiter orbiting at a distance equivalent to the Asteroid Belt in our own Solar System. A second planet is suspected, but its mass is not well constrained.”

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on January 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA: “Cool Andromeda” 

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    28 January 2013

    In this new view of the Andromeda galaxy from ESA’s Herschel space observatory, cool lanes of forming stars are revealed in the finest detail yet.

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    Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz

    Andromeda, also known as M31, is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way at a distance of 2.5 million light-years, making it an ideal natural laboratory to study star formation and galaxy evolution.

    Sensitive to the far-infrared light from cool dust mixed in with gas, Herschel seeks out clouds of gas where stars are born. The new image reveals some of the very coldest dust in the galaxy – only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero – coloured red in this image.

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 5:57 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA: “Betelgeuse braces for a collision” 

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    22 January 2013

    “Multiple arcs are revealed around Betelgeuse, the nearest red supergiant star to Earth, in this new image from ESA’s Herschel space observatory. The star and its arc-shaped shields could collide with an intriguing dusty ‘wall’ in 5000 years.

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    Betelgeuse rides on the shoulder of the constellation Orion the Hunter. It can easily be seen with the naked eye in the northern hemisphere winter night sky as the orange–red star above and to the left of Orion’s famous three-star belt.

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    Orion Constellation Map

    Roughly 1000 times the diameter of our Sun and shining 100 000 times more brightly, Betelgeuse’s impressive statistics come with a cost. For this star is likely on its way to a spectacular supernova explosion, having already swelled into a red supergiant and shed a significant fraction of its outer layers.

    The new far-infrared view from Herschel shows how the star’s winds are crashing against the surrounding interstellar medium, creating a bow shock as the star moves through space at speeds of around 30 km/s.

    A series of broken, dusty arcs ahead of the star’s direction of motion testify to a turbulent history of mass loss.”

    Markus Bauer
    ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer
    Tel: +31 71 565 6799
    Mob: +31 61 594 3 954
    Email: markus.bauer@esa.int

    Leen Decin
    Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Belgium
    Email: Leen.Decin@ster.kuleuven.be

    Göran Pilbratt
    ESA Herschel Project Scientist
    Tel: +31 71 565 3621
    Email: gpilbratt@rssd.esa.int

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.


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  • richardmitnick 6:58 pm on December 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA Herschel via ScienceDaily: “A Twisted Ring in the Galactic Centre” 

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    July 21, 2011 (Posted at Facebook 12.10.12)
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    Astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire are part of an international team which has observed unprecedented views of a ring in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy with the Herschel Space Observatory.

    Herschel 1
    Warmer gas and dust from the Centre of our Galaxy is shown in blue in the above image, while the colder material appears red. The ring, in yellow, is made of gas and dust at a temperature of just 15 degrees above absolute zero. The bright regions are denser, and include some of the most massive and active sites of star formation in our Galaxy (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Hertfordshire)

    The ribbon of gas and dust is more than 600 light years across and appears to be twisted, for reasons which have yet to be explained. The origin of the ring could provide insight into the history of the Milky WayThe new results are published in a recent issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    ‘Hints of this feature were seen in previous images of the Galactic Centre made from the ground, but no-one realised what it was,’ explained Dr Mark Thompson of the University of Hertfordshire. ‘It was not until the launch of Herschel, with its unparalleled wavelength coverage, that we could measure the temperature of the dust clouds and determine its true nature.”

    Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. Herschel is a flagship mission of the UK Space Agency, which funds the UK’s involvement in the UK-led SPIRE instrument. The SPIRE instrument was built, assembled and tested in the UK at The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire by an international consortium from Europe, US, Canada and China, with strong support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council. SPIRE was developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff Univ. (UK). The images were obtained as part of the Herschel Key Project Hi-GAL, which is led by Sergio Molinari of the Institute of Space Physics in Rome and who is lead author of the new paper.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ScienceDaily is one of the Internet’s most popular science news web sites. Since starting in 1995, the award-winning site has earned the loyalty of students, researchers, healthcare professionals, government agencies, educators and the general public around the world. Now with more than 3 million monthly visitors, ScienceDaily generates nearly 15 million page views a month and is steadily growing in its global audience.


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  • richardmitnick 10:21 am on July 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    From Universe Today: “Where Did Early Cosmic Dust Come From? New Research Says Supernovae” 

    by Nancy Atkinson on July 7, 2011

    “New observations from the infrared Herschel Space Observatory reveal that an exploding star expelled the equivalent of between 160,000 and 230,000 Earth masses of fresh dust. This enormous quantity suggests that exploding stars, called supernovae, are the answer to the long-standing puzzle of what supplied our early universe with dust.

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    This layout compares two pictures of a supernova remnant called SN 1987A — the left image was taken by the Herschel Space Observatory, and the right is an enlarged view of the circled region at left, taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: ESA/NASA-JPL/UCL/STScI

    ‘ This discovery illustrates the power of tackling a problem in astronomy with different wavelengths of light, said Paul Goldsmith, the NASA Herschel project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., who is not a part of the current study. ‘ Herschel’s eye for longer-wavelength infrared light has given us new tools for addressing a profound cosmic mystery.’ “

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    This plot shows energy emitted from a supernova remnant called SN 1987A. Previously, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope detected warm dust around the object. Image credit: ESA/NASA-JPL/UCL/STScI

    There is much more to this story. See the full article here.

    Universe Today is another great WordPress blog.

     
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