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  • richardmitnick 5:08 pm on July 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, ,   

    From Webb: “Birth of Stars & Protoplanetary Systems” 

    NASA Webb Header

    NASA Webb Telescope

    James Webb Space Telescope

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    The Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula captured in visible light by Hubble. Stellar nurseries are hidden within the towers of dust and gas. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)/J. Hester, P. Scowen (Arizona State U.)

    Inside the Pillars of Creation

    While this image is spectacular, there are actually stars that Hubble can’t see inside those pillars of dust. And that’s because the visible light emitted by those stars is being obscured by the dust. But what if we used a telescope sensitive to infrared light to look at this nebula?

    The next image is another Hubble view, but this time in near-infrared. In the infrared more structure within the dust clouds is revealed and hidden stars have now become apparent. (And if Hubble, which is optimized for visible light, can capture a near-infrared image like this, imagine what JWST, which is optimized for near-infrared and 100x more powerful than Hubble, will do!)

    Another nebula, the “Mystic Mountains” of the Carina Nebula, shown in two Hubble images, one in visible light (left) and one in infrared (right).
    In the infrared image, we can see more stars that just weren’t visible before. Why is this?

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    The Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula captured in infrared light by Hubble. The light from young stars being formed pierce the clouds of dust and gas in the infrared. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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    Comparison of the Carina Nebula in visible light (left) and infrared (left), both images by Hubble. Credit: NASA/ESA/M. Livio & Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

    How Do Infrared Cameras Work?

    We can try a thought experiment. What if you were to put your arm into a garbage bag? Your arm is hidden. Invisible.

    But what if you looked at your arm and the garbage bag with an infrared camera? Remember that infrared light is essentially heat. And that while your eyes may not be able to pick up the warmth of your arm underneath the cooler plastic of the bag, an infrared camera can. An infrared camera can see right through the bag!

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    ALMA image of the young star HL Tau and its protoplanetary disk. This best image ever of planet formation reveals multiple rings and gaps that herald the presence of emerging planets as they sweep their orbits clear of dust and gas. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    The Dusty Cocoons of Star and Planet Formation

    JWST’s amazing imaging and spectroscopy capabilities will allow us to study stars as they are forming in their dusty cocoons. Additionally, it will be able to image disks of heated material around these young stars, which can indicate the beginnings of planetary systems, and study organic molecules that are important for life to develop.

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    Key Questions

    JWST will address several key questions to help us unravel the story of the star and planet formation:

    How do clouds of gas and dust collapse to form stars?
    Why do most stars form in groups?
    Exactly how do planetary systems form?
    How do stars evolve and release the heavy elements they produce back into space for recycling into new generations of stars and planets?

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    Infrared Spitzer image of a star-forming region. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

    NASA/Spitzer Telescope

    JWST’s Role in Answering These Questions

    To unravel the birth and early evolution of stars and planets, we need to be able to peer into the hearts of dense and dusty cloud cores where star formation begins. These regions cannot be observed at visible light wavelengths as the dust would make such regions opaque and must be observed at infrared wavelengths.

    Stars, like our Sun, can be thought of as “basic particles” of the Universe, just as atoms are “basic particles” of matter. Groups of stars make up galaxies, while planets and ultimately life arise around stars. Although stars have been the main topic of astronomy for thousands of years, we have begun to understand them in detail only in recent times through the advent of powerful telescopes and computers.

    A hundred years ago, scientists did not know that stars are powered by nuclear fusion, and 50 years ago they did not know that stars are continually forming in the Universe. Researchers still do not know the details of how clouds of gas and dust collapse to form stars, or why most stars form in groups, or exactly how planetary systems form. Young stars within a star-forming region interact with each other in complex ways. The details of how they evolve and release the heavy elements they produce back into space for recycling into new generations of stars and planets remains to be determined through a combination of observation and theory.

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    The stages of solar system formation. Credit: Shu et al. 1987

    The stages of solar system formation are illustrated to the right: starting with a protostar embedded in a gas cloud (upper left of diagram), to an early star with a circumstellar disk (upper right), to a star surrounded by small “planetesimals” which are starting to clump together (lower left) to a solar system like ours today.

    The continual discovery of new and unusual planetary systems has made scientists re-think their ideas and theories about how planets are formed. Scientists realize that to get a better understanding of how planets form, they need to have more observations of planets around young stars, and more observations of leftover debris around stars, which can come together and form planets.

    _________________________________________________________________

    Related Content
    More Comparison Images

    Here’s is another stunning comparison of visible versus infrared light views of the same object – the gorgeous Horsehead Nebula:

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    The Horsehead Nebula in visible light, captured by the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope. Credit: NASA

    Visible Light Horsehead Nebula


    CFHT Telescope, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA

    Infrared Light Horsehead Nebula

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    The Horsehead Nebula in infrared light, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Related Video

    This video shows how JWST will peer inside dusty knots where the youngest stars and planets are forming.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    The James Webb Space Telescope will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Launch is planned for later in the decade.

    Webb telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb telescope was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

    Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute will operate Webb after launch.

    Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.

    There will be four science instruments on Webb: the Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), the Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and the Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

    Launch is scheduled for later in the decade on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch will be from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb will be located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    NASA image

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    Canadian Space Agency

     
  • richardmitnick 1:26 pm on July 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Black hole found in enigmatic Omega Centauri, , , NASA ESA Hubble   

    From Hubble via Manu: “Black hole found in enigmatic Omega Centauri” 2008 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    2 April 2008
    Eva Noyola
    Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49-89-30000-3890
    Cell: +49- 157-7252-2109
    noyola@mpe.mpg.de

    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Hubble/ESA, Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49-(0)89-3200-6306
    Cellular: +49-(0)173-3872-621
    lars@eso.org

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA
    Tel: +1-410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    Peter Michaud
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo, Hawaii, USA
    Tel: +1-808-974-2510
    pmichaud@gemini.edu

    1
    Omega Centauri has been known as an unusual globular cluster for a long time. A new result obtained by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory reveals that the explanation behind Omega Centauri’s peculiarities may be a black hole hidden in its centre. One implication of the discovery is that it is very likely that Omega Centauri is not a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars, as some scientists have suspected for a few years.

    A new discovery has resolved some of the mystery surrounding Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky. Images obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and data obtained by the GMOS spectrograph on the Gemini South telescope in Chile show that Omega Centauri appears to harbour an elusive intermediate-mass black hole in its centre.

    NASA/ESA Hubble ACS

    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile

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    GMOS on Gemini South

    “This result shows that there is a continuous range of masses for black holes, from supermassive, to intermediate-mass, to small stellar mass types”, explained astronomer Eva Noyola of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and leader of the team that made the discovery.

    Omega Centauri is visible from Earth with the naked eye and is one of the favourite celestial objects for stargazers from the southern hemisphere. Although the cluster is 17 000 light-years away, located just above the plane of the Milky Way, it appears almost as large as the full Moon when the cluster is seen from a dark rural area. Exactly how Omega Centauri should be classified has always been a contentious topic. It was first listed in Ptolemy’s catalogue nearly two thousand years ago as a single star. Edmond Halley reported it as a nebula in 1677. In the 1830s the English astronomer John Herschel was the first to recognise it as a globular cluster. Now, more than a century later, this new result suggests Omega Centauri is not a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars.

    Globular clusters consist of up to one million old stars tightly bound by gravity and are found in the outskirts of many galaxies including our own. Omega Centauri has several characteristics that distinguish it from other globular clusters: it rotates faster than a run-of-the-mill globular cluster, its shape is highly flattened and it consists of several generations of stars — more typical globulars usually consist of just one generation of old stars.

    Moreover, Omega Centauri is about 10 times as massive as other big globular clusters, almost as massive as a small galaxy. These peculiarities have led astronomers to suggest that Omega Centauri may not be a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars by an earlier encounter with the Milky Way. “Finding a black hole at the heart of Omega Centauri could have profound implications for our understanding of its past interaction with the Milky Way”, said Noyola.

    Eva Noyola and her colleagues measured the motions and brightnesses of the stars at the centre of Omega Centauri. The measured velocities of the stars in the centre are related to the total mass of the cluster and were far higher than expected from the mass deduced from the number and type of stars seen. So, there had to be something extraordinarily massive (and invisible) at the centre of the cluster responsible for the fast-swirling dance of stars — almost certainly a black hole with a mass of 40 000 solar masses. “Before this observation, we had only one example of an intermediate-mass black hole — in the globular cluster G1, in the nearby Andromeda Galaxy”, said astronomer Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas at Austin, USA, and a member of the team that made the discovery.

    Although the presence of an intermediate-mass black hole is the most likely reason for the stellar speedway near the cluster’s centre, astronomers have analysed a couple of other possible causes: a collection of unseen burnt-out stars such as white dwarfs or neutron stars adding extra mass, or a group of stars with elongated orbits that would make the stars closest to the centre appear to speed up.

    According to Noyola these alternative scenarios are unlikely: “The normal evolution of a star cluster like Omega Centauri should not end up with stars behaving in those ways. Even if we assume that either scenario did happen somehow, both configurations are expected to be very short-lived. A clump of burnt-out stars, for example, is expected to move farther away from the cluster centre quickly. For stars with elongated orbits, these orbits are expected to become circular very quickly.”

    According to scientists, these intermediate-mass black holes could turn out to be “baby” supermassive black holes. “We may be on the verge of uncovering one possible mechanism for the formation of supermassive black holes. Intermediate-mass black holes like this could be the seeds of full-sized supermassive black holes.” Astronomers have debated the existence of intermediate-mass black holes because they have not found strong evidence for them and there is no widely accepted mechanism for how they could form. They have ample evidence that small black holes of a few solar masses are produced when giant stars die. There is similar evidence that supermassive black holes weighing the equivalent of millions to billions of solar masses sit at the heart of many galaxies, including our own Milky Way.

    Intermediate-mass black holes may be rare and exist only in former dwarf galaxies that have been stripped of their outer stars, but they could also be more common than expected, existing at the centres of globular clusters as well. A previous Hubble survey of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies showed a correlation between the mass of a black hole and that of its host. Astronomers estimate that the mass of the dwarf galaxy that may have been the precursor of Omega Centauri was roughly 10 million solar masses. If lower mass galaxies obey the same rule as more massive galaxies that host supermassive black holes, then the mass of Omega Centauri does match that of its black hole.

    The team will use the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Paranal, Chile to conduct follow-up observations of the velocity of the stars near the cluster’s centre to confirm the discovery.

    ESO/VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    The finding will be published in the April 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal in a paper titled Gemini and Hubble Space Telescope Evidence for an Intermediate Mass Black Hole in Omega Centauri by Eva Noyola (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany & University of Texas, USA), Karl Gebhardt (University of Texas) and Marcel Bergmann (Gemini Observatory).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 9:09 am on July 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, NGC 1512   

    From Hubble via Manu: “Hubble unveils a galaxy in living colour” 31 May 2001 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    31 May 2001
    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre (Garching, Germany)
    Phone: +49-(0)89-3200-6306
    Cellular (24 hr): +49-(0)173-38-72-621
    lars@eso.org

    Dan Maoz
    School of Physics and Astronomy, and Wise Observatory Tel-Aviv University, Israel
    Temporary address:
    Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, USA Phone: +1-212-854-6899
    dani@astro.columbia.edu

    Ray Villard
    Office of Public Outreach, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA
    Phone: +001 410 338 4514
    villard@stsci.edu

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    An extensive, multi-wavelength study with the Hubble Space Telescope has shown the many faces of the galaxy NGC 1512. Hubble’s unique vantage point high above the atmosphere allows scientists to see objects over a broad range of wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the infrared.

    In this view of the centre of the magnificent barred spiral galaxy NGC 1512, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s broad spectral vision reveals the galaxy at all wavelengths from ultraviolet through to infrared. The colours (which indicate differences in light intensity) map where newly born star clusters exist in both ‘dusty’ and ‘clean’ regions of the galaxy.

    This colour composite image was created from seven images, taken with three different Hubble cameras, the Faint Object Camera (FOC), the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS).

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    NASA/ESA Hubble ESA/FOC

    NASA/Hubble WFPC2. No longer in service.

    NASA/Hubble NICMOS

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    Composite ultraviolet-visible-infrared image of NGC 1512. Credit: NASA, ESA, Dan Maoz (Tel-Aviv University, Israel, and Columbia University, USA)

    NGC 1512 is a barred spiral galaxy in the southern constellation of Horologium. Located 30 million light years away, relatively ‘nearby’ as galaxies go, it is bright enough to be seen with amateur telescopes. The galaxy spans 70 000 light years, nearly as much as our own Milky Way galaxy.

    The galaxy’s core is unique for its stunning 2400 light year wide circle of infant star clusters, called a ‘circumnuclear’ starburst ring. Starbursts are episodes of vigorous formation of new stars and are found in a variety of galaxy environments.

    Taking advantage of Hubble’s sharp vision, as well as its unique wavelength coverage, a team of Israeli and American astronomers performed one of the broadest and most detailed studies ever of such star-forming regions. The results, which will be published in the June issue of the Astronomical Journal, show that in NGC 1512 newly born star clusters exist in both dusty and clean environments. The clean clusters are readily seen in ultraviolet and visible light, appearing as bright, blue clumps in the image. However the dusty clusters are revealed only by the glow of the gas clouds in which they are hidden, as detected in red and infrared wavelengths by the Hubble cameras. This glow can be seen as red light permeating the dark, dusty lanes in the ring.

    ‘The dust obscuration of clusters appears to be an on-off phenomenon’ says Dan Maoz, who headed the collaboration. ‘The clusters are either completely hidden, enshrouded in their birth clouds, or almost completely exposed.’ The scientists believe that stellar winds and powerful radiation from the bright, newly born stars have cleared away the original natal dust cloud in a fast and efficient ‘cleansing’ process.

    Aaron Barth, a co-investigator on the team, adds: ‘It is remarkable how similar the properties of this starburst are to those of other nearby starbursts that have been studied in detail with Hubble.’ This similarity gives the astronomers the hope that, by understanding the processes occurring in nearby galaxies, they can better interpret observations of very distant and faint starburst galaxies. Such distant galaxies formed the first generations of stars, when the Universe was a fraction of its current age.

    Circumstellar star-forming rings are common in the Universe. Such rings within barred spiral galaxies may in fact comprise the most numerous class of nearby starburst regions. Astronomers generally believe that the giant bar funnels the gas to the inner ring, where massive stars are formed within numerous star clusters. Studies like this one emphasise the need to observe at many different wavelengths to get the full picture of the processes taking place.

    Notes

    Members of the group of scientists involved in these observations are: Dan Maoz (Tel-Aviv University, Israel and Columbia University, USA), Aaron J. Barth (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA), Luis C. Ho (The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA), Amiel Sternberg (Tel-Aviv University, Israel) and Alexei V. Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley, USA).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 8:43 am on July 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , GALAXY NGC 2500, , NASA ESA Hubble   

    From Manu Garcia: ” Just Like at Home” 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    7.10.17

    1
    Discovered by British Astronomer William Herschel Over 200 years ago, the GALAXY NGC 2500 is about 30 million light-years away in the Northern Constellation of Lynx. As it shows this image of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, NGC 2500 is a particular type of spiral galaxy known as a spiral, with its fine arms spinning from a bright and elongated nucleus.

    Spiral Galaxies are actually more common than ever before. About Two thirds of all spiral galaxies, including the milky way, exhibit these straight bars cutting through their centers. These cosmic structures act as bright nurseries for newly-Born Stars, and funnel material to the active core of a galaxy. NGC 2500 continues to actively form new stars, although this process seems to be happening in a very uneven way. The Upper Half of the galaxy where spiral arms are slightly better defined houses many more star formation regions than the lower half, as indicated by the bright and dotted islands of light.

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    http://www.jwinman.com/starcharts/NGC%202500%20chart.htm

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    There is another similarity between NGC 2500 and our galaxy of origin. Along with Andromeda, the triangle and many smaller natural satellites, the milky way is part of the local group of galaxies, a set of about 30 Galaxies United by gravity. NGC 2500 forms a similar group with some of its nearby neighbors, including NGC 2541, NGC 2552, NGC 2537, and the bright, Andromeda-as spiral NGC 2481 (collectively known as the NGC Group 2841).

    Credit:
    NASA/ESA Hubble

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 6:39 am on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, NGC 3314A and NGC 3314B   

    From Hubble via Manu: “A trick of perspective — chance alignment mimics a cosmic collision” 14 June 2012 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    14 June, 2012

    Oli Usher
    Hubble/ESA
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49-89-3200-6855
    Email: ousher@eso.org

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    1
    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a highly detailed image of a pair of overlapping galaxies called NGC 3314. While the two galaxies look as if they are in the midst of a collision, this is in fact a trick of perspective: the two just happen to appear in the same direction from our vantage point. NGC 3314A and B might look like they are in the midst of a galactic pile-up, but they are in fact separated by tens of millions of light years of void. Their apparent proximity is simply a trick of perspective.

    How do we know this? The biggest hint as to whether galaxies are interacting is usually their shapes. The immense gravitational forces involved in galactic mergers are enough to pull a galaxy out of shape long before it actually collides. Deforming a galaxy like this does not just warp its structure, but it can trigger new episodes of star formation, usually visible as bright blue stars and glowing nebulae.

    In the case of NGC 3314, we do indeed see deformation in the foreground galaxy (called NGC 3314A, NGC 3314B lies in the background), but this is almost certainly misleading. NGC 3314A’s deformed shape, particularly visible below and to the right of the core, where streams of hot blue-white stars extend out from the spiral arms, is not due to interaction with the galaxy in the background.

    Studies of the motion of the two galaxies indicate that they are both relatively undisturbed, and that they are moving independently of each other. This indicates in turn that they are not, and indeed have never been, on any collision course. NGC 3314A’s warped shape is likely due instead to an encounter with another galaxy, perhaps nearby NGC 3312 (visible to the north in wide-field images) or another nearby galaxy.

    The chance alignment of the two galaxies is more than just a curiosity, though. It greatly affects the way the two galaxies appear to us.

    NGC 3314B’s dust lanes, for example, appear far lighter than those of NGC 3314A. This is not because that galaxy lacks dust, but rather because they are lightened by the bright fog of stars in the foreground. NGC 3314A’s dust, in contrast, is backlit by the stars of NGC 3314B, silhouetting them against the bright background.

    Such an alignment of galaxies is also helpful to astronomers studying gravitational microlensing, a phenomenon that occurs when stars in one galaxy cause small perturbations in the light coming from a more distant one.

    Gravitational microlensing, S. Liebes, Physical Review B, 133 (1964): 835

    Indeed, the observations of NGC 3314 that led to this image were carried out in order to investigate this phenomenon.

    This mosaic image covers a large field of view (several times the size of an individual exposure from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys [ACS]).

    NASA/ESA Hubble ACS

    Thanks to a long exposure time of more than an hour in total exposure time for every frame, the image shows not only NGC 3314, but also many other more distant galaxies in the background.

    The colour composite was produced from exposures taken in blue and red light.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 10:29 am on July 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NASA ESA Hubble, Starry-eyed Hubble celebrates 20 Years of awe and discovery   

    From Hubble via Manu: “Starry-eyed Hubble celebrates 20 Years of awe and discovery” 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    23 April 2010
    Colleen Sharkey
    Hubble/ESA
    Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49-89-3200-6306
    Cell: +49-15115373591
    csharkey@eso.org

    1
    This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall, which is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.

    This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around the Earth.

    Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionised gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation.

    Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions from the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the centre of the image. These jets, (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively, are signposts for new star birth and are launched by swirling gas and dust discs around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stellar surfaces.

    Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on 1-2 February 2010.

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    The colours in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulphur (red). Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

    The best recognised, longest-lived and most prolific space observatory zooms past a milestone of 20 years of operation. On 24 April 1990, the Space Shuttle and crew of STS-31 were launched to deploy the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope into a low-Earth orbit. What followed was one of the most remarkable sagas of the space age.

    Hubble’s unprecedented capabilities have made it one of the most powerful science instruments ever conceived by humans, and certainly the one most embraced by the public. Hubble’s discoveries have revolutionised nearly all areas of current astronomical research, from planetary science to cosmology. And, its pictures are unmistakably out of this world.

    At times Hubble’s starry odyssey has played out like a space soap opera: with broken equipment, a bleary-eyed primary mirror and even a Space Shuttle rescue/repair mission cancellation. But the ingenuity and dedication of Hubble scientists, engineers, and NASA and ESA astronauts have allowed the observatory to rebound time and time again. Its crisp vision continues to challenge scientists with exciting new surprises and to enthral the public with ever more evocative colour images.

    NASA, ESA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are celebrating Hubble’s journey of exploration with a stunning new picture. Another exciting component of the anniversary will be the launch of the revamped European website for Hubble, spacetelescope.org. ESA will also be sponsoring the Hubble Pop Culture Contest that calls for fans to search for examples of the observatory’s presence in everyday life (http://www.spacetelescope.org/hubblepopculture).

    The brand new Hubble anniversary image highlights a small portion of one of the largest observable regions of starbirth in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. Towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise from the wall of the nebula. The scene is reminiscent of Hubble’s classic Pillars of Creation photo from 1995, but even more striking in appearance. The image captures the top of a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall, which is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being pushed apart from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks like arrows sailing through the air.

    Hubble fans worldwide are being invited to share the ways in which the telescope has affected them. They can send an e-mail, post a Facebook message (to http://www.facebook/hubblespacetelescope) or use the Twitter hashtag #hst20. Or, they can visit the “Messages to Hubble” page on http://hubblesite.org, type in their entry and read selections from other messages that have been received. Fan messages will be stored in the Hubble data archive along with the telescope’s many terabytes of science data. Future researchers will be able to read these messages and understand how Hubble had such an impact on the world.

    To date, Hubble has looked at over 30 000 celestial targets and amassed over half a million pictures in its archive. The last heroic astronaut-servicing mission to Hubble in May 2009 made the telescope 100 times more powerful than when it was launched. In addition to its irreplaceable scientific importance, Hubble brings cosmic wonders into millions of homes and schools every day. For the past 20 years the public has become co-explorers with this wondrous observatory.

    More images:

    Comparison views of “Mystic Mountain”
    2
    Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
    These two images of a pillar of star birth, three light-years high, demonstrate how observations taken in visible and infrared light by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveal dramatically different and complementary views of an object. The pair of images demonstrates how Hubble’s new panchromatic view of the Universe shows striking differences between visible and infrared wavelengths. This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. The images mark the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth.

    [Left] This visible-light view shows how scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Infant stars buried inside fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks. Streamers of hot ionised gas can be seen flowing from the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around it.

    The dense parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation. The colours in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulphur (red).

    [Right] This near-infrared image shows a myriad of stars behind the gaseous veil of the nebula’s background wall of hydrogen, laced with dust. The foreground pillar becomes semi-transparent because infrared light from the background stars penetrates through much of the dust. A few stars inside the pillar also become visible. Representative colours are assigned to three different infrared wavelength ranges.

    Wide view of “Mystic Mountain”
    4

    Details in a cosmic pinnacle
    4
    This is a series of close-up views of the complex gas structures in a small portion of the Carina Nebula. The nebula is a cold cloud of predominantly hydrogen gas. It is laced with dust, which makes the cloud opaque. The cloud is being eroded by a gusher of ultraviolet light from young stars in the region. They sculpt a variety of fantasy shapes, many forming tadpole-like structures. In some frames, smaller pieces of nebulosity can be seen freely drifting, such as the structure, four trillion kilometres long, at upper right. The most striking feature is a horizontal jet 5.5 trillion kilometres long in the upper left frame. It is being blasted into space by a young star hidden in the tip of the pillar-like structure. A bowshock has formed near the tip of the jet. Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

    Hubble captures spectacular “landscape” in the Carina Nebula
    6
    Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio, The Hubble Heritage Team and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured this billowing cloud of cold interstellar gas and dust rising from a tempestuous stellar nursery located in the Carina Nebula, 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. This pillar of dust and gas serves as an incubator for new stars and is teeming with new star-forming activity.
    Hot, young stars erode and sculpt the clouds into this fantasy landscape by sending out thick stellar winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation. The low density regions of the nebula are shredded while the denser parts resist erosion and remain as thick pillars. In the dark, cold interiors of these columns new stars continue to form.
    In the process of star formation, a disc around the proto-star slowly accretes onto the star’s surface. Part of the material is ejected along jets perpendicular to the accretion disc. The jets have speeds of several hundreds of miles per second. As these jets plough into the surrounding nebula, they create small, glowing patches of nebulosity, called Herbig-Haro (HH) objects.
    Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions off the pedestal on the upper right-hand side of the image. Another pair of jets is visible in a peak near the top-centre of the image. These jets (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively) are common signatures of the births of new stars.
    This image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on 1-2 February 2010. The colours in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green) and sulphur (red).

    Hubble’s wide view of “Mystic Mountain” in the infrared
    6
    Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
    This is a NASA Hubble Space Telescope near-infrared image of a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall, that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby stars in the tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. The image marks the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth.
    The image reveals a myriad of stars behind the gaseous veil of the nebula’s wall of hydrogen, laced with dust. The foreground pillar becomes semi-transparent because infrared light from background stars penetrates through much of the dust. A few stars inside the pillar also become visible. The false colours are assigned to three different infrared wavelength ranges.
    Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar in February/March 2010.

    Thanks, Manu.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 6:53 am on July 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Seyfert galaxy 2XMM J143450.5+033843, , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble   

    From Hubble: “Hubble Eyes a Powerful Galaxy With a Password Name” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    June 30, 2017
    Editor: Karl Hille

    1

    Not all galaxies have the luxury of possessing a simple moniker or quirky nickname. This impressive galaxy imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is one of the unlucky ones, and goes by a name that looks more like a password for a computer: 2XMM J143450.5+033843.

    Such a name may seem like a random jumble of numbers and letters, but like all galactic epithets it has a distinct meaning. This galaxy, for example, was detected and observed as part of the second X-ray sky survey performed by ESA’s XMM-Newton Observatory.

    ESA/XMM Newton

    Its celestial coordinates form the rest of the bulky name, following the “J”: a right ascension value of 14h (hours) 34m (minutes) 50.5s (seconds). This can be likened to terrestrial longitude. It also has a declination of +03d (degrees) 38m (minutes) 43s (seconds). Declination can be likened to terrestrial latitude. The other fuzzy object in the frame was named in the same way — it is a bright galaxy named 2XMM J143448.3+033749.

    2XMM J143450.5+033843 lies nearly 400 million light-years away from Earth. It is a Seyfert galaxy that is dominated by something known as an Active Galactic Nucleus — its core is thought to contain a supermassive black hole that is emitting huge amounts of radiation, pouring energetic X-rays out into the Universe.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 10:12 am on June 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Messier 17, NASA ESA Hubble   

    From Hubble via Manu: “A perfect storm of turbulent gases” 24 April 2003, Thanks, Manu 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    24 April 2003
    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre
    Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6306 (089 within Germany)
    Cellular (24 hr): +49 173 3872 621 (0173 within Germany)
    lars@eso.org

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute
    Baltimore, United States
    Tel: +1 410 338 4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    1
    Like the fury of a raging sea, this anniversary image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a bubbly ocean of glowing hydrogen, oxygen, and sulphur gas in the extremely massive and luminous molecular nebula Messier 17. Image credit:NASA. ESA and J. Hester (Arizona State University, United States)

    2
    This is a ground-based overview of the Omega or Swan Nebula. The outline of the field observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is shown. Credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

    This Hubble photograph captures a small region within Messier 17 (M17), a hotbed of star formation. M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5500 light-years away in the Sagittarius constellation. The release of this image commemorates the thirteenth anniversary of Hubble’s launch on 24 April 1990.

    The wave-like patterns of gas have been sculpted and illuminated by a torrent of ultraviolet radiation from young, massive stars (which lie outside the picture to the upper left). The glow of these patterns highlights the 3D structure of the gases. The ultraviolet radiation is carving and heating the surfaces of cold hydrogen gas clouds.

    The warmed surfaces glow orange and red in this image. The intense heat and pressure cause some material to stream away from the surface, creating the glowing veil of even hotter green-coloured gas that masks background structures. The pressure on the tips of the waves may trigger new star formation within them.

    The image, roughly 3 light-years across, was taken on 29-30 May 1999, with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

    NASA/Hubble WFPC2. No longer in service.

    The colours in the image represent various gases. Red represents sulphur; green, hydrogen; and blue, oxygen.


    The zoom on this anniversary image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a bubbly ocean of glowing hydrogen, oxygen, and sulphur gas in the extremely massive and luminous molecular nebula Messier 17. This Hubble photograph captures a small region within Messier 17 (M17), a hotbed of star formation. M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5500 light-years away in the Sagittarius constellation. The release of this image commemorates the thirteenth anniversary of Hubble’s launch on 24 April 1990. The wave-like patterns of gas have been sculpted and illuminated by a torrent of ultraviolet radiation from young, massive stars (which lie outside the picture to the upper left). The glow of these patterns highlights the 3D structure of the gases. The ultraviolet radiation is carving and heating the surfaces of cold hydrogen gas clouds. The warmed surfaces glow orange and red in this image. The intense heat and pressure cause some material to stream away from the surface, creating the glowing veil of even hotter green-coloured gas that masks background structures. The pressure on the tips of the waves may trigger new star formation within them. The image, roughly 3 light-years across, was taken on 29-30 May 1999, with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The colours in the image represent various gases. Red represents sulphur; green, hydrogen; and blue, oxygen.
    Credit:ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen)
    Notes

    More information about Messier 17.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 6:03 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, The Eerie Alignment of Ancient Giant Galaxies   

    From Lowell via The Atlantic: “The Eerie Alignment of Ancient Giant Galaxies” 

    Lowell Observatory bloc

    Lowell Observatory

    Atro Alerts Lowell Observatory

    1

    The Atlantic Magazine

    6.21.17
    Marina Koren

    New research using Hubble shows these massive, bright objects aligned with their surroundings as far back as 10 billion years ago.

    2
    NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

    The Hubble Space Telescope is the closest thing humanity has to a time machine. It captures light that left galaxies billions of years ago, photographing the cosmos as it was near the beginning of time. The light from the farthest galaxy Hubble has ever observed took 13.4 billion years to reach its mirrors. The galaxy may look like a tiny, red inkblot to us, but we’re seeing that inkblot as it was just 400 million years after the Big Bang. Hubble data turns scientists into time travelers.

    One such time traveler is Michael West, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona.

    Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

    Previous research has shown that most galaxies are randomly oriented in space, which means they aren’t noticeably aligned with their surroundings. West and his collaborators recently began observing the exception to this rule: giant elliptical galaxies, which are found in the centers of galaxy clusters, the super dense collections of galaxies that are sometimes described as the “cities” of the cosmos. Some of the biggest and brightest of these giant elliptical galaxies are elongated in the same direction as the galaxy cluster in which they reside, meaning they point in the same direction as its neighboring galaxies.

    Astronomers don’t know how or when these alignments form. To probe this mystery, West used Hubble observations to peer back 10 billion years, to when the universe was one-third of its current age. His team studied the light from 65 giant galaxies. They found that the brightest galaxies in the hearts of galaxy clusters were aligned with their surroundings. This is the farthest back that researchers have observed this phenomenon.

    The researchers suggest several explanations for this. West’s preferred theory involves the cosmic web, the Swiss cheese-like structure of the observable universe. Galaxies are concentrated in thread-like filaments that weave around large voids of mostly empty space. Big, bright galaxies sit inside the center of a galaxy cluster, which is inside a cluster of galaxy clusters, inside one of these filaments. When big, bright galaxies align with their surroundings, they may be taking cues from this vast network. To extend the web metaphor, imagine that a galaxy is like a spider, resting in the middle of a cluster.

    “The spider is there at the center waiting for its next meal, but in this case, the next meal is a small galaxy, not an insect,” West said. “But the web isn’t circular. The web is elongated in the same way it’s tracing this cosmic web, this network of filaments. And so the spider turns in different directions to eat, depending on which way the web is oriented.”

    Gravity could also be the culprit, as it often is. Over time, gravity may have pulled the big galaxies into alignment with its neighbors. Or the alignments could have been set when the galaxies first formed. It could be a mix of all three.

    The biggest galaxies of the universe have undergone a turbulent evolution. Elongated galaxies get their shape from violent collisions that allow them to swallow up more matter. Computer simulations have shown that “if you take two galaxies and you just collide them head on, the net result is a bigger galaxy that’s elongated in the direction that the collision occurred,” West said. “They’re the result of probably multiple mergers or cannibalism of smaller galaxies over billions of years, and that imprints this elongation in them and these preferred orientations.”

    What about our own galaxy? The Milky Way doesn’t seem to be a preferred orientation, West said. Unlike the massive, spider web-like galaxies of the early universe, the Milky Way has had a calm upbringing. The clusters housing massive galaxies are like the bustling metropolises of the cosmos, while the Milky Way’s region is a small village, West said.

    “The Milky Way, like all galaxies, has probably been influenced in one way or another by its environment. But in these massive galaxy clusters, where we find these giant galaxies, they’re really intense environments,” West said. “There’s a lot of galaxies, there’s a lot more merging, a lot more cannibalism.” All that activity has likely had a dramatic effect on their development, and in turn, their place in their slice of universe.

    West wants now to look even further back, to see whether there was a time in which these galaxies weren’t showing alignments. Observing distant galaxies can be difficult, even with Hubble’s seeing power. They appear faint and small in the imagery, like that red inkblot from 13.4 billion years ago. Still, “surely there must be some point in the past when these galaxies weren’t aligned,” West said. “When did that happen?”

    Only more time traveling, with bigger and more powerful time machines, will tell.

    If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can read our original paper published last week in Nature Astronomy:

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Lowell Observatory campus

    Lowell Observatory is an independent, non-profit research institution located in Flagstaff, Arizona – the world’s first International Dark-Sky City.

    Our mission is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the general public.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:10 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 15 years in space   

    From Hubble via Manu Garcia at IAC: “Hubble celebrates 15th anniversary with spectacular new images” 25 April 2005 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope
    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    25 April 2005
    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre, Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49-(0)89-3200-6306
    Cellular: +49-(0)173-3872-621
    lars@eso.org

    Bob Fosbury
    +49-(0)89-3200-6291
    rfosbury@eso.org

    Donna Weaver
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA
    +1-410/338-4493

    2
    Out of this whirl: The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) and companion galaxy
    Image credit heic0506a: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

    4
    The Eagle has risen: stellar spire in the Eagle Nebula
    Image credit heic0506b: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

    During the 15 years that the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has orbited the Earth, it has taken three-quarters of a million photos of the cosmos – images that have awed, astounded and even confounded astronomers and the public alike. Today NASA and ESA released new views of two of the most well-known images Hubble has ever taken: the Eagle Nebula, and spiral galaxy M51, known as the Whirlpool Galaxy.

    The new images released today are among the largest and sharpest views Hubble has ever taken, were made with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

    NASA/ESA Hubble ACS

    The two new images are so incredibly sharp they could be enlarged to billboard size and still retain all of their stunning details.

    For Hubble’s 15th anniversary, scientists used the newer ACS camera to revisit one region of the eerie-looking Eagle Nebula, producing a new image with stunning detail. The new Eagle Nebula image reveals a tall, dense tower of gas being sculpted by ultraviolet light from a group of massive, hot stars. The new Whirlpool Galaxy image showcases the spiral galaxy’s classic features, from its curving arms, where newborn stars reside, to its yellowish central core that serves as home for older stars.

    NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery launched Hubble into space on 24 April 1990 and placed it into orbit a day after, thereby opening a brand new era in astronomy. For the first time ever, a large telescope that viewed in visible light orbited above Earth’s distorting atmosphere, which blurs starlight making images appear fuzzy. After installation of a new camera and a device that compensated for an improperly ground mirror, images of planets, stars, galaxies, and nebula began pouring in – all up to 10 times sharper than any previous telescope had ever delivered.

    Scientists using Hubble have compiled a long list of scientific achievements since its launch 15 years ago. Hubble has:

    Helped astronomers calculate the precise age of the universe (13.7 billion years old);
    Helped confirm the existence of a strange form of energy called dark energy;
    Detected small proto-galaxies that emitted their light when the universe was less than a billion years old;
    Proved the existence of super-massive black holes;
    Provided sharp views of a comet hitting Jupiter;
    Showed that the process of forming planetary systems is common throughout the galaxy, and;
    Taken more than 700,000 snapshots of celestial objects such as galaxies, dying stars, and giant gas clouds where stars are born.

    To mark the event on 24 April, the European Space Agency is presenting a series of unique activities in collaboration with partners all over Europe. These includes an exclusive, full-length DVD film (one of the most widely distributed documentary films ever), a CD of the film soundtrack, a full-colour book and additional educational material. All over Europe, there will be Hubble Day events, press events and planetarium shows about Hubble. The mural-sized celestial images of the new Eagle Nebula and Whirlpool Galaxy were unveiled Sunday at the 40 Hubble Day events in Europe, as well as at more than 100 other venues in the USA.

    Read more about the Hubble 15th Anniversary celebrations at the ESA Hubble 15th Anniversary web site: http://www.spacetelescope.org/projects/anniversary/
    Notes

    The videos below are from ESA’s Anniversary movie Hubble – 15 Years of Discovery.

    Panning on the Whirlpool Galaxy

    Panning on the Eagle Nebula

    Comparison of ACS and NICMOS

    The Antennae Galaxies

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

    Some Hubble Facts:

    In its 15 years of viewing the sky, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken more than 700,000 exposures and probed more than 22,000 celestial objects.
    The Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) is the most observed area of the sky. Hubble spent more than 500 hours viewing the HUDF, snapping more than 1,100 photographs.
    Hubble has whirled around Earth nearly 88,000 times, racking up more than 4 billion kilometres.
    The telescope’s observations have produced 23 terabytes of data, equal to the amount of text in 23 million novels.
    Each day the orbiting observatory generates enough data – about 15 gigabytes – to fill more than three DVDs.
    In Hubble’s 15-year lifetime, about 3,900 astronomers from all over the world have used the telescope to probe the universe.
    Astronomers have published more than 4,000 scientific papers on Hubble results.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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