Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sombrero Galaxy

Also known as Messier 104, the Sombrero Galaxy is 28 million light years away. Infrared emissions were detected in the ring and in the center of the galaxy, which has a black hole estimated to be one billion times larger than our sun. This leads scientists to believe that there is something really dynamic happening at the core of this galaxy.

It is situated at the southern edge of the Virgo cluster and is one of the most massive objects in the area. In the 19th century many astronomers speculated that is was a mas of luminous gas surrounding a young star and believed it to be very similar to our own galaxy at a much younger age.

File:Sombrero Galaxy in infrared light (Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope).jpg

This Spitzer picture is composed of four images taken at 3.6 (blue), 4.5 (green), 5.8 (orange), and 8.0 (red) microns. The contribution from starlight (measured at 3.6 microns) has been subtracted from the 5.8 and 8-micron images to enhance the visibility of the dust features. The image below shows how it looks under visible light only.

File:M104 ngc4594 sombrero galaxy hi-res.jpg

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kepler's Supernova Remnant

Also known as SN 1604, the Kepler Supernova Remnant is a bubble shaped shroud of dust and gas. Approximately 14 light years wide. This remnant features a distinctive fast moving shell made of iron rich material from it's exploded star. The resulting shock wave is expanding at a speed of 4 million miles per hour. That would be approximately 2,200 miles per second.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Antennae Galaxies

Located about 62 million light years from Earth, the Antennae Galaxies are shown in this composite image from NASA's Great Observatories. This image was taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red).

The Antennae galaxies take their name from the long antenna-like "arms," seen in wide-angle views of the system and were created when tidal forces generated a collision. The collision began more than 100 million years ago and is still occurring. As a result, millions of stars in clouds of dusts and gas were formed in the galaxies. The most massive of these young stars have already sped through their evolution in a few million years and exploded as supernovas.

HH 46/47

This is a young star approximately 1,140 light years from earth and can be seen as a white spot in the center of the image below. There are two 'bubbles' being blown out from the star and appear as the elliptical bluish green shells. The green indicates hydrogen gas while the bluish color is attributed to space dust.

HH 46/47

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rosette Nebula

This infrared image is a star forming region of the Rosette Nebula. Within normal viewing range, it resembles a rosebud.

Hubble image of the Rosette Nebula

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Cosmic Jet

This cosmic jet looks like a huge cosmic tornado and was captured by the Spitzer Telescope. This helical structure is a series of shock waves from a powerful protostellar jet as it hits neighboring dust and gas.

For a more detailed view and a zoom in feature, click the links for the high resolution or low resolution image.

Small Magellanic Cloud

In this an infrared taken by the Spitzer Telescope, we see what is called a Magellanic Cloud. A Magellanic Cloud is comprised of a "bar" on the left and a "wing on the right. The bar contains both old stars (blue) and young stars in the glowing natal dust (shown in glue and green). This image also contain a galactic globular cluster (the blue cluster of stars in the lower right corner).

Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula was observed by Earth as a supernova in 1054 A.D. Almost a thousand years later we see it as a super dense neutron star.

This image is actually a composite of images taken from the Hubble Telescope (red and yellow), the Chandra Observatory (blue) and the Spitzer Space Telescope (purple).

Galaxy M81

The M81 is a nearby spiral galaxy much like our own. Thanks to the Spitzer, we can see it in stunning detail.

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