Hubble looks at light and dark in the universe

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a variety of intriguing cosmic phenomena.

Surrounded by bright stars, towards the upper middle of the frame we see a small young stellar object (YSO) known as SSTC2D J033038.2+303212. Located in the constellation of Perseus, this star is in the early stages of its life and is still forming into a fully-grown star. In this view from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys(ACS) it appears to have a murky chimney of material emanating outwards and downwards, framed by bright bursts of gas flowing from the star itself. This fledgling star is actually surrounded by a bright disk of material swirling around it as it forms — a disc that we see edge-on from our perspective.

However, this small bright speck is dwarfed by its cosmic neighbor towards the bottom of the frame, a clump of bright, wispy gas swirling around as it appears to spew dark material out into space. The bright cloud is a reflection nebula known as [B77] 63, a cloud of interstellar gas that is reflecting light from the stars embedded within it. There are actually a number of bright stars within [B77] 63, most notably the emission-line star LkHA 326, and it nearby neighbor LZK 18.

These stars are lighting up the surrounding gas and sculpting it into the wispy shape seen in this image. However, the most dramatic part of the image seems to be a dark stream of smoke piling outwards from [B77] 63 and its stars — a dark nebula called Dobashi 4173. Dark nebulae are incredibly dense clouds of pitch-dark material that obscure the patches of sky behind them, seemingly creating great rips and eerily empty chunks of sky. The stars speckled on top of this extreme blackness actually lie between us and Dobashi 4173.

Image credit: ESA/NASA

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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2014 August 29

The Wizard Nebula 

Open star cluster NGC 7380 is still embedded in its natal cloud of interstellar gas and dust popularly known as the Wizard Nebula. Seen with foreground and background stars along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy it lies some 8,000 light-years distant, toward the constellation Cepheus. A full moon would easily fit inside this telescopic view of the 4 million year young cluster and associated nebula, normally much too faint to be seen by eye.

Made with telescope and camera firmly planted on Earth, the image reveals multi light-year sized shapes and structures within the Wizard in a color palette made popular in Hubble Space Telescope images. Recorded with narrowband filters, the visible wavelength light from the nebula’s hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms is transformed into green, blue, and red colors in the final digital composite.

Dying Sun Midst A Sea Of Stars

Here we have a dying sun whose outer layers form a glowing bubble midst a sea of stars. Its essence is both ethereal and mysterious as processes that make these forms are complex and not always well-understood. This particular one could be on the order of 3,000 light years away. With over 22 hours invested in exposure time, few pictures of this nebula exist which are this deep in full color.

Caption: Adam Block

Legend of a Star Chaster

With rainbow eyes, she looked across the field
to gaze upon her unicorn. As he tossed his head
and whinnied, the maiden smiled. She ran to him,
her dress flowing behind her, the white as pure as
his coat. Placing her arms around his neck, she
looked into his eyes and saw the dance of color
before lowering her face into his neck and holding
him tight. As they embraced, the eight-pointed golden
starburst in the center of her forehead sparked,
illuminating them both. As she held him tight, she
knew this was where she was meant to be, that it
was home.


They heard the call of the hunt before they saw the
riders, the baying of hounds and the pounding hoofs
of horses with their mounted riders. In terror, both
maiden and unicorn looked to the approaching riders
before turning to flee. The hunters reached her first,
and she did not feel the blow that turned her pure
white dress to bright red. Falling to the ground, she
turned her head to see the hunters encircle her unicorn.
Her soul screamed out its pain as her voice could not.
A single stroke of a blade was all it took to remove the
delicate alihorn, bringing the unicorn to his knees.
Before death called her, she saw the body of the
unicorn turn to ash as the light that was his soul burst
forth and shot into the sky like a star.

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Barnard 163

Barnard 163 is a nebula located about 3,000 light years away towards the constellation Cepheus, the King. The clumps of dust in the nebula are too thick to allow visible light through, creating the odd shapes silhouetted against background stars.

Inside the clouds, the temperature is much lower than the surface. This creates conditions where new stars can eventually form from the clumps of material. The background glow comes from IC 1396, an emission nebula that includes the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula.

Image and information from NASA.

This children’s shirt I found at kohls.com is flippin’ awesome.  Not only does it have all the Guardians (a lot of children’s GotG shirts have left off Gamora- which has stirred up some controversy); it also has some characters you never see on t-shirts, whether they’re for children or adults.

It’s almost like they saw the controversy and went, “Lol Children’s Place, what was that about leaving Gamora off a boy’s shirt because she’s a female character?  We’re going to make a boy’s Guardians of the Galaxy shirt that has two female characters on it!  How do you like that?”

My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in grown-up sizes.  I’d wear the hell out of this shirt!

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