Omega Centauri: The Brightest Globular Star Cluster : This huge ball of stars predates our Sun. Long before humankind evolved, before dinosaurs roamed, and even before our Earth existed, ancient globs of stars condensed and orbited a young Milky Way Galaxy. Of the 200 or so globular clusters that survive today, Omega Centauri is the largest, containing over ten million stars. Omega Centauri is also the brightest globular cluster, at apparent visual magnitude 3.9 it is visible to southern observers with the unaided eye. Cataloged as NGC 5139, Omega Centauri is about 18,000 light-years away and 150 light-years in diameter. Unlike many other globular clusters, the stars in Omega Centauri show several different ages and trace chemical abundances, indicating that the globular star cluster has a complex history over its 12 billion year age. via NASA
Early in the New Year, when most people are trying to stick to their resolutions, bakers are finalizing plans for gingerbread house contests nearly 12 months away. There are recipes to tinker with—a choice between “construction grade” gingerbread and the more delicious, softer variety—blueprints to create, and often hundreds of hours of work before houses are ready to be entered in a contest.
The National Gingerbread House Competition, one of the biggest gingerbread contests in the United States, takes place every year in Asheville, North Carolina. It started in 1992, when members of the local community were invited to display their gingerbread houses in The Omni Grove Park Inn’s great hall. Then someone had the idea to award a winner — and the contest has been growing ever since. People from the United States and Canada now submit roughly 150 entries per year.
Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant : Its easy to get lost following the intricate strands of the Spaghetti Nebula. A supernova remnant cataloged as Simeis 147 and Sh2-240, the glowing gas filaments cover nearly 3 degrees 6 full moons on the sky. Thats about 150 light-years at the stellar debris clouds estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth about 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original stars core. via NASA
M13: A Great Globular Cluster of Stars : M13 is one of the most prominent and best known globular clusters. Visible with binoculars in the constellation of Hercules, M13 is frequently one of the first objects found by curious sky gazers seeking celestials wonders beyond normal human vision. M13 is a colossal home to over 100,000 stars, spans over 150 light years across, lies over 20,000 light years distant, and is over 12 billion years old. At the 1974 dedication of Arecibo Observatory, a radio message about Earth was sent in the direction of M13. The featured image in HDR, taken through a small telescope, spans an angular size just larger than a full Moon, whereas the inset image, taken by Hubble Space Telescope, zooms in on the central 0.04 degrees. via NASA
Eight years ago, the nation elected its first African American president and put a black family in the White House. Many reveled in the moment, the promise and the pride of it. A country not yet 150 years from slavery had reached a huge milestone.
On a frigid January morning, Barack Hussein Obama took his first oath of office, using Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, a book of red and gold splendor that Michelle Obama held as daughters Malia and Sasha watched.
To be first means glory and pain.
In the beginning some engaged in a bit of magical thinking about a “post-racial” America.
Others knew better, that the country was far from such a thing.
Then there were those who saw a world turned upside down: Where others saw promise, they saw peril. Social progress looked like a threat.
But there the Obamas stood, a portrait of family and fortitude.
Though a size scale may be difficult, in the top left is not a child’s foot. That is an adult female size 5 in a chunky walking boot (aka my foot), and that is no normal rock pool! Though millions of years of erosion has worn away many of the separate toe marks, that is in fact a dinosaur’s footprint. To anyone not paying attention, these would seem like normal rock pools, but on closer inspection they follow regular patterns matching the stride of dinosaurs who walked what would have been a lagoon 150 million years ago. Over 100 footprints have said to have been found at this locality (depending on how far the tide is out) but despite the numbers it’s easy to see why people hadn’t noticed them until only last year! Awesome!
You don’t have to travel far and wide to experience the beauty of the world – sometimes it can be found not far from home. Located only 60 miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York City is the endless coastline of #FireIsland National Seashore. Containing New York state’s only wilderness area, Fire Island has much to offer including an 150+ year old lighthouse, a shipwreck from 1922 and almost 20,000 protected acres of marine and terrestrial habitat. Photo courtesy of Ian Barin.
Charles Dickens’ ghostly tale of sour and stingy miser Ebenezer Scrooge has captivated readers, listeners and audiences for over 150 years. This Christmas, Audible Studios brings this story to life in an audio drama featuring an all-star cast.