astronomy

John Nelson Creates Stunning Visuals of Earth ‘Breathing’

John Nelson, noted for creating remarkable visualizations depicting weather conditions of the planet, has come up with a pulsating GIF that shows the heartbeat of the Earth in a course of seasonal changes through NASA’s satellite photography. View his other amazing GIF below. 

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Rebel rebel

Most galaxies possess a majestic spiral or elliptical structure. About a quarter of galaxies, though, defy such conventional, rounded aesthetics, instead sporting a messy, indefinable shape. Known as irregular galaxies, this group includes NGC 5408, the galaxy that has been snapped here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

English polymath John Herschel recorded the existence of NGC 5408 in June 1834. Astronomers had long mistaken NGC 5408 for a planetary nebula, an expelled cloud of material from an aging star. Instead, bucking labels, NGC 5408 turned out to be an entire galaxy, located about 16 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus(The Centaur).

In yet another sign of NGC 5408 breaking convention, the galaxy is associated with an object known as an ultraluminous X-ray source, dubbed NGC 5408 X-1, one of the best studied of its class. These rare objects beam out prodigious amounts of energetic X-rays. Astrophysicists believe these sources to be strong candidates for intermediate-mass black holes

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

phys.org
Scientists discover hidden galaxies behind the Milky Way
Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been studied for the first time, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the Great Attractor.

Despite being just 250 million light years from Earth—very close in astronomical terms—the new galaxies had been hidden from view until now by our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Using CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope equipped with an innovative receiver, an international team of scientists were able to see through the stars and dust of the Milky Way, into a previously unexplored region of space.

The discovery may help to explain the Great Attractor region, which appears to be drawing the Milky Way and hundreds of thousands of other galaxies towards it with a gravitational force equivalent to a million billion Suns.

Lead author Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, from The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said the team found 883 galaxies, a third of which had never been seen before.

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Blue Hen:

Planetary nebula Hen 2-437 lies within the faint northern constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox). As an aging low-mass star like our sun transforms into a planetary nebula in the last stage of its life, when it becomes a red giant and casts off its outer layers of gas into space. Hen 2-437 hurls its ejected material out into diametrically opposed directions making it a bipolar nebula, featuring two icy blue lobes.

Image released Feb. 8, 2016.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt