Space has never been more beautiful. 

The nebula Gum 29 is a star-forming region about 20,00 light-years away in the constellation Carina. At the core of the nebula is a cluster of several thousand stars called Westerlund 2. These newborn stars are about 2 million years old, and their light illuminates and heats the surrounding gas. The Hubble Space Telescope image, utilizing both visible and infrared light observations, was released in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

credit: Jay Anderson, Greg Bacon, Lisa Frattare, Zolt Levay, and Frank Summers (STScI)

For The First Time, Visible Light From An Exoplanet Detected

One does not simply look at an exoplanet. In order to learn more about these space rocks lurking many light years away, researchers have various indirect methods for deciphering their features. Astronomers can examine how the planet’s host star wobbles in relation to the globe, to pinpoint the planet’s position and mass. Or they can examine the dimming of the star as the planet passes in front, a method known as transit photometry that helps to determine the planet’s radius.

But we can’t ever just see an exoplanet in action. Because these rocks are so small and so far away, the light from their host stars completely drown them out. “Imagine you have a lamppost down the road a few 100 meters away, and you have a small moth flying around it,” Jorge Martins, a PhD student at the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Chile, tells Popular Science. “It’s like trying to see the moth.”

Despite this trickiness, Martins and his research team have come pretty close to getting a good view of these exoplanets. In a study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, the researchers were able to measure the visible starlight reflecting off of an exoplanet’s surface for the first time.

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Solar Flares and CME’s: Coronal Mass Ejections 

A Solar Flare is a sudden flash of brightness observed over the Sun’s surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release of up to 6 × 1025 joules of energy. They are often, but not always, followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection. The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event. The term is also used to refer to similar phenomena in other stars, where the term stellar flare applies.

A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is a massive burst of gas and magnetic field arising from the solar corona and being released into the solar wind, as observed in a coronagraph. Coronal mass ejections are often associated with other forms of solar activity, most notably solar flares or filament eruptions, but a broadly accepted theoretical understanding of these relationships has not been established. 

CMEs most often originate from active regions on the Sun’s surface, such as groupings of sunspots associated with frequent flares. Near solar maxima, the Sun produces about three CMEs every day, whereas near solar minima, there is about one CME every five days.

Giffed by: rudescience  From: This video by nasa

An ancient globule

This image captures the stunning NGC 6535, a globular cluster 22 000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent) that measures one light-year across.

NGC 6535 was first discovered in 1852 by English astronomer John Russell Hind. The cluster would have appeared to Hind as a small, faint smudge through his telescope. Now, over 160 years later, instruments like the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope allow us to capture the cluster close up and marvel at its contents in detail.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine