astronomy stars


The Spitzer Space Telescope, studying infrared heat radiation in the universe, made the discovery of seven planets, similar to Earth in size and located in the TRAPPIST-1 habitable zone, early last year. Because TRAPPIST-1 is a much smaller and cooler than the Sun, planets in closer proximity to the star can maintain liquid water, a main ingredient for life.

This discovery adds the system of planets to a list of nearly 30 known habitable planets observed by NASA’s various space telescopes. NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope, aimed at studying exoplanet’s atmospheres, in 2018 to continue studying known habitable planets.

Messier 83

Nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel, M83 is undergoing more rapid star formation than our own Milky Way galaxy, especially in its nucleus. The sharp “eye” of the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured hundreds of young star clusters, ancient swarms of globular star clusters, and hundreds of thousands of individual stars, mostly blue supergiants and red supergiants.

Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble


Brightest neutron star yet has a multipolar magnetic field

Scientists have identified a neutron star that is consuming material so fast it emits more x-rays than any other.

Its extreme brightness can only be explained if the star has a complex multipolar magnetic field, the researchers say.

Ultraluminous x-ray sources (ULXs) are seen in some nearby galaxies and shine brighter than any x-ray source in our own galaxy.

Simple calculations show that, for such an intense amount of energy to be emitted, ULXs should be powered by black holes accreting surrounding material.

Here, using the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) and Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) space telescopes, Gian Luca Israel and colleagues detected periodic signals in x-rays emitted by a ULX in the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 5907, indicating that it is instead powered by a spinning neutron star.

The star, known as NGC 5907 ULX, is accreting material so fast that its spin period is accelerating at astounding rates - it evolved from 1.43 seconds in 2003 to 1.13 seconds in 2014.

Its peak luminosity exceeds the Eddington limit, the theoretical maximum set by the balance between the force of radiation acting outward and the gravitational force acting inward, by roughly 1,000 times what would be expected for a neutron star.

The authors say that the only way to explain the data is if the neutron star does not have a simple (dipolar) magnetic field.

Modelling shows that a strong, multipolar magnetic field could explain the extreme properties of NGC 5907 ULX and how it exceeds the Eddington limit.

Horsehead Nebula - My first nebula photo with my new astro camera! It was a struggle, elements in the complicated chain of things that all have to work right still wouldn’t work together. I have a number of problems I still need to work out. But this isn’t a bad first image. Camera: ASI1600MC-CTelescope: 8“ f4 reflecting newtonianMount: NEQ6Guiding: Couldn’t get it to work, so this was unguidedControl software: Sequence generator pro48 2min exposures, 1:36hrs totalBias and flat calibration frames usedEdited in Pixinsight and Lightroom


Airglow waves. Do you you think our night sky is pitch black ? Have a look at this timelapse video. I captured it at Carnegie Las Campamas observatory. Those red waves are not clouds (!) - this is pretty intense airglow, which takes place in upper atmosphere. It’s very interesting to see how the waves move. While camera pans you will notice on the foreground both 6.5-m Magellan telescopes, as well as nicely setting Milky Way. I hope you’ll enjoy the view ! :) Music: “Airglow” by © Club 220



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