The Rosette nebula in HST palette by Sara Wager
Via Flickr:
The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) is a large, circular H II region located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. The open cluster NGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula’s matter. The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth and measure roughly 50 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses. This is taken with the dual Tak imaging system. This is the first time I’ve managed a proper 3 channel image of the Rosette. It was taken using the new Eagle S from PrimaLuceLab. Details: M: Mesu 200 T: Tak FSQ85 0.73x C: QSI683 and Moravian G2-8300 with Astrodon 3nm Ha, OIII and SII filters 30x1800s Ha 25x1800s OIII 25x1800s SII Totalling 40 hours total exposure

The Porpoise Galaxy from Hubble 

What’s happening to this spiral galaxy? Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy – spinning, creating stars – and minding its own business. But then it got too close to the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 2937 below and took a dive.

Dubbed the Porpoise Galaxy for its iconic shape, NGC 2936 is not only being deflected but also being distorted by the close gravitational interaction. A burst of young blue stars forms the nose of the porpoise toward the right of the upper galaxy, while the center of the spiral appears as an eye. Alternatively, the galaxy pair, together known as Arp 142, look to some like a penguin protecting an egg. Either way, intricate dark dust lanes and bright blue star streams trail the troubled galaxy to the lower right.

In a billion years or so the two galaxies will likely merge into one larger galaxy.


Images of the cosmos from the late 1950s and early 60s. Most are from the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the high definition and detailed images coming out of Hubble and similar telescopes today, but there is something about these old photos. What they lacked in detail and resolution they made up for with wonder and mystery. Can you imagination how mind blowing these pictures would have been when they first came out of the developing tank in the 50′s?

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july 22, 2016 | 5:41 pm | (5/100)

my biology test was returned yesterday and i didn’t expect to actually get a good mark, but i did! yaay 🤓  here are my cosmology notes for today’s test 💫🌎🌟☄🌞🌛  one of the few tests i had to think through rather than rely on definitions, facts and other information! i hope u all have a productive weekend!!! 🤗💓

Cosmic ‘Winter’ Wonderland

Although there are no seasons in space, this cosmic vista invokes thoughts of a frosty winter landscape. It is, in fact, a region called NGC 6357 where radiation from hot, young stars is energizing the cooler gas in the cloud that surrounds them. 

Located in our galaxy about 5,500 light years from Earth, NGC 6357 is actually a “cluster of clusters,” containing at least three clusters of young stars, including many hot, massive, luminous stars. The X-rays from Chandra and ROSAT reveal hundreds of point sources, which are the young stars in NGC 6357, as well as diffuse X-ray emission from hot gas. There are bubbles, or cavities, that have been created by radiation and material blowing away from the surfaces of massive stars, plus supernova explosions.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L. Townsley et al; Optical: UKIRT; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Spectacular collision of stars will create new star in night sky in 2022

1800 years ago two stars were coming together in a huge cataclysmic explosion. The light from that collision will finally arrive on Earth creating a new star in the night sky - dubbed the ‘Boom Star’ - in an incredibly rare event which is usually only spotted through telescopes.

Before their meeting the two stars were too dim to be seen by the naked eye, but in 2022, the newly formed Red Nova will burn so brightly in the constellation Cygnus that everyone will be able to to see it.

For around six months the Boom Star will be one of the brightest in the sky before gradually dimming, returning to its normal brightness after around two to three years. 

Read more


Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott discuss their book ‘Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour’, a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today’s leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all—from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, wormholes, and time travel.

Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the informative and entertaining narrative propels you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. How do stars live and die? Why did Pluto lose its planetary status? What are the prospects of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? How did the universe begin? Why is it expanding and why is its expansion accelerating? Is our universe alone or part of an infinite multiverse? Answering these and many other questions, the authors open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos, sharing their knowledge of how the universe works.

Breathtaking in scope and stunningly illustrated throughout, Welcome to the Universe is for those who hunger for insights into our evolving universe that only world-class astrophysicists can provide.

Purchase at Amazon, find your library, or support your local book seller! 

What we know about dark energy:

All of the matter in the universe, such as atoms, electrons, and dark matter (an unrelated subject), take up only about 32% of all the energy in the current observable universe. The other 68% goes to dark energy; a mysterious force that fills up all of space, and is driving the expansion of the universe.

When Einstein wrote his theories of relativity, he believed we lived in a perfectly static world; it never began, it will never end, and it will always stay the same size. In order to make this work mathematically, he introduced a mechanism that would balance out the force of gravity: the cosmological constant. However, when Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding, Einstein threw out this idea, calling it his “greatest blunder.”

At the time, people expected that the expansion of the universe would be slowing down, since gravity pulls things together, but it seemed as if the expansion was actually speeding up! Not only were distant galaxies receding away from each other, but they were receding away faster and faster, against the known laws of gravitation. The only way we can explain this without sacrificing Einstein’s laws of gravitation was to again reintroduce the cosmological constant, but altering it slightly to beat out gravity instead of just balancing it.

So, what exactly does the cosmological constant mean? Essentially, it means that empty space actually has some energy in it, inflating it like the surface of a balloon. Since this energy comes from space itself, it acts as a feedback loop; dark energy creates more space, more space creates more dark energy, which means even more space, and so on. And yes, this does mean that energy is not conserved, which is actually allowed in general relativity. Still, you can’t use this energy in any useful way.

While the cosmological constant is the most likely source of dark energy, it’s not the only candidate. Other theories, such as quintessence and moduli, are similar to the cosmological constant, but are allowed to change throughout space and time. Because these theories would look so similar, it’s difficult to tell which one is correct. But whatever dark energy is, it determines the ultimate fate of our universe.

The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble 

The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth’s night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the dying central star of this particular planetary nebula has become exceptionally hot, shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust.

This sharp close-up of the dying star’s nebula was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope and is presented here in reprocessed colors. Cutting across a bright cavity of ionized gas, the dust torus surrounding the central star is near the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight. Molecular hydrogen has been detected in the hot star’s dusty cosmic shroud. NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the arachnologically correct constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius).

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA;
Reprocessing & Copyright: Jesús M.Vargas & Maritxu Poyal