NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2016 December 5 

Lightning over Colorado 

Have you ever watched a lightning storm in awe? Join the crowd. Oddly, nobody knows exactly how lightning is produced. What is known is that charges slowly separate in some clouds causing rapid electrical discharges (lightning), but how electrical charges get separated in clouds remains a topic of much research. Lightning usually takes a jagged course, rapidly heating a thin column of air to about three times the surface temperature of the Sun. The resulting shock wave starts supersonically and decays into the loud sound known as thunder. Lightning bolts are common in clouds during rainstorms, and on average 44 lightning bolts occur on the Earth every second. Pictured, over 60 images were stacked to capture the flow of lightning-producing storm clouds in July over Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.


Bonus comic!

Yahoo! Einstein was right again! :D We now have our first detection of gravitational waves!

The Sombrero Galaxy and a Swarm of Globular Clusters

The Sombrero galaxy, or Messier 104, is a giant Sa type disk galaxy viewed from just above its equatorial plane and outlined by a prominent dark rim of obscuring dust. The central bulge is unusually bright and extended, and orbiting the galaxy is one of the largest known populations of globular clusters, containing up to 1900 members. In comparison our own Milky Way galaxy has only around 150-200 such clusters. Nearby prime examples of these are Omega Centauri, Messier 4 and NGC6752. 

Some of the Sombrero’s globulars are very large and one is classified as a separate Ultra Compact Dwarf galaxy, SUCD1, the closest known example of such an object. It is not known how the Sombrero amassed such a large number of globular clusters. This is normally a more typical feature of large elliptical galaxies. For example up to 12,000 globular clusters are orbiting the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87.

The Sombrero Galaxy also contains a supermassive black hole of one billion solar masses - one of the most massive black holes among nearby galaxies.
The galaxy lies some 30 million light years away in the direction of the constellation Virgo.

Credit: Rolf Olsen


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!!! 🤗💓


august 14, 2016 (10/100) ☁️
spending d sunday reviewing for my midterms 😅 here r my origin of the solar system notes wooo hope u guys have a productive week ahead! wish me luck i hav 2 midterms tomorrow rip ty!

NGC 346 and NGC 371 in the Small Magellanic Cloud

In the Southern constellation Tucana lies the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy orbiting our own Milky Way galaxy and home to the bright star-forming nebula and cluster NGC 346 depicted here in this image together with its neighbour NGC 371. The densely populated star field covering the entire field of view is part of the central bar structure in the SMC. 

NGC 346 is a beautiful bright emission nebula in the central bar of the SMC. It is easily identifiable even in small telescopes as the brightest nebula in the SMC, and shows as an extended spiral shaped swirl surrounding a brighter centre which is home to the central star cluster. Near the core this nebula has a curious sharply defined edge curving around the cluster. The strong stellar winds from the young hot stars in the cluster have blown out the surrounding gas into diffuse filament-like structures extending far from the core region. It is interesting to imagine how impressive this magnificent nebula might have looked like if it was located in our own galaxy instead of in the SMC some 210,000 light years distant. A detailed close-up image of this nebula is available from the Hubble Space Telescope. 

The neighbouring NGC 371 (to the right) is a large and diffuse star cluster, surrounded by a glow of emission which appears intensely blue in this narrowband image. The cluster itself has a visual diameter of 7 arc minutes, corresponding to a real physical diameter of 350 light years.

Credit: Rolf Olsen


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?


NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2016 January 27 

An Airglow Fan from Lake to Sky 

Why would the sky look like a giant fan? Airglow. The featured intermittent green glow appeared to rise from a lake through the arch of our Milky Way Galaxy, as captured last summer next to Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA. The unusual pattern was created by atmospheric gravity waves, ripples of alternating air pressure that can grow with height as the air thins, in this case about 90 kilometers up. Unlike auroras powered by collisions with energetic charged particles and seen at high latitudes, airglow is due to chemiluminescence, the production of light in a chemical reaction. More typically seen near the horizon, airglow keeps the night sky from ever being completely dark.

Patterned Beauty of Creation.

Sacred Geometry is the blueprint of Creation and the Genesis of all form. It is an ancient science that explores and explains the Energy Patterns that create and unify all things and reveals the precise way that the Energy of Creation organizes itself. On every scale, every natural pattern of growth or movement conforms inevitably to one or more geometric shapes. As you enter the world of Sacred Geometry you begin to see as never before the wonderfully patterned beauty of Creation.  

The molecules of our DNA, the cornea of our eye, snow flakes, pine cones, flower petals, diamond crystals, the branching of trees, a nautilus shell, the star we spin around, the galaxy we spiral within, the air we breathe, and all life forms as we know them emerge out of timeless Geometric Codes. Viewing and contemplating these codes allow us to gaze directly at the lines on the face of deep Wisdom and offers up a glimpse into the inner workings of the Universal Mind and the Universe itself.

The ancients believed that the experience of Sacred Geometry was essential to the education of the Soul. They knew that these patterns and codes were symbolic of our own inner realm and the subtle structure of Awareness. To them the “Sacred” had particular significance involving Consciousness and the profound mystery of Awareness, the Ultimate Sacred Wonder. Sacred Geometry takes on another whole level of significance when grounded in the experience of Self-Awareness.