gas cloud

Hubble Sees the Force Awakening in a Newborn Star

This celestial lightsaber does not lie in a galaxy far, far away, but rather inside our home galaxy, the Milky Way. It’s inside a turbulent birthing ground for new stars known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex, located 1,350 light-years away.

In the center of the image, partially obscured by a dark, Jedi-like cloak of dust, a newborn star shoots twin jets out into space as a sort of birth announcement to the universe

Credit: NASA/ESA

Jupiter is stranger than we knew. NASA’s Juno spacecraft completed its sixth swoop past Jupiter as it moves around its highly elliptical orbit. Pictured, Jupiter is seen from below where, surprisingly, the horizontal bands that cover most of the planet disappear into swirls and complex patterns. A line of white oval clouds is visible nearer to the equator. Recent results from Juno show that Jupiter’s weather phenomena can extend deep below its cloud tops, and that Jupiter’s magnetic field varies greatly with location. Juno is scheduled to orbit Jupiter 37 times with each orbit taking about six weeks. 

Image Credit: NASA, Juno, SwRI, MSSS, Gerald Eichstädt & Seán Doran

Black Hole Sculpts an Hourglass Galaxy

When it comes to galaxies, our home, the Milky Way, is rather neat and orderly. Other galaxies can be much more chaotic. For example, the Markarian 573 galaxy has a black hole at its center which is spewing beams of light in opposite directions, giving its inner regions more of an hourglass shape. 

Our scientists have long been fascinated by this unusual structure, seen above in optical light from the Hubble Space Telescope. Now their search has taken them deeper than ever — all the way into the super-sized black hole at the center of one galaxy.

So, what do we think is going on? When the black hole gobbles up matter, it releases a form of high-energy light called radiation (particularly in the form of X-rays), causing abnormal patterns in the flow of gas. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Meet Markarian 573, the galaxy at the center of this image from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, located about 240 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cetus. It’s the galaxy’s odd structure and the unusual motions of its components that inspire our scientists to study it.

As is the case with other so-called active galaxies, the ginormous black hole at the center of Markarian 573 likes to eat stuff. A thick ring of dust and gas accumulates around it, forming a doughnut. This ring only permits light to escape the black hole in two cone-shaped regions within the flat plane of the galaxy — and that’s what creates the hourglass, as shown in the illustration above.

Zooming out, we can see the two cones of emission (shown in gold in the animation above) spill into the galaxy’s spiral arms (blue). As the galaxy rotates, gas clouds in the arms sweep through this radiation, which makes them light up so our scientists can track their movements from Earth.

What happens next depends on how close the gas is to the black hole. Gas that’s about 2,500 light-years from the black hole picks up speed and streams outward (shown as darker red and blue arrows). Gas that’s farther from the black hole also becomes ionized, but is not driven away and continues its motion around the galaxy as before.

Here is an actual snapshot of the inner region of Markarian 573, combining X-ray data (blue) from our Chandra X-ray Observatory and radio observations (purple) from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico with a visible light image (gold) from our Hubble Space Telescope. Given its strange appearance, we’re left to wonder: what other funky shapes might far-off galaxies take?

For more information about the bizarre structure of Markarian 573, visit http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12657  

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

SN 1987A

This artist’s impression of the material around a recently exploded star, known as Supernova 1987A (or SN 1987A), is based on observations which have for the first time revealed a three dimensional view of the distribution of the expelled material. The observations were made by astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The original blast was not only powerful, according to the new results. It was also more concentrated in one particular direction.This is a strong indication that the supernova must have been very turbulent, supporting the most recent computer models. This image shows the different elements present in SN 1987A: two outer rings, one inner ring and the deformed, innermost expelled material.

Just how a supernova explodes is not very well understood, but the way the star exploded is imprinted on this inner material. The astronomers could deduce that this material was not ejected symmetrically in all directions, but rather seems to have had a preferred direction. Besides, this direction is different to what was expected from the position of the rings.

Image credit: ESO / L. Calçada

The Deep Lagoon : Ridges of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds inhabit the turbulent, cosmic depths of the Lagoon Nebula. Also known as M8, The bright star forming region is about 5,000 light-years distant. But it still makes for a popular stop on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius, toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Dominated by the telltale red emission of ionized hydrogen atoms recombining with stripped electrons, this stunning, deep view of the Lagoons central reaches is about 40 light-years across. Near the center of the frame, the bright hourglass shape is gas ionized and sculpted by energetic radiation and extreme stellar winds from a massive young star. via NASA

js
the types as | space phenomena

ISTP // cosmic ray
high-energy radiation, mainly originating from outside the solar system. upon impact with the earth’s atmosphere, they can produce showers of secondary particles that sometimes reach the surface.

ESTP // solar flare
a sudden flash of brightness observed near the sun’s surface. the flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space.

ISTJ // solar eclipse
an eclipse of the sun happens when the new moon moves between the sun and earth, blocking out the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on parts of earth.

ESTJ // the sun
the star at the centre of our solar system. it is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, and forms the most important source of energy for life on earth.

INFP // supermoon
a full moon that coincides with the closest distance that the moon reaches to earth in its elliptic orbit, resulting in a larger-than-usual size of the lunar disk.

ENFP // galaxy
a system of millions or billions of stars, together with gas and dust, held together by gravitational attraction.

INFJ // lunar eclipse
an eclipse in which the moon appears darkened as it passes into the earth’s shadow. this can occur only when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned with the earth in the middle.

ENFJ // constellation
a group of stars forming a recognisable pattern that is traditionally named after its apparent form or identified with a mythological figure.

ISFJ // saturn’s rings
the rings of saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the solar system. although reflection from the rings increases saturn’s brightness, they are not visible from earth with unaided vision.

ESFJ // aurora
an aurora is an incredible light show caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen.

ISFP // winter solstice
an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest.

ESFP // meteor shower
a number of meteors that appear to radiate from one point in the sky at a particular date each year, due to the earth regularly passing through them at that position in its orbit.

INTP // nebula
a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter. 

ENTP // galactic wind
composed of photons ejected from large stars, it is a powerful cosmic force that can push interstellar dust clouds into intergalactic space. 

INTJ // black hole
a black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. the gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. this can happen when a star is dying.

ENTJ // a supernova
an astronomical event that occurs during the last stages of a massive star’s life, destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. this causes the sudden appearance of a “new” bright star.

The Dust Monster in IC 1396 : Is there a monster in IC 1396? Known to some as the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula, parts of gas and dust clouds of this star formation region may appear to take on foreboding forms, some nearly human. The only real monster here, however, is a bright young star too far from Earth to hurt us. Energetic light from this star is eating away the dust of the dark cometary globule near the top of the featured image. Jets and winds of particles emitted from this star are also pushing away ambient gas and dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a much larger region on the sky than shown here, with an apparent width of more than 10 full moons. via NASA

js

Scientists are about to get an up-close and personal look at Jupiter’s most famous landmark, the Great Red Spot.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will be directly over the spot shortly after 10 p.m. ET on Monday, July 10, about 5,600 miles above the gas giant’s cloud tops. That’s closer than any spacecraft has been before.

The spot is actually a giant storm that has been blowing on Jupiter for centuries. It’s huge, larger than the Earth in diameter.

“It’s lasted a really long time,” says Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and principal scientist for NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter. “No scientists really understand exactly how that storm is created or why it could last so long.”

NASA Spacecraft Gets Up Close With Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Image: Karen Teramura with James O'Donoghue and Luke Moore/NASA

The Heart Nebula in Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfur : What powers the Heart Nebula? The large emission nebula dubbed IC 1805 looks, in whole, like a heart. The nebula’s glow – as well as the shape of the gas and dust clouds – is powered by by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula’s newborn star cluster Melotte 15. This deep telescopic image maps the pervasive light of narrow emission lines from atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur in the nebula. The field of view spans just over two degrees on the sky, so that it appears larger than four times the diameter of a full moon. The cosmic heart is found in the constellation of Cassiopeia, the boastful mythical Queen of Aethiopia . via NASA

js

Happy Asteroid Day, and happy Meteor Watch Day! Thousands of years ago, the world-famous Willamette meteorite, traveling some 64,000 kilometers per hour, crashed into Earth’s surface.

Billions of years before that, an early planet orbiting the Sun was shattered, perhaps in a collision with another protoplanet. While planets including Earth gradually formed and matured, the fragment orbited the Sun. Eventually, it landed in Oregon just outside of what is today the city of Portland. Over many centuries, rainwater interacting with its iron sulfide deposits produced sulfuric acid, which slowly etched and carved large cavities.

The Willamette is made of iron and weighs 15.5 tons.  It is the largest ever found in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. Only about 600 of the 25,000 meteorites found on Earth are made of iron. The material was created deep inside stars, which produce energy by fusing lighter elements into heavier ones - for example, hydrogen into helium. The force of nuclear fusion eventually shatters stars much more massive than our Sun, casting fused elements, such as iron, into interstellar space. Over eons, these elements collect inside clouds of gas and dust. 

Within such an iron-rich interstellar cloud, our Sun formed 4.5 billion years ago, giving rise to comets, asteroids, planets and all life on Earth. So when we study the Willamette meteorite, we are also studying the chemical record of our origins and our place in the universe.

A wispy and filamentary cloud of gas and dust, the Crab nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion that was observed by Chinese astronomers in the year 1054.

The image combines Hubble’s view of the nebula at visible wavelengths, obtained using three different filters sensitive to the emission from oxygen and sulphur ions and is shown here in blue. Herschel’s far-infrared image reveals the emission from dust in the nebula and is shown here in red.

Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

Star Cluster R136 Bursts Out : In the center of star-forming region 30 Doradus lies a huge cluster containing some of the largest, hottest, and most massive stars known. These stars, known collectively as star cluster R136, were captured in the featured image in visible light by the Wide Field Camera 3 in 2009 peering through the Hubble Space Telescope. Gas and dust clouds in 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, have been sculpted into elongated shapes by powerful winds and ultraviolet radiation from these hot cluster stars. The 30 Doradus Nebula lies within a neighboring galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud and is located a mere 170,000 light-years away. via NASA

js

A COLLECTION OF VARIOUS TUMBLR USERS’ FAVOURITE WORDS

absolution; act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release fromconsequences, obligations, or penalties.

acquiesce; accept something reluctantly but without protest.

asterismos; a rhetorical term for an introductory word or phrase that has the primary function of calling attention to what follows.

astronomy; the scientific study of matter and phenomena in the universe, especially in outer space, including the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial objects.

ataraxia; a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity.

aura; a distinctive and pervasive quality or character; atmosphere.

boisterous; noisy, energetic, and cheerful.

bling; a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious, or elaborate jewellery and ornamented accessories

brontide; a low muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions especially along seacoasts and over lakes and thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors.

burgundy; a deep red colour like that of burgundy wine.

cacophony; a harsh discordant mixture of sounds.

camaraderie; mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.

capricious; guided by whim rather than reason.

cosmic; relating to the universe or cosmos, especially as distinct from the earth.

decadence; moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.

defenestration; the action of throwing someone out of a window, or, the action or process of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority.

effervescent; vivacious and enthusiastic.

eloquence; fluent or persuasive speaking or writing.

ephemeral; lasting for a very short time.

epinephrine; another term for adrenaline.

epistemology; the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.

ethereal; extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world.

eunoia; comes from the Greek word εὔνοια, meaning “well mind” or “beautiful thinking.”

fantastical; based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal.

furtive; attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive.

gossamer; a light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate material or substance.

halcyon; denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

ineffable; too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.

intoxication; the state of being intoxicated, especially by alcohol.

lactescere; (Latin) to turn to milk.

leonine; of or resembling a lion or lions.

loquacious; tending to talk a great deal; talkative.

machiavellian; cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics.

mischievous; causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way.

momentum; the impetus gained by a moving object.

myriad; a countless or extremely great number of people or things.

nebulae; a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter.

nefarious; (typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal.

nonchalant; feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm.

opalescence; the quality of being opallike, or milkily iridescent. 

obligatory; required by a legal, moral, or other rule; compulsory.

orphic; of or relating to Orpheus or Orphism.

parenthetical; relating to or inserted as a parenthesis (explains or qualifies something).

partial; existing only in part; incomplete.

pastiche; an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period.

petrichor; a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

phosphenes; a sensation of a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.

plethora; a large or excessive amount of something.

pleasure; a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.

pretentious; attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.

prosaic; having or using the style or diction of prose as opposed to poetry; lacking imaginativeness or originality, commonplace; unromantic.

resilience; the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

ricochet; a bullet or other projectile rebound off a surface.

sempiternal; eternal and unchanging; everlasting.

serendipitous; occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

sphere; a round solid figure, or its surface, with every point on its surface equidistant from its centre.

soliloquy; an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.

sonorous; (of a person’s voice or other sound) imposingly deep and full.

tenebrific; causing gloom or darkness.

twilight; the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere.

vespertide; the period of vespers; evening.

vicissitude; a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

waltz; a ballroom dance in triple time performed by a couple or to act casually, confidently, or inconsiderately.

2

The VST captures three spectacular nebulae in one image

Two of Sky’s most famous residents share the stage with a lesser-known neighbor in this massive three-gigapixel image of ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST). Above is the faint, glowing gas cloud called Sharpless 2-54, the iconic Eagle Nebula (Messier 16) in the center and the Omega Nebula (Messier 17) on the bottom. This cosmic trio makes up only a part of a vast complex of gas and dust within which new stars are living and illuminating their surroundings.

Credit: ESO