interstellar clouds

The Tulip in the Swan : Framing a bright emission region this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula the glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant and 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful nebula blossoms at the center of this composite image. Red, green, and blue hues map emission from ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Ultraviolet radiation from young, energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star very near the blue arc at the cosmic tulip’s center. Glowing across the electromagnetic spectrum, microquasar Cygnus X-1 and a curved shock front created by its powerful jets lie toward the top and right. via NASA

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The Lagoon Nebula, often noted as Messier 8, is a giant interstellar cloud located between 4,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth. It is primarily composed on Hydrogen gas that is ionised by a nearby star called Herschel 36. It is an emission Nebula, which means it contains a star-forming region. There’s not really much else to know besides it’s amazing appearance. ✨

Lagoon and Triffid Nebula - M8, M20

First deep space image from my trip to Tenerife last week. M8 and M20 are huge interstellar clouds of gas sitting in the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way. Taken at an altitude of 2138m on El Teide Volcano, Tenerife. May 25th 2017. 

Canon 700D mod, Canon 200mm 78x30sec

Saturn and Mars visit Milky Way Star Clouds : Planets, stars, nebulas and a galaxy this impressive image has them all. Closest to home are the two planets Mars , visible as the two bright orange spots in the upper half of the featured image. On the central right are the colorful Rho Ophiuchus star clouds featuring the bright orange star Antares lined up below Mars. These interstellar clouds contain both red emission nebulas and blue reflection nebulas. At the top right of the image is the Blue Horsehead reflection nebula. On the lower left are many dark absorption nebulas that extend from the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. The featured deep composite was composed of multiple deep exposures taken last month from Brazil. Although you need a telescope to see the nebulosities, Saturn and Mars will remain visible to the unaided eye this month toward the east, just after sunset. via NASA

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Orion blazing bright in radio light

A team of astronomers has unveiled a striking new image of the Orion Molecular Cloud (OMC) – a bustling stellar nursery teeming with bright, young stars and dazzling regions of hot, glowing gas.

The researchers used the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia to study a 50 light-year long filament of star-forming gas that is wending its way through the northern portion of the OMC known as Orion A.

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Riding high in the constellation of Auriga, beautiful, blue vdB 31 is the 31st object in Sidney van den Bergh’s 1966 catalog of reflection nebulae. It shares this well-composed celestial still life with dark, obscuring clouds recorded in Edward E. Barnard’s 1919 catalog of dark markings in the sky. All are interstellar dust clouds, blocking the light from background stars in the case of Barnard's dark nebulae. For vdB 31, the dust preferentially reflects the bluish starlight from embedded, hot, variable star AB Aurigae. Exploring the environs of AB Aurigaewith the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the several million year young star is itself surrounded by flattened dusty disk with evidence for the ongoing formation of aplanetary system. AB Aurigae is about 470 light-years away. At that distance this cosmic canvas would span about four light-years.

Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona

Time And Space

The beautiful Andromeda Galaxy is often imaged by planet Earth-based astronomers. Also known as M31, the nearest large spiral galaxy is a familiar sight with spiral arms traced by blue starlight. In a mosaic of well-exposed broad and narrow-band image data, faint reddish clouds of glowing ionized hydrogen gas lie in the same wide field of view. Still, the ionized hydrogen clouds likely lie in the foreground of the scene, well within our Milky Way Galaxy. They could be associated with the pervasive, dusty interstellar cirrus clouds scattered hundreds of light-years above our own galactic plane. If they were located at the 2.5 million light-year distance of the Andromeda Galaxy they would be enormous, since the Andromeda Galaxy itself is 200,000 or so light-years across.

Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)

Framing a bright emission region, this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the reddish glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharplessas Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant and 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful nebula blossoms at the center of this composite image. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018,ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star near the center of the nebula. Also framed in the field of view is microquasar Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest X-ray sources in planet Earth’s sky. Driven by powerful jets from a black hole accretion disk, its fainter visible curved shock front lies above and right, just beyond the cosmic Tulip’s petals.

Image Credit &Copyright:Ivan Eder

Time And Space

Like a July 4 fireworks display, a young, glittering collection of stars looks like an aerial burst. The cluster is surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust—the raw material for new star formation. The nebula, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, contains a central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC 3603.

This environment is not as peaceful as it looks. Ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds have blown out an enormous cavity in the gas and dust enveloping the cluster, providing an unobstructed view of the cluster.

Most of the stars in the cluster were born around the same time but differ in size, mass, temperature, and color. The course of a star’s life is determined by its mass, so a cluster of a given age will contain stars in various stages of their lives, giving an opportunity for detailed analyses of stellar life cycles. NGC 3603 also contains some of the most massive stars known. These huge stars live fast and die young, burning through their hydrogen fuel quickly and ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions.

Star clusters like NGC 3603 provide important clues to understanding the origin of massive star formation in the early, distant universe. Astronomers also use massive clusters to study distant starbursts that occur when galaxies collide, igniting a flurry of star formation. The proximity of NGC 3603 makes it an excellent lab for studying such distant and momentous events.

This Hubble Space Telescope image was captured in August 2009 and December 2009 with the Wide Field Camera 3 in both visible and infrared light, which trace the glow of sulfur, hydrogen, and iron.

Object Name: NGC 3603

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), F. Paresce (National Institute for Astrophysics, Bologna, Italy), E. Young (Universities Space Research Association/Ames Research Center), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Time And Space

Framing a bright emission region, this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the reddish glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant and 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful nebula blossoms at the center of this composite image. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star near the center of the nebula. Also framed in the field of view is microquasar Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest X-ray sources in planet Earth’s sky. Driven by powerful jets from a black hole accretion disk, its fainter visible curved shock front lies above and right, just beyond the cosmic Tulip’s petals

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Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree by Daniele Malleo
Via Flickr:
Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas fill this colorful skyscape in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes reddish emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to the hot, young stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae. This image cover nearly 1.5 full moons, covering 40 light-years at the distance of NGC 2264. Its cast of cosmic characters includes the the Fox Fur Nebula, whose dusty, convoluted pelt lies just below the center, bright variable star S Monocerotis immersed in the blue-tinted haze over the Fox Fur, and the Cone Nebula pointing to the middle from the left of the frame. Of course, the stars of NGC 2264 are also known as the Christmas Tree star cluster. The triangular tree shape traced by the stars has its apex at the Cone Nebula.[description from NASA APOD] Data captured in Dec 2016 from SRO in California Total exposure time: 29.5 hours. (L:R:G:B:Ha) 4.5:6:5:5:9 hours Scope: Ceravolo C300 @ f/4.9 = 1470mm FL Mount: AstroPhysics 1100 AE Camera: FLI PL16803 Focuser: Optec Filters: Astrodon Guiding: Lodestar II / Tak guide scope Image scale: 1.26 arcsec/pixel Processing: PixInsight 1.8 *Image processing credit: Daniele Malleo *Data Acquisition Credit: John Kasianowicz, Daniele Malleo, Rick Stevenson, Jose Mtanous, Scott Johnson, Bret Charles

NGC 604, an emission nebula in Messier 33
Image Credit: H. Yang (UIUC), J. Hester (ASU), HST/NASA/ESA

NGC 604 is an emission nebula, a star-forming (H II) region of nearly 1,500 light-years across, located in a spiral arm of the Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33), about 2.7 million light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Triangulum (the Triangle). It is approaching us at approximately 226 kilometers per second.

NGC 604 is one of the largest known stellar nurseries in the Local Group of galaxies. This expansive cloud of interstellar gas and dust is over 40 times the size of the visible portion of the Orion Nebula, and more than 6,300 times as luminous as the Orion Nebula. If it were at the same distance it would outshine Venus.

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VISTA Peeks Through the Small Magellanic Cloud’s Dusty Veil

The Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy is a striking feature of the southern sky even to the unaided eye. But visible-light telescopes cannot get a really clear view of what is in the galaxy because of obscuring clouds of interstellar dust. VISTA’s infrared capabilities have now allowed astronomers to see the myriad of stars in this neighbouring galaxy much more clearly than ever before. The result is this record-breaking image — the biggest infrared image ever taken of the Small Magellanic Cloud — with the whole frame filled with millions of stars.

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a dwarf galaxy, the more petite twin of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). They are two of our closest galaxy neighbours in space — the SMC lies about 200 000 light-years away, just a twelfth of the distance to the more famous Andromeda Galaxy. Both are also rather peculiarly shaped, as a result of interactions with one another and with the Milky Way itself.

Their relative proximity to Earth makes the Magellanic Clouds ideal candidates for studying how stars form and evolve. However, while the distribution and history of star formation in these dwarf galaxies were known to be complex, one of the biggest obstacles to obtaining clear observations of star formation in galaxies is interstellar dust. Enormous clouds of these tiny grains scatter and absorb some of the radiation emitted from the stars — especially visible light — limiting what can be seen by telescopes here on Earth. This is known as dust extinction.
The SMC is full of dust, and the visible light emitted by its stars suffers significant extinction. Fortunately, not all electromagnetic radiation is equally affected by dust. Infrared radiation passes through interstellar dust much more easily than visible light, so by looking at the infrared light from a galaxy we can learn about the new stars forming within the clouds of dust and gas.

VISTA, the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope, was designed to image infrared radiation. The VISTA Survey of the Magellanic Clouds (VMC) is focused on mapping the star formation history of the SMC and LMC, as well as mapping their three-dimensional structures. Millions of SMC stars have been imaged in the infrared thanks to the VMC, providing an unparalleled view almost unaffected by dust extinction.

The whole frame of this massive image is filled with stars belonging to the Small Magellanic Cloud. It also includes thousands of background galaxies and several bright star clusters, including 47 Tucanae at the right of the picture, which lies much closer to the Earth than the SMC. The zoomable image will show you the SMC as you have never seen it before!
The wealth of new information in this 1.6 gigapixel image (43 223 x 38 236 pixels) has been analysed by an international team led by Stefano Rubele of the University of Padova. They have used cutting-edge stellar models to yield some surprising results.

The VMC has revealed that most of the stars within the SMC formed far more recently than those in larger neighbouring galaxies. This early result from the survey is just a taster of the new discoveries still to come, as the survey continues to fill in blind spots in our maps of the Magellanic Clouds.

TOP IMAGE….The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) galaxy is a striking feature of the southern sky even to the unaided eye. But visible-light telescopes cannot get a really clear view of what is in the galaxy because of obscuring clouds of interstellar dust. VISTA’s infrared capabilities have now allowed astronomers to see the myriad of stars in this neighbouring galaxy much more clearly than ever before. The result is this record-breaking image — the biggest infrared image ever taken of the Small Magellanic Cloud — with the whole frame filled with millions of stars.
As well as the SMC itself this very wide-field image reveals many background galaxies and several star clusters, including the very bright 47 Tucanae globular cluster at the right of the picture.
Credit: ESO/VISTA VMC


CENTRE IMAGE….These cutout images show a few of the highlights from a huge new infrared image of our neighbouring galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, that was taken with the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The lower-right panel shows the bright globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, which lies much closer to the Earth than the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Credit: ESO/VISTA VMC


LOWER IMAGE….This chart shows the faint southern constellation of Tucana (The Toucan), home to the small nearby galaxy called the Small Magellanic Cloud (shown in green). This picture shows the stars that can be seen with the unaided eye on a dark clear night. The galaxy itself is also easily viewed without a telescope as a faint patch of light looking very like a small cloud. Nearby are the two bright globular star clusters NGC 104 (also known as 47 Tucanae) and NGC 362, both of which are much closer to Earth than the cloud itself and unrelated to it. Credit: ESO, IAU and Sky & Telescope