milky-way-galaxy

Triangulum Galaxy

The Triangulum Galaxy, also called the Pinwheel Galaxy or Messier 33, is a spiral galaxy located about 3 million light years away. It is about 50,000 light years across, the third largest galaxy in our Local Group behind the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way.

The Triangulum Galaxy is actually thought to be a satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy. In this image, star forming regions show up in bright red and star clusters shine blue. NGC 604, the brightest star forming region in the galaxy, can be seen at 4 o’clock from the center of the galaxy. The galaxy also hosts a number of variable stars, which has helped astronomers determine distances of other objects in space.

Image and information from NASA.

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For myself, I like a universe that, includes much that is unknown and, at the same time, much that is knowable. A universe in which everything is known would be static and dull, as boring as the heaven of some weak-minded theologians. A universe that is unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is one very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not really much of a coincidence.
Carl Sagan  - Can We know the Universe?’ in M. Gardner (ed.), T

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Galactic Center of Our Milky Way

The Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory – collaborated to produce an unprecedented image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy.

Observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. The center of the galaxy is located within the bright white region in the upper portion of the image. The entire image covers about one-half a degree, about the same angular width as the full moon.

Each telescope’s contribution is presented in a different color:

  • Yellow represents the near-infrared observations of Hubble. They outline the energetic regions where stars are being born as well as reveal hundreds of thousands of stars.
  • Red represents the infrared observations of Spitzer. The radiation and winds from stars create glowing dust clouds that exhibit complex structures from compact, spherical globules to long, stringy filaments.
  • Blue and violet represents the X-ray observations of Chandra. X-rays are emitted by gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosions and by outflows from the supermassive black hole in the galaxy’s center. The bright blue blob toward the bottom of the full field image is emission from a double star system containing either a neutron star or a black hole.
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Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have released a breathtaking new photograph showing the central area of our Milky Way galaxy. The photograph shows a whopping 84 million stars in an image measuring 108500×81500, which contains nearly 9 billion pixels.

Crops of the zoomable version.

The Milky Way over Crater Lake National Park is just mesmerizing. Tiffany Nguyen took this amazing photo a few weeks ago while visiting the park. Of the experience, she says, “I must’ve gotten over a dozen mosquito bites and hardly any sleep, but it’s nights like this I’ll never forget.” Photo courtesy of Tiffany Nguyen.

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Stars above, stars below. Watch them dance and glow!

Stars light up the sky as bioluminescent phytoplankton glow like stars; in the Maldives, South Asia.

Image sources [1] [2] [3] [4]

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is the ultimate place to explore the wonders of the night sky. Here the Milky Way extends from horizon to horizon like a vast silver rainbow, and on a moonless night, visitors can see 7,500 stars. David Lane captured this spectacular panorama (it’s made up of 25 individual photos stitched together) of the stars sparkling over the canyon. And the colorful red and green swirls in the sky that look like the aurora: it’s a phenomenon called airglow. Photo courtesy of David Lane. 🌌