A Patchwork of Galaxies - Halfway to the Edge of our Universe

In this image we see more than halfway to the edge of the observable Universe. This image is the result of 14 hour exposure of the Hubble Space telescope. Many of the objects are galaxies within this image are clusters about 5 billion light years away. The light from quasar QSO-160913+653228 took nine billion years to reach us and allows us to observe time on a truly cosmic scale. 

Credit: NASA,ESA,Hubble

Sharpless 249 and the Jellyfish Nebula : Normally faint and elusive, the Jellyfish Nebula is caught in this alluring telescopic mosaic. The scene is anchored right and left by two bright stars, Mu and Eta Geminorum, at the foot of the celestial twin while the Jellyfish Nebula is the brighter arcing ridge of emission with dangling tentacles below and right of center. In fact, the cosmic jellyfish is part of bubble-shaped supernova remnant IC 443, the expanding debris cloud from a massive star that exploded. Light from the explosion first reached planet Earth over 30,000 years ago. Like its cousin in astrophysical waters the Crab Nebula supernova remnant, the Jellyfish Nebula is known to harbor a neutron star, the remnant of the collapsed stellar core. An emission nebula cataloged as Sharpless 249 fills the field at the upper left. The Jellyfish Nebula is about 5,000 light-years away. At that distance, this narrowband composite image would be about 300 light-years across. via NASA

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What do you see in this image: a dolphin or a penguin?

This galactic pair has nicknamed after both of them – the curve of a porpoise or a dolphin can be seen in the blue- and reddish shape towards the bottom of the frame, when paired with the glowing orb just beneath it, resemble a bird or penguin guarding an egg.

The form of the penguin itself is made up of a single galaxy that has been distorted and ripped apart. This galaxy, named NGC 2936, was once a normal spiral like the Milky Way, until it started interacting with its egg-like neighbour, an elliptical galaxy named NGC 2937. Together, these two galaxies make up a pair dubbed Arp 142. 

The pair is pulling each other and interacting, slowly changing their appearances and disrupting their gas, dust and stars. In around a billion years these two might come together to form a single galaxy, and the merging process will be complete.

Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2015 March 30

A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

It appeared, momentarily, like a 50-km tall banded flag. In mid-March, an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection directed toward a clear magnetic channel to Earth led to one of the more intense geomagnetic storms of recent years. A visual result was wide spread auroras being seen over many countries near Earth’s magnetic poles. Captured over Kiruna, Sweden, the image features an unusually straight auroral curtain with the green color emitted low in the Earth’s atmosphere, and red many kilometers higher up. It is unclear where the rare purple aurora originates, but it might involve an unusual blue aurora at an even lower altitude than the green, seen superposed with a much higher red. As the Sun continues near its top level of surface activity, colorful nights of auroras over Earth are likely to continue.

Size comparison between Earth and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
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