The spectacular new camera installed on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope during Servicing Mission 4 in May has delivered the most detailed view of star birth in the graceful, curving arms of the nearby spiral galaxy M83.

Nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel, M83 is undergoing more rapid star formation than our own Milky Way galaxy, especially in its nucleus. The sharp “eye” of the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured hundreds of young star clusters, ancient swarms of globular star clusters, and hundreds of thousands of individual stars, mostly blue supergiants and red supergiants.

The image, taken in August 2009, provides a close-up view of the myriad stars near the galaxy’s core, the bright whitish region at far right.

WFC3’s broad wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared, reveals stars at different stages of evolution, allowing astronomers to dissect the galaxy’s star-formation history.

The image reveals in unprecedented detail the current rapid rate of star birth in this famous “grand design” spiral galaxy. The newest generations of stars are forming largely in clusters on the edges of the dark dust lanes, the backbone of the spiral arms. These fledgling stars, only a few million years old, are bursting out of their dusty cocoons and producing bubbles of reddish glowing hydrogen gas.

The excavated regions give a colorful “Swiss cheese” appearance to the spiral arm. Gradually, the young stars’ fierce winds (streams of charged particles) blow away the gas, revealing bright blue star clusters. These stars are about 1 million to 10 million years old. The older populations of stars are not as blue.

A bar of stars, gas, and dust slicing across the core of the galaxy may be instigating most of the star birth in the galaxy’s core. The bar funnels material to the galaxy’s center, where the most active star formation is taking place. The brightest star clusters reside along an arc near the core.

The remains of about 60 supernova blasts, the deaths of massive stars, can be seen in the image, five times more than known previously in this region. WFC3 identified the remnants of exploded stars. By studying these remnants, astronomers can better understand the nature of the progenitor stars, which are responsible for the creation and dispersal of most of the galaxy’s heavy elements.

M83, located in the Southern Hemisphere, is often compared to M51, dubbed the Whirlpool galaxy, in the Northern Hemisphere. Located 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra, M83 is two times closer to Earth than M51.

Object Name: M83

Image Type: Astronomical

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

Acknowledgment: R. O'Connell (University of Virginia) and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

Time And Space

In this stunning picture of the giant galactic nebula NGC 3603, the crisp resolution of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures various stages of the life cycle of stars in one single view.

To the upper right of center is the evolved blue supergiant called Sher 25. The star has a unique circumstellar ring of glowing gas that is a galactic twin to the famous ring around the supernova 1987A. The grayish-bluish color of the ring and the bipolar outflows (blobs to the upper right and lower left of the star) indicates the presence of processed (chemically enriched) material.

Near the center of the view is a so-called starburst cluster dominated by young, hot Wolf-Rayet stars and early O-type stars. A torrent of ionizing radiation and fast stellar winds from these massive stars has blown a large cavity around the cluster.

The most spectacular evidence for the interaction of ionizing radiation with cold molecular-hydrogen cloud material are the giant gaseous pillars to the right and lower left of the cluster. These pillars are sculptured by the same physical processes as the famous pillars Hubble photographed in the M16 Eagle Nebula.

Dark clouds at the upper right are so-called Bok globules, which are probably in an earlier stage of star formation.

To the lower left of the cluster are two compact, tadpole-shaped emission nebulae. Similar structures were found by Hubble in Orion, and have been interpreted as gas and dust evaporation from possibly protoplanetary disks (proplyds). The “proplyds” in NGC 3603 are 5 to 10 times larger in size and correspondingly also more massive.

This single view nicely illustrates the entire stellar life cycle of stars, starting with the Bok globules and giant gaseous pillars, followed by circumstellar disks, and progressing to evolved massive stars in the young starburst cluster. The blue supergiant with its ring and bipolar outflow marks the end of the life cycle.

The color difference between the supergiant’s bipolar outflow and the diffuse interstellar medium in the giant nebula dramatically visualizes the enrichment in heavy elements due to synthesis of heavier elements within stars.

This true-color picture was taken on March 5, 1999 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

This picture is being presented at the 194th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Chicago.

Object Names: NGC 3603, Sher 25

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: Wolfgang Brandner (JPL/IPAC), Eva K. Grebel (Univ. Washington), You-Hua Chu (Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champaign), and NASA

Time And Space

i dream of...credence?

the i dream of jeannie graves/credence AU i didn’t want to write a whole fic for because it’s pretty crack-y but then i wrote all of this, anyway. it’s ~1600 words of sort of summary almost not!fic. (there’s also mentions of grindelwald/dumbledore)

ok, so captain percival graves, united states air force, is on some kind of a test space flight when his one-manned capsule comes down, nowhere near the planned recovery area. in fact, he’s pretty sure he’s landed on an uninhabited island. a desert island. he checks his capsule but he can’t send an sos back to base. he can only hope his tracker was working long enough that a rescue team will come get him. while he’s exploring the beach, he sees a strange bottle. it’s beautiful and, curious as to how it got there, he picks it up.

as soon as he does, black smoke comes billowing out and he drops the bottle. the smoke materialises into the form of a young man, and graves wonders if he hit his head when he crashed. the man is wearing a black velvet vest, cropped and edged in gold. his chest is otherwise bare, dusted with dark hair, the vest barely concealing dusky nipples…graves shakes his head. he needs some water. but his eyes drift back to the impossible man. his pants are sheer, and graves’s face heats as he notes the shapely legs barely concealed beneath them, all the way up to…and he sighs in relief, and MAYBE the slightest disappointment, when there are solid briefs giving at least a modicum of modesty. all in all, he looks like a…


the young man’s eyes snap to his and he tilts his head. he starts speaking in a language graves can’t understand and graves rubs his eyes vigorously. the man is still there when he opens them, babbling away. ‘i wish you could speak english,’ graves says and the next minute the man says, ‘oh, thank-you, master, now you can understand me,’ in perfect english.

graves faints.

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It’s Dimming! Astronomers Jump At Opportunity To Solve The Mystery Of Tabby’s Star

“Perhaps, as many suggested, this was evidence of an alien megastructure being constructed? But another astrophysical scenario could explain it: a recently devoured planet. Gases would dim the star overall, while outbursts and flares create irregular flux dips.”

Earlier this decade, the Kepler mission became the most successful planet-finding endeavor of all time, turning up thousands of new worlds by measuring the transit data of some 150,000 stars. When planets passed in front of their parent star, they blocked a tiny fraction of their light, leaving behind an imprint of a periodic dimming signal. But one star dims differently from all the others. KIC 8462852, known as Tabby’s star, has irregular dips of up to 20% in brightness, equivalent to ten times the effect of all the Solar System’s planets combined. What could be causing this? While a few astronomers have proposed alien megastructures, another, simpler explanation might explain it all: a recently devoured planet.

As a new dimming event is underway, astronomers hope to collect enough quality observations to validate or disfavor all the ideas bouncing around. Find out more today!

This close-up, visible-light view by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals new details of the Ring Nebula.

The object is tilted toward Earth so that astronomers see the ring face-on. The Hubble observations reveal that the nebula’s shape is more complicated than astronomers thought. The blue gas in the nebula’s center is actually a football-shaped structure that pierces the red doughnut-shaped material. Hubble also uncovers the detailed structure of the dark, irregular knots of dense gas embedded along the inner rim of the ring. The knots look like spokes in a bicycle. The Hubble images have allowed the research team to match up the knots with the spikes of light around the bright, main ring, which are a shadow effect.

The Ring Nebula is a well-known planetary nebula, the glowing remains of a Sun-like star. The tiny white dot in the center of the nebula is the star’s hot core, called a white dwarf.

The nebula is about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra. The structure measures roughly one light-year across.

The Hubble observations were taken Sept. 19, 2011, by the Wide Field Camera 3. In the image, the deep blue color in the center represents helium; the cyan color of the inner ring is the glow of hydrogen and oxygen; and the reddish color of the outer ring is from nitrogen and sulfur.

Object Names: Ring Nebula, M57, NGC 6720

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Time And Space

after this week ive become highly motivated to like. idk…….live? im not living my life….at all. i dont do anything. and im lucky enough that nothing is actually stopping me so me just sitting here on my ass all the time moping around is pointless? im not even in that bad of a place mentally atm i need to take advantage….im going to graduate. im going to get a job. im going to become an active member of society. im tired of living like this!! i want to make my friends and family proud of me…..i want to be proud of myself!!

A teenager designed a pocket-sized satellite that will fly on a NASA mission

  • An 18-year-old created the world’s lightest functioning satellite, and it’s going to be launched on a real NASA mission next month.
  • Rifath Sharook, who is from Tamil Nadu, India, made the pocket-sized satellite for a competition called Cubes in Space, which is an international design challenge that asks students aged 11 to 18 to fit their space-worthy invention inside a 13-foot cube.
  • The pocket-sized 3-D printed satellite is much smaller than that. It weighs just 0.14 pounds and will measure the rotation, acceleration and magnetosphere of Earth, Sharook told Business Standard. Read more (5/17/17)

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Frontier Fields Galaxy Cluster MACS J0717 : Frontier Fields galaxy cluster MACS J0717, one of the most complex and distorted galaxy clusters known, is the site of a collision between four clusters. It is located about 5.4 billion light years away from Earth.