NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2015 July 29 

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 Lagoon’s 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.

Neutron star’s echoes

Circinus X-1 is a freak of the Milky Way. Located in the plane of the galaxy, Circinus X-1 is the glowing husk of a binary star system that exploded a mere 2,500 years ago. The system consists of a nebula and a neutron star, the incredibly dense collapsed core of the exploded star, still in the orbital embrace of its companion star.

The rings are light echoes from Circinus X-1’s X-ray burst. Each of the four rings indicates a dense cloud of dust between us and the supernova remnant. When X-rays encounter grains of dust in interstellar space they can be deflected, and if the dust clouds are dense they can scatter a noticeable fraction of the X-rays away from their original trajectory, putting them on a triangular path.

Credit:  NASA/Chandra X-ray Observatory

Comets Kick up Dust in Helix Nebula

In this Spitzer’s infrared view of the Helix nebula, the eye looks more like that of a green monster’s. Infrared light from the outer gaseous layers is represented in blues and greens. The white dwarf is visible as a tiny white dot in the center of the picture. The red color in the middle of the eye denotes the final layers of gas blown out when the star died. 

The brighter red circle in the very center is the glow of a dusty disk circling the white dwarf (the disk itself is too small to be resolved). This dust, discovered by Spitzer’s infrared heat-seeking vision, was most likely kicked up by comets that survived the death of their star.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ.of Ariz.

The Way You Look Tonight - A Whouffaldi Fluff Fic

The doctor parked his Tadis in front of Clara’s house. He grabbed his lightweight satchel and walked out of the Tardis, toward her front door. He knocked and waited for an answer.
It was funny, he realized; Clara always barged right into his Tardis, very excited, but he always waited for an answer.
It’s only proper etiquette, said his common sense.
But does it show how much she loves to travel with you? Why aren’t you as excited? Interrogated his mind.
He gulped and straightened his jacket.
It was silent in the Oswald home. He frowned, his attack eyebrows going down. Her car was here.
He tried the door; it was unlocked, much to his surprise. He walked in, closed the door behind him and looked around. 
“Ohh, Clara!” He called, smiling and straightening. No answer. His smile faded. He walked up the stairs and down the hall to her room and knocked.
No answer. He opened the door, only to see Clara asleep on top of her bed. She was wearing sweats and mismatched socks. The TV across from her bed was on Netflix, and there was a bowl of popcorn on the side table. The Doctor laughed a short laugh. (A chuckle, a chortle, a snicker, but I hate all of those words. -sinna)
This must be her day off from work, the thought finally occured to him. The school was closed today. She had been talking about it earlier this week. He leaned on his shoulder against the doorframe and crossed his arms across his chest, gazing down at her, as if waiting for her to move. He stayed there for at least a minute.
He sighed.
“Oh, Clara, you’re no fun, at all,” He stood straight and took a last glance at her then went back downstairs and decided to come back later. He pushed open the doors to the Tardis, and in that moment, admired it for a few seconds, then ran to the middle and swiftly flipped a few levers and switches, pressed some buttons, spinning to reach certain ones, then finally leaning forward to embrace the feeling of the Tardis going through space and time.
It was now 11:00 pm and Clara looked out the window. The noise of the Tardis leaving earlier had woken her up. She had run outside, only to find it gone. She told herself not to worry; he would be back. He probably found her sleeping and decided to return when she woke up. 
Clara sighed and turned her head from the window. She wanted to stay up late tonight, especially since she had napped earlier. If the Doctor came back, she’d–
The loud Tardis noise echoed off the houses in the street and Clara ran outside without even questioning. There was the Tardis, appearing on her front lawn. She grinned like crazy and burst in the doors, then immediately regretted it.
The Doctor was been in the process of pulling off his shirt when Clara came in. He spotted her and smiled, then kept pulling it off, not even wondering how it would affect her.
“Clara!” He dropped the shirt and chose a… Pajama shirt?
She turned to face the doors of the Tardis, her face burning, arms crossed, head tilted.
“What? Not even excited to see me?” She heard the soft sound of cloth hitting the floor. That would be his pants.
“Not really when you’re in the middle of CHANGING!” She tried to sound annoyed. The doctor stopped mid-pants choosing and stared at her, wide eyed.
“Oh. Woops.”
After a few seconds of silence, she burst out laughing.
The doctor pulled up his pajama pants, grinning. He was planning to give Clara a most wonderful day off. 
“Ok, I’m properly clothed, Clara,” He accentuated ‘clothed’. She turned her head over her shoulder first, as if frightened to turn her whole self. Then she fully turned around. He had on pin striped pajamas; white and blue. She stared at him, straining not to giggle.
“Why are you in your pajamas? I didn’t even know you had pajamas!” She crossed her arms and gaped jokingly at him. 
“Well, even Time Lords need to sleep, believe it or not, Miss Clara,” He walked toward her. He still didn’t answer her question.
He stood very close to her and the height difference was quite noticeable. He glared down at her.
“Am I intimidating?” He leaned over her, hands behind his back.
Clara smiled up at him.
“Not in the least,” She said, poking his chest. “More like a huggable teddy bear.”
She turned around and started to walk out of the Tardis, expecting that he would follow.
“Well, aren’t you going to put on pajamas too? This is no fun without you also being in pajamas,” He frowned at her sternly. She laughed at him saying ‘pajamas’ in his very strong Scottish accent.
"Nothing; just pajamas with your voice,” She bounced up and down on the balls of her feet, biting her lower lip and smiling. “My pajamas are inside the house,” She pointed with her thumb behind her. 
“I have a selection of women’s pajamas!” He remembered.
Clara froze. “And why would you have that?” She cautiously followed him.
“Amelia.” He said, then his face fell a little.
“She was a past companion I had… She, uh… Left her pajamas here a lot.”
Clara felt herself blush. Did Amelia sleep with the Doctor?!
“I’ll just go get mine,” She suggested. She didn’t want him to get all teary eyed. 
“Great idea, Clara!” He decided, and followed her out of the Tardis.
He followed her all the way up to her room, where Clara abruptly turned around to look at him, and it was so abrupt that Twelve bumped into her, making her fall back. She yelped but he leaned forward and caught her, both arms grabbing her upper arms. She was inches from the floor. 
She gasped as he did, then turned to look at the floor, then back at Twelve.
“Thanks for that!” She nodded at him, and smiled. “Now, uh… I need to get changed.”
“Oh, yes. I’ll wait.” He pulled her up to standing position, then leaned against the doorframe and waited.
Clara looked confused.
“No, I mean, you can’t watch me get changed…” She said slowly, motioning with her hands. She waited for this to process in his mind. His face looked contorted in thought.
“OH! Yes,” He pointed at her quickly, as if discovering something new, then walked outside the room and turned to face the wall. She looked at him, feeling a smile coming on, then giggled and closed the door.
Twelve sighed, his forehead against the cold wall. He heard drawers shutting and opening and Clara muttering.
He walked to the door and pressed an ear to it.
“No, too slutty… He has on pin-striped pajamas, for god sakes… Hmm… Ah, perfect…”
He frowned and checked himself, looking at his pajamas. He liked them!
Clara pulled open the door, to see the Doctor in the spot she had left him. He turned at the sound of the door opening and looked at her choice.
Pin striped nightie.
He frowned.
“Hey, that’s my idea?” He pointed at his and she laughed.
“Let’s see a movie,” Clara suggested. 
“Fine by me,” Twelve said. He wasn’t so familiar with 'movies’.
They went downstairs and Clara picked up the TV remote. She had a medium sized flatscreen.
Twelve sat down on the couch and his eyes got wide as he sunk slightly in it. He looked down at the cushion, feeling it, then up at Clara.
She laughed. “Isn’t it comfortable?”
“Can I have this put in my Tardis?” Twelve bounced up and down a little. Clara smiled.
“Sorry, Doc. You’ll have to wait until you regenerate.”
Her face fell a little. Twelve looked carefully at her as she went through Netflix.
“How about Nova?” She smiled, knowing that if they watched it the Doctor would say something sarcastic every twenty seconds. Twelve frowned.
“What’s that about? Is it that space show?”
“Yes,” She selected it.
“Oh, yes. Let’s see what else they got wrong,” He rubbed his hands together and leaned forward.
The Doctor had his arm around Clara and she was leaning her head onto his shoulder. This episode of Nova was nearly over. He was looked down at her hand, which was lying between them facing up. He cautiously put his free hand on top of hers and rubbed his thumb into her palm. She smiled and turned to face him. They were about to show a star being born on the telly. The Doctor looked down at her. They were explaining how the process begins.
She felt herself watching his eyes, then his lips. The Doctor noticed her noticing.
The star started the process.
Clara put an arm around his waist slowly and the Doctor looked at her slightly parted lips. Considering.
The star was being born.
Clara pulled herself up so they were eye to eye. The Doctor breathed slowly. They were nearly nose to nose now.
Beauty shone around the room from the light of star.
The Doctor and Clara both closed their eyes, as if telepathic, and Clara carefully connected lips with him. A hot sensation burned through him. Her hand on his back pressed him to her, but not too tight. He felt his blood freeze, but at the same time it was hot and flowed through him more rapidly. His hearts pounded. He, however, didn’t want this kiss to go too far, so he pushed those feeling down deep inside him. He felt his hand slide down her back to her lower back and stay there. It was a short kiss, but Clara felt the same feeling he did when the gap closed. They pulled away cautiously, and Clara looked up at the Doctor. He looked down at her, his face the same as when they started. Then the corners of his mouth lifted and he was smiling at her.
Just then, Clara’s phone started to play “The Way You Look Tonight.” It was an alarm she had, and it played at full volume. Clara bit her lip and grinned at the Doctor, who smiled back, as the trumpets opened up the song.
The Doctor stood up off the couch. It was 3:00 am. He looked down at Clara and offered her his hand as Sinatra started singing.
She laughed and took it, popping off the couch. 
“Someday, when I’m awfully low…” He started to sing, “When the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight,” He raised his eyebrows jokingly in a seductive way at her pinstriped nightie, making her gasp and laugh.
“Yes, you’re lovely, with your smile so warm…” Twelve sang in his low voice with the accent; he spun her in her silly pinstriped nightie. She giggled as he put his hands on her waist. She put hers on his shoulders, which she had trouble doing since he was so tall.
They waltzed around the room, laughing. He widened his eyes at her when he sang, making her do the same and lean forward towards him. 
“I didn’t know you could sing–!” She laughed before he spun her again.
“With each word, your tenderness grows; tearing my fear apart!” He held 'apart’, spinning with his arms straight out. She laughed, holding a hand up to her mouth.
“And that laugh!” He ran to her and booped her nose. “Wrinkles your nose, touches my foolish heart…” He lifted her up, smiling up at her, who squealed. 
“Lovely; never, ever change. Keep that breathless charm…”
Clara joined in, “Won’t you please arrange it?”
“…cuz I love you, just the way you look tonight,” He brought her back down as the trumpet solos came in again. They spun around the room, this way and that. 
“And that laugh that wrinkles your nose and touches my foolish heart!” Clara booped his nose this time.
She nearly fell laughing, and he dipped her to the left, her hair falling back from her face.
“Lovely;” He brought her back up and spun her around him.
“Don’t you ever change,” She chimed in her beautiful voice, “Keep your breathless charm…”
“Won’t you please arrange it?” He answered.
“'Cuz I love you just the way you look tonight,” They both sang as the song slowed and got quieter; Twelve pulled her to him gently. She stood on his feet and put her hands around him to stabalize herself. He swayed them slightly back and forth. She hugged him to her and they did so. 
“Just the way you look,” He hugged her to him, “tonight.”


Physics major Brianna Douglas knows how to rock the cosmos! That’s her business card up top - I can’t quite place the image, but it looks like something from Chandra, maybe the Crab pulsar or the Galactic Center? The phone case is a design called “Clash of the Cosmo Galaxy” - it looks like a combination of an infrared image of the Helix Nebula and the Flame & Horsehead nebulas in Orion.

Brianna was at the first meeting of the Astronomy Anti-Racism Group this past weekend, which I think is an outgrowth of the Inclusive Astronomy conference that happened in June (which Summer attended). I like to think that the presence of AstroFashion at conferences where people are working toward changing the demographics and environment of astronomy research (aka normalizing it, to borrow from Shonda Rhimes) is not a coincidence and that we can help a little, even with a fashion blog, by challenging the stereotype of what a scientist looks like and showcasing different kinds of contributions & successes in science. AstroFashion won’t fix everything, but you might as well look fabulous as you change the world, right? ;)

Thanks to Nicole C. for the photo!


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Seven Stunning Astronomy Photographs From 2015

From 2,700 entries the Royal Museums Greenwich in London chose a collection of images from their annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition, which showcase stunning images from space. Featuring a variety of celestial bodies, such as the Horsehead Nebula and Barnard’s Loop, the winner will be announced on September 17 and exhibited at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. We highly recommend clicking each image to view the full extent of their beauty.