stellar cloud

Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant : Its easy to get lost following the intricate strands of the Spaghetti Nebula. A supernova remnant cataloged as Simeis 147 and Sh2-240, the glowing gas filaments cover nearly 3 degrees 6 full moons on the sky. Thats about 150 light-years at the stellar debris clouds estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth about 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original stars core. via NASA

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Three Badass Subfields of Astronomy: Astrobiology, Astrochemistry, and Astrophysics

I’ve been receiving a lot of messages from people curious to know the differences between these subfields of astronomy. So, I’ve written a post giving a simple definition and a brief description of what’s involved in each.

Astrobiology (also known as exobiology) is the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life here on Earth and—more importantly—the entire universe. Using existing origin theories and models, this relatively new branch of astronomy is primarily focused on analyzing and discovering the amazing possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Astrobiologists face some distinct problems in their work. Many planets are completely unsustainable to life as we know it. Scorching or freezing temperatures, seemingly gentle rain that would actually burn the skin off of your body, or hurricanes the size of Earth itself are quite common planetary conditions in the universe. Astrobiologists attempt to simulate the possibilities of life cropping up in these unlikely conditions. Whether or not a life form can survive in these types of environments will reveal just how diverse and adaptive it is. Despite nature seeming like a sadistic asshole, there is striking evidence for the resilience of life. Astrobiologists have outlined four requirements for life to survive:

  1. A liquid solvent in which molecules can move freely and interact. 
  2. An energy source.
  3. An atom which allows complex structures to exist.
  4. A sh*t load of time.

Considering that certain life forms here on earth have defied some of these requirements, it’s logical to presume that there is indeed extraterrestrial life. The fact that the conditions can literally be terrible and life can still survive, is enough to convince me there are almost certainly other forms of life in the universe.  

Additionally, if we do find evidence of other life forms in the universe, they will probably look almost nothing like little green men with large heads and telepathic abilities (although, that would be awesome). In fact, astrobiologists hypothesize that extraterrestrial life will most likely be far more exotic and diverse than anything we can possibly imagine. Nature has certainly shown that it has one hell of an imagination.

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This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This stormy scene shows a stellar nursery known as N159, an HII region over 150 light-years across. N159 contains many hot young stars. 

Meteorite As Old As Earth Can Tell Us How Solar System Formed

BY ELANA GLOWATZ

A meteorite the size of a fist that came crashing onto a roof in the Netherlands earlier this year is as old as the Earth itself, Dutch scientists are saying. This means the meteorite could tell us a lot about how our planet and our solar system formed.

“We do not have rocks of this age on Earth,” geologist Leo Kriegsman said in a video from Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. “We can learn from it what happened in the very beginning of the solar system: When you had sort of a stellar cloud that collapsed, when minerals started to form, when planetoids started to form for the very first time. So it gives us information on what happened at the very beginning when the Earth was formed.”

The space rock was filmed coming down in a streak through the air and then went through a roof in the Dutch village Broek in Waterland, which is near Amsterdam, on Jan. 11. According to Kriegsman, it is about 4.5 billion years old — around the same age as the Earth — and probably came loose from the asteroid belt, a ring of rocks between Mars and Jupiter.

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stellar stella
— 

stellar stella, rose to me, bloomed unfurled, rose to me

she walked around with slippers on, everywhere she went

she poked at stars and poked at night, she sent me home

smiling (i remember sleeping the wine off in one golden afternoon,

when it rained and i could see the stars again, after cloud)

stellar stella never lost, she just pretended

she grabbed me by the waist, and we ascended


i was gonna write more but i feel like that’s a good place to end the poem; might make a sequel

“For unmeasurable periods, I seem divorced from my body, as though I were an awareness spreading out through space, over the earth and into the heavens, unhampered by time or substance, free from the gravitation that binds to heavy human problems of the world. My body requires no attention. It’s not hungry. It’s neither warm or cold. It’s resigned to being left undisturbed. Why have I troubled to bring it here?”
  ―  Charles A. Lindbergh

Planetary nebula with spiral arms

The two spiral arms winding towards the bright centre might deceive you into thinking you are looking at a galaxy a bit like our Milky Way. But the object starring in this image is of a different nature: PK 329-02.2 is a ‘planetary nebula’ within our home galaxy. 

Despite the name, this isn’t a planet either. Planetary nebula is a misnomer that came about because of how much nebulas resembled giant, gaseous planets when looked through a telescope in the 1700s. Rather, what we see in this image is the last breath of a dying star. 

When stars like the Sun are nearing the end of their lives, they let go of their gaseous outermost layers. As these clouds of stellar material move away from the central star they can acquire irregular and complex shapes. This complexity is evident in the faint scattered gas you see at the centre of the image. But there is also beautiful symmetry in PK 329-02.2, as the two bright blue spiral arms perfectly align with the two stars at the centre of the nebula. 

It may look like the spiral arms are connected, but it is the stars that are companions. They are part of a visual binary, though only the one at the upper right gave rise to the nebula. While the stars will continue to orbit each other for millions or billions of years, the nebula – and its spiral arms – will spread out from the centre and eventually fade away over the next few thousands of years.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Serge Meunier

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Milky Way with Large and Magellanic Clouds by Henry Brosius
Via Flickr:
I had a window of just over a hour to capture the Milky Way and the Large and Small Magellanic clouds before the moon rose and clouds set in. I got lucky again with a meteor that decided to grace me with its presence.