Astronomy Picture of the Day Thread

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Astronomy Picture of the Day Thread

Post by Magnus » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:58 am

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NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope finds a delicate flower in the Ring Nebula, as shown in this image. The outer shell of this planetary nebula looks surprisingly similar to the delicate petals of a camellia blossom. (A planetary nebula is a shell of material ejected from a dying star.) Located about 2,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Lyra, the Ring Nebula is also known as Messier Object 57 and NGC 6720. It is one of the best examples of a planetary nebula and a favorite target of amateur astronomers.

The "ring" is a thick cylinder of glowing gas and dust around the doomed star. As the star begins to run out of fuel, its core becomes smaller and hotter, boiling off its outer layers. Spitzer's infrared array camera detected this material expelled from the withering star. Previous images of the Ring Nebula taken by visible-light telescopes usually showed just the inner glowing loop of gas around the star. The outer regions are especially prominent in this new image because Spitzer sees the infrared light from hydrogen molecules. The molecules emit the infrared light that they have absorbed ultraviolet radiation from the star or have been heated by the wind from the star.

All yanked from NASA
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Post by Gorth » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:38 am

We'll get to see that up close some day when our own sun runs out of fuel :cool:

It looks almost like something out a 70'es sci-fi series :)
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Post by Magnus » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:55 am

"This time on 'Gorth Rogers in the 25th Century: Gorth does battle with the Amazon Women of the Ring Nebula!"
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Post by Gorth » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:40 pm

:lol:
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Post by Joseph » Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:38 am

CatBoris wrote:"This time on 'Gorth Rogers in the 25th Century: Gorth does battle with the Amazon Women of the Ring Nebula!"
When suddenly, the Spider Queen uses her Acme Gravitron Device to shift the orbit of the Red Moon!

Eclipsed Moon and Stars

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Explanation: This dramatic image features a dark red Moon during a total lunar eclipse -- celestial shadow play enjoyed by many denizens of planet Earth last Saturday. Recorded near Wildon, Austria, the picture is a composite of two exposures; a relatively short exposure to feature the lunar surface and a longer exposure to capture background stars in the constellation Leo. Completely immersed in Earth's cone-shaped shadow during the total eclipse phase, the lunar surface is still illuminated by sunlight, reddened and refracted into the dark shadow region by a dusty atmosphere. As a result, familiar details of the Moon's nearside are easy to pick out, including the smooth lunar mare and the large ray crater Tycho. In this telescopic view, the background stars are faint and most would be invisible to the naked eye.

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Post by Magnus » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:43 am

Reminds me of that Windows Vista ad...

"Wow."
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Post by Magnus » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:58 pm

The belated Earth Day post.


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"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

"The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
" -Carl Sagan
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Post by D. Sauzi » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:38 am

nice, very nice.
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Post by Joseph » Sun May 06, 2007 8:30 am

MWC 922: The Red Square Nebula

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Explanation: What could cause a nebula to appear square? No one is quite sure. The hot star system known as MWC 922, however, appears to be imbedded in a nebula with just such a shape. The above image combines infrared exposures from the Hale Telescope on Mt. Palomar in California, and the Keck-2 Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. A leading progenitor hypothesis for the square nebula is that the central star or stars somehow expelled cones of gas during a late developmental stage. For MWC 922, these cones happen to incorporate nearly right angles and be visible from the sides. Supporting evidence for the cone hypothesis includes radial spokes in the image that might run along the cone walls. Researchers speculate that the cones viewed from another angle would appear similar to the gigantic rings of supernova 1987A, possibly indicating that a star in MWC 922 might one day itself explode in a similar supernova.

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Post by Magnus » Mon May 07, 2007 12:36 am

CatBoris wrote:Reminds me of that Windows Vista ad...

"Wow."
A bit of a cheap reply, but what the hell are you supposed to say, when you are shown the beauty that is space?
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Post by Joseph » Mon May 07, 2007 1:17 am

Hey, "wow" is always an acceptable answer when looking at the beauty of space. Unless of course a comet is falling on your head, in which case "shit" is probably more apt.

And that pic I posted today.. remind me of the new Doctor Who opening titles the more I see it.

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Post by Gorth » Mon May 07, 2007 10:33 am

I didn't know Dr. Who had red squares in it. Never seen the show.

Apart from that, Wow! Awesome picture :)

...

What would the comment be if a comet fell on your head then, "Ow!" ?
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Post by Joseph » Mon May 07, 2007 10:41 am

Well, it doesn't have red squares, but any one who has watched the new series will likely get my point in that it kind of looks like something you'd see in the opening credits.

As for the comet comment... "ow", "shit", "omg" and "mommy!!!" would all probably work.

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Post by Ruathavril » Mon May 07, 2007 11:35 am

How about "Now where is my cameraaaahhhh!!!" :P

Nice pictures indeed :)
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Post by Joseph » Sun May 20, 2007 11:35 pm

The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble

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Explanation: Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat's Eye nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth. A classic planetary nebula, the Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood. Seen so clearly in this sharp Hubble Space Telescope image, the truly cosmic eye is over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into the Cat's Eye, astronomers may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.

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