The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped an amazing image of a supernova remnant- dubbed SNR 0519- located in one of the Milky Way’s small satellite galaxies 150,000 light years from Earth.
Wispy shells of blood-red colored gas filaments appears to float peacefully in space however it marks the site of a cataclysmic event that occurred 600 years ago.
The shell of material we see in this image was once part of a white dwarf- an Earth-sized elderly star that may have looked a lot like our own sun in its younger days. This stellar progenitor was in a close binary star system where gas from its neighboring star was gravitationally pulled onto the surface of the white dwarf. Over time this gas accumulated and eventually detonated in a thermonuclear explosion that resulted in the beautiful deep-sky object that we see today .
As the years go by this gaseous envelope will continue to expand and ultimately, after many millennia, dissipate into the surrounding interstellar medium.
SNR 0519 is found within the southern constellation Dorado (the dolphin fish) within the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) – the fourth largest galaxy in our local collection of islands of stars known as the Local Group.
Tags: Dorado, galaxy, Hubble, LMC, supernova, white dwarf
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Sometimes celestial objects line-up in the sky so that they produce an amazing sky show. That is exactly what is happening in our evening skies this week as comet PanSTARRS and the famous Andromeda galaxy have a close encounter. The cosmic pair will be quite a sight through binoculars and small backyard telescopes, and of course create a magical photographic opportunity not to be missed.
Tags: Andromeda, comet, comet PanSTARRS, galaxy, m31
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A monstrous black hole—17 billion times the mass of the Sun and possibly the largest ever detected—appears to be too big for its galactic home, leaving astronomers scratching their heads about its very existence.
The cosmic behemoth, at the heart of a distant galaxy, is estimated to be 4,000 times larger than the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
Tags: black hole, cosmology, galaxy
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Check out some of the cool space news coming out this past week on my weekly CTV News Channel interview.
Tags: black hole, galaxy, Mercury, space news
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Check out some of the cool space news coming out this week I highlight on my weekly CTV News channel interview.
Tags: astronomy, exoplanet, galaxy, Hubble, ISS, space news, TV
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Seven billion light years away a newfound galaxy cluster is breaking records and may help unlock secrets related to galaxy evolution and dark energy, according to a new study released this week.
Using telescopes located in Antarctica and in space, a team of astronomers have discovered not only one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, but a massive individual galaxy at its center that is churning out newborn stars at unheard of rates.
According to the lead author of this new study, Michael McDonald an astrophysicist from MIT, this discovery will shed light on large scale galaxy evolution in the universe.
“The prevailing idea is that the most massive galaxies in the Universe grow by consuming smaller galaxies and now we have an example of a massive galaxy which appears to be growing on its own, by forming new stars,” he said. “It appears that this starburst could account for a substantial amount of the galaxy’s stars, suggesting that this is an important ingredient for galaxy evolution.”
McDonald’s team also believes there is much more to be learned from this record-breaking cluster halfway across the Universe. The simple existence of such a massive cluster may help understand Dark energy – the mysterious force that is pulling the universe apart – and help constrain its properties.
“The number of exceptionally massive galaxy clusters like this in the Universe is very sensitive to the assumed nature of the dark energy, so even having 2 or 3 clusters of this mass can rule out various theoretical models,” added McDonald.
Here is a short video explainer of what this amazing discovery is all about…
Tags: cluster, galaxy, Phoenix cluster
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Astronomers have released a striking new image of a nearby galaxy that many astronomers think closely resembles our own Milky Way. Though the galaxy is seen edge-on, observations of NGC 4945 suggest that this hive of stars is a spiral galaxy much like our own, with swirling, luminous arms and a bar-shaped central region. These resemblances aside, NGC 4945 has a brighter center that likely harbors a supermassive black hole, which is devouring reams of matter and blasting energy out into space.
As NGC 4945 is only about 13 million light-years away in the constellation of Centaurus (the Centaur), a modest telescope is sufficient for skygazers to spot this remarkable galaxy. Today’s new portrait of NGC 4945 comes courtesy of the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at the LaSilla Observatory in Chile.
NGC 4945 appears cigar-shaped from our perspective on Earth, but the galaxy is actually a disc many times wider than it is thick, with bands of stars and glowing gas spiralinga round its center. With the use of special optical filters to isolate the color of light emitted by heated gases such as hydrogen, the image displays sharp contrasts in NGC 4945 that indicate areas of star formation. Other observations have revealed that NGC 4945 has an active galactic nucleus, meaning its central bulge emits far more energy than calmer galaxies like the Milky Way.
Scientists classify NGC 4945 as a Seyfert type of galaxy which have supermassive black holes that cause the turmoil in their centers. Black holes gravitationally draw gas and dust into them, accelerating and heating this attracted matter until it emits high-energy radiation, including X-rays and ultraviolet light. Most large, spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, host a black hole in their centers, though many of these dark monsters no longer actively “feed” at this stage in galactic development.
- adapted from a ESO news annoucement
Tags: galaxy, NGC 4945
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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has imaged a wild creature of the dark — a coiled galaxy with an eye-like object at its center. The galaxy, called NGC 1097, is located 50 million light-years away. It is spiral-shaped like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The “eye” at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars. In this color-coded infrared view from Spitzer, the area around the invisible black hole is blue and the ring of stars, white.The black hole is huge, about 100 million times the mass of our sun, and is feeding off gas and dust along with the occasional unlucky star. Our Milky Way’s central black hole is tame by comparison, with a mass of a few million suns. The ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation. An inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy is causing the ring to light up with new stars. In the Spitzer image, infrared light with shorter wavelengths is blue, while longer- wavelength light is red. The galaxy’s red spiral arms and the swirling spokes seen between the arms show dust heated by newborn stars. Older populations of stars scattered through the galaxy are blue. The fuzzy blue dot to the left, which appears to fit snuggly between the arms, is a companion galaxy.
Tags: black hole, galaxy, NGC 1097, Spitzer
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Astronomers have at last uncovered newborn stars at the frenzied center of our Milky Way galaxy. The discovery was made using the infrared vision of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The heart of our spiral galaxy is cluttered with stars, dust, and gas, and at its very center, a supermassive black hole. Conditions there are harsh, with fierce stellar winds, powerful shock waves, and other factors that make it difficult for stars to form. Astronomers have known that stars can form in this chaotic place, but they’re baffled as to how this occurs. Confounding the problem is all the dust standing between us and center of our galaxy. Until now, nobody had been able to definitively locate any baby stars.
“These stars are like needles in a haystack,” said Solange Ramirez, the principal investigator of the research program at NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.”There’s no way to find them using optical light, because dust gets in the way. We needed Spitzer’s infrared instruments to cut through the dust and narrow in on the objects.”
The young stellar objects are all less than about one million years old. They are embedded in cocoons of gas and dust, which will eventually flatten to disks that, according to theory, later lump together to form planets.
Tags: galaxy, Milky Way
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