A colourful star-forming region is featured in this stunning new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 2467. Looking like a roiling cauldron of some exotic cosmic brew, huge clouds of gas and dust are sprinkled with bright blue hot young stars.
Strangely shaped dust clouds, resembling spilled liquids, are silhouetted against a colourful background of glowing gas in this newly released Hubble image. The star-forming region NGC 2467 is a vast cloud of gas – mostly hydrogen – that serves as an incubator for new stars. Some of these youthful stars have emerged from the dense clouds where they were born and now shine brightly, hot and blue in this picture, but many others remain hidden.
Archives for June 2012
A beautiful image of the lunar surface, with two men upon it. There’s been no humans on the Moon since. This bothers me.
In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. This sharp image was taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed the valley floor. The image shows Schmitt on the left with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than was returned from any of the other lunar landing sites. Now forty years later, Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.
So I admit, I have a bit of an obsession with Baikonur, and the Russian/Soviet space program in general. Here’s this old (reliable) hardware and they’re still launching it, and it’s not built for comfort, and to come back down, you essentially crash-land in a wheat field. Well, there’s a parachute, but I’ve heard first-hand that it’s like being in a car wreck. But it works, right?? Another round of vodka, comrade!
Anyway, these are a couple of Soyuz shots I saw over at NASA HQ, neither particularly new (circa 2009-10), but both are striking to behold. Enjoy!
I have a thing for the Whirlpool Galaxy — I’m making a resin pendant of it as we speak! Here’s a recent capture of this lovely, celestial whirlpool.
Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper’s bowl until you get to the handle’s last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (top), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canes Venatici. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the human eye, deep images like this one can reveal the faint tidal debris around the smaller galaxy.
The color and contrast of this image is just extraordinary! Black globules against a golden starfield….
These are larger dust bunnies than you will find under your bed. Situated in rich star fields and glowing hydrogen gas, these opaque clouds of interstellar dust and gas are so large they might be able to form stars. Their home is known as IC 2944, a bright stellar nursery located about 5,900 light years away toward the constellation of Centaurus. The largest of these dark globules, first spotted by South African astronomer A. D. Thackeray in 1950, is likely two separate but overlapping clouds, each more than one light-year wide. Along with other data, the above representative color image from the 4-m Blanco telescope at Cerro Tololo, Chile indicates that Thackeray’s globules are fractured and churning as a result of intense ultraviolet radiation from young, hot stars already energizing and heating the bright emission nebula. These and similar dark globules known to be associated with other star forming regions may ultimately be dissipated by their hostile environment — like cosmic lumps of butter in a hot frying pan.