Music. Tea. Justice. (Bitey mad lady with a love of physics, food, and fiction, and a hyper-literate prog rock soundtrack.)
This image was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope. I had to cut it and compress it drastically to get it to fit on the blog, so you very much want to click on it to embiggen it massively and see it in its fully resolved glory. The image is of the insanely beautiful globular cluster M30, an ancient city of a few hundred thousand stars located 28,000 light years away in the constellation of Capricornus. The cluster is ancient, about 13 billion years old, making it as old or even older than the Milky Way itself. The core of the cluster is unusually dense as such things go, which is why it was studied. Where better to find vampires and thrillseekers?
A rich deposit of gas and dust in the NGC 3324 region fuelled a burst of starbirth there several millions of years ago and led to the creation of several hefty and very hot stars that are prominent in the new picture. Stellar winds and intense radiation from these young stars have blown open a hollow in the surrounding gas and dust. This is most in evidence as the wall of material seen to the centre right of this image. The ultraviolet radiation from the hot young stars knocks electrons out of hydrogen atoms, which are then recaptured, leading to a characteristic crimson-coloured glow as the electrons cascade through the energy levels, showing the extent of the local diffuse gas. Other colours come from other elements, with the characteristic glow from doubly ionised oxygen making the central parts appear greenish-yellow. (via Who do you see in this massive silhouette in space?)
The striking features in this image are the big red emission regions Barnards Loop and the Lambda Orionis Nebula (around Orions “head”), both predominantly visible in the light of ionized hydrogen (H-alpha, 656nm). Barnards Loop is a remnant of one or maybe several Supernova explosions. This loop is, as known from radio-astronomy, much more extended than it can be seen here. Just the inner part of the material is ionized by high energetic radiation of the Orion OB1-Association. This are the blue, hot and massive stars of Orions “belt” and the surrounding. A completely different star color is shown by Beteigeuze (Alpha Orionis, left “shoulder”) with its intensive orange. The surface temperature is with 3500 K very low and so the maximum of the radiated energy spectrum is positioned in red.
The Waterfall Nebula
The elongated gaseous stream stretches about ten light years.
About a month ago, a Galaxy Zoo contributor named Bruno discovered a very unique galaxy merger in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. The merger appeared to be a triple, or possibly quadruple system, which are indeed quite rare, and it includes curiously thin and long tidal tails. The Galaxy Zoo team has been informally referring to this merger as the “Violin Clef” or the “Integral” based on the unique shape as shown above. (via Galaxy Zoo Reveals Curious ‘Violin Clef’ Quadruple Galaxy Merger)
Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), one of the galaxies studied by Chakrabarti and co., has a satellite galaxy residing in its short spiral arm – marked in the image with an “X.” The distribution of hydrogen in M51 extends far beyond the visual boundaries of the galaxy, and perturbations in that hydrogen make it possible to infer the location and mass of these “dark” satellites. (via ‘Galaxy X,’ an Invisible Satellite Made of Dark Matter, Could be Lurking at the Milky Way’s Edge | Popular Science
In a galaxy 250 million light-years from Earth, astronomers have spotted a record-breaking seven supernovae all found at the same time.
“As far as we know, only three supernovae in a single galaxy were found at once so far, which is already an impressive number,” said study leader Fabien Batejat, a Ph.D. student at Chalmers University of Technology in Onsala, Sweden.
“But we can confirm seven supernovae [in a single galaxy], thanks to a 17-year monitoring of the radio sources in Arp 220.”