Eagle Nebula in 2014

The Pillar of Creation imaged by Hubble in 2014.  Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The Pillar of Creation imaged by Hubble in 2014. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Wow! Look at that! Click the image for the larger version and take it in.

You can see the zoomable version at Hubblesite.

From Hubblesite:

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has revisited the famous Pillars of Creation, revealing a sharper and wider view of the structures in this visible-light image.

Astronomers combined several Hubble exposures to assemble the wider view. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. The dark, finger-like feature at bottom right may be a smaller version of the giant pillars. The new image was taken with Hubble’s versatile and sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3.

The pillars are bathed in the blistering ultraviolet light from a grouping of young, massive stars located off the top of the image. Streamers of gas can be seen bleeding off the pillars as the intense radiation heats and evaporates it into space. Denser regions of the pillars are shadowing material beneath them from the powerful radiation. Stars are being born deep inside the pillars, which are made of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, a vast star-forming region 6,500 light-years from Earth.

The colors in the image highlight emission from several chemical elements. Oxygen emission is blue, sulfur is orange, and hydrogen and nitrogen are green.

AirBus Jets in Formation

This really isn’t astronomy but I really liked the video. Must have been a sight to see!

The five test and development A350-900s took to the skies for a formation flight in September 2014, bringing together all of the aircraft used for Airbus’ successful campaign leading to certification of this latest Airbus widebody jetliner.

Video

New Science from Voyager 1

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is still returning science data. When the Sun lets off a Coronal Mass Ejection or CME that wave moves outward. It can be responsible for auroral displays on Earth and even Jupiter and Saturn. The waves or what are termed “tsunami waves” go into interstellar space. The Voyager 1 spacecraft recently experienced three such waves beginning in February 2014. The video is a sound depiction of ionized matter interacting with the CME and “ring like a bell”.

Video at YouTube

3D Atlas of the Universe

A TED Talk. It isn’t  the solstice video I was intending to put up, but I liked it better.

Yes it’s a solstice day!

The December solstice is here. The solstice occurs in a few hours at 23:03 UTC. The calendar day would be 21 or 22 December depending on your location.

For me, it is the shortest day of the year and after a short pause the day’s  light will slowly lengthen.  The road to spring is long and as a well known old-time weather man around here used to say: “As the days grow longer the cold grows stronger”.

My favorite site for solstice information can be found at timeanddate.com.

Video

Warm Gas Halting Star Formation

Galactic interactions shutting down star formation. Image Credit: NASA/CFHT/NRAO/JPL-Caltech/Duc/Cuillandre

Galactic interactions shutting down star formation. Image Credit: NASA/CFHT/NRAO/JPL-Caltech/Duc/Cuillandre

I wouldn’t have thought warm gas would be like putting water on a fire:

From IPAC

A new feature in the evolution of galaxies has been captured in this image of galactic interactions. The two galaxies seen here — NGC 3226 at the top, NGC 3227 at the bottom — are awash in the remains of a departed third galaxy, cannibalized by the gravity of the surviving galaxies. The surge of warm gas flowing into NGC 3226, seen as a blue filament, appears to be shutting down this galaxy’s star formation, disrupting the cool gas needed to make fresh stars.
The findings come courtesy of the European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory, in which NASA played a key role, and NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes.

Adding material to galaxies often rejuvenates them, triggering new rounds of star birth as gas and dust gel together. Yet data from the three telescopes all indicate that NGC 3226 has a very low rate of star formation.
Continue reading

Martian Lakebed?

Sedimentary signs of a Martian Lake bed viewed by the Mars Science Rover, Curiosity. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Sedimentary signs of a Martian Lake bed viewed by the Mars Science Rover, Curiosity. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NOW I am a believer. Ok, so I was before, but this is so cool!

The only problem now is just a zillion more new and old questions, for example: How much, when, where did it go, how long was it there where did it go etc.

And the big one of course: was there life associated with the water and all the rest.

Here is the caption from NASA for the image:

This evenly layered rock photographed by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit not far from where flowing water entered a lake.
The scene combines multiple frames taken with Mastcam’s right-eye camera on Aug. 7, 2014, during the 712th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars. It shows an outcrop at the edge of “Hidden Valley,” seen from the valley floor. This view spans about 5 feet (1.5 meters) across in the foreground. The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. Figure A is a version with a superimposed scale bar of 50 centimeters (about 20 inches).
This is an example of a thick-laminated, evenly-stratified rock type that forms stratigraphically beneath cross-bedded sandstones regarded as ancient river deposits. These rocks are interpreted to record sedimentation in a lake, as part of or in front of a delta, where plumes of river sediment settled out of the water column and onto the lake floor.

What a Day!

 ROLIS descent image of Comet 67P/C-G. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR


ROLIS descent image of Comet 67P/C-G. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR

As the Philae lander approached comet 67P/G-C it used the ROLIS instrument to take this image at 14:38:41 UT from just 3 km / 1.9 miles above the surface.

The ROLIS instrument looks downward during descent and gets close up views after landing so texture and microsturcture of surface materials.

Yes, that is part of the lander you see in the upper right.

ROLIS (ROsetta Lander Imaging System) is a descent and close-up camera on the Philae Lander. It has been developed by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin.

I had to include the image below, I think it’s just excellent. We are looking at the Philae lander shortly after being released from the mother ship (Rosetta) after a 10 year trip together on this totally amazing mission.

Good luck Philae. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Good luck Philae. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

No word yet on what is going on with the harpoons (anchors), but ESA did mention “Maybe today we didn’t just land once…we even landed twice!”

There will be plenty more images here, but check out the Rosetta Blog.

ESA Rosetta Mission on Twitter

Congratulations ESA !

I bet the smiles are abundant and they should be. :mrgreen:

Good Luck Philae!

GOOD LUCK!  I can hardly believe the day has finally come – it’s been a long time!

Update:  Landing confirmed.  Harpoons did not fire, investigation in progress.  The one way radio travel time is a bit over 28 minutes – each way.

ESA is reporting all is well with Philae is in good shape despite the harpoons.

If you see no video above it is because ESA isn’t broadcasting at the time.

Check out the Rosetta Blog and for last second updates.

@ESA_Rosetta   http://www.twitter.com/esa_rosetta