A close up of an active region on the sun. Credit: SDO
The Solar Dynamics Observatory zoomed in on an active region on 18-19 November and the coils around it. The coils are charged particles running along the magnetic field lines as seen in extreme ultraviolet light.
We are getting along in the solar cycle and activity should be evident in an increase of the number of solar storms. After the last solar minimum cycle, I would hate to make any predictions. It’s a little early yet and time will tell.
Hubble’s look at NGC 6984 . Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble
An amazing image, no wonder it is made NASA’s Image of the Day.
NGC 6984 is 65.9 Mpc (180 million light-years) away in the direction of the constellation Indus.
You can get a large version (desktop size) at the link below.
From the NASA Image of the Day:
Supernovae are intensely bright objects. They are formed when a star reaches the end of its life with a dramatic explosion, expelling most of its material out into space. The subject of this new Hubble image, spiral galaxy NGC 6984, played host to one of these explosions back in 2012, known as SN 2012im. Now, another star has exploded, forming supernova SN 2013ek — visible in this image as the prominent, star-like bright object just slightly above and to the right of the galaxy’s center.
Hubble’s look at Proxima Centauri. Credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble via Spaceref
A nice Hubble image of Proxima Centauri. It is the closest star to us at (about) 1.3 pc / 4.24 light-years in the constellation of Centaurus.
You would think Proxima Centauri, being so close would be easy to see but not so. Proxima Centuri is a red dwarf that is much too dim to see with the naked eye at a magnitude 11.05 – most of the time. This star is also called a flare star, a star can undergo dramatic increases in brightness.
The brightness increases because of changes in the magnetic fields created by convection throughout the star and this results in an increased X-ray emission pretty similar to our sun. We must keep in mind Proxima Centauri is a dwarf star and while it has a density 40 times that of our sun, it has a much lower mass, around one eighth. What this star lacks in physical stature it more than will make up for in longevity, it is expected to shine for nearly a trillion years.
Proxima Centauri was discovered by Robert Innes, a Scottish astronomer who was the Director of the Union Observatory in South Africa. It turns out the star is part of a triple star system and you are no doubt familiar with two more well known members: Centauri A and B.
Hubble’s look at ISON. Click for larger. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The impending ISON breakup that seems to be predicted on certain Internet sites is a FAIL so far. Not to say it won’t happen, just so far it hasn’t happened.
Comet ISON has brightened by a half a magnitude since Monday’s post, it has broken the mag 9 mark and is now 8.99 according to Stellarium and The Sky program I use. I am going to try and get a small scope on it this weekend. If I have REALLY good weather I might try using the big scope I think it is high enough to see. I have a problem in that direction due to trees, normally not too much of an issue because I can wait, but this is a close call with sunrise.
A new image of the sunward plunging Comet ISON suggests that the comet is intact despite some predictions that the fragile icy nucleus might disintegrate as the Sun warms it. The comet will pass closest to the Sun on November 28.
In this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image taken on October 9, the comet’s solid nucleus is unresolved because it is so small. If the nucleus broke apart then Hubble would have likely seen evidence for multiple fragments.
Hubble looks deep into Abell 1689 to see globular clusters from 690 megaparsecs. NASA, ESA, J. Blakeslee (NRC Herzberg Astrophysics Program, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory), and K. Alamo-Martinez (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Amazing to see globular clusters from 2.25 billion light-years, or 690 Mpcs. The other striking thing in this image aside from the clusters and the other galaxies are the gravitational lensing or Einstein rings.
Click here to see a larger non-annotated version of the image above.
The Introduction from Hubblesite Click here for the full story:
SEPTEMBER 12, 2013: Ten years ago, astronomer John Blakeslee spotted dots of light peppered throughout images of a giant cluster of galaxies, called Abell 1689. Each dot was not one star, but hundreds of thousands of stars crowded together in groupings called globular clusters. Blakeslee counted 500 such clusters, the brightest members of a teeming population of globular clusters.
Now, a new Hubble census of globular clusters in Abell 1689 reveals that an estimated 160,000 such groupings are huddled near the galaxy cluster’s core. The Hubble observations break the record for the farthest and the most globular clusters ever seen. Globular clusters are the homesteaders of galaxies, containing some of the oldest surviving stars in the universe. These stellar relics are important to study because they help reveal the story of galaxy formation in the early universe. By comparison, only 150 globular clusters orbit the Milky Way galaxy.
An optical color image of galaxies is seen here overlaid with X-ray data (magenta) from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Since NuSTAR was launched on June 13, 2012 it has moved into its parking spot been checked out and has found 10 supermassive galaxies already. The mission is really just hitting its stride and is expected to last two years. We are just beginning to get a look at the data.
During the two year mission, as part of its core mission, NuSTAR will map selected regions of the sky in order to:
Take a census of collapsed stars and black holes of different sizes by surveying regions surrounding the center of own Milky Way Galaxy and performing deep observations of the extragalactic sky;
Map recently-synthesized material in young supernova remnants to understand how stars explode and how elements are created; and
Understand what powers relativistic jets of particles from the most extreme active galaxies hosting supermassive black holes.
From the NASA NuSTAR Mission page home to among other things different sizes and un-annotated version:
NuSTAR’s serendipitous discovery in this field, indicated by the arrow, lies to the left of a galaxy, called IC751, at which the telescope originally intended to look. Both magenta blobs show X-rays from massive black holes buried at the hearts of galaxies.
The optical image is from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and a color composite of images over three different optical wavebands (the G, R, and I bands). The NuSTAR data shows X-rays in the 3 to 24 keV energy range.
A combination of Hubble and VLBI data of the galaxy 4C12.50 showing the plasma jet (inset is a close up). Credit: optical: HST/STSci/Tadhunter et al.; radio: VLBI, Morganti et al. 2013
What can you do with a radio telescope as big as the Earth? You can look into the hearts of galaxies 1.5 to 2 BILLION light-years away and actually make out plasma jets from a supermassive black hole, like the one above called. 4C12.50.
Both the image and JIVE are described in this press release from the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE):
DWINGELOO, The Netherlands (5 September 2013) – The jets which are shot away into space by the supermassive black hole in the centre of a galaxy, clear gas away from the galaxy. The first clear evidence of this was obtained by a team led by Raffaella Morganti (ASTRON, University of Groningen). The results will be published in Science on the 6th of September.
Astronomers have been puzzled by the fact that many galaxies in the Universe seem to be depleted of their gas and are therefore unable to form any new stars. Fast outflows of gas have been observed in the past, but the mechanism driving these outflows was not understood. The suspicion that the powerful plasma jets that are shot into space by the central supermassive black hole are responsible for the expulsion of the gas has now been confirmed.
Planetary nebula PN Hb 12 or simply Hubble 12. Copyright: NASA, ESA, A. Zijlstra; Acknowledgement: Josh Barrington
Kudos to Josh Barrington and the great job with the processing.
From the ESA website:
This image shows an example of a bipolar planetary nebula known as PN Hb 12 — popularly known as Hubble 12 — in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The striking shape of this nebula, reminiscent of a butterfly or an hourglass, was formed as a Sun-like star approached the end of its life and puffed its outer layers into the surrounding space. For bipolar nebulae, this material is funnelled towards the poles of the ageing star, creating the distinctive double-lobed structure.
Observations using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the NTT have found that bipolar planetary nebulae located towards the central bulge of our Milky Way appear to be strangely aligned in the sky — a surprising result given their varied and chaotic formation.
PN Hb 12 was not part of the new study. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.
Sagittarius A – The Central Milky Way Image credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al., IR: NASA/STScI
I always enjoy these looks into the center of our Milky Way especially these collaborations between telescopic instruments.
At about 8,000 parsecs the black hole is close enough for pretty decent observations and finding surprises. Looks like less than 1 percent of material in the grasp of the black know actually gets assimilated?
Didn’t see that one coming.
Here is the Chandra press release (get larger images here too):
The center of the Milky Way galaxy, with the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), located in the middle, is revealed in these images. As described in our press release, astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to take a major step in understanding why material around Sgr A* is extraordinarily faint in X-rays.
The large image contains X-rays from Chandra in blue and infrared emission from the Hubble Space Telescope in red and yellow. The inset shows a close-up view of Sgr A* in X-rays only, covering a region half a light year wide. The diffuse X-ray emission is from hot gas captured by the black hole and being pulled inwards. This hot gas originates from winds produced by a disk-shaped distribution of young massive stars observed in infrared observations.
Hubble’s view of PGC 10922. Click for larger. ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Here is an image of PGC 10922. The ESA caption is below but for some other particulars that makes this Hubble view even more outstanding:
The galaxy is located at RA 02h 53m 35.9s and DEC -83d 08m 32s and it’s about 67.92 Mpc away (about 221 million light-years). It shines at a magnitude 13.7 and is small at around one (1) arc minute +/-.
Want a comparison between Hubble and a ground based image? Have a look at this image from the 2MASS 1.3m telescope at the ESO.
One other interesting thing about the image is it is has a redshift velocity (moving away from us) of 4,830 km/second (z = 0.016111), that’s nearly 11 million mph for the metrically challenged.
Here’s the ESA caption (via NASA and you can get different sizes of the image at this link):
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this image of PGC 10922, an example of a lenticular galaxy — a galaxy type that lies on the border between ellipticals and spirals.
Seen face-on, the image shows the disk and tightly-wound spiral structures of dark dust encircling the bright center of the galaxy. There is also a remarkable outer halo of faint wide arcs or shells extending outwards, covering much of the picture. These are likely to have been formed by a gravitational encounter or even a merger with another galaxy. Some dust also appears to have escaped from the central structure and has spread out across the inner shells. An extraordinarily rich background of more remote galaxies can also be seen in the image.