The IRIS Nebula as seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope and the WISE spacecraft. Click for larger. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This image from 24 May 2013 is one of the many taken by the now 10-year old Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer supplied the infrared data and the rest came from the WISE spacecraft (the parts Spitzer could not see).
The image is of the Iris Nebula located about 1,300 light-years (~398.8 parsecs) away in the constellation Cephus. The Iris Nebula is also known as NGC 7023.
Spitzer with its infrared vision was launched on August 25, 2003, the last of the so-called Great Observaties missions by NASA. The other three being: Hubble – visible light, Chandra X-Ray Observatory – x-ray, and the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory – Gamma-Ray.
Hubble’s cosmic illusion. Click for larger. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola
It’s not the collision it looks like. The cloud of stars is an irregular galaxy PGC 16389 From what I can tell it is located at RA: 04 h56m 58.7s and Dec: -42d 48m 14s, the magnitude is 14.4 and it’s about 1.3 arc minutes across. The galaxy has a radial velocity of 657 km/sec (derived from a redshift 0.002192z), an accurate (as accurate as cosmic get in the first place) doesn’t seem to be available.
This Hubbble picture is a classic, the number of galaxies in the background is amazing.
Here is the caption for image and you should visit the site though to see larger versions even desktop size.
At first glance, this Hubble picture appears to capture two space giants entangled in a fierce celestial battle, with two galaxies entwined and merging to form one. But this shows just how easy it is to misinterpret the jumble of sparkling stars and get the wrong impression — as it’s all down to a trick of perspective.
By chance, these galaxies appear to be aligned from our point of view. In the foreground, the irregular dwarf galaxy PGC 16389 — seen here as a cloud of stars — covers its neighboring galaxy APMBGC 252+125-117, which appears edge-on as a streak. This wide-field image also captures many other more distant galaxies, including a quite prominent face-on spiral towards the right of the picture.
This image compares the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) at 1600 Angstroms (on left) to the IRIS’ Si IV (on right). Credit: NASA. Credit: NASA/SDO/IRIS
Wow, the the new IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) spacecraft promises to be a valuable addition to the satellites already observing the Sun.
The IRIS has one instrument, an ultraviolet telescope with a mirror of around 20 cm (8 in) with an imaging spectrograph. The imaging setup will take observations at specific temperatures to target material on the solar surface (photosphere) and the lower atmosphere. These observations are in the form of an image every 5 to 10 seconds and spectra about every one to two. The result is a very capapble set up that has a small field of veiw with amazing resolution, features down to 240 km (150 miles).
I like NASA’s suggestion to think of IRIS as acting a “microscope” for the wider field imagers aboard other satellites such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory peering into regions we know little of up to now.
A larger look at the IRIS image above can be found here.
A fireball following a gamma-ray burst (as predicted) is captured by Hubble. Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Tanvir (University of Leicester), A. Fruchter (STScI), and A. Levan (University of Warwick)
Finally! This is very exciting: The Hubble has captured what is known as a Kilonova and in the process helps us down the road of showing a short-duration gamma-ray bursts can be set off by the collision and merger of two of the densest objects we know of: a pair of neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole.
The gamma-ray burst occured in the constellation Leo at a distance of 4-BILLION light-years.
I’ll let NASA explain (the link goes to a more detailed explanation plus more images):
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently provided the strongest evidence yet that short-duration gamma ray bursts are produced by the merger of two small, super-dense stellar objects.
A fantastic image of ISON in April just released taken by Hubble. Click for larger. Image credit NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Have a look at this Hubble image of ISON; wow it’s amazing on so many levels, it’s destined to be on my desktop.
The internet conspiracy activity is beginning to blossom. LOL. I’ve also gotten emails trying to explain how and why ISON is in the process of fizzling out to be a non-event later this year.
I’m not going to bite at least until I hear it from a reputable source like the new Hubblesite ISONblog which promises a great source of current data about ISON over time.
Here’s part of what Hubblesite has to say about this image and if you want larger versions of it, perhaps for your desktops click here:
In this Hubble Space Telescope composite image taken in April 2013, the sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars. The icy visitor, with its long gossamer tail, appears to be swimming like a tadpole through a deep pond of celestial wonders.
The first light image from the new IRIS spacecraft. Click for larger. Credit: NASA
Last week NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph observatory opened its eyes to the Sun.
From the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:
This image from NASA’s IRIS spacecraft shows the region around two sunspots – the dark areas at upper left and lower right. It shows emission from ionized silicon (Si IV) in the transition region at a temperature of about 116,000 degrees Fahrenheit, plus ultraviolet continuum from the chromosphere at a temperature of about 17,000 degrees F. The bright dots are short-lived, intense patches of Si IV emission. The role that these dynamic events have in heating the solar atmosphere is currently unknown.
Above is a wider shot of the same region from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA
The Spitzer Space Telescope examines comet ISON. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/UCF
The beginning of a obseving campaign of our next Great Comet, ISON and what an observing campaign it should be considering the suite of instruments available nowadays.
The press release from NASA/JPL:
These images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of C/2012 S1 (Comet ISON) were taken on June 13, when ISON was 310 million miles (about 500 million kilometers) from the sun. The images were taken with the telescope’s infrared array camera at two different near-infrared wavelengths, 3.6 and 4.5 microns (the representational colors shown were selected to enhance visibility). The 3.6-micron image on the left shows a tail of fine rocky dust issuing from the comet and blown back by the pressure of sunlight as the comet speeds towards the sun (the tail points away from the sun). The image on the right side shows the 4.5-micron image with the 3.6-micron image information (dust) removed, and reveals a very different round structure — the first detection of a neutral gas atmosphere surrounding ISON. In this case, it is most likely created by carbon dioxide that is “fizzing” from the surface of the comet at a rate of about 2.2 million pounds (1 million kilograms) a day.
Hubble gives us this nice image of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. As I have an affinity for globular clusters, so this was of particular interest. I was always of the school that globular clusters were mainly old stars with only a few new one mixed in. That still holds ture of course just not to the extent I thought.
Astronomers looking at this particular globular have been busy with some surpirising results. I can only suppose these results could hold true for all globulars (?); I’m not ready to concede that just yet but this is pretty coold stuff. I’ll let them explain.
Read the Hubble press release.
The Pluto family as seen by Hubble. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)
The “not a planet” Pluto is quite a place. It even has five moons. The smallest moons formerly named P4 and P5 have been named according to IAU standards.
So let’s welcome Kerberos and Styx, new names for P4 and P5 respectivly.
Kerberos was the three-headed dog of Greek mythology. You could be more familiar with the name Cerberus (I was), either way it is still the hellhound that gaurds the gate of the Underworld.
Styx is the river that formed the boundry between Earth and the Underworld. If one swam the river Styx then good old Keberos prevented them from leaving.
Styx is also a band that can be found on my iPod. Helps me through that 6.5 km run which is part one of the three-part cardio routine I do three times a week. But I digress.
So as you can see in the image the family of Pluto is:
Will there be more moons? Could be, we’ll all find out in 2014 or 15 as New Horizons nears the sytem.
You can see more versions of the Hubble images at Hubblesite.
A new moon for Neptune can be seen in this Hubble image. Look for S 2004 N1. Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Showalter/SETI Institute
Mark Showalter of the SETI Institude was using the Hubble Space Telescope and found a new moon orbiting Neptune!
The new moon labeled S/2004 N 1 in the above image is tiny, only about 12 miles (19 km) across. The moon is speedy orbiting the planet at a distance of 65,400 miles in only 23 hours.
To read the story about the discovery and get links to more images from Hubble go to NASA Science / Science News.