Hyperion: Largest Known Galaxy Proto Supercluster
How did galaxies form in the early universe?
To help find out,
a patch of dark night sky with the
Very Large Telescope
to find and count galaxies that formed when our universe was very young.
of some distant galaxies
found an enormous
conglomeration of galaxies
that spanned 300 million
and contained about 5,000 times the mass of our
Milky Way Galaxy
, it is currently the largest and most massive
proto-supercluster yet discovered
in the early universe.
A proto-supercluster is a group of young galaxies that is gravitationally collapsing to create a
which itself a group of several
which itself is a group of hundreds of
which itself is a group of billions of
, massive galaxies are depicted in white,
while regions containing a large amount of smaller galaxies are shaded blue.
Identifying and understanding such large groups of early galaxies contributes to humanity's understanding of the
composition and evolution
of the universe as a whole.
Apollo 12 Visits Surveyor 3
was the second mission to
The landing site was picked to be near the location of
3, a robot spacecraft that had landed on the
three years earlier.
In the featured photograph
, taken by lunar module pilot
mission commander Pete Conrad
the Surveyor spacecraft to see how firmly it is situated.
The lunar module
in the distance.
brought back many photographs and moon rocks.
Among the milestones achieved by
Apollo 12 was the deployment
Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package
which carried out many experiments including one that measured the
Meteor, Comet, and Seagull (Nebula)
A meteor, a comet, and a photogenic nebula have all been captured in this single image.
The closest and most fleeting is the streaking meteor on the upper right -- it was visible for less than a second.
The meteor, which disintegrated in Earth's atmosphere, was likely a small bit of
, coincidentally the comet captured in the same image.
Comet 21P, pictured across the inner
from Earth, is distinctive for its long dust tail spread horizontally across the image center.
has been visible with binoculars for the past few months but is
as it heads back out to the orbit of Jupiter.
Farthest out at 3,500 light years distant is the IC 2177, the
, visible on the left.
The comparatively vast
, with a wingspan on order 250
, will likely remain visible for hundreds of thousands of years.
Long exposures, taken about two weeks ago from
were combined to capture the image's faintest elements.
You, too, could see a meteor like this -- and perhaps sooner
than you might think: tonight is the peak of the
Halo of the Cat s Eye
Not a Falcon 9
rocket launch after sunset, the Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is
one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky.
Its haunting symmetries
in the very central region of
, processed to reveal an
enormous but extremely faint halo of gaseous material, over three
Made with data from ground- and space-based telescopes
it shows the extended emission which surrounds the brighter, familiar
Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase
of a sun-like star.
But only more recently have some planetaries been
found to have halos
like this one, likely formed of material shrugged off during
earlier active episodes in the star's evolution.
While the planetary nebula phase is thought to last for around
10,000 years, astronomers estimate the
of this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years old.
Summer to Winter Milky Way
Taken near local midnight, this autumn night's panorama follows the
arch of the Milky Way across the northern horizon from the
High Fens, Eifel Nature Park at the border of Belgium and Germany.
Shift your gaze across
the wetlands from west to east
(left to right) and you
can watch stars once more prominent in northern summer give way to
those that will soon dominate northern winter nights.
Setting, wanderer Mars is brightest at the far left,
still shinning against
city lights along the southwestern horizon.
Bright stars Altair, Deneb, and Vega form the northern sky's
straddling the Milky Way left of center.
Part of the
Capella and Aldebaran,
along with the beautiful Pleiades star cluster
shine across the northeastern sky.
The line-of-sight along the hikers boardwalk leads almost directly
toward the Big Dipper, an
all season asterism
from these northern
Follow the Big Dipper's pointer stars to
Polaris and the north celestial pole nearly centered above it.
Andromeda, the other large galaxy
in the skyscape, is near the top of the frame.
Cherenkov Telescope at Sunset
On October 10, a new telescope reflected the light
of the setting Sun.
With dark horizon above and sunset colors below,
its segmented mirror inverts an image of the
beautiful evening sky in this snapshot
from the Roque del Los Muchachos Observatory on the
Canary Island of La Palma.
The mirror segments cover a 23 meter diameter and are mounted
in the open structure of the
Large Scale Telescope 1
inaugurated as the first component of the
Telescope Array (CTA).
Most ground-based telescopes
are hindered by the atmosphere that blurs, scatters, and absorbs light.
But cherenkov telescopes are designed to detect very high energy
and actually require the atmosphere to operate.
As the gamma rays impact the upper atmosphere they produce
of high-energy particles.
A large, fast camera at the common focus images the brief flashes of
optical light, called
created by the air shower particles.
The flashes reveal the incoming gamma ray timing, direction, and energy.
Ultimately more than 100 Cherenkov telescopes are planned for the CTA
at locations in both northern and southern hemispheres
on planet Earth
M15: Dense Globular Star Cluster
Messier 15 is
an immense swarm of over 100,000 stars.
A 13 billion year old relic of the early formative years
of our galaxy it's one of about 170 globular star clusters that
still roam the halo of the Milky Way.
Centered in this
sharp telescopic view,
lies about 35,000
away toward the constellation Pegasus,
well beyond the spiky foreground stars.
Its diameter is about 200 light-years.
But more than half its stars are packed into the central 10
light-years or so, one of the densest concentrations of stars known.
of the increasing velocities of M15's central stars
are evidence that a massive black hole resides at the center of
globular cluster M15.
Jupiter in Ultraviolet from Hubble
Jupiter looks a bit different in ultraviolet light.
To better interpret
's cloud motions and to help NASA's robotic
spacecraft understand the
of the small fields that it sees, the
Hubble Space Telescope
is being directed to
the entire Jovian giant.
The colors of Jupiter
go beyond the normal human visual range to include both
from 2017, Jupiter appears different in near ultraviolet light, partly because the amount of sunlight reflected back is distinct, giving differing cloud heights and latitudes
near UV, Jupiter
's poles appear relatively dark, as does its
Great Red Spot
and a smaller (optically)
to the right.
The String of Pearl
storms farther to the right, however, are brightest in near ultraviolet, and so here appear (false-color) pink.
Jupiter's largest moon
appears on the upper left.
continues on its looping 53-day orbits around Jupiter, while Earth-orbiting
Hubble is now recovering
from the loss of a
M16: In and Around the Eagle Nebula
From afar, the whole thing looks like an
A closer look at the
however, shows the
is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of
Through this window, a brightly-lit
where a whole open cluster
of stars is being formed.
In this cavity
of dark dust and cold
remain where stars are still forming.
Already visible are several young
bright blue stars
whose light and winds are burning away and pushing back the
and walls of gas and dust.
The Eagle emission nebula
tagged M16, lies about 6500
away, spans about 20 light-years,
and is visible with
of the Serpent
involved over 25 hours of imaging and combines
three specific emitted colors emitted by
(colored as red),
Orion in Red and Blue
When did Orion become so flashy?
This colorful rendition of part of the
constellation of Orion
comes from red light emitted by
(SII), and blue-green light emitted by
Hues on the
were then digitally reassigned to be indicative of their
origins -- but also striking to the
The breathtaking composite was
hundreds of images which took nearly 200 hours to collect.
Pictured, Barnard's Loop
, across the image bottom,
appears to cradle interstellar constructs including the intricate
seen just right of center.
The Flame Nebula
can also be quickly located,
but it takes a careful eye to identify the slight indentation of the dark
As to Orion's flashiness -- a leading explanation for the origin of
that occurred about two million years ago.
Skygazers on the Beach
Kona, a young boxer, is a dog who loves splashing in the waves
along Solana Beach near San Diego,
But he paused here, at least briefly, during an early evening romp
on October 7.
Along with two people friends he gazes skyward in
flight of a Falcon 9 rocket
Their seaside view is of the sunlit exhaust plumes from
the rocket's first stage thrusters as it returns to
Vandenberg Air Force base,
its launch site over
250 miles to the north
The Falcon 9 Nebula
latest view of a distant planetary nebula,
this illuminated cloud of gas and dust
even casual U.S. west coast skygazers on October 7.
about three miles north
of Vandenberg Air Force Base,
the image follows plumes and exhaust from the first
and second stage of a SpaceX
Falcon 9 rocket
through southern California's early evening skies.
In the fading twilight, the reddish smoke drifting in the foreground
at the right is from the initial ascent of the rocket.
The expanding blue and orange filamentary plumes are from
first and second stage separation and the first stage
still in sunlight at extreme altitudes.
But the bright spot below center is the second stage itself
headed almost directly away from the camera,
accelerating to orbital velocity and far downrange.
Pulsed thrusters form the upside down V-shape at the top
as they guide the reusable Falcon 9 first stage
back to the landing site
West Coast Launch and Landing
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
the U.S. west coast
after sunset on October 7.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, planet Earth,
the Falcon 9's first stage then returned to a landing zone
some 400 meters from the launch site less than 8 minutes after liftoff.
Both launch and first
(left) are captured in the frame of
this two image stack, recorded by a stationary, sound-activated camera
set up on a nearby hill.
This Falcon 9 rocket delivered its payload, an
developed by Argentina's national space agency, to low Earth orbit.
Of course, the Falcon 9 first stage
Following a launch from Vandenberg on July 25
it was recovered after landing on the autonomous drone ship
Read the Instructions
Sun Dance - 24Out2018 05:28:25
Sometimes, the surface of our Sun seems to dance.
In the middle of 2012, for example, NASA's Sun-orbiting
Solar Dynamic Observatory
spacecraft imaged an
that seemed to perform a
running dive roll
like an acrobatic dancer.
The dramatic explosion
featured time-lapse video
covering about three hours.
A looping magnetic field
directed the flow of hot
The scale of the
is huge -- the entire
would easily fit under the flowing
of hot gas.
A quiescent prominence typically
lasts about a month, and may erupt in a
Coronal Mass Ejection
expelling hot gas
The energy mechanism that creates a
is still a topic of
Unlike 2012, this year the Sun's surface is significantly
, featuring fewer spinning prominences,
as it is near the minimum
11-year magnetic cycle
NGC 1672: Barred Spiral Galaxy from Hubble
Many spiral galaxies have bars across their centers.
Even our own
Milky Way Galaxy
is thought to have a
modest central bar
Prominently barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672,
was captured in spectacular detail in an image taken by the orbiting
Hubble Space Telescope
Visible are dark filamentary
of bright blue stars, red
of glowing hydrogen gas,
a long bright bar of
across the center, and a bright
that likely houses a supermassive
Light takes about 60 million years to reach us from
, which spans about 75,000
, which appears toward the constellation of the Dolphinfish
to find out how a spiral bar
contributes to star formation in a galaxy's central regions.
Comet 12P Between Rosette and Cone Nebulas
Small bits of this greenish-gray comet are expected to streak across Earth's atmosphere tonight.
Specifically, debris from the
Comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner
causes the annual Draconids meteor shower, which peaks this evening.
are easy to enjoy this year because meteor rates will likely peak soon after sunset with the
Patience may be needed, though, as last month's
passing of 21P
near the Earth's orbit is
not expected to increase
the Draconids' normal meteor rate this year of (only) a few meteors per hour.
Then again, meteor rates are notoriously hard to predict, and
were quite impressive in
, 1946, and 2011
Featured, Comet 21P gracefully posed
(upper left) and
nebulas two weeks ago before
out to near the orbit of
, to return again in about
six and a half years
The Scale of the Universe Interactive
What does the universe look like on small scales?
On large scales?
is discovering that the universe is a very different place on every proportion that has been
For example, so far as we know, every tiny proton is
exactly the same
, but every
On more familiar scales, a small glass table top to a human is a
of strange smoothness to a
with cell boulders.
Not all scale lengths are
-- what happens to the smallest mist droplets you sneeze, for example, is a topic of active research -- and possibly useful to know to help
stop the spread
The featured interactive flash animation
, a modern
of the classic video
Powers of Ten
is a new window to many of the
of our universe.
By moving the scroll bar across the bottom, you can explore a
diversity of sizes
, while clicking on different items will bring up descriptive information.
Aurora: The Frog's View
What does an aurora
look like to a frog?
"Awesome!" is the likely answer, suggested by this imaginative
snapshot taken on October 3rd from Kiruna, Sweden.
Frequented by apparitions
of the northern lights,
Kiruna is located in Lapland north of the Arctic Circle,
and often under the
surrounding planet Earth's geomagnetic north pole.
create a tantalizing view
from a frog's perspective
the photographer turned on the flashlight on her phone and placed it on
the ground facing down, resting her camera's lens on top.
The "diamonds" in the foreground are icy pebbles right in front of the
lens, lit up by the flashlight.
Reflecting the shimmering northern lights, the "lake" is a
frozen puddle on the ground.
, in the distance is the
The Last Days of Venus as the Evening Star
That's not a young crescent Moon
poised above the hills along the western horizon at sunset.
It's Venus in a crescent phase
About 54 million kilometers away and less than 20 percent illuminated,
it was captured by telescope and camera on September 30 near Bacau, Romania.
The bright celestial beacon is now languishing in the evening
twilight, its days as the Evening Star in 2018 coming to a close.
But it also grows larger in apparent size and becomes an
ever thinner crescent in
Heading toward an
(non-judgmental), the inner planet will be
positioned between Earth and Sun on October 26 and lost from view
in the solar glare.
At month's end a crescent Venus will reappear in the east though,
rising just before the Sun as the brilliant
Opportunity After the Storm
dust storms can't actually blow spacecraft over,
but they can blot out the Sun.
Over three months
ago a planet-wide dust storm caused
a severe lack of sunlight for the Mars rover Opportunity
at its location near the west rim of Endeavor crater.
The lack of sunlight sent the solar-powered Opportunity into
hibernation and for
over 115 sols
received any communication from the rover.
The dust is clearing
as the storm subsides though.
On September 20th, when this image was taken by the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera, about 25 percent of
the sunlight was reaching the surface again.
The white box marks a 47-meter-wide (154-foot-wide) area centered on a
blip identified as the
NGC 1898: Globular Cluster in the LMC
Jewels don't shine this bright -- only stars do.
And almost every spot in this
-box of an image from the
Hubble Space Telescope
is a star.
Now some stars are more red than our
, and some more blue -- but all of them are much farther away.
Although it takes light about 8 minutes to reach
from the Sun,
NGC 1898 is so far away that it takes light about 160,000
to get here.
huge ball of stars, NGC 1898
, is called a
and resides in the
Large Magellanic Cloud
(LMC) -- a
of our large
Milky Way Galaxy
The featured multi-colored image
includes light from the
and was taken to help determine if the
stars of NGC 1898
all formed at the same time, or at different times.
There are increasing indications that most
globular clusters formed stars in stages
, and that, in particular,
stars from NGC 1898 formed
s with the
Small Magellanic Cloud
(SMC) and our Milky Way Galaxy.
Supernumerary Rainbows over New Jersey
Yes, but can your rainbow do this?
After the remnants of
came out in one direction but something quite
unusual appeared in the opposite direction: a
Over the course of a next half hour,
to the delight of the photographer and his daughter, vibrant
faded in and out, with at least
in this featured single shot.
only form when falling
water droplets are all nearly the same size
and typically less than a millimeter across.
Then, sunlight will
not only reflect
from inside the raindrops, but
a wave phenomenon similar to
ripples on a pond
when a stone is thrown in.
be explained with waves,
and their noted existence in the early 1800s was considered early evidence of
light's wave nature