A curtain of stars surrounds the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) in this new Ultra High Definition photograph from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition . It was captured on the first night of shooting at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which sits at 2400 metres above sea level on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert.
Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible looming above Alpha and Beta Centauri.
6:40 pm • 18 April 2014 • 7 notes
Jupiter, GRS Taken by Efrain Morales Rivera on February 27, 2014 @ Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
6:37 pm • 18 April 2014 • 3 notes
Saturn Photographed with Four Moons Pin It Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) In this view, the giant orange moon Titan casts a large shadow onto Saturn’s north polar hood. Below Titan, near the ring plane and to the left is the moon Mimas, casting a much smaller shadow onto Saturn’s equatorial cloud tops. Farther to the left, and off Saturn’s disk, are the bright moon Dione and the fainter moon Enceladus.
- space.com (#51 of 78)
6:33 pm • 18 April 2014 • 13 notes
Pelican nebula close-up
The prominent ridge of emission featured in this vivid skyscape is designated IC 5067. Part of a larger emission nebula with a distinctive shape, popularly called The Pelican Nebula, the ridge spans about 10 light-years and follows the curve of the cosmic pelican’s head and neck. The Pelican Nebula close-up was constructed from narrowband data mapping emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms to red, green, and blue colors. Fantastic, dark shapes inhabiting the view are clouds of cool gas and dust sculpted by energetic radiation from young, hot, massive stars. But stars are also forming within the dark shapes. In fact, twin jets emerging from the tip of the long, dark tendril below center are the telltale signs of an embedded protostar cataloged as Herbig-Haro 555. The Pelican Nebula itself, also known as IC 5070, is about 2,000 light-years away.To find it, look northeast of bright star Deneb in the high flying constellation Cygnus.
Image credit & copyright: Martin Pugh
2:43 pm • 18 March 2014 • 229 notes
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured the Sarychev volcano in action on January 30th 2014.
Image credit: NASA
10:59 pm • 16 February 2014 • 515 notes
It came from outer space
Named after its discoverer, the French-Armenian astronomer Agop Terzan, this is the globular cluster Terzan 7 — a densely packed ball of stars bound together by gravity. It lies just over 75 000 light-years away from us on the other side of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is a peculiar cluster, quite unlike others we observe, making it an intriguing object of study for astronomers.
Evidence shows that Terzan 7 used to belong to a small galaxy called the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, a mini-galaxy discovered in 1994. This galaxy is currently colliding with, and being absorbed by, the Milky Way, which is a monster in size when compared to this tiny one. It seems that this cluster has already been kidnapped from its former home and now is part of our own galaxy.
Astronomers recently discovered that all the stars in Terzan 7 were born at around the same time, and are about eight billion years old. This is unusually young for such a cluster. The shared birthday is another uncommon property; a large number of globular clusters, both in the Milky Way and in other galaxies, seem to have at least two clearly differentiated generations of stars that were born at different times.
Some explanations suggest that there is something different about clusters that form within dwarf galaxies, giving them a different composition. Others suggest that clusters like Terzan 7 only have enough material to form one batch of stars, or that perhaps its youthfulness has prevented it from yet forming another generation.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Sarajedini (University of Florida); Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine
10:58 pm • 16 February 2014 • 463 notes