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  #661  
Παλιά 24-09-08, 08:40
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Active Region 1002 on an Unusually Quiet Sun
Credit: SOHO Consortium, EIT, ESA, NASA

Explanation: Why has the Sun been so quiet recently? No one is sure. Our Sun has shown few active regions -- that house even fewer associated sunspots -- for over a year now, and such a period of relative calm is quite unusual. What is well known is that our Sun is in a transitional period between solar cycles called a Solar Minimum, where solar activity has historically been reduced. The stark lack of surface tumult is unusual even during a Solar Minimum, however, and activity this low has not been seen for many decades. A few days ago, however, a bona-fide active region -- complete with sunspots --appeared and continues to rotate across the Sun's face. Visible above, this region, dubbed Active Region 1002 (AR 1002), was imaged in ultraviolet light yesterday by the SOHO spacecraft, which co-orbits the Sun near the Earth. Besides the tranquility on the Sun's surface, recent data from the Ulysses spacecraft, across the Solar System, indicate that the intensity of the solar wind blowing out from the Sun is at a fifty year low. Predictions hold, however, that our Sun will show more and more active regions containing more and more sunspots and flares until Solar Maximum occurs in about four years.

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  #662  
Παλιά 25-09-08, 08:13
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The Case of the Very Dusty Binary Star
Illustration Credit & Copyright: Lynette Cook

Explanation: For astronomers, close binary star system BD+20 307 originally stood out because it is extremely dusty. A substantial amount of warm dust surrounding it causes the system to appear exceptionally bright at infrared wavelengths. Of course, dust associated with planet formation is often detected around young stars, stars only a few million years old. But the BD+20 307 system has now been found to be at least a few billion years old, an age comparable to the age of our own Solar System. The large amount of warm dust is likely the debris from a relatively recent collision of planet-sized objects on the scale of, say, Earth and Venus, in the BD+20 307 system. Reminiscent of the classic scifi novel When Worlds Collide, the dramatic illustration offers a depiction of the catastrophic event. Ironically, this indirect evidence of a destructive planetary collision could also be the first indication that planetary systems can form around close binary stars. BD+20 307 is about 300 light-years distant toward the headstrong constellation Aries.

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Σχόλιο : !!!!!
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  #663  
Παλιά 26-09-08, 07:32
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Moon Rays over Byurakan Observatory
Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)

Explanation: On September 7th, the first quarter Moon and passing clouds contributed to a dramatic night sky over the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory. This panoramic view begins at the left looking toward the eastern horizon and the rising stars of the constellation Perseus. Sweeping your gaze to the right (south), you'll find the large observatory dome, housing a 2.6 meter diameter telescope, backlit by lights from nearby Yerevan, capital city of Armenia. Fittingly poised above the observatory dome is the bright, giant star Enif in the high-flying constellation Pegasus. Farther to the right, the brightest celestial beacon just above the clouds is our Solar System's ruling gas giant Jupiter. At the far right, the Moon is nearly hidden by an approaching cloudbank, but the clouds themselves actually cast shadows in the bright moonlight, creating the effect of Moon rays across the evening sky.

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  #664  
Παλιά 27-09-08, 08:23
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M83: The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy
Color Composite: Davide De Martin (Skyfactory)
Credit: European Southern Observatory Science Archive

Explanation: Big, bright, and beautiful, spiral galaxy M83 lies a mere twelve million light-years away, near the southeastern tip of the very long constellation Hydra. Prominent spiral arms traced by dark dust lanes and blue star clusters lend this galaxy its popular name of the Southern Pinwheel. But reddish star forming regions that dot the sweeping arms highlighted in this sparkling color composite also suggest another nickname, The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy. About 40,000 light-years across, M83 is a member of a group of galaxies that includes active galaxy Centaurus A. The core of M83 itself is bright at x-ray energies, showing a high concentration of neutron stars and black holes left from an intense burst of star formation. The sharp image, based on archival data from the European Southern Observatory's Wide Field Imager camera, also features spiky foreground Milky Way stars and distant background galaxies.

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  #665  
Παλιά 29-09-08, 08:04
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A True Image from False Kiva
Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (Astropics.com/TWAN)

Explanation: Is there any place in the world you could see a real sight like this? Yes. Pictured above is single exposure image spectacular near, far, and in between. Diving into the Earth far in the distance is part of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, taken with a long duration exposure. Much closer, the planet Jupiter is visible as the bright point just to band's left. Closer still are picturesque buttes and mesas of the Canyonlands National Park in Utah, USA, lit by a crescent moon. In the foreground is a cave housing a stone circle of unknown origin named False Kiva. The cave was briefly lit by flashlight during the long exposure. Astrophotographer Wally Pacholka reports that getting to the cave to take this image was no easy trek. Also, mountain lions were a concern while waiting alone in the dark for just the right exposure.

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Σχόλιο 1ο : Οι σχολιαστές αστρονόμοι της NASA αρχίζουν και μου αρέσουν

Σχόλιο 2ο : Ο Gildor θα το σχολιάσει αυτό δεν γίνεται
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  #666  
Παλιά 30-09-08, 07:46
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Planets Ahoy!
Credit & Copyright: Mike Salway (IceInSpace)

Explanation: Can you spot the Solar System's four rocky planets? In the above image taken on September 20, all of them were visible in a single glance, but some of them may be different than you think. Pictured above, the brightest and highest object in the sky is the planet Venus. The object lowest in the sky is the planet Mars, while the object furthest to the left is the planet Mercury. The last remaining point of light is . . . the bright star Spica, which leaves the question -- where is the fourth rocky planet? That would be Earth, specifically part of Australia, visible across the entire bottom of the image.

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  #667  
Παλιά 01-10-08, 08:02
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The First Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral
Credit: GRIN, NASA

Explanation: A new chapter in space flight began on 1950 July with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper 2. Shown above, the Bumper 2 was an ambitious two-stage rocket program that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket. The upper stage was able to reach then-record altitudes of almost 400 kilometers, higher than even modern Space Shuttles fly today. Launched under the direction of the General Electric Company, the Bumper 2 was used primarily for testing rocket systems and for research on the upper atmosphere. Bumper 2 rockets carried small payloads that allowed them to measure attributes including air temperature and cosmic ray impacts. Seven years later, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I and Sputnik II, the first satellites into Earth orbit. In response in 1958, 50 years ago today, the US created NASA.

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  #668  
Παλιά 02-10-08, 07:52
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NGC 253 Close-Up
Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B. Williams (Univ. Washington)
Ground-based data: T. Rector (Univ. Alaska, Anchorage), T. Abbott, NOAO/AURA/NSF

Explanation: This dusty island universe is one of the brightest spiral galaxies in the sky. Seen nearly edge-on, NGC 253 lies a mere 13 million light-years away and is the largest member of the Sculptor Group of galaxies, neighbor to our own local galaxy group. The remarkably sharp, close-up view is based on data from the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). Beginning on the left near the galaxy's core, the panorama follows filaments of dust, interstellar gas, and even individual stars toward the galaxy's edge at the far right, a magnificent vista spanning nearly 50,000 light-years. The image data are part of ANGST, the ACS Nearby Galaxy Survey Treasury, a program to explore our cosmic backyard.

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  #669  
Παλιά 03-10-08, 07:52
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Young Suns of NGC 7129
Credit & Copyright: Bob and Janice Fera (Fera Photography)

Explanation: Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus. While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only about a million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago. Most noticeable in the striking image are the lovely bluish dust clouds that reflect the youthful starlight, but the smaller, deep red crescent shapes are also markers of energetic, young stellar objects. Known as Herbig-Haro objects, their shape and color is characteristic of glowing hydrogen gas shocked by jets streaming away from newborn stars. Ultimately the natal gas and dust in the region will be dispersed, the stars drifting apart as the loose cluster orbits the center of the Galaxy. At the estimated distance of NGC 7129, this telescopic view spans about 40 light-years.

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Σχόλιο : Δηλαδή αυτό είναι ένα κουταβάκι ήλιος;
Κρίμα που είναι 3000 έτη φωτος μακριά μας και δεν μπορώ να του κάνω γούτσου γούτσου.
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  #670  
Παλιά 04-10-08, 09:16
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A Solar Prominence Unfurls
Credit: STEREO Project, NASA

Explanation: On September 29, this magnificent eruptive solar prominence lifted away from the Sun's surface, unfurling into space over the course of several hours. Suspended in twisted magnetic fields, the hot plasma structure is many times the size of planet Earth and was captured in this view by the Sun-watching STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft. The image was recorded in extreme ultraviolet light emitted by ionized Helium, an element originally identified in the solar spectrum. Seen against the brilliant solar surface in visible light, such prominences appear as dark filaments because they are relatively cool. But they are bright themselves when viewed against the blackness of space, arcing above the Sun's edge. A video of the eruption (a 2.6MB .mov file) is available here.

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  #671  
Παλιά 05-10-08, 07:50
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Earth at Night
Credit: C. Mayhew & R. Simmon (NASA/GSFC), NOAA/NGDC, DMSP Digital Archive

Explanation: This is what the Earth looks like at night. Can you find your favorite country or city? Surprisingly, city lights make this task quite possible. Human-made lights highlight particularly developed or populated areas of the Earth's surface, including the seaboards of Europe, the eastern United States, and Japan. Many large cities are located near rivers or oceans so that they can exchange goods cheaply by boat. Particularly dark areas include the central parts of South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The above image is actually a composite of hundreds of pictures made by the orbiting DMSP satellites.

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Σχόλιο : Απίστευτη φωτογραφία. Σας συνιστώ να πάτε στο λινκ της πηγής, για να δείτε τα υπόλοιπα links που δίνει η ιστοσελίδα της NASA.
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  #672  
Παλιά 06-10-08, 08:54
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Layers of Red Cliffs on Mars
Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

Explanation: How did these layers of red cliffs form on Mars? No one is sure. The northern ice cap on Mars is nearly divided into two by a huge division named Chasma Boreale. No similar formation occurs on Earth. Pictured above, several dusty layers leading into this deep chasm are visible. Cliff faces, mostly facing left but still partly visible from above, appear dramatically red. The light areas are likely water ice. The above image spans about one kilometer near the north of Mars, and the elevation drop from right to left is over a kilometer. One hypothesis relates the formation of Chasma Boreale to underlying volcanic activity.

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  #673  
Παλιά 07-10-08, 08:00
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Dust Mountains in the Carina Nebula
Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgement: N. Smith et al. (JHU)

Explanation: Bright young stars sometimes sculpt picturesque dust mountains soon after being born. Created quite by accident, the energetic light and winds from these massive newborn stars burn away accumulations of dark dust and cool gas in a slow but persistent manner. Such is the case in NGC 3324, a star forming region near the edge of NGC 3372, the energetic and expansive Carina Nebula. Pictured above, in scientifically assigned colors, is only a small part of NGC 3324. The Carina Nebula itself is one of the largest star forming regions known and home to Eta Carinae, one of the most unstable and variable stars known. The above image was created from archived Hubble Space Telescope data in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Hubble Heritage Project. The Hubble Heritage Project has created, so far, nearly 130 visually stunning images.

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  #674  
Παλιά 08-10-08, 08:02
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Mercury as Revealed by MESSENGER
Credit: MESSENGER, NASA, JHU APL, CIW

Explanation: The planet Mercury has been known since history has been recorded, but parts of the Solar System's innermost planet have never been seen like this before. Two days ago the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft buzzed past Mercury for the second time and imaged terrain mapped previously only by comparatively crude radar. The above image was recorded as MESSENGER looked back 90 minutes after passing, from an altitude of about 27,000 kilometers. Visible in the above image, among many other newly imaged features, are unusually long rays that appear to run like meridians of longitude out from a young crater near the northern limb. MESSENGER is scheduled to fly past Mercury once more before firing its thrusters to enter orbit in 2011.

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  #675  
Παλιά 09-10-08, 08:55
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Massive Stars in NGC 6357
Credit & Copyright: Johannes Schedler (Panther Observatory)

Explanation: Massive Stars lie within NGC 6357, an expansive emission nebula complex some 8,000 light-years away in the tail of the constellation Scorpius. In fact, positioned just below center in this close-up view of NGC 6357, star cluster Pismis 24 includes some of the most massive stars known in the galaxy, stars with over 100 times the mass of the Sun. The nebula's bright central region also contains dusty pillars of molecular gas, likely hiding massive protostars from the prying eyes of optical instruments. Intricate shapes in the nebula are carved by interstellar winds and energetic radiation from the young and newly forming massive stars. This alluring telescopic view spans just under 50 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 6357.

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