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  #916  
Παλιά 24-05-09, 09:29
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Carina Nebula Panorama from Hubble
Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (U. California, Berkeley) et al., and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Explanation: In one of the brightest parts of Milky Way lies a nebula where some of the oddest things occur. NGC 3372, known as the Great Nebula in Carina, is home to massive stars and changing nebula. Eta Carinae, the most energetic star in the nebula, was one of the brightest stars in the sky in the 1830s, but then faded dramatically. The Keyhole Nebula, visible left the center, houses several of the most massive stars known and has also changed its appearance. The entire Carina Nebula spans over 300 light years and lies about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. Pictured above is the most detailed image of the Carina Nebula ever taken. The controlled color image is a composite of 48 high-resolution frames taken by the Hubble Space Telescope two years ago. Wide-field annotated and zoomable image versions are also available.

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  #917  
Παλιά 25-05-09, 08:39
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Hubble Floats Free
Credit: STS-125 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Why put observatories in space? Most telescopes are on the ground. On the ground, you can deploy a heavier telescope and fix it more easily. The trouble is that Earth-bound telescopes must look through the Earth's atmosphere. First, the Earth's atmosphere blocks out a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing a narrow band of visible light to reach the surface. Telescopes which explore the Universe using light beyond the visible spectrum, such as those onboard the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope need to be carried above the absorbing atmosphere. Second, the Earth's atmosphere blurs the light it lets through. The blurring is caused by varying density and continual motion of air. By orbiting above the Earth's atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope, pictured above last week after being captured, refurbished, and released, can get clearer images. In fact, even though HST has a mirror 15 times smaller than large Earth-bound telescopes, it can still resolve finer details. A future large telescope for space, the James Webb Space Telescope is currently planned for launch in 2014.

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  #918  
Παλιά 26-05-09, 08:29
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Whirlpool Galaxy Deep Field
Credit & Copyright: Jon Christensen

Explanation: Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl, until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (left), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canes Venatici. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the human eye, the above long-exposure, deep-field image taken last month shows much of the faint complexity that actually surrounds the smaller galaxy.

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  #919  
Παλιά 27-05-09, 08:39
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Volcanic Terrain on Mercury
Credit: MESSENGER, NASA, JHU APL, CIW

Explanation: Why are many large craters on Mercury relatively smooth inside? Recent images from the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft that flew by Mercury last October show previously uncharted regions of Mercury that have large craters with an internal smoothness similar to the maria on Earth's own Moon. Therefore, like our Moon's maria, these craters on Mercury are thought to have been flooded by lava floes that are old but not as old as the surrounding more highly cratered surface. The above image mosaic of the western limb of Mercury was created by MESSENGER as it approached the Solar System's innermost planet last October. Old and heavily textured terrain runs across much of the image bottom, while across the middle left lies comparatively smooth impact basins where small craters may appear similar at first to protruding hills. MESSENGER will buzz past Mercury again next year before entering orbit in 2011.

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  #920  
Παλιά 28-05-09, 08:27
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Moon in the Mullica
Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light)

Explanation: Still waters mimic a predawn sky along the eastern horizon in this peaceful scene. The picture was recorded on May 22nd from the banks of the Mullica River, in a forested region known as the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey on the US east coast. Near the horizon at the left is an old Moon with its narrow, sunlit crescent. Mars is near picture center and brilliant Venus shines farther right. Like the terrestrial lights along the riverbank, the bright celestial beacons are all reflected in the watery foreground. Of course, most of the Moon is illuminated by Earthshine, light reflected from the sunlit side of planet Earth itself, revealing features on the darkened lunar surface.

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  #921  
Παλιά 29-05-09, 08:46
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Messier 106
Credit & Copyright: Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Observatory)

Explanation: Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalog of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106. Modern deep telescopic views reveal it to be an island universe -- a spiral galaxy around 30 thousand light-years across located only about 21 million light-years beyond the stars of the Milky Way. Along with a bright central core, this colorful composite image highlights youthful blue star clusters and reddish stellar nurseries tracing the galaxy's spiral arms. It also shows remarkable reddish jets of glowing hydrogen gas. In addition to small companion galaxy NGC 4248 near the picture's right edge, background galaxies can be found scattered throughout the frame. M106 (aka NGC 4258) is a nearby example of the Seyfert class of active galaxies, seen across the spectrum from radio to x-rays. Active galaxies are believed to be powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.

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  #922  
Παλιά 01-06-09, 09:19
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Τελευταία φορά Online: 12-11-16 11:12
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Spirit Encounters Soft Ground on Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Will Spirit be able to free itself from soft ground on Mars? The robotic Spirit rover currently rolling across Mars ran into unexpectedly soft ground last month while exploring the red planet. A worry is that the ground is so soft that Spirit won't be able to free itself, will have to stay put and thereafter study what it can from its current position near an unusual martian land feature named Home Plate. Pictured above, the front left wheel appears to be primarily digging itself in when spun, while on the other side, the front right wheel no longer spins and is dragged by the five year old mechanical explorer. In the distance, rocks and rusty dirt fill the alien landscape in front of the distant Husband Hill. NASA continues to study the situation, and engineers and scientists have not yet run out of ideas of how to use Spirit's six wheels. Far across Mars, Spirit's twin Opportunity continues on its two year trek toward Endeavour crater.

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  #923  
Παλιά 02-06-09, 07:16
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Spokes Reappear on Saturn's Rings
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: What causes the mysterious spokes in Saturn's rings? Visible in the above image as light ghostlike impressions, spokes were first discovered by the Voyager spacecraft that buzzed by Saturn in the early 1980s. Their existence was unexpected. Oddly, the spokes more commonly observed when Saturn's rings are more nearly edge on to the Sun, and so were conspicuously absent from initial images sent back by the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. Analyses of archived Voyager images have led to the conclusions that the transient spokes, which may form and dissipate over a few hours, are composed of electrically charged sheets of small dust-sized particles. Hypotheses for spoke creation include small meteors impacting the rings and electron beams from Saturnian atmospheric lightning spraying the rings. As Saturn approaches equinox, spoke sightings like that pictured above are becoming increasingly common, giving planetary scientists fresh images and data with which to test origin hypotheses.

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  #924  
Παλιά 02-06-09, 12:06
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Τελευταία φορά Online: 08-05-17 14:17
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  #925  
Παλιά 03-06-09, 07:06
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VB 10: A Large Planet Orbiting a Small Star
Illustration Credit: JPL-Caltech, NASA

Explanation: Can a planet be as large as the star that it orbits? Recent observations have discovered that nearby Van Biesbroeck's star might have just such a large planet. Although VB 10 lies only about 20 light years away, it is a small red dwarf star so dim, at 17th magnitude, that a telescope is needed to see it. Van Biesbroeck's star was previously known for its rapid proper motion across the sky -- it moves so fast it could cross a full moon in only about 1,000 years. By noting a wiggle in VB 10's sky trajectory, astronomers were able to infer the existence of a planet several times the mass of Jupiter. Although the star VB 10 is perhaps 10 times more massive than the discovered planet VB 10b, the star is likely more highly compressed and so the two might be closely matched in size. Such a system is envisioned above with an artist's illustration. Since faint M-type stars like VB 10 are so common, planetary systems surrounding them, including planets larger than their parent star, might be more common than planetary systems like our own Solar System.

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  #926  
Παλιά 04-06-09, 07:20
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Sunspots on a Cloudy Day
Credit & Copyright: Stefan Seip (TWAN)

Explanation: On June 2nd, clouds over Stuttgart, Germany parted to reveal what has become a relatively rare sight, spots on the Sun. In fact, the roughly 11-year solar activity cycle is still in a surprisingly deep minimum and the years 2008 and 2009 have had the lowest sunspot counts since the 1950s. Even the latest prediction is that the new cycle, Solar Cycle 24, will reach a maximum in May 2013 with a below-average sunspot count. The Solar Cycle 24 sunspots recorded here are in active region AR 1019. Previously, only two cycle 24 active regions with sunspots, AR 1018 and AR 1017, were seen in May.

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Σχόλιο : Τι καλά που κατοικούμε στην Γη, Μιχάλη
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  #927  
Παλιά 05-06-09, 09:03
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Τελευταία φορά Online: Χθες 19:35
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Stars and Dust Across Corona Australis
Credit & Copyright: Andrey Oreshko

Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds sprawl across a rich field of stars in this sweeping telescopic vista near the northern boundary of Corona Australis, the Southern Crown. Probably less than 500 light-years away and effectively blocking light from more distant, background stars in the Milky Way, the densest part of the dust cloud is about 8 light-years long. At its tip (upper right) is a group of lovely reflection nebulae cataloged as NGC 6726, 6727, 6729, and IC 4812. A characteristic blue color is produced as light from hot stars is reflected by the cosmic dust. The smaller yellowish nebula (NGC 6729) surrounds young variable star R Coronae Australis. Magnificent globular star cluster NGC 6723 is at the upper right corner of the view. While NGC 6723 appears to be part of the group, it actually lies nearly 30,000 light-years away, far beyond the Corona Australis dust clouds.

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  #928  
Παλιά 06-06-09, 07:24
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One-Armed Spiral Galaxy NGC 4725
Credit & Copyright: Mike Siniscalchi

Explanation: While most spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have two or more spiral arms, NGC 4725 seems to have only one. In this sharp color image, the solo spira mirabilis is tightly wound, traced by bluish, newborn star clusters. The odd galaxy also sports obscuring dust lanes, a prominent ring, and a yellowish central bar structure composed of an older population of stars. NGC 4725 is over 100 thousand light-years across and lies 41 million light-years away in the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. Computer simulations of the formation of single spiral arms suggest that they can be either leading or trailing arms with respect to a galaxy's overall rotation.

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  #929  
Παλιά 07-06-09, 07:55
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Τελευταία φορά Online: 12-11-16 11:12
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Asteroid Eros Reconstructed
Credit: NEAR Project, NLR, JHUAPL, Goddard SVS, NASA

Explanation: Orbiting the Sun between Mars and Earth, asteroid 433 Eros was visited by the robot spacecraft NEAR-Shoemaker in 2000 February. High-resolution surface images and measurements made by NEAR's Laser Rangefinder (NLR) have been combined into the above visualization based on the derived 3D model of the tumbling space rock. NEAR allowed scientists to discover that Eros is a single solid body, that its composition is nearly uniform, and that it formed during the early years of our Solar System. Mysteries remain, however, including why some rocks on the surface have disintegrated. On 2001 February 12, the NEAR mission drew to a dramatic close as it was crash landed onto the asteroid's surface, surviving well enough to return an analysis of the composition of the surface regolith. In December of 2002, NASA made an unsuccessful attempt to communicate with the spacecraft after it spent 22 months resting on the asteroid's surface. NEAR will likely remain on the asteroid for billions of years as a monument to human ingenuity at the turn of the third millennium.

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  #930  
Παλιά 08-06-09, 07:51
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Possible Jet Blown Shells Near Microquasar Cygnus X-1
Credit & Copyright: Steve Cullen (lightbuckets.com)

Explanation: What happens to matter that falls toward an energetic black hole? In the case of Cygnus X-1, perhaps little of that matter actually makes it in. Infalling gas may first collide not only with itself but with an accretion disk of swirling material surrounding the black hole. The result may be a microquasar that glows across the electromagnetic spectrum and produces powerful jets that expel much of the infalling matter back into the cosmos at near light speed before it can even approach the black hole's event horizon. Confirmation that black hole jets may create expanding shells has come recently from the discovery of shells surrounding Cygnus X-1. Pictured above on the upper right is one such shell quite possibly created by the jet of microquasar and black hole candidate Cygnus X-1. Rolling your cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. The physical processes that create the black hole jets is a topic that continues to be researched.

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