Star Formation in the Tarantula Nebula
The largest, most violent star forming region known in the whole Local Group of galaxies lies in our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Were the Tarantula Nebula at the distance of the Orion Nebula — a local star forming region — it would take up fully half the sky. Also called 30 Doradus, the red and pink gas indicates a massive emission nebula, although supernova remnants and dark nebula also exist there. The bright knot of stars left of center is called R136 and contains many of the most massive, hottest, and brightest stars known. The above image is one of the largest mosaics ever created by observations of the Hubble Space Telescope and has revealed unprecedented details of this enigmatic star forming region. The image is being released to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Hubble’s launch.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, ESO, D. Lennon (ESA/STScI) et al., and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

jiruchan:

The Milky Way Galaxy
Video [x]
jiruchan:

The Milky Way Galaxy
Video [x]
jiruchan:

The Milky Way Galaxy
Video [x]
jiruchan:

The Milky Way Galaxy
Video [x]

jiruchan:

The Milky Way Galaxy

Video [x]

thenewenlightenmentage:

Milky Way’s Structure Mapped in Unprecedented Detail

Astronomers are one step closer to solving a longstanding mystery — just what our Milky Way galaxy looks like.

It may seem odd that a comprehensive understanding of the Milky Way’s structure has so far eluded researchers. But it’s tough to get a broad view of the galaxy from within.

"We are fairly confident that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, but we don’t know much in detail. At the most basic level, we’d like to be able to make a map that would show in detail what it looks like," said Mark Reid of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the new study. 

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The Orion Nebula M42 by acamacho

ohstarstuff:

Happy Earth Day to the only home we’ve ever known.

This is the first image of the entire Earth ever taken. (Apollo 8, 1968)

Galaxy Messier 94 (NGC 4736)
How many rings do you see in this striking new image of the galaxy Messier 94 (NGC 4736) as seen by the infrared eyes of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope? While at first glance one might see a number of them, astronomers believe there is just one.

Historically, Messier 94 was considered to have two strikingly different rings: a brilliant, compact band encircling the galaxy’s core, and a faint, broad, swath of stars falling outside its main disk.

Astronomers have recently discovered that the outer ring, seen here in the deep blue glow of starlight, may actually be more of an optical illusion. Their 2009 study combined infrared Spitzer observations with ultraviolet data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer, and ground-based surveys in visible (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) and near infrared light (Two Micron All Sky Survey). This more complete picture of Messier 94 indicates that we are really seeing two separate spiral arms that, from our perspective, take on the appearance of a single, unbroken ring.

The bright inner ring of Messier 94 is very real, however. This area is sometimes identified as a “starburst ring” because of the frenetic pace of star formation in this confined area. Starbursts like this can often be triggered by gravitational encounters with other galaxies, but in this case may instead be caused by the galaxy’s oval shape.

Tucked in between the inner starburst ring and the outer ring-like arms we find the galaxy’s disk, striated with greenish filaments of dust. While, at first glance, these dusty arcs look like a collection of rings, they actually follow tightly wound spiral arcs.

Messier 94 is about 17 million light years away, making it a distant neighbor of our own Milky Way galaxy. It was first discovered by Charles Messier’s assistant, Pierre Méchain, in 1781 and was added to his supervisor’s famous catalog two days later.

Infrared light with wavelengths of 3.6 and 4.5 microns is shown as blue/cyan, showing primarily the glow from starlight. 8 micron light is rendered in green, and 24 micron emission is red, tracing the cooler and warmer components of dust, respectively. The observations were made in 2004, before Spitzer ran out of cryogen.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SINGS Team

humanoidhistory:

A Soyuz spacecraft leaves the International Space Station ferrying cosmonauts Victor Afanasyev, Konstantin Kozeev, and Claudie Haignere (French) after an eight-day stint on the station. October 31, 2001. (NASA)
humanoidhistory:

A Soyuz spacecraft leaves the International Space Station ferrying cosmonauts Victor Afanasyev, Konstantin Kozeev, and Claudie Haignere (French) after an eight-day stint on the station. October 31, 2001. (NASA)
humanoidhistory:

A Soyuz spacecraft leaves the International Space Station ferrying cosmonauts Victor Afanasyev, Konstantin Kozeev, and Claudie Haignere (French) after an eight-day stint on the station. October 31, 2001. (NASA)

humanoidhistory:

A Soyuz spacecraft leaves the International Space Station ferrying cosmonauts Victor Afanasyev, Konstantin Kozeev, and Claudie Haignere (French) after an eight-day stint on the station. October 31, 2001. (NASA)

Slope Streaks in Acheron Fossae on Mars
Dark sand appears to have flowed hundreds of meters down the slopes of Acheron Fossae. The sand appears to flow like a liquid around boulders, and, for some reason, lightens significantly over time. This sand flow process is one of several which can rapidly change the surface of Mars, with other processes including dust devils, dust storms, and the freezing and melting of areas of ice. The above image was taken by the HiRise camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which has been orbiting Mars since 2006. Acheron Fossae is a 700 kilometer long trough in the Diacria quadrangle of Mars.

Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

humanoidhistory:

On April 5, 2010, the Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Cape Canaveral toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
(NASA)
humanoidhistory:

On April 5, 2010, the Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Cape Canaveral toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
(NASA)
humanoidhistory:

On April 5, 2010, the Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Cape Canaveral toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
(NASA)
humanoidhistory:

On April 5, 2010, the Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Cape Canaveral toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
(NASA)

humanoidhistory:

On April 5, 2010, the Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Cape Canaveral toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station.

(NASA)

ESO 137-001
The spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 looks like a dandelion caught in a breeze in this new composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The galaxy is zooming toward the upper right of this image, in between other galaxies in the Norma cluster located over 200 million light-years away. The road is harsh: intergalactic gas in the Norma cluster is sparse, but so hot at 180 million degrees Fahrenheit that it glows in X-rays detected by Chandra (blue).

The spiral plows through the seething intra-cluster gas so rapidly - at nearly 4.5 million miles per hour - much of its own gas is caught and torn away. Astronomers call this “ram pressure stripping.” The galaxy’s stars remain intact due to the binding force of their gravity.

Tattered threads of gas, the blue jellyfish-tendrils sported by ESO 137-001 in the image, illustrate the process. Ram pressure has strung this gas away from its home in the spiral galaxy and out over intergalactic space. Once there, these strips of gas have erupted with young, massive stars, which are pumping out light in vivid blues and ultraviolet.

The brown, smoky region near the center of the spiral is being pushed in a similar manner, although in this case it is small dust particles, and not gas, that are being dragged backwards by the intra-cluster medium.

From a star-forming perspective, ESO 137-001 really is spreading its seeds into space like a dandelion in the wind. The stripped gas is now forming stars. However, the galaxy, drained of its own star-forming fuel, will have trouble making stars in the future. Through studying this runaway spiral, and other galaxies like it, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of how galaxies form stars and evolve over time.

The image is also decorated with hundreds of stars from within the Milky Way. Though not connected in the slightest to ESO 137-001, these stars and the two reddish elliptical galaxies contribute to a vibrant celestial vista.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UAH/M.Sun et al; Optical: NASA, ESA, & the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

lawngirl:

<3 (at Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103))