Nebeski pejzaži, širokokutna astrofotografija, Mliječni put, BiH motivi, star trails, Perzeidi, Hubble deep field, Deep sky, galaksije, magline, planete, Sunce snimano sa H alfa filterom, mozaik Mjeseca, Space Art… Za više slika, skrolajte na dno stranice.
Print i postavljanje (blind) rama vrši se u poznatoj kompaniji Blackbox iz Sarajeva, sa najkvalitetnim uređajima.
“Univerzum i stećci“
U kadru su stećci na prečanskom polju i Mliječni put, centralni dio naše galaksije. U prednjem dijelu kadra vide se dijelovi Bjelašnice i Treskavice.
Objekat. Mliječni put
Lokacija: Bjelašnica, Sarajevo
Datum: juli 2017.
Oprema: EQ3 tronožac, Star Adventurer astro-tracker, Canon 1100D mod by Alan Ćatović Tokina 11mm f2.8
Vrijeme integracije: 25 min (5x5min ekspozicije, stack)
Obrada: Lightroom, Photoshop
U kadru se vide Saturn, galaktički disk, međuzvjezdana materija i tamniji molekularni oblaci prašine, različite magline i porodilišta zvijezda (Rozeta, Laguna…). U prednjem dijelu kadra vide se dijelovi Bjelašnice i Treskavice.
Objekat. Mliječni put
Lokacija: Bjelašnica, Sarajevo
Oprema: EQ3 tronožac, Star Adventurer astro-tracker, Canon 1100D mod by AG Sarajevo, Tokina 11mm f2.8
Vrijeme integracije: 25 min (5x5min ekspozicije, stack)
Obrada: Lightroom, Photoshop
“Mliječni put i stećci”
Snimak Mliječnog puta iznad prečanskog polja kod Dejčića, septembar 2016. U prednjem kadru stećci (nekropola “Kaursko groblje”).
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“Perzeidi, stećci, Plejade i Andromeda”
Kadar obuhvata stećke na prečanskom polju kod Dejčića, meteorski pljusak Perzeide kojima je radijant u Perzeju (centar kadra), Mliječni put u centralnom dijelu slike, otvoreni zvjezdani skup Plejade – M45 (iznad desnog stećka), galaksiju Andromeda – M31 (desni dio slike, iznad najsjajnijeg meteora) i naravno, mnoštvo zvijezda (najsjajnija zvijezda na slici je Capella). Sarajevska svjetla vidljiva su u lijevom ćošku slike. Od oko 200 uspješnih snimaka, odabrano je desetak snimaka sa sjajnijim Perzeidima. Kako bi se poništila rotacija Zemlje i postavili meteori u ispravnu perspektivu (kao da dolaze prema nama), korištena je layer compositing tehnika – odabrana je glavna slika, određen centar rotacije na snimku (Polaris) i svaka slijedeća slika je rotirana za određeni ugao. Nakon toga sam su iz svih slojeva odabrani samo meteori sa datih slika i spojeni u konačnu sliku.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
Mliječni put snimljen 23.09. 2016. na Bjelašnici (Javorov do). U kadru su još i Mars i Saturn. Mars je dole u pravcu centra Mliječnog puta, a Saturn desno dole na slici.
Dimenzije: 70 x 60 cm.
“Mliječni put iznad Velikog polja (Igman)”
Igman je lokacija odakle se, takođe, može vidjeti struktura Mliječnog puta, posebno u ljetnom periodu. Ovaj snimak je napravljen 28.09.2016. koristeći Tokinu 11mm f/2.8 objektiv i SW Star Adventurer postolje, sa ekspozicijom od 4 minute.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“Stećak i planete”
Blue hour snimak stećaka kod Dejčića. U pozadini stećaka je Treskavica, Na nebu se vide difuzno crvenkasti oblaci. Karakteristično je sazviježđe strijelac u centru slike, a u njegovom pravcu je Mars (najsvjetlija tačka na nebu). Desno na slici je Saturn.
Dimenzije: 40 x 60 cm.
“Star trails i stećci”
Zvjezdani trag (eng. Star trail) je vrsta snimka na kojem su u većim ekspozicijama (reda nekoliko minuta ili više) prikazani prividni tragovi zvijezda na nebu (uslijed rotacije Zemlje).
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
Naše Sunce snimljeno iz Sarajeva, 2016. sa Lunt LS60 solarnim teleskopom na EQ5 postolju, Canon 650D, Barlow 2x. Tehnika: Snimanje sa Hidrogen alfa filterom.
Prividnu površinu Sunca nazivamo fotosferom. Ovdje se temperature kreću oko 5800 K. Vrući plin izvire iz unutrašnjosti na površinu, zbog čega nam se čini da površina ima granulastu (zrnatu) strukturu. Granule su promjera oko 1000 km, u stalnom su pokretu (poput vrenja vode), a vrijeme trajanja im je nekoliko minuta. Ponekad nastaju takozvane supergranule promjera 30000 km koje traju i do 24 sata. U fotosferi se nalaze Sunčeve pjege (makule), Sunčeva baklja (fakule), granule i supergranule. Sunčeve pjege, tamnija, i do 1500K hladnija područja fotosfere, posljedica su kvazi-periodične evolucije Sunčevog magnetskog polja. Ono je proizvedeno strujanjima Sunčeve plazme ispod fotosfere, pretežno u konvektivnoj zoni, te na granici radijativne i konvektivne zone, a nastaje takozvanim dinamo-mehanizmom, podržavanim konvekcijom i rotacijom. Magnetno polje se stalno razvija i mijenja oblike. Na početku Sunčevog ciklusa aktivnost polja je slaba i ima oblik dipola. Zbog diferencijalne rotacije polje se deformira i silnice se u blizini ekvatora izdužuju; polje se razvija u niz petlji. Na prodoru petlji iz fotosfere javljaju se skupine pjega. Kromosfera je niži sloj Sunčeve atmosfere: proteže se iznad fotosfere do visine oko 2 000 km, i niže je temperature od fotosfere. Znatno je rjeđa od fotosfere i nepravilnog je oblika. Sa Zemlje se može vidjeti samo za vrijeme potpune pomrčine Sunca. U kromosferi se događaju izboji plina stvarajući učinke koje nazivamo prominencije i Sunčeve baklje. Prominencije (protuberance) su oblaci ili mlazovi usijanog plina izbačenog u visinu. Mogu se uzdići do visine 150 000 km iznad fotosfere, kroz kromosferu i koronu. Gušće su od okolne tvari i dostižu temperaturu oko 20 000 K. Njihov ionizirani plin podržava su pritiskom magnetskog polja. Mirne prominencije preživljavaju i više mjeseci. Na sličan način dolazi do pojave baklji, mlazova plina koji se brzo podižu unutar kromosfere i padaju nazad. Vrijeme trajanja jedne baklje je oko 10 minuta. Iz nje se podižu i bodlje (spikule), mali izbačaji plina koji se dižu do visine od 7000 do 9000 km. Spikule nisu razmještene po cijelom Suncu, već su stiješnjene na rubovima supergranula.
“Stvarna boja Mjeseca”
Puni Mjesec, snimljen iz Sarajeva, 15.11. 2016. sa APO 330mm teleskopom, QHY-5IIL kamerom i slaganjem 9 obrađenih slika u mozaik.
Da li Mjesec ima boje? Iako na prvi pogled fotografija površine Mjeseca djeluje crno bijela, ona to zapravo nije. Na površini se mogu primjetiti vrlo suptilne boje, koje se podizanjem saturacije kroz grafičko procesiranje mogu značajno istaknuti. Na stranu estetička prezentacija površine Mjeseca, boje Mjeseca nam pokazuju i kakva je mineralogija njegove površine. Boje su na Mjesecu različite zbog različitog udjela željeza i titana na površini. Zbog velike zastupljenosti željeznog oksida u područjima mora, ista su tamnija zbog slabe refleksivnosti. Mjesta sa većom koncentracijom titana još su tamnija. Titan, odnosno titan-oksid stvara pomak boje iz crvene prema plavom. Takođe, na nekim kraterima često se vidi izbačeni materijal (i u nekim slučajevima raspršen naokolo), pri čemu se može zaključiti da sastav udarnog tijela nije isti kao sastav površine Mjeseca. Nešto više o bojama Mjeseca možete pročitati na stranicama NASA-e.
“Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF)”
Jedan od najfascinantnijih snimaka svemira ikad, najdublji pogled u svemir. Slika pokriva otprilike 1/10 širine punog Mjeseca na nebu, a ipak sadrži oko 5500 galaksija od kojih su neke toliko udaljene da ih vidimo iz perioda kada je svemir bio beba (oko 5% sadašnje starosti)! Ukupna ekspozicija oko 2 miliona sekundi (oko 550 sati) i preko 2000 snimaka! Ova slika nam govori da u koji god dio neba pogledamo, snimanjem dovoljno dugim ekspozicijama, otkrivamo na hiljade i hiljade galaksija (od kojih svaka ima preko 100 milijardi zvijezda) oko nas!
Dimenzije: 80 x 60 cm. Uramljena slika (srebrni ram),
“Widefield – extreme exposures”
Na slici se nalaze printane slike 5 različitih širokokutnih kadrova sa ekstremno dugim ekspozicijama. Lijevo gore je širokokutni snimak Orion sazviježđa sa izraženim HII područjem i reflektivnim i tamnim maglinama. Ovaj snimak sadrži Horsehead maglinu, Orion maglinu, Barnardovu petlju, Witchhead maglinu i ostale, a ukupna ekspozicija iznosila je 220 sati. Desno gore je širokokutni snimak zvjezdanog skupa Plejade (desno) i magline California (lijevo) sa izraženom tamnom strukturom između njih. U centru je snimak Mliječnog puta, Rho Ophiuchi molekularnog kompleksa i HII područja oko zvijezda Delta Scorpii i Pi Scorpii. Dole lijevo je snimak ostataka supernove Simeis 147 (Sharpless 2-240) i HII područje. Slika dole desno je snimak kometa C/2014 Q2.
Dimenzije: 50 x 46 cm.
Koliko daleko od nas je Andromeda, najveća i najbliža galaksija koju vidimo golim okom?Recimo to ovako – astronautima kojima je trebalo samo 3 dana da stignu do Mjeseca trebalo bi 500 milijardi godina da dođu do Andromede. Sada gledamo Andromedu kakva je bila prije više od 2 miliona godina, tj. gledamo najdalju strukturu koje naše oči mogu vidjeti. Inače, Andromeda (Messier 31, NGC 224) je grandiozna spiralna galaksija, udaljena 2,5 miliona svjetlosnih godina od Zemlje i nalazi se u sazviježđu Andromeda. M31 je najbliža spiralna galaksija našoj galaksiji Mliječni put. Prijašnje procjene dimenzija Andromede su iznosile 70000 do 120000 svjetlosnih godina ali su nova promatranja otkrila nove dijelove zvjezdanog diska i udvostručile stare procjene. Prema njima, u svom najširem dijelu Andromeda se proteže na 220000 svjetlosnih godina. Broj zvijezda u Andromedi je znatno veći nego u našoj galaksiji. Rezultat toga je dvostruko veći ukupan sjaj cijele galaktike od našeg Mliječnog puta. Treba napomenuti da je brzina stvaranja zvijezda u našoj galaksiji višestruko veća nego u Andromedi. Andromeda je prema nama nagnuta 77° (gdje bi 90° bio pogled s strane). Analize presjeka Andromede otkrile su uvijanje galaksije u obliku slova “S”. Uzrok tome su vjerojatno sudari s satelitskim galaksijama. Spiralni krakovi Andromede su uvijeni, ali i šire razmješteni nego u Mliječnom putu. Prosječan razmak između krakova je 13000 svjetlosnih godina i mogu se pratiti do udaljenosti od 1600 svjetlosnih godina od jezgre. Zanimljiva pojava je prsten prašine na udaljenosti do 32000 svjetlosnih godina od središta Andromede. Prsten je hladan pa nije vidljiv na snimkama u vidljivom svjetlu. U vanjskim dijelovima Andromede se nalazi 460 kuglastih skupova. Najsjajniji od njih, nazvan Mayall II, najsjajniji je kuglasti skup u Lokalnom jatu galaksija. Jezgra Andromede je veoma kompaktan objekt okružen nakupinom starih zvijezda. Središnji dio galaksije donekle sliči na kuglasti skup, premda višestruko sjajniji. HST je sa svojim snimkama otkrio da se Andromedina jezgra sastoji od dvostrukog objekta čiji su članovi razmaknuti tek 5 svjetlosnih godina. Na osnovu toga je izračunata masa središnje crne rupe koja iznosi 10e8 sunčevih masa. U satelitske galaksije Andromede pripadaju Messier 32 i Messier 110, vidljive na priloženoj fotografiji. Nešto dalje nalaze se još dvije satelitske galaksije, NGC 147 i NGC 185. Postoji mogućnost da se i Messier 33 nalazi pod snažnim gravitacijskim uticajem Andromede.
Dimenzije: 50 x 30 cm.
“Steććci i Andromeda” – space art
Stećci kod sela Lukomir, snimljeni 2006. godine. Andromeda (M31) je udaljena preko 2 miliona svj. godina od nas i nalazi se u sazviježđu Andromeda. To je najbliža spiralna galaksija našoj galaksiji Mliječni put. U dalekoj budućnosti se očekuje sudar naše galaksije sa Andromedom. Ovako bi tada mogla izgledati noć iznad Lukomira.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“U susret galaksiji Sombrero” – space art
Bukovik, jesen 2007. Na nebu zamišljen prikaz galaksije Sombrero (M104) koja je udaljena od nas oko 30 miliona svjetlosnih godina. Ovako bi izgledalo naše nebo da nam je ova galaksija blizu.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“Kupanje sa galaksijama”
Noć u Promajni (2014.) i Stefanov kvintet, kompaktna grupa galaksija u sazviježđu Pegaz, onako kako bi izgledao da nam je bliže.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“Visočica i planet blizanac”
Planina Visočica, vrh Puzim i naši tragovi jedne davne zime (2007. godina). Često zamišljam kako bi izgledao neki planet blizanac Zemlji da se nalazi blizu nas.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“Pogled sa Jahorine” – space art
Jahorina 2006. godine, a u pozadini zamišljeni izgled (da nam je bliže) kuglastog zvjezdanog skupa M14 u sazviježđu “Zmijonosac”, koji je inače udaljen od nas oko 30 000 svj. godina. Da nam je ovaj kuglasti skup ovako blizu, uvijek bi nam osvjetljavao put na planini.
Dimenzije: 60 x 40 cm.
“Studeni potok i Eta Carinae”
Studeni potok iznad Umoljana, najljepše mjesto u BiH. Eta Carinae je zvjezdani sistem od barem dvije zvijezde sa kombinovanim luminozitetom od preko 5 miliona puta jačim od našeg Sunca. Nalazi se na udaljenosti od oko 7500 svj. godina od nas u sazviježđu (na južnom nebu) Kobilica (carina). Ovako bi izgledalo nebo iznad Bjelašnice da nam je ovaj sistem bliži.
Dimenzije: 80 x 40 cm.
“The Milky Way” poster
Umjetnički izražen, ali naučno tačan prikaz Mliječnog puta i našeg položaja u njemu. Na snimku su označeni nebeski objekti bliži našem solarnom sistemu i naš položaj u Mliječnom putu. Odličan za edukacijske ustanove.
Dimenzije: 80 x 60 cm. Uramljena slika sa staklom.
“Solar system” poster
Prikaz solarnog sistema i položaja Zemlje u njemu sa osnovnim podacima o planetima. Odličan za edukacijske ustanove.
Dimenzije: 100 x 80 cm. Uramljena slika sa staklom.
I JOŠ MNOGE SPEKTAKULARNE SLIKE SVEMIRA (SA RAMOM I DIMENZIJAMA DO 120 X 100 cm):
converted PNM file
IDL TIFF file
This image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273 was released to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The distorted shape of the larger of the two galaxies shows signs of tidal interactions with the smaller of the two. It is thought that the smaller galaxy has actually passed through the larger one.
Huge waves are sculpted in this two-lobed nebula some 3000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius. This warm planetary nebula harbours one of the hottest stars known and its powerful stellar winds generate waves 100 billion kilometres high. The waves are caused by supersonic shocks, formed when the local gas is compressed and heated in front of the rapidly expanding lobes. The atoms caught in the shock emit the spectacular radiation seen in this image.
Against a stunning backdrop of thousands of galaxies, this odd-looking galaxy with the long streamer of stars appears to be racing through space, like a runaway pinwheel firework. This picture of the galaxy UGC 10214 was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was installed aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in March during Servicing Mission 3B. Dubbed the ‘Tadpole’, this spiral galaxy is unlike the textbook images of stately galaxies. Its distorted shape was caused by a small interloper, a very blue, compact, galaxy visible in the upper left corner of the more massive Tadpole. The Tadpole resides about 420 million light-years away in the constellation Draco. Seen shining through the Tadpole’s disc, the tiny intruder is likely a hit and run galaxy that is now leaving the scene of the accident. Strong gravitational forces from the interaction created the long tail of stars and gas stretching out more than 280 000 light-years. Numerous young blue stars and star clusters, spawned by the galaxy collision, are seen in the spiral arms, as well as in the long ‘tidal’ tail of stars. Each of these clusters represents the formation of up to about a million stars. Their colour is blue because they contain very massive stars, which are 10 times hotter and 1 million times brighter than our Sun. Once formed, the star clusters become redder with age as the most massive and bluest stars exhaust their fuel and burn out. These clusters will eventually become old globular clusters similar to those found in essentially all halos of galaxies, including our own Milky Way. Two prominent clumps of young bright blue stars are visible in the tidal tale and separated by a gap. These clumps of stars will likely become dwarf galaxies that orbit in the Tadpole’s halo. Behind the galactic carnage and torrent of star birth is another compelling picture: a ‘wallpaper pattern’ of about 3000 faint galaxies. These galaxies represent twice the number of those found in the legendary Hubble Deep Field, the orbiting observatory’s ‘deepest’ view of the heavens, taken in 1995 by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The galaxies in the ACS picture, like those in the Hubble Deep Field, stretch back to nearly the beginning of time. They are a myriad of shapes and represent fossil samples of the Universe’s 13-billion-year evolution. The ACS picture was taken in one-twelfth the time it took to observe the Hubble Deep Field. In blue light, ACS discovered even fainter objects than those in the ‘deep field’. The camera’s vision is so sharp that astronomers can identify distant colliding galaxies, the ‘building blocks’ of galaxies, an exquisite ‘Whitman’s Sampler’ of normal galaxies, and presumably extremely faraway galaxies. ACS made this observation on 1 and 9 April 2002. The colour image is constructed from three separate images taken in near-infrared, orange, and blue filters. Image credit: NASA, the ACS Science Team (H. Ford, G. Illingworth, M. Clampin, G. Hartig, T. Allen, K. Anderson, F. Bartko, N. Benitez, J. Blakeslee, R. Bouwens, T. Broadhurst, R. Brown, C. Burrows, D. Campbell, E. Cheng, N. Cross, P. Feldman, M. Franx, D. Golimowski, C. Gronwall, R. Kimble, J. Krist, M. Lesser, D. Magee, A. Martel, W. J. McCann, G. Meurer, G. Miley, M. Postman, P. Rosati, M. Sirianni, W. Sparks, P. Sullivan, H. Tran, Z. Tsvetanov, R. White, and R. Woodruff) and ESA
Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), the newest camera on NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, has captured a spectacular pair of galaxies engaged in a celestial dance of cat and mouse or, in this case, mouse and mouse. Located 300 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices, the colliding galaxies have been nicknamed “The Mice” because of the long tails of stars and gas emanating from each galaxy. Otherwise known as NGC 4676, the pair will eventually merge into a single giant galaxy.
This is the first in a sequence of four pictures from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys that dramatically demonstrates the echoing of light through space caused by an unusual stellar outburst in January 2002. The image was taken 17 December 2002. The image is combined from exposures taken through blue (B), green (V), and infrared (I) filters.
Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometres high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star. Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen gas that reside in chaotic neighbourhoods, where energy from young stars sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas. The tower may be a giant incubator for those newborn stars. A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars [off the top of the image] is eroding the pillar. The starlight also is responsible for illuminating the tower’s rough surface. Ghostly streamers of gas can be seen boiling off this surface, creating the haze around the structure and highlighting its three-dimensional shape. The column is silhouetted against the background glow of more distant gas. The edge of the dark hydrogen cloud at the top of the tower is resisting erosion, in a manner similar to that of brush among a field of prairie grass that is being swept up by fire. The fire quickly burns the grass but slows down when it encounters the dense brush. In this celestial case, thick clouds of hydrogen gas and dust have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a blast of ultraviolet light from the hot, young stars. Inside the gaseous tower, stars may be forming. Some of those stars may have been created by dense gas collapsing under gravity. Other stars may be forming due to pressure from gas that has been heated by the neighbouring hot stars. The first wave of stars may have started forming before the massive star cluster began venting its scorching light. The star birth may have begun when denser regions of cold gas within the tower started collapsing under their own weight to make stars. The bumps and fingers of material in the centre of the tower are examples of these ste
This new Hubble image – among the largest ever produced with the Earth-orbiting observatory – gives the most detailed view of the entire Crab Nebula ever. The Crab is among the most interesting and well studied objects in astronomy. This image is the largest image ever taken with Hubble’s WFPC2 camera. It was assembled from 24 individual exposures taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and is the highest resolution image of the entire Crab Nebula ever made.
This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a dramatic dust-and-gas landscape of plateaus, mountains, and valleys that are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars. The bright central region is the home of the four heftiest stars in the nebula. The stars are called the Trapezium because they are arranged in a trapezoid pattern. Ultraviolet light unleashed by these stars is carving a cavity in the nebula and disrupting the growth of hundreds of smaller stars. Located near the Trapezium stars are stars still young enough to have disks of material encircling them. These disks are called protoplanetary disks or “proplyds” and are too small to see clearly in this image. The disks are the building blocks of solar systems. The bright glow at upper left is from M43, a small region being shaped by a massive, young star’s ultraviolet light. Astronomers call the region a miniature Orion Nebula because only one star is sculpting the landscape. The Orion Nebula has four such stars. Next to M43 are dense, dark pillars of dust and gas that point toward the Trapezium. These pillars are resisting erosion from the Trapezium’s intense ultraviolet light. The glowing region on the right reveals arcs and bubbles formed when stellar winds – streams of charged particles ejected from the Trapezium stars – collide with material. The faint red stars near the bottom are the myriad brown dwarfs that Hubble spied for the first time in the nebula in visi
This mosaic image of the magnificent starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82) is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of M82. It is a galaxy remarkable for its webs of shredded clouds and flame-like plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out from its central regions where young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside in our Milky Way Galaxy.
The star cluster Pismis 24 lies in the core of the large emission nebula NGC 6357 that extends one degree on the sky in the direction of the Scorpius constellation. Part of the nebula is ionised by the youngest (bluest) heavy stars in Pismis 24. The intense ultraviolet radiation from the blazing stars heats the gas surrounding the cluster and creates a bubble in NGC 6357. The presence of these surrounding gas clouds makes probing into the region even harder. One of the top candidates for the title of “Milky Way stellar heavyweight champion” was, until now, Pismis 24-1, a bright young star that lies in the core of the small open star cluster Pismis 24 (the bright stars in the Hubble image) about 8,000 light-years away from Earth. Pismis 24-1 was thought to have an incredibly large mass of 200 to 300 solar masses. New NASA/ESA Hubble measurements of the star, have, however, resolved Pismis 24-1 into two separate stars, and, in doing so, have “halved” its mass to around 100 solar masses.
This image depicts bright blue newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the centre of a fascinating star-forming region known as N90. The high energy radiation blazing out from the hot young stars in N90 is eroding the outer portions of the nebula from the inside, as the diffuse outer reaches of the nebula prevent the energetic outflows from streaming away from the cluster directly. Because N90 is located far from the central body of the Small Magellanic Cloud, numerous background galaxies in this picture can be seen, delivering a grand backdrop for the stellar newcomers. The dust in the region gives these distant galaxies a reddish-brown tint.
The barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, showing up clusters of hot young blue stars along its spiral arms, and clouds of hydrogen gas glowing in red. Delicate curtains of dust partially obscure and redden the light of the stars behind them. NGC 1672’s symmetric look is emphasised by the four principal arms, edged by eye-catching dust lanes that extend out from the centre.
Hubble’s view of the Carina Nebula shows star birth in a new level of detail. The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. In the process, these stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born. The immense nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina the Keel (of the old southern constellation Argo Navis, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts, from Greek mythology). This image is a mosaic of the Carina Nebula assembled from 48 frames taken with Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were taken in the light of ionized hydrogen. Colour information was added with data taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Red corresponds to sulfur, green to hydrogen, and blue to oxygen emission.
Hundreds of thousands of vibrant blue and red stars are visible in this new image of galaxy NGC 4449 taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Hot bluish white clusters of massive stars are scattered throughout the galaxy, interspersed with numerous dustier reddish regions of current star formation. Massive dark clouds of gas and dust are silhouetted against the flaming starlight.
In the new Hubble image of the galaxy M74 we can also see a smattering of bright pink regions decorating the spiral arms. These are huge, relatively short-lived, clouds of hydrogen gas which glow due to the strong radiation from hot, young stars embedded within them; glowing pink regions of ionized hydrogen (hydrogen that has lost its electrons). These regions of star formation show an excess of light at ultraviolet wavelengths and astronomers call them HII regions.
Arp 148 is the staggering aftermath of an encounter between two galaxies, resulting in a ring-shaped galaxy and a long-tailed companion. The collision between the two parent galaxies produced a shockwave effect that first drew matter into the centre and then caused it to propagate outwards in a ring. The elongated companion perpendicular to the ring suggests that Arp 148 is a unique snapshot of an ongoing collision. Infrared observations reveal a strong obscuration region that appears as a dark dust lane across the nucleus in optical light. Arp 148 is nicknamed “Mayall’s object” and is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, approximately 500 million light-years away. This interacting pair of galaxies is included in Arp’s catalogue of peculiar galaxies as number 148. This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th anniversary on 24th April 2008.
The picture shows Abell 2218, a rich galaxy cluster composed of thousands of individual galaxies. It sits about 2.1 billion light-years from the Earth (redshift 0.17) in the northern constellation of Draco. When used by astronomers as a powerful gravitational lens to magnify distant galaxies, the cluster allows them to peer far into the Universe. However, it not only magnifies the images of hidden galaxies, but also distorts them into long, thin arcs. Several arcs in the image can be studied in detail thanks to Hubble’s sharp vision. Multiple distorted images of the same galaxies can be identified by comparing the shape of the galaxies and their colour. In addition to the giant arcs, many smaller arclets have been identified.
WR 25 and Tr16-244, at the bottom of the image, are located within the open cluster Trumpler 16. This cluster is embedded within the Carina Nebula, an immense cauldron of gas and dust that lies approximately 7500 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Carina, the Keel. At the top of the image, a peculiar nebula with the shape of a “defiant” finger points towards WR25 and Tr16-244.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of NGC 7049 in the constellation of Indus, in the southern sky. A family of globular clusters appears as glittering spots dusted around the galaxy halo. Astronomers study the globular clusters in NGC 7049 to learn more about its formation and evolution. The dust lanes, which appear as a lacy web, are dramatically backlit by the millions of stars in the halo of NGC 7049.
Composed of gas and dust, the pictured pillar resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. Taken in visible light, the image shows the tip of the three-light-year-long pillar, bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the Carina Nebula on 24-30 July 2009. WFC3 was installed aboard Hubble in May 2009 during Servicing Mission 4. The composite image was made from filters that isolate emission from iron, magnesium, oxygen, hydrogen and sulphur. These Hubble observations of the Carina Nebula are part of the Hubble Servicing Mission 4 Early Release Observations.
This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly. But it is far from serene. What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to nearly 20 000 degrees Celsius. The gas is tearing across space at more than 950 000 kilometres per hour — fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes! A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the centre of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope. The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new camera aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, snapped this image of the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302, but more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula. WFC3 was installed by NASA astronauts in May 2009, during the Servicing Mission to upgrade and repair the 19-year-old Hubble. NGC 6302 lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3800 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius. The glowing gas is the star’s outer layers, expelled over about 2200 years. The “butterfly” stretches for more than two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. The central star itself cannot be seen, because it is hidden within a doughnut-shaped ring of dust, which appears as a dark band pinching the nebula in the centre. The thick dust belt constricts the star’s outflow, creating the classic “bipolar” or hourglass shape displayed by some planetary nebulae. The star’s surface temperature is estimated to be over 220 000 degrees Celsius, making it one of the hottest known stars in our galaxy. Spectroscopic observations made with ground-based telescopes show that the gas is roughly 20 000 degrees Celsius, which is unusually hot compared to a t
A clash among members of a famous galaxy quintet reveals an assortment of stars across a wide colour range, from young, blue stars to aging, red stars. This portrait of Stephan’s Quintet, also known as the Hickson Compact Group 92, was taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Stephan’s Quintet, as the name implies, is a group of five galaxies. The name, however, is a bit of a misnomer. Studies have shown that group member NGC 7320, at upper left, is actually a foreground galaxy that is about seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group. Three of the galaxies have distorted shapes, elongated spiral arms, and long, gaseous tidal tails containing myriad star clusters, proof of their close encounters. These interactions have sparked a frenzy of star birth in the central pair of galaxies. This drama is being played out against a rich backdrop of faraway galaxies. The image, taken in visible and near-infrared light, showcases WFC3’s broad wavelength range. The colours trace the ages of the stellar populations, showing that star birth occurred at different epochs, stretching over hundreds of millions of years. The camera’s infrared vision also peers through curtains of dust to see groupings of stars that cannot be seen in visible light. NGC 7319, at top right, is a barred spiral with distinct spiral arms that follow nearly 180 degrees back to the bar. The blue specks in the spiral arm at the top of NGC 7319 and the red dots just above and to the right of the core are clusters of many thousands of stars. Most of the Quintet is too far away even for Hubble to resolve individual stars. Continuing clockwise, the next galaxy appears to have two cores, but it is actually two galaxies, NGC 7318A and NGC 7318B. Encircling the galaxies are young, bright blue star clusters and pinkish clouds of glowing hydrogen where infant stars are being born. These stars are less than 10 million years old and have not yet blown away their n
This is the first image of a celestial object taken with the newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The camera was restored to operation during the STS-125 Servicing Mission to upgrade the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was photographed on 13 June and 8 July 2009, as part of the initial testing and calibration of Hubble’s ACS. The galaxy lies up to 90 million light-years away in the north circumpolar constellation Ursa Major.
Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) allows astronomers to study an interesting and important phenomenon called ram pressure stripping that is so powerful, it is capable of mangling galaxies and even halting their star formation. NGC 4522 is a spectacular example of a spiral galaxy that is currently being stripped of its gas content. The galaxy is part of the Virgo galaxy cluster and its rapid motion within the cluster results in strong winds across the galaxy as the gas within is left behind. Scientists estimate that the galaxy is moving at more than 10 million kilometres per hour. A number of newly formed star clusters that developed in the stripped gas can be seen in the Hubble image. The stripped spiral galaxy is located some 60 million light-years away from Earth. Even though it is a still image, Hubble’s view of NGC 4522 practically swirls off the page with apparent movement. It highlights the dramatic state of the galaxy with an especially vivid view of the ghostly gas being forced out of it. Bright blue pockets of new star formation can be seen to the right and left of centre.
Hubble has snapped a spectacular view of M 66, the largest “player” of the Leo Triplet, and a galaxy with an unusual anatomy: it displays asymmetric spiral arms and an apparently displaced core. The peculiar anatomy is most likely caused by the gravitational pull of the other two members of the trio. The unusual spiral galaxy, Messier 66, is located at a distance of about 35 million light-years in the constellation of Leo. Together with Messier 65 and NGC 3628, Messier 66 is the member of the Leo Triplet, a trio of interacting spiral galaxies, part of the larger Messier 66 group. Messier 66 wins in size over its fellow triplets — it is about 100 000 light-years across. This is a composite of images obtained through the following filters: 814W (near infrared), 555W (green) and H-alpha (showing the glowing of the hydrogen gas). They have been combined so to represent the real colours of the galaxy.
This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall, which is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks. This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around the Earth. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionised gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation. Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions from the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the centre of the image. These jets, (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively, are signposts for new star birth and are launched by swirling gas and dust discs around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stellar surfaces. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on 1-2 February 2010. The colours in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulphur (red).
Star formation is one of the most important processes in shaping the Universe; it plays a pivotal role in the evolution of galaxies and it is also in the earliest stages of star formation that planetary systems first appear. Yet there is still much that astronomers don’t understand, such as how do the properties of stellar nurseries vary according to the composition and density of gas present, and what triggers star formation in the first place? The driving force behind star formation is particularly unclear for a type of galaxy called a flocculent spiral, such as NGC 2841 shown here, which features short spiral arms rather than prominent and well-defined galactic limbs.
Centaurus A, also known as NGC 5128, is well known for its dramatic dusty lanes of dark material. Hubble’s new observations, using its most advanced instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3, are the most detailed ever made of this galaxy. They have been combined here in a multi-wavelength image which reveals never-before-seen detail in the dusty portion of the galaxy. As well as features in the visible spectrum, this composite shows ultraviolet light, which comes from young stars, and near-infrared light, which lets us glimpse some of the detail otherwise obscured by the dust.
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows Sh 2-106, or S106 for short. This is a compact star forming region in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). A newly-formed star called S106 IR is shrouded in dust at the centre of the image, and is responsible for the surrounding gas cloud’s hourglass-like shape and the turbulence visible within. Light from glowing hydrogen is coloured blue in this image.
This artist’s impression shows exoplanet HD 189733b, as it passes in front of its parent star, called HD 189733A. Hubble’s instruments observed the system in 2010, and in 2011 following a large flare from the star (depicted in the image). Following the flare, Hubble observed the planet’s atmosphere evaporating at a rate of over 1000 tonnes per second.In this picture, the surface of the star, which is around 80% the mass of the Sun, is based on observations of the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
This image, called the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), combines Hubble observations taken over the past decade of a small patch of sky in the constellation of Fornax. With a total of over two million seconds of exposure time, it is the deepest image of the Universe ever made, combining data from previous images including the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (taken in 2002 and 2003) and Hubble Ultra Deep Field Infrared (2009). The image covers an area less than a tenth of the width of the full Moon, making it just a 30 millionth of the whole sky. Yet even in this tiny fraction of the sky, the long exposure reveals about 5500 galaxies, some of them so distant that we see them when the Universe was less than 5% of its current age. The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field image contains several of the most distant objects ever identified.
This image combines Hubble observations of M 106 with additional information captured by amateur astronomers Robert Gendler and Jay GaBany. Gendler combined Hubble data with his own observations to produce this stunning colour image. M 106 is a relatively nearby spiral galaxy, a little over 20 million light-years away.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this vivid image of spiral galaxy Messier 77 — a galaxy in the constellation of Cetus, some 45 million light-years away from us. The streaks of red and blue in the image highlight pockets of star formation along the pinwheeling arms, with dark dust lanes stretching across the galaxy’s starry centre. The galaxy belongs to a class of galaxies known as Seyfert galaxies, which have highly ionised gas surrounding an intensely active centre.
This new Hubble image, captured and released to celebrate the telescope’s 23rd year in orbit, shows part of the sky in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter). Rising like a giant seahorse from turbulent waves of dust and gas is the Horsehead Nebula, otherwise known as Barnard 33. This image shows the region in infrared light, which has longer wavelengths than visible light and can pierce through the dusty material that usually obscures the nebula’s inner regions. The result is a rather ethereal and fragile-looking structure, made of delicate folds of gas — very different to the nebula’s appearance in visible light.
This new image shows the dramatic shape and colour of the Ring Nebula, otherwise known as Messier 57. From Earth’s perspective, the nebula looks like a simple elliptical shape with a shaggy boundary. However, new observations combining existing ground-based data with new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope data show that the nebula is shaped like a distorted doughnut. This doughnut has a rugby-ball-shaped region of lower-density material slotted into in its central “gap”, stretching towards and away from us.
This new Hubble image shows the scatterings of bright stars and thick dust that make up spiral galaxy Messier 83, otherwise known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. One of the largest and closest barred spirals to us, this galaxy is dramatic and mysterious; it has hosted a large number of supernova explosions, and appears to have a double nucleus lurking at its core.
To celebrate its 24th year in orbit, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has released this beautiful new image of part of NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula. NGC 2174 lies about 6400 light-years away in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter). Hubble previously viewed this part of the sky back in 2011 — the colourful region is filled with young stars embedded within bright wisps of cosmic gas and dust. This portion of the Monkey Head Nebula was imaged in the infrared using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revisited one of its most iconic and popular images: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. This image shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks of the nebula’s famous pillars. The dust and gas in the pillars is seared by the intense radiation from young stars and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. With these new images comes better contrast and a clearer view for astronomers to study how the structure of the pillars is changing over time.
This image, the first to be released publicly from VISTA, the worlds largest survey telescope, shows the spectacular star-forming region known as the Flame Nebula, or NGC 2024, in the constellation of Orion (the Hunter) and its surroundings. In views of this evocative object in visible light the core of the nebula is completely hidden behind obscuring dust, but in this VISTA view, taken in infrared light, the cluster of very young stars at the objects heart is revealed. The wide-field VISTA view also includes the glow of the reflection nebula NGC 2023, just below centre, and the ghostly outline of the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) towards the lower right. The bright bluish star towards the right is one of the three bright stars forming the Belt of Orion. The image was created from VISTA images taken through J, H and Ks filters in the near-infrared part of the spectrum. The image shows about half the area of the full VISTA field and is about 40 x 50 arcminutes in extent. The total exposure time was 14 minutes. This image is available as a mounted image in the ESOshop. #L
The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) appear like a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. This sharpest-ever image, taken in January 2005 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, illustrates a spiral galaxy’s grand design, from its curving spiral arms, where young stars reside, to its yellowish central core, a home of older stars. The galaxy is nicknamed the Whirlpool because of its swirling structure. The Whirlpool’s most striking feature is its two curving arms, a hallmark of so-called grand-design spiral galaxies. Many spiral galaxies possess numerous, loosely shaped arms that make their spiral structure less pronounced. These arms serve an important purpose in spiral galaxies. They are star-formation factories, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters of new stars. In the Whirlpool, the assembly line begins with the dark clouds of gas on the inner edge, then moves to bright pink star-forming regions, and ends with the brilliant blue star clusters along the outer edge. Some astronomers believe that the Whirlpool’s arms are so prominent because of the effects of a close encounter with NGC 5195, the small, yellowish galaxy at the outermost tip of one of the Whirlpool’s arms. At first glance, the compact galaxy appears to be tugging on the arm. Hubble’s clear view, however, shows that NGC 5195 is passing behind the Whirlpool. The small galaxy has been gliding past the Whirlpool for hundreds of millions of years. As NGC 5195 drifts by, its gravitational muscle pumps up waves within the Whirlpool’s pancake-shaped disk. The waves are like ripples in a pond generated when a rock is thrown in the water. When the waves pass through orbiting gas clouds within the disk, they squeeze the gaseous material along each arm’s inner edge. The dark dusty material looks like gathering storm clouds. These dense clouds collapse, creati
Glowing like a multi-faceted jewel, the planetary nebula IC 418 lies about 2000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lepus. In this picture, the Hubble telescope reveals some remarkable textures weaving through the nebula. Their origin, however, is still uncertain.
The Hubble Space Telescope has caught the eerie, wispy tendrils of a dark interstellar cloud being destroyed by the passage of one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Like a flashlight beam shining off the wall of a cave, the star is reflecting light off the surface of pitch black clouds of cold gas laced with dust. These are called reflection nebulae.
The Hubble telescope has captured an image of an unusual edge-on galaxy, revealing remarkable details of its warped dusty disk and showing how colliding galaxies spawn the formation of new generations of stars. The dust and spiral arms of normal spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, appear flat when viewed edge-on. This Hubble Heritage image of ESO 510-G13 shows a galaxy that, by contrast, has an unusual twisted disk structure, first seen in ground-based photographs.
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe’s most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy’s hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat. At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth.
This composite image is a view of the colorful Helix Nebula taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Mosaic II Camera on the 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The object is so large that both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, sun-like star. The Helix resembles a simple doughnut as seen from Earth. But looks can be deceiving. New evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other.
One of the largest Hubble Space Telescope images ever made of a complete galaxy is being unveiled today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, Calif. The Hubble telescope captured a display of starlight, glowing gas, and silhouetted dark clouds of interstellar dust in this 4-foot-by-8-foot image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. NGC 1300 is considered to be prototypical of barred spiral galaxies. Barred spirals differ from normal spiral galaxies in that the arms of the galaxy do not spiral all the way into the center, but are connected to the two ends of a straight bar of stars containing the nucleus at its center.
This is an image of MyCn18, a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away, taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This Hubble image reveals the true shape of MyCn18 to be an hourglass with an intricate pattern of ‘etchings’ in its walls. This picture has been composed from three separate images taken in the light of ionized nitrogen (represented by red), hydrogen (green), and doubly-ionized oxygen (blue). The results are of great interest because they shed new light on the poorly understood ejection of stellar matter which accompanies the slow death of Sun-like stars. In previous ground-based images, MyCn18 appears to be a pair of large outer rings with a smaller central one, but the fine details cannot be seen.
In the direction of the constellation Canis Major, two spiral galaxies pass by each other like majestic ships in the night. The near-collision has been caught in images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has snapped the best ever image of the Antennae Galaxies. Hubble has released images of these stunning galaxies twice before, once using observations from its Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in 1997, and again in 2006 from the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). Each of Hubble’s images of the Antennae Galaxies has been better than the last, due to upgrades made during the famous servicing missions, the last of which took place in 2009. The galaxies — also known as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 — are locked in a deadly embrace. Once normal, sedate spiral galaxies like the Milky Way, the pair have spent the past few hundred million years sparring with one another. This clash is so violent that stars have been ripped from their host galaxies to form a streaming arc between the two. In wide-field images of the pair the reason for their name becomes clear — far-flung stars and streamers of gas stretch out into space, creating long tidal tails reminiscent of antennae. This new image of the Antennae Galaxies shows obvious signs of chaos. Clouds of gas are seen in bright pink and red, surrounding the bright flashes of blue star-forming regions — some of which are partially obscured by dark patches of dust. The rate of star formation is so high that the Antennae Galaxies are said to be in a state of starburst, a period in which all of the gas within the galaxies is being used to form stars. This cannot last forever and neither can the separate galaxies; eventually the nuclei will coalesce, and the galaxies will begin their retirement together as one large elliptical galaxy. This image uses visible and near-infrared observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), along with some of the previously-released observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).
This striking new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a glittering bauble named Messier 92. Located in the northern constellation of Hercules, this globular cluster — a ball of stars that orbits a galactic core like a satellite — was first discovered by astronomer Johann Elert Bode in 1777. Messier 92 is one of the brightest globular clusters in the Milky Way, and is visible to the naked eye under good observing conditions. It is very tightly packed with stars, containing some 330 000 stars in total. As is characteristic of globular clusters, the predominant elements within Messier 92 are hydrogen and helium, with only traces of others. It is actually what is known as an Oosterhoff type II (OoII) globular cluster, meaning that it belongs to a group of metal-poor clusters — to astronomers, metals are all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. By exploring the composition of globulars like Messier 92, astronomers can figure out how old these clusters are. As well as being bright, Messier 92 is also old, being one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way, with an age almost the same as the age of the Universe. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Gilles Chapdelaine. Links Gilles Chapdelaine’s Hidden Treasures entry on Flickr
The subject of this image is NGC 6861, a galaxy discovered in 1826 by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop. Almost two centuries later we now know that NGC 6861 is the second brightest member of a group of at least a dozen galaxies called the Telescopium Group — otherwise known as the NGC 6868 Group — in the small constellation of Telescopium (The Telescope). This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope view shows some important details of NGC 6861. One of the most prominent features is the disc of dark bands circling the centre of the galaxy. These dust lanes are a result of large clouds of dust particles obscuring the light emitted by the stars behind them. Dust lanes are very useful for working out whether we are seeing the galaxy disc edge-on, face-on or, as is the case for NGC 6861, somewhat in the middle. Dust lanes like these are typical of a spiral galaxy. The dust lanes are embedded in a white oval shape, which is made up of huge numbers of stars orbiting the centre of the galaxy. This oval is, rather puzzlingly, typical of an elliptical galaxy. So which is it — spiral or elliptical? The answer is neither! NGC 6861 does not belong to either the spiral or the elliptical family of galaxies. It is a lenticular galaxy, a family which has features of both spirals and ellipticals. The relationships between these three kinds of galaxies are not yet well understood. A lenticular galaxy could be a faded spiral that has run out of gas and lost its arms, or the result of two galaxies merging. Being part of a group increases the chances for galactic mergers, so this could be the case for NGC 6861. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.