miércoles, 7 de diciembre de 2016

APOD - NGC 4696: Filaments around a Black Hole

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2016 December 7
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NGC 4696: Filaments around a Black Hole
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, A. Fabian

Explanation: What's happening at the center of elliptical galaxy NGC 4696? There, long tendrils of gas and dust have been imaged in great detail as shown by this recently released image from the Hubble Space Telescope. These filaments appear to connect to the central region of the galaxy, a region thought occupied by a supermassive black hole. Speculation holds that this black hole pumps out energy that heats surrounding gas, pushes out cooler filaments of gas and dust, and shuts down star formation. Balanced by magnetic fields, these filaments then appear to spiral back in toward and eventually circle the central black hole. NGC 4696 is the largest galaxy in the Centaurus Cluster of Galaxies, located about 150 million light years from Earth. The featured image shows a region about 45,000 light years across.

Tomorrow's picture: open space


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martes, 6 de diciembre de 2016

APOD - Aurora over Jupiter's South Pole from Juno

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2016 December 6
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Aurora over Jupiter's South Pole from Juno
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, ASI, INAF, JIRAM

Explanation: Why is there a glowing oval over Jupiter's South Pole? Aurora. Near the closest part of its first pass near Jupiter in August, NASA's robotic spacecraft Juno captured this dramatic infrared image of a bright auroral ring. Auroras are caused by high energy particles from the Sun interacting with a planet's magnetic field, and ovals around magnetic poles are common. Data from Juno are giving preliminary indications that Jupiter's magnetic field and aurorae are unexpectedly powerful and complex. Unfortunately, a computer glitch caused Juno to go into safe mode during its last pass near the Jovian giant in September. That glitch has now been resolved, making Juno ready for its next pass over Jupiter's cloud tops this coming Sunday.

Tomorrow's picture: galactic tentacles


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2016

APOD - Lightning over Colorado

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2016 December 5
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Lightning over Colorado
Image Credit & Copyright: Joe Randall

Explanation: Have you ever watched a lightning storm in awe? Join the crowd. Oddly, nobody knows exactly how lightning is produced. What is known is that charges slowly separate in some clouds causing rapid electrical discharges (lightning), but how electrical charges get separated in clouds remains a topic of much research. Lightning usually takes a jagged course, rapidly heating a thin column of air to about three times the surface temperature of the Sun. The resulting shock wave starts supersonically and decays into the loud sound known as thunder. Lightning bolts are common in clouds during rainstorms, and on average 44 lightning bolts occur on the Earth every second. Pictured, over 60 images were stacked to capture the flow of lightning-producing storm clouds in July over Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

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Tomorrow's picture: Juno Jupiter


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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domingo, 4 de diciembre de 2016

APOD - Orion and Official Star Names

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2016 December 4
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Orion and Official Star Names
Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Explanation: Familiar stars in Orion and constellations across the sky now have official names. Over the past year, the International Astronomical Union, the only body officially tasked with naming stars, approved names already in common use for 227 of the brightest stars, including the most famous stars on the sky Sirius, Polaris, and Betelgeuse. Pictured, the constellation of Orion is shown with several of these now-official star names superposed. Spanning about 30 degrees, this breath-taking vista stretches across the well-known constellation from head to toe (left to right) and beyond. The common names for all three stars in Orion's belt are also now official. At 1,500 light years away, the Great Orion Nebula is the closest large star forming region, here visible just right and below center. Also visible are famous nebulae including the Horsehead Nebula and the Witch Head Nebula. Of course, the Orion Nebula and bright stars are easy to see with the unaided eye, but dust clouds and emission from the extensive interstellar gas in this nebula-rich complex, are too faint and much harder to record. In the featured mosaic of broadband telescopic images, additional image data acquired with a narrow hydrogen alpha filter was used to bring out the pervasive tendrils of energized atomic hydrogen gas like in the arc of the giant Barnard's Loop.

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Tomorrow's picture: lightning cloud


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sábado, 3 de diciembre de 2016

APOD - Galaxies in Pegasus

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2016 December 3
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Galaxies in Pegasus
Image Credit & Copyright: Péter Feltóti

Explanation: This wide, sharp telescopic view reveals galaxies scattered beyond the stars of the Milky Way at the northern boundary of the high-flying constellation Pegasus. Prominent at the upper right is NGC 7331. A mere 50 million light-years away, the large spiral is one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. The disturbed looking group of galaxies at the lower left is well-known as Stephan's Quintet. About 300 million light-years distant, the quintet dramatically illustrates a multiple galaxy collision, its powerful, ongoing interactions posed for a brief cosmic snapshot. On the sky, the quintet and NGC 7331 are separated by about half a degree.

Tomorrow's picture: semantic orion


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.


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