martes, 21 de febrero de 2017

APOD - An Active Night over the Magellan Telescopes

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 February 21

An Active Night over the Magellan Telescopes
Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory, TWAN);
Music Credit & License: Airglow by Club 220

Explanation: The night sky is always changing. Featured here are changes that occurred over a six hour period in late 2014 June behind the dual 6.5-meter Magellan Telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The initial red glow on the horizon is airglow, a slight cooling of high air by the emission of specific colors of light. Bands of airglow are also visible throughout the time-lapse video. Early in the night, car headlights flash on the far left. Satellites quickly shoot past as they circle the Earth and reflect sunlight. A long and thin cloud passes slowly overhead. The Large Magellanic Cloud rises on the left, while the expansive central band of our Milky Way Galaxy arches and pivots as the Earth rotates. As the night progresses, the Magellan telescopes swivel and stare as they explore pre-determined patches of the night sky. Every night, every sky changes differently, even though the phenomena at play are usually the same.

Explore the Universe: Random APOD Generator
Tomorrow's picture: saturn ring ringer


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lunes, 20 de febrero de 2017

APOD - Almost Three Tails for Comet Encke

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2017 February 20
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Almost Three Tails for Comet Encke
Image Credit & Copyright: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich

Explanation: How can a comet have three tails? Normally, a comet has two tails: an ion tail of charged particles emitted by the comet and pushed out by the wind from the Sun, and a dust tail of small debris that orbits behind the comet but is also pushed out, to some degree, by the solar wind. Frequently a comet will appear to have only one tail because the other tail is not easily visible from the Earth. In the featured unusual image, Comet 2P/Encke appears to have three tails because the ion tail split just near to the time when the image was taken. The complex solar wind is occasionally turbulent and sometimes creates unusual structure in an ion tail. On rare occasions even ion-tail disconnection events have been recorded. An image of the Comet Encke taken two days later gives a perhaps less perplexing perspective.

Tomorrow's picture: active sky


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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
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domingo, 19 de febrero de 2017

APOD - Black Sun and Inverted Starfield

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 February 19
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Black Sun and Inverted Starfield
Image Credit & Copyright: Jim Lafferty

Explanation: Does this strange dark ball look somehow familiar? If so, that might be because it is our Sun. In the featured image from 2012, a detailed solar view was captured originally in a very specific color of red light, then rendered in black and white, and then color inverted. Once complete, the resulting image was added to a starfield, then also color inverted. Visible in the image of the Sun are long light filaments, dark active regions, prominences peeking around the edge, and a moving carpet of hot gas. The surface of our Sun can be a busy place, in particular during Solar Maximum, the time when its surface magnetic field is wound up the most. Besides an active Sun being so picturesque, the plasma expelled can also become picturesque when it impacts the Earth's magnetosphere and creates auroras.

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Tomorrow's picture: three-pronged comet


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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sábado, 18 de febrero de 2017

APOD - Penumbral Eclipse Rising

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2017 February 18
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Penumbral Eclipse Rising
Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Jelen

Explanation: As seen from Cocoa Beach Pier, Florida, planet Earth, the Moon rose at sunset on February 10 while gliding through Earth's faint outer shadow. In progress was the first eclipse of 2017, a penumbral lunar eclipse followed in this digital stack of seaside exposures. Of course, the penumbral shadow is lighter than the planet's umbral shadow. That central, dark, shadow is easily seen on the lunar disk during a total or partial lunar eclipse. Still, in this penumbral eclipse the limb of the Moon grows just perceptibly darker as it rises above the western horizon. The second eclipse of 2017 could be more dramatic though. With viewing from a path across planet Earth's southern hemisphere, on February 26 there will be an annular eclipse of the Sun.


Tomorrow's picture: inverted sun


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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viernes, 17 de febrero de 2017

APOD - Polar Ring Galaxy NGC 660

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2017 February 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Polar Ring Galaxy NGC 660
Image Credit & Copyright: CHART32 Team, Processing - Johannes Schedler

Explanation: NGC 660 is featured in this cosmic snapshot. Over 40 million light-years away and swimming within the boundaries of the constellation Pisces, NGC 660's peculiar appearance marks it as a polar ring galaxy. A rare galaxy type, polar ring galaxies have a substantial population of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings strongly tilted from the plane of the galactic disk. The bizarre-looking configuration could have been caused by the chance capture of material from a passing galaxy by a disk galaxy, with the captured debris eventually strung out in a rotating ring. The violent gravitational interaction would account for the myriad pinkish star forming regions scattered along NGC 660's ring. The polar ring component can also be used to explore the shape of the galaxy's otherwise unseen dark matter halo by calculating the dark matter's gravitational influence on the rotation of the ring and disk. Broader than the disk, NGC 660's ring spans over 50,000 light-years.


Tomorrow's picture: many moons


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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.


This is an automated email. If you notice any problems, just send me a note at gtracy@gmail.com. You can add and remove email addresses to this distribution list here, http://apodemail.org.