Dusty Spiral M66
Explanation: When morning twilight came to the Paranal Observatory in Chile, astronomers Mark Neeser and Peter Barthel interrupted their search for faint quasars, billions of light-years away. And just for a moment, they used Very Large Telescopes at the European Southern Observatory to appreciate the beauty of the nearby Universe. One result was this stunning view of beautiful spiral galaxy M66, a mere 35 million light-years away. About 100 thousand light-years across with striking dust lanes and bright star clusters along sweeping spiral arms, M66 is well known to astronomers as a member of the Leo Triplet of galaxies. Gravitational interactions with its neighborhood galaxies have likely influenced the shape of dusty spiral M66.
Le petit nuage de Magellan
Il s’agit en fait d’une galaxie naine satellite de la nôtre située à 200 000 années-lumière de la Terre. C’est son aspect laiteux dans le ciel austral qui lui a valu le surnom de «petit nuage». Bien que découvert par le navigateur italien Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), c’est l’explorateur portugais Fernand de Magellan (1480-1521) qui le fera connaître et qui lui léguera son nom. Ce cliché infrarouge du télescope spatial Spitzer permet aux astronomes de mieux comprendre les cycles de naissances des étoiles au sein de cette galaxie naine.
Crédit : NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Gordon (STScI)
Le Petit Nuage de Magellan (Wikipedia) - Le cliché de Spitzer (NASA)
Small Magellanic Cloud
This is, in fact, a dwarf galaxy, satellite to our own galaxy, situated 200,000 light years from Earth. It was its milky appearance in the austral sky which earned it the nickname of “little cloud”. Although discovered by the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), it was the Portuguese explorer Fernand de Magellan (1480-1521) who brought it to the public eye and bequeathed it his name. This infrared photograph taken by the Spitzer space telescope enables astronomers to get a better understanding of star birth cycles in this dwarf galaxy.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Gordon (STScI)
Small Magellanic Cloud (Wikipedia) - Spitzer’s photograph (NASA)
The sharpest image ever taken of the large “grand design” spiral galaxy M81 is being released today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A spiral-shaped system of stars, dust, and gas clouds, the galaxy’s arms wind all the way down into the nucleus. Though the galaxy is located 11.6 million light-years away, the Hubble Space Telescope’s view is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas.
If you’ve got the bandwidth and the patience, you can download the fullsize of 706MB and see all that for yourself. The Hubble data was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2004 through 2006. This colour composite was assembled from images taken in blue, visible, and infrared light.Download image » via unknownskywalker:
The galaxy UGC 6697, located about 1.5 million light years from the core of the galaxy cluster Abell 1367, is shown here in a composite X-ray (blue)- optical (red & green) image. The Chandra image reveals a sharp edge on the lower left that is inside the optical edge of the galaxy, and a long tail of X-radiation extending to the upper right beyond the optical galaxy. These features suggest that the density of the hot gas that pervades the cluster is just right - not too high or not too low - to trigger a burst of star formation by compressing clouds of cool gas in the galaxy.Read more » via unknownskywalker:
The artist’s illustration on the left shows a typical massive galaxy as it would have appeared when the universe was only about a quarter of its current age. This young galaxy contains an active galactic nucleus (AGN), or quasar, in its center, a luminous object powered by the rapid growth of a supermassive black hole. Some of the light from the AGN is obscured by dense gas and dust near the center of the galaxy. The galaxy itself is undergoing a growth spurt, as shown by bright regions of star formation in the spiral arms.
This image combines data from four different observatories: the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple); the Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite (ultraviolet/blue); the Hubble Space Telescope (visible/green); the Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared/red). The unusual shape of the Cartwheel Galaxy is likely due to a collision with one of the smaller galaxies on the lower left several hundred million years ago.
The smaller galaxy produced compression waves in the gas of the Cartwheel as it plunged through it. These compression waves trigger bursts of star formation. The most recent star burst has lit up the Cartwheel’s rim, which has a diameter larger than that of the Milky Way galaxy, with millions of bright young stars.
When the most massive of these stars explode as supernovas, they leave behind neutron stars and black holes. Some of these neutron stars and black holes have nearby companion stars, and have become powerful sources of X-rays as they pull matter off their companions.
The brightest X-ray sources are likely black holes with companion stars, and appear as the white dots that lie along the rim of the X-ray image. The Cartwheel contains an exceptionally large number of these black hole binary X-ray sources, because many massive stars formed in the rim.More » via unknownskywalker:
The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038/NGC 4039) are a pair of colliding galaxies in the constellation Corvus. Within 400 million years, the Antennae’s nuclei will collide and become a single core with stars, gas, and dust around it. Observations and simulations of colliding galaxies suggest that the Antennae Galaxies will eventually form an elliptical galaxy.
Click through for giant resolution.
This dramatic spiral galaxy is one of the latest viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Stunning details of the face-on spiral galaxy, cataloged as NGC 1309, are captured in this colour image.