21st August 2014
Photo reblogged from A Hitchhiker's Guide to Space & Plasma Physics with 1,668 notes
Coming soon: SciNote.org, launched by entrop-e, shychemist, and geogallery, is Tumblr’s project for promoting science education around the world.
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15th August 2014
Photoset reblogged from A Hitchhiker's Guide to Space & Plasma Physics with 1,110 notes
As the name suggestions, millisecond pulsars have pulse periods that are in the range from one to ten milliseconds. Most such millisecond pulsars are found in binary systems, typically with white-dwarf companions. These pulsars are highly magnetized, old neutron stars in binary systems which have been spun up to high rotational frequencies by accumulating mass and angular momentum from a companion star. Neutron stars form when a massive star explodes at the end of its life and leaves behind a super-dense, spinning ball of neutrons. A pulsar is the same thing as a neutron star, but with one added feature. Pulsars emit lighthouse-like beams of x-ray and radio waves that rapidly sweep through space as the object spins on its axis. Most pulsars rotate just a few times per second, but some spin hundreds of times faster. These millisecond pulsars are the fastest-rotating stars we know of.
- To hear the sound of a pulsar, click here
11th August 2014
Photo with 6 notes
A colorful orb decorates the region surrounding the bright triple star Rho Ophiuchus. Probably no other region provides such an impressive spectacle of colorful glowing gases juxtaposed with converging dark rivers of thick dust. The area is highlighted by the bright star Antares, a red supergiant 40,000 times more luminous than our sun. The star is immense. With a diameter of 800 million kilometers it is so large that it is one of the few stars with a measurable disk. If placed at the sun its edge would stretch almost to the planet Jupiter. Antares lies embedded in an unusual circumstellar yellow cloud formed by the ionization of the fierce stellar winds blown by the dying star. Antares has a B type companion star only 3 arcseconds away which orbits the larger star every 900 years. The colorful clouds surrounding Rho Ophiuchus represents the visible counterpart of a much larger but invisible molecular cloud permeating the region and known as the Ophiuchus cloud. This giant molecular cloud is one of the nearest and most studied regions of star formation in the local Milky Way at a distance of about 520 light years. A peculiar feature of the Ophiuchus cloud is the presence of a condensed core with very active star formation. The central core is located in the dark cloud L1688 near the star Rho Ophiuchus. The Ophiuchus cloud lies well above the plane of the galaxy near the border of the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association, the nearest OB association to our sun. It is believed that about 1.5 million years ago a massive star in upper scorpius exploded as a supernova sending a powerful shock wave that now passes through the Ophiuchus cloud triggering star formation in the cloud beginning 1 million years ago and continuing today.
10th August 2014
Photo with 54 notes
The super massive star Eta Carinae is embedded in a huge gas and dust cloud. It is situated approx. 7,500 light-years away. Eta Carinae suffered a giant outburst in the year 1841, when it became one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Though the star released as much visible light as a supernova explosion, it survived the outburst. Such large stars are very unstable. The expelled gas that creates the spectacular nebula (NGC 3372) emitting light in different colors according the ionized elements, that we see today. The gas shell is moving outward at about 1.5 million miles per hour. The whole nebula spans 300 light years. This image has been taken with RGB filters (top) and with narrowband filters as mapped image (middle). The H-alpha version you find below. North is to the right.
10th August 2014
Photo with 66 notes
NGC2264, Cone and Fox Fur Nebulae in Monoceros. Observing Site: La Hita (L and B) and Azor (Ha) Observatories
10th August 2014
Photo with 1 note
A recurring theme of destruction, upheaval, birth and rebirth occurs within the spiral arms of galaxies. HII regions within the spiral arms of galaxies serve as celestial recycling stations where the birth of new stars completes a great cycle, creating and recycling matter, ultimately enriching and replenishing the interstellar medium with heavier elements. These heavier elements may potentially become the building blocks of terrestrial planets and ultimately living organisms. The Orion Nebula is arguably the greatest of all HII clouds visible from our location within the Milky Way. With a gaseous repository of 10,000 suns, and illuminated by a cluster of hot young stars, the clouds of M42 glow with fantastic colors and shapes, giving us a birds eye view of one of the greatest star forming nurseries in our part of the galaxy. The radiance and beauty of Orion transcends dry astronomical facts, however the history as well as the physics and chemistry of the Orion Nebula is a tale worthy of telling that helps us understand the nebula’s great significance. M42 is a complex cloud of glowing gas, mostly hydrogen but also helium, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen in decreasing amounts. Although a true astronomical icon, M42 is essentially a bright condensation of the Orion A Molecular Cloud which extends far beyond the Orion Nebula. Although it spans 40 light years, the ionized gas of M42 is an exceptionally thin blister only 0.08 light years thick on the surface of the larger and optically invisible molecular cloud. Directly in front of M42 is a small grouping of hot O and B type stars known as the trapezium which shine between 5th and 8th magnitude. This grouping represents the 4 brightest members of an extended cluster of several thousand young stars many of which lie unseen within the opaque gas and dust. The bright trapezium grouping represents the cluster core where stars are packed so tight they exceed the stellar concentration of our suns vicinity some 20,000 times
9th August 2014
Photo with 2 notes
9th August 2014
Photo with 32 notes
The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. NGC 6604 is the bright grouping towards to the upper left of the image. It is a young star cluster that is the densest part of a more widely scattered association containing about one hundred brilliant blue-white stars. The picture also shows the cluster’s associated nebula — a cloud of glowing hydrogen gas that is called Sh2-54 — as well as dust clouds.
8th August 2014
Photo with 6 notes
L’amas ouvert des pleiades (M45)