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sci-universe:

This image shows the centre of the Milky Way towards the constellation of Sagittarius. Many objects, that usually are hidden at optical wavelengths, are visible here in these infrared observations from Hubble Space Telescope.
However, the most famous cosmic object in this image still remains invisible  — in the centre of this image lies the monster of our galaxy’s heart called Sagittarius A*. It’s a supermassive black hole, which consumes clouds of dust as it affects its environment with its enormous gravitational pull.
(Credit: ESA, NASA, Gabriel Brammer)

sci-universe:

This image shows the centre of the Milky Way towards the constellation of Sagittarius. Many objects, that usually are hidden at optical wavelengths, are visible here in these infrared observations from Hubble Space Telescope.

However, the most famous cosmic object in this image still remains invisible — in the centre of this image lies the monster of our galaxy’s heart called Sagittarius A*. It’s a supermassive black hole, which consumes clouds of dust as it affects its environment with its enormous gravitational pull.

(Credit: ESA, NASA, Gabriel Brammer)

, #astronomy #astronomyfacts #astrophysics #hubble #hubble space telescope #NASA #ESA #space #Milky Way #black hold
spaceplasma:

The Peanut at the Heart of our Galaxy

This artist’s impression shows how the Milky Way galaxy would look seen from almost edge on and from a very different perspective than we get from the Earth. The central bulge shows up as a peanut shaped glowing ball of stars and the spiral arms and their associated dust clouds form a narrow band.
One of the most important and massive parts of the galaxy is the galactic bulge. This huge central cloud of about 10 000 million stars spans thousands of light-years, but its structure and origin were not well understood.
Unfortunately, from our vantage point from within the galactic disc, the view of this central region — at about 27 000 light-years’ distance — is heavily obscured by dense clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers can only obtain a good view of the bulge by observing longer wavelength light, such as infrared radiation, which can penetrate the dust clouds.
Full Article

Credit: ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. Hurt

spaceplasma:

The Peanut at the Heart of our Galaxy

This artist’s impression shows how the Milky Way galaxy would look seen from almost edge on and from a very different perspective than we get from the Earth. The central bulge shows up as a peanut shaped glowing ball of stars and the spiral arms and their associated dust clouds form a narrow band.

One of the most important and massive parts of the galaxy is the galactic bulge. This huge central cloud of about 10 000 million stars spans thousands of light-years, but its structure and origin were not well understood.

Unfortunately, from our vantage point from within the galactic disc, the view of this central region — at about 27 000 light-years’ distance — is heavily obscured by dense clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers can only obtain a good view of the bulge by observing longer wavelength light, such as infrared radiation, which can penetrate the dust clouds.

Full Article

Credit: ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. Hurt

, #ESO #NASA #galactic disk #galaxy #Milky Way #milky way galaxy #astronomyfacts #space

Introduction to the Milky Way via Chandra.

The word galaxy comes from a Greek word meaning “milky circle” or, more familiarly, “milky way.” The white band of light across the night sky that we call the Milky Way was observed and described poetically long before Galileo examined it with a small telescope. What he discovered was a multitude of individual stars, “so numerous as almost to surpass belief.”

Learn more through the links below:

, #Milky Way #astronomy #astronomyfacts #science #galaxy
The Milky Way and Mt. Fuji as a ‘Galactic Volcano’ via Universe Today Image credit: Yuga Kurita

It is a Japanese tradition to climb Mt. Fuji at night to be able to watch sunrise from the peak of the volcano in the morning. And so at night, climbers use flashlights to make their way to the summit. This inspired photographer Yuga Kurita to create a truly stunning image that makes the iconic Mt. Fuji appear like a galactic volcano.
“When I arrived at Fujiyoshida in Yamanashi Prefecture, I saw people climbing up Mt. Fuji with flash lights and I thought they looked like lava streams,” Kurita explained on G+. “Then I came up with this composition, since nowadays, the Milky Way appears vertically in the sky so probably I could liken Mt. Fuji to an imaginary galactic volcano, that is, people climbing up with torches are lava streams and the Milky Way is the volcano smoke.”Kurita said he checked out maps to find out the best potential spots where the image could be taken for full effect, and then spent a whole day driving and hiking around Mt. Fuji to check out the candidate spots. “I eventually found out the right spot for the composition and visited the spot three consecutive nights,” he said. “The result is this photograph. I’m quite happy with the outcome.”
Amazing and truly spectacular!
Thanks to Yuga Kurita for allowing Universe Today to post this image. You can see more of his work at G+ and on Facebook.

The Milky Way and Mt. Fuji as a ‘Galactic Volcano’ via Universe Today Image credit: Yuga Kurita

It is a Japanese tradition to climb Mt. Fuji at night to be able to watch sunrise from the peak of the volcano in the morning. And so at night, climbers use flashlights to make their way to the summit. This inspired photographer Yuga Kurita to create a truly stunning image that makes the iconic Mt. Fuji appear like a galactic volcano.

“When I arrived at Fujiyoshida in Yamanashi Prefecture, I saw people climbing up Mt. Fuji with flash lights and I thought they looked like lava streams,” Kurita explained on G+. “Then I came up with this composition, since nowadays, the Milky Way appears vertically in the sky so probably I could liken Mt. Fuji to an imaginary galactic volcano, that is, people climbing up with torches are lava streams and the Milky Way is the volcano smoke.”

Kurita said he checked out maps to find out the best potential spots where the image could be taken for full effect, and then spent a whole day driving and hiking around Mt. Fuji to check out the candidate spots. “I eventually found out the right spot for the composition and visited the spot three consecutive nights,” he said. “The result is this photograph. I’m quite happy with the outcome.”

Amazing and truly spectacular!

Thanks to Yuga Kurita for allowing Universe Today to post this image. You can see more of his work at G+ and on Facebook.

, #astrophotography #photography #sky #night #Milky Way #Mt. Fuji #earth

stellar-indulgence:

Galactic Habitable Zone

One of our Sun’s unusual features is its orbit around the center of the galaxy, which is significantly less elliptical (“eccentric”) than those of other stars similar in age (and therefore metallicity, or proportion of an object’s chemical composition other than hydrogen and helium) and type and is barely inclined relative to the Galactic plane. This circularity in the Sun’s orbit prevents it from plunging into the inner Galaxy where life-threatening supernovae are more common. Moreover, the small inclination to the galactic plane avoids abrupt crossings of the plane that would stir up the Sun’s Oort Cloud and bombard the Earth with life-threatening comets.

In fact, the Sun is orbiting very close to the “co-rotation radius” of the galaxy, where the angular speed of the galaxy’s spiral arms matches that of the stars within. As a result, the Sun avoids crossing the spiral arms very often, which would expose Earth to supernovae that are more common there. These exceptional circumstances may have made it more likely for complex life and human intelligence to emerge on Earth. According to Guillermo Gonzalez (an astronomer at Iowa State University), fewer than five percent of all stars in the galaxy enjoy such a life-enhancing galactic orbit. Other astronomers point out, however, that many nearby stars move with the Sun in a similar galactic orbit.

The Sun resides in a pancake region of the Galaxy called the “disk” with a strong concentration of stars (and gas and dust) within 3,000 light-years (ly) of the galactic plane, which includes the so-called “thin disk” that has more relatively younger stars within 1,500 ly of the plane (more on stellar population groups in our Milky Way Galaxy). This region contains relatively young to intermediate-aged stars that within around five billion years old with relatively higher average metallicity than other galactic regions located outside of the galactic core, in a circular band that broadens with time. Generated by the deaths of older stars, the greater availability of elements higher than hydrogen and helium in this galactic region favor the formation of rocky inner planets as large as Earth, or bigger (Gonzalez et al, 2001). Moreover, the galactic orbits of stars in this region tend to be relatively circular — with low to moderate eccentricity. According to one recent definition of the galactic habitable zone, as much as 10 percent of all stars in the Milky Way may have experienced chemical and environmental conditions suitable for the development of complex Earth-type life over the past eight to four billion years for evolutionary development (press release; and Lineweaver et al, 2004, in pdf). (Further discussion of the different galactic regions and their distinctive stellar populations is available from ChView’s “The Stars of the Milky Way.”)

In recent millenia, the Sun has been passing through a Local Interstellar Cloud (LIC) that is flowing away from the Scorpius-Centaurus Association of young stars dominated by extremely hot and bright O and B spectral types, many of which will end their brief lives violently as supernovae. The LIC is itself surrounded by a larger, lower density cavity in the interstellar medium (ISM) called the Local Bubble, that was probably formed by one or more relatively recent supernova explosions. As shown in a 2002 Astronomy Picture of the Day, located just outside the Local Bubble are: high-density molecular clouds such as the Aquila Rift which surrounds some star forming regions; the Gum Nebula, a region of hot ionized hydrogen gas which includes the Vela Supernova Remnant, which is expanding to create fragmented shells of material like the LIC; and the Orion Shell and Orion Association, which includes the Great Orion Nebula, the Trapezium of hot B- and O-type stars, the three belt stars of Orion, and local blue supergiant star Rigel.

Top Image credit: Yeshe FennerSTcIAURANASAESA

, #astronomy #space #Milky Way #galaxy #educational #facts #Coastal Clean Up

sagansense:

Light Pollution | Losing The Dark

Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The yellow glows over cities and towns — seen so clearly from space — are testament to the billions spent in wasted energy from lighting up the sky.

To help raise public awareness of some of the issues pertaining to light pollution, Loch Ness Productions in collaboration with the International Dark-Sky Association has created a 6.5-minute “public service announcement” called Losing the Dark. It introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution, and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it.

Losing the Dark was initially created in fulldome video format for digital planetarium use. It also has been made as a conventional flat screen video, for use in classrooms, kiosks, museum theaters, and advocate multimedia presentations. Classic planetarium theaters without fulldome capability can show this version using their traditional video projectors.

via The International Dark Sky Association (IntlDarkSkyAssoc)

Stay Curious! Watch: The City Dark; more about the film HERE.

, #sci-lit #scientific literacy #education #light pollution #pollution #humans #technology #tech #astronomy #milky way #conservation #ecology #neuroscience #neurobiology #brain #science #humanactions #earth #video

Adopt-an-Alien-Planet Campaign Launches Today (May 1st)
A new campaign aims to start giving popular names to the hundreds of alien planets that have been discovered around the Milky Way galaxy.
The space-funding company Uwingu announced this “Adopt-a-Planet” effort today (May 1), asking the public to propose and vote on names for the many and varied worlds now known beyond our solar system.
Any moniker that receives at least 1,000 votes earns its nominator the chance to “adopt” (and name) theexoplanet of his or her choice. Such winners will also receive an adoption certificate, links to detailed information about the adopted planet and $100 in Uwingu store credits, company officials said. [The Strangest Alien Planets (Gallery)]
Adopt-a-Planet is similar to a month-long contest Uwingu staged recently to give a people’s-choice name to Alpha Centauri Bb, the closest known exoplanet to Earth at just 4.3 light-years away. (The winner: Albertus Alauda.)
The new adoption effort, however, is open-ended and seeks names for many different alien worlds.
“We’re happy to have winner after winner after winner,” Uwingu CEO Alan Stern, a former NASA science chief who also heads the agency’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, told SPACE.com. “There are plenty of exoplanets out there.”

Adopt-an-Alien-Planet Campaign Launches Today (May 1st)

A new campaign aims to start giving popular names to the hundreds of alien planets that have been discovered around the Milky Way galaxy.

The space-funding company Uwingu announced this “Adopt-a-Planet” effort today (May 1), asking the public to propose and vote on names for the many and varied worlds now known beyond our solar system.

Any moniker that receives at least 1,000 votes earns its nominator the chance to “adopt” (and name) theexoplanet of his or her choice. Such winners will also receive an adoption certificate, links to detailed information about the adopted planet and $100 in Uwingu store credits, company officials said. [The Strangest Alien Planets (Gallery)]

Adopt-a-Planet is similar to a month-long contest Uwingu staged recently to give a people’s-choice name to Alpha Centauri Bb, the closest known exoplanet to Earth at just 4.3 light-years away. (The winner: Albertus Alauda.)

The new adoption effort, however, is open-ended and seeks names for many different alien worlds.

“We’re happy to have winner after winner after winner,” Uwingu CEO Alan Stern, a former NASA science chief who also heads the agency’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, told SPACE.com. “There are plenty of exoplanets out there.”

, #space #planets #planet #exoplanets #exoplanet #astronomy #name a planet #alien worlds #alien planet #Universe #The Universe #Milky Way #cosmos #astronomy facts #NASA #tech #astronomyfacts #humanactions

ikenbot:

The Milky Way Band and Dark Skies

PSA:“That has to be superimposed - they photoshopped that on!” It’s understandable why a lot of you (and I do mean a lot) might be confused when confronting these vistas. But these are actual images of the milky way as seen under the best viewing conditions known to our planet, the dark skies. Due to the rapid growth of our civilization, we emit more light than we should and thus this darkens out many of our views and blocks us from making those wonderful necessary connections to the skies our minds desperately need. We can’t see the Milky Way band as seen above in many places, it’s always there though, rest assured, ready to greet us with its lovely stars. If we’re missing out on this.. is the way we use public lighting really as conventional as we believe it is? [Similar Posts: Losing the Dark - a Public Service Announcement on Light Pollution] [Losing The Dark: GIF set]

Images: Southern dream, Southwest Night, Three Roads To Galactic Paradise, Tropical milky way

, #landscape #light pollution #stargaze #milky way #photography #psa #save the dark skies #night sky #astronomy #astronomyfacts #science

electricspacekoolaid:

Puzzle of Spiral Galaxies Solved —“Self-perpetuating, Persistent, and Surprisingly Long Lived”

Some 15 percent of all galaxies in the visible Universe are spirals. The great fog-like clouds of stars, the oldest and largest galaxies in the Universe are ellipticals. Becasue ellipticals also include many of the smallest galaxies, they are the most numerous. Our own Milky Way, astronomers believe, is a spiral. Our solar system and Earth reside somewhere near one of its filamentous, swept-back arms. And nearly 70 percent of the galaxies closest to the Milky Way are spirals, suggesting they have taken the most ordinary of galactic forms in a universe with somewhere between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies.

But a long-standing question has been: how do galaxies like the Milky Way get and maintain their characteristic arms has proved to be an enduring puzzle in astrophysics. How do the arms ofspiral galaxies arise? Do they change or come and go over time?*The answers to these and other questions are now coming into focus as researchers capitalize on powerful new computer simulations to follow the motions of as many as 100 million “stellar particles” as gravity and other astrophysical forces sculpt them into familiar galactic shapes.

Writing April 1 in The Astrophysical Journal, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics report simulations that seem to resolve longstanding questions about the origin and life history of spiral arms in disk galaxies.

“We show for the first time that stellar spiral arms are not transient features, as claimed for several decades,” says UW-Madison astrophysicist Elena D’Onghia, who led the new research along with Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics colleagues Mark Vogelsberger and Lars Hernquist. “They are self-perpetuating, persistent and surprisingly long lived.”

The origin and fate of the emblematic spiral arms in disk galaxies have been debated by astrophysicists for decades, with two theories predominating: One holds that the arms come and go over time. A second and widely held theory is that the material that makes up the arms – stars, gas and dust – is affected by differences in gravity and jams up, like cars at rush hour, sustaining the arms for long periods.

The new results fall somewhere in between the two theories and suggest that the arms arise in the first place as a result of the influence of giant molecular clouds, star forming regions or nurseries common in galaxies. Introduced into the simulation, the clouds, says D’Onghia, a UW-Madison professor of astronomy, act as “perturbers” and are enough to not only initiate the formation of spiral arms but to sustain them indefinitely.

“We find they are forming spiral arms,” explains D’Onghia. “Past theory held the arms would go away with the perturbations removed, but we see that (once formed) the arms self-perpetuate, even when the perturbations are removed. It proves that once the arms are generated through these clouds, they can exist on their own through (the influence of) gravity, even in the extreme when the perturbations are no longer there.”

Read Article

, #Science #space #galaxies #galaxy #Milky Way Galaxy #Milky Way #technology #astronomy #astrophysics #Universe #stars #star #astronomy facts #tech #cosmology #astronomyfacts

Milky Way Panorama from Mauna Kea 

Image Credit & CopyrightWally Pacholka (TWAN)

Aloha and welcome to a breathtaking skyscape. The dreamlike panoramic view looks out from the 4,200 meter volcanic summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, across a layer of clouds toward a starry night sky and the rising Milky Way. Anchoring the scene on the far left is the dome of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), with north star Polaris shining beyond the dome to the right. Farther right, headed by bright star Deneb, the Northern Cross asterism is embedded along the plane of the Milky Way as it peeks above the horizon. Both Northern Cross and brilliant white Vega hang over a foreground grouping of cinder cones. Near the center are the reddish nebulae, stars and dust clouds of thecentral Milky Way. Below, illumination from the city lights of Hilo creates an eerie, greenish glow in the clouds. Red supergiant star Antares shines above the Milky Way’s central bulge while bright Alpha Centauri lies still farther right, along the dusty galactic plane. Finally, at the far right is the large Gemini North Observatory. The compact group of stars known as the Southern Cross is just left of the telescope dome. Need some help identifying the stars? Just slide your cursor over the picture, or download this smaller, labeled panorama.”

, #APOD #Astronomy Picture of the Day #astronomyfacts #astronomy #Milky Way #astrophotography #panorama #Muana Kea

electricspacekoolaid:

Ancient DNA Precursors Found in Interstellar Clouds - Predating Formation of Solar System

During the past decade, astrochemists have found that DNA molecules, the fundamental building blocks of life, find their origins not on Earth, but in the Cosmos. They are the languange of the Universe —the information they inherited comes from the stars and the cosmic ecology that formed them. Scientists using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia to study a giant cloud of gas some 25,000 light-years from Earth, near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, have discovered a molecule thought to be a precursor to a key component of DNA and another that may have a role in the formation of the amino acid alanine.

 ”Finding these molecules in an interstellar gas cloud means that important building blocks for DNA and amino acids can ‘seed’ newly-formed planets with the chemical precursors for life,” said Anthony Remijan, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

One of the newly-discovered molecules, called cyanomethanimine, is one step in the process that chemists believe produces adenine, one of the four nucleobases that form the “rungs” in the ladder-like structure of DNA. The other molecule, called ethanamine, is thought to play a role in forming alanine, one of the twenty amino acids in the genetic code.

In each case, the newly-discovered interstellar molecules are intermediate stages in multi-step chemical processes leading to the final biological molecule. Details of the processes remain unclear, but the discoveries give new insight on where these processes occur.

Previously, scientists thought such processes took place in the very tenuous gas between the stars. The new discoveries, however, suggest that the chemical formation sequences for these molecules occurred not in gas, but on the surfaces of ice grains in interstellar space.

“We need to do further experiments to better understand how these reactions work, but it could be that some of the first key steps toward biological chemicals occurred on tiny ice grains,” Remijan said.

Read

, #space #life #DNA #Star stuff #astronomy #astronomy facts #interstellar clouds #galaxies #galaxy #Milky Way #Milky Way Galaxy #tech #technology #astrophysics #cosmology #science #astronomyfacts
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