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February 18th, 2016

Image Credit: Michael Goh

Image Credit: Michael Goh

Taken in Nambung National Park in Western Australia, a crescent moon appears to balance on one of the Pinnacles- an unusual, human-sized rock made of limestone. The glow surrounding the Moon is due to zodiacal light, when sunlight reflects off dust particles found between planets in the solar system.  The central part of the Milky Way arches over the horizon, completing this wonderfully unique composition.

January 23rd, 2016

Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly

Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly

Today, the east coast of the US faces winter storm Jonas, the first blizzard of the season.  Observing from many miles above, astronaut Scott Kelly snapshotted a rare instance of “thundersnow”- when it snows during a thunderstorm instead of rain- piercing through the thick cloud cover.

 

January 18th, 2016

Credit: Kevin Gill/Flickr

Credit: Kevin Gill/Flickr

Credit: Kevin Gill/Flickr

Credit: Kevin Gill/Flickr

Every gas-giant planet in our solar system contains a ring system, which are billions of ice and dust particles orbiting around a body in space.   Saturn’s iconic ring system is one of the most notable and breathtaking.  Kevin Gill, a software engineer who performs science data visualizations for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,  set out to create visualizations to aid in speculation as to what a ring system would look like orbiting Earth.  The three photos shown above are, in order form top to bottom, of New Hampshire at night, Los Angeles at night, and Pasadena, California midday.  Using vacation photos, Photoshop, and other softwares, Gill edited the images to create a realistic view of how a ring system would alter our view of the sky.

 

(Sources: Universe Today)

November 27th, 2015

X-ray - NASA / CXC / J. Irwin et al. ; Optical - NASA/STScI

Image Credit: X-ray – NASA / CXC / J. Irwin et al. ; Optical – NASA/STScI

If you’re having a rough day, this astrophotography is sure to turn that frown upside-down.  The galactic group, known as the Cheshire Cat, is located in the constellation Ursa Major around 4.6 billion light-years away.  The galaxies appear warped due to gravitational lensing, a phenomena caused by the galactic group’s total distribution of gravitational mass and its interaction with dark matter.

 


 

August 24th, 2015

Image Credit: X-ray NASA/CXC/IfA/D.Sanders et al; Optical NASA/STScI/NRAO/A.Evans et al

Image Credit: X-ray NASA/CXC/IfA/D.Sanders et al; Optical NASA/STScI/NRAO/A.Evans et al

VV 340 represents a cosmic collision of immense proportions. The topmost galaxy, VV 340 North, and the front-facing galaxy, VV 340 South, are together known as the “Cosmic Explanation Point”. The title complements their destiny. In millions of years, the two spiral galaxies will collide and eventually merge into one super galaxy.

When galaxies collide, the event is more peaceful than it sounds. Due to the high gravitational pull from all the cosmic bodies within a galaxy, much of the internal workings, such as stars and planets, remain intact. Occasionally, stars go rouge and are propelled from their galaxy as a result of a collision, but almost never do stars actually collide. Although galaxies are filled with stars, they are spread very far apart from each other, making the possibility for stars to collide during galactic merging next to zero.  That’s lucky for us, since in a few billion years, the Milky Way will collide with our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda.

 

Published by Julia Mariani

 

(Source: NASA)

August 22nd, 2015

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

The Hubble Space Telescope captures a “cosmic couple” as a star named Hen 2-427 and the surrounding nebula M1-67 make for a marvelous photograph.  The pair can be found in the constellation Sagittarius.

A nebula acts as a nursery for star formation, composed of hot gases and dust.  The ingredients of a nebula generally come from the death of another star.  So even in death, the legacy of a star is passed on to the next generation.

M1-67 is approximately 10,000 years old; a newborn in the cosmic timeline of our universe.  To put it into perspective, the Earth is nearly 4.5 billion years old, and the human race is about 200,000 years old.  This nebula formed during the time of our distant ancestors.

Published by Julia Mariani

Source: European Space Agency, NASA


August 18th, 2015

Photo Credit: Rune Engebo

Photo Credit: Rune Engebo

 

A splendid display of the aurora borealis, better known as the northern lights, above the mountains of Senja, an island off the coast of Norway. Electrically charged particles emitted from the Sun cause the vibrant hues of green, blue, and purple.  The color variations depend on the element reacting with the charged particles.  The most common color observed, green, is caused by the atomic oxygen molecules about 60 miles above the Earth.  The purple and blue hues come from reactions with atmospheric nitrogen.

 

(Sources:  Northern Light Centre, From Quarks to Quasars)

 


 

August 12th, 2015

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Hot, illuminating clouds of gas and dust surround the star nursery of the Lagoon Nebula.  The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope released this new photo of the nebula, which is consumed with harsh winds and gas funnels due to active star formation.  The marvel unveiled by this new image is due to the combination of both infrared and optical light used to take the photo instead of just the ladder, which was used to create previous images.

The twinkling star, named Herschel 36,  located in the center of this image, forms the nearby clouds, utilizing any surrounding material to aid in its creation.

(Image and Source Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Trauger (Jet Propulson Laboratory))

August 2nd, 2015

blue-moon-ava-missouri-ozarks blue-moon-plano-texas

The phrase “once in a blue moon” actually refers to the astronomical event of two full moons occurring in the same month.  These photos via Space.com capture the second full moon during this July.  The next time a blue rises will be in 2018.

July 29th, 2015

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These series of images taken in Yellowstone National Park express the vibrance held within the night sky.  Photographer Dave Lane captured the Milky Way just after a storm passed through.  The water vapor from the body of water in the lower photo almost appears to feed into the heart of the galaxy.  Undeniable a phenomenal set of photographs.

July 13th, 2015

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Via NASA

Pluto Annotated 7-12-15

Via NASA

Pluto becomes more fascinating with each discovery the New Horizons mission unveils.  These images taken July 11th are the clearest yet of the icy dwarf. Turns out Pluto may be more complex than previously suspected, with massive cliffs and craters scattering the surface.  More information will be collected as the monumental flyby date approaches, July 14th (tomorrow) at 7:49 AM EDT.

July 9th, 2015

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Image Via: Space.com

Our universe overflows with galaxies left and right, pushing further and further apart due to mysterious dark energy.  The nearest cluster to our own galaxy, the Virgo cluster, measures nearly 50 million light-years away.  This photo captures multiple galaxies spaced around a massive elliptical in the center, all located within one branch of the Virgo cluster.

July 6th, 2015

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. The image’s central region, containing the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Via:  NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

Another stunning photo by the Hubble Space Telescope captures the immense beauty of the Westerlund cluster. This image honors the 25th anniversary of the Hubble and featured alongside the countless other images taken by the telescope that have shaped how we view our universe.

June 29th, 2015

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Source: Julian Wessel

This is no ordinary photo of our moon. If you look closely, the International Space Station flies by in contrast to the lunar surface. Talk about great timing!

April 17th, 2015

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An iconic Hubble discovery, this beautiful infrared imaging of the Horsehead Nebula creates a striking contrast between the backdrop of space, settling many eyes into a state of awe.  From perpetrating light of stars surrounding the “horsehead” region, astronomers estimate the nebula has about five million years before it disintegrates. The nebula is found in the constellation Orion.

(Sources: HubbleSite, NASA, ESA)

April 16th, 2015

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Click here feel the force awaken

This media commemorates the release of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer! I don’t know about you, but my heart flutters every time I watch it. It ignites placid childhood memories of idolizing the franchise and how it intertwines with science, history, and literature.

(Image source: CNN)

April 14th, 2015

LoonIslandLightPanoEvans

This beautiful panoramic of the Milky Way arching over Loon Island Lighthouse in New Hampshire was photographed by A. Garrett Evans. In an email to Space.com, he expressed the complexity behind this particular photo.

“I have been planning this shot for about a year and a half. Four things need to happen to get this shot. The Milky Way core needs to be above the horizon, the weather needs to be clear, the moon needs to be set or in a new moon phase, and the ice needs to be safe.”

SOURCES: A.G. Evans Photography, Space.com

April 13th, 2015

venus-pleiades-John-Ashley-4-11-2015-Montana-e1428892112789

Today three majestic images will be featured in honor of the Venus and Pleiades cluster alignment, which happens once every eight years. This first photo shows Venus and the Pleiades peeking out from a cloudy night, photographed by John Ashley.

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The striking blue tones of the brightest stars in the Pleiades cluster are very evident in this photo by Anthony Lynch.

venus-pleiades-hyades-4-9-2015-Yuri-Belesky-Nightscapes-e1428656753503

Lastly, this photo taken by Yuri Beletsky shows an beautiful big sky perspective on the bright Venus and Pleiades.

To learn more about the alignment of these two celestial objects, check out the corresponding post in the Astronomical Calendar!

April 9th, 2015

grand-canyon-milky-way-suarez

Let your eyes feast upon this beautiful image of the Milky Way over the Grand Canyon by Edwin Suarez. The orange tones near the horizon make for a poetic forest fire-like landscape.

January 19th, 2015

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This isn’t just any ordinary astronomical photo ladies and gentlemen. Taken by Jeff Berkes in 2013, this image captures the Milky Way, a Bootid meteor, the northern lights, AND a lightening storm. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

 

(CREDIT: Jeff Berkes)

January 6th, 2015

Pillars of Creation

Nasa is celebrating the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope by releasing this new, updated image of the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula. The pillars have drastically changed over the past 20 years. Though difficult to even notice, one of the pillars has been moving 450,000 miles per hour, traveling a total of nearly 60 billion miles!

August 5th, 2014

Maine

This beautiful photo was taken by Jon Secord in Pemaquid, Maine.  Not only does the Milky Way look astounding, but also the moon aligned perfectly behind the lighthouse  to create the illusion that it is lit. Truly a colorful and magnificent display of astrophotography!

 

August 2, 2014

Centaurus-A-NGC-5128-or-Arp-153-an-elliptical-starburst-galaxy-10-16-million-light-years-away-with-a-very-unusual-dust-lane-and-an-active-galactic-nucleus-The-relativistic-jets-are-over-a-million-light-years-long.

This is a stunning image of the galaxy Centaurus A.  At nearly 12 million light years away, the closet active galaxy to our own.  The jet waves being propelled into space are caused by the activity of  the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center.  Due to the jet waves, immense amounts of X-rays and radio waves are released from Centaurus A every second… Don’t want to get too close to that!

(SOURCE: NASA)

July 26th, 2014

A spiral galaxy located about 30 million light years from Earth.

Courtesy of the Chandra Observatory, astronomers can view the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) in spectacular colors.  This composite image uses optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope shown through the reds, blues, and greens. Chandra detects the bright purples.  The spectacular spheres of purple reveal high energy X-ray sources such as X-ray binaries (XRBs), which are binary star systems where one star in the system (either a neutron star or black hole) is capturing material from its companion.  Through studying M51 for over a decade, astronomers believe there are around eight black holes eating material from their companion stars.

The Whirlpool Galaxy is a Spiral Galaxy similar to the Milky Way.  However, unlike the Milky Way, M51 is merging with a companion galaxy as shown in the upper portion of the photograph.  When two galaxies merge, the gas and dust within their arms heat up and create the beautiful, luminous colors reflected in this photo!

July 19th, 2014

The oldest cluster in its cloud

Just yesterday, NASA released this delightful photo of globular cluster NGC 121, which is located in a nearby galaxy known as the Small Magnetic Cloud (SMC).  This globular cluster is the oldest in the SMC, nearly 10 billion years old!  That makes this photo (taken by the Hubble Space Telescope) the oldest evidence from the galaxy.

 

May 26th, 2014

IDL TIFF file

This beautiful photo of the Sombrero Galaxy shows the different colors detected from the galaxy.  This galaxy is a favorite amongst astronomy enthusiasts.

 April 21st, 2014

sunsetkepler186f

A beautiful predicted comparison of a sunset from earth vs. and sunset from Kepler-186f, the “sister earth”. The reason why the atmosphere has a redder tone on Kepler-186f is due to the fact that it orbits a red dwarf star.

April 9th, 2014

SummerTriangle [Converted]

With summer approaching, the glorious Summer Triangle will soon begin to rise in the northern hemisphere! One of the most identifiable constellations in the night sky,  the Summer Triangle contains three beautiful stars, Deneb (the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus), Altair, and Vega. During the peak of summer, Vega is directly overhead and the entire constellation is very easy to find.

(In honor of the lovely Doctor Deneb Bates of the TISCH MSRCNY)

March 30th, 2014

photo

A truly awesome image reflecting the different horizons of the solar system. The plains from left to right are Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Titan. Hopefully one day we will receive actual images of the horizons of Titan and Venus!

March 24th, 2014

milky-way-andromeda-collision-montage

A diagram depicting the pending doom for the Milky Way Galaxy as it collides with our neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. But don’t worry, this won’t happen for at least another 3 billion years!  Both the galaxies are currently  known as  “barred spiral galaxies”.  However, once the two merge, they will create one “elliptical galaxy”.

 

March 20th, 2014

md_10-07-2008_Helix_nr3

 

Anyone who watches COSMOS is familiar with this planetary nebula as it is part of the program’s logo. But do you know what it is called? It goes by two names, the Helix Nebula or the Eye of God.

March 13, 2014

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Remains of a supernova form this colorfully inspiring image captured by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

 

March 10th, 2014

IDL TIFF file

 

This incredible photo courtesy of Hubble Deep Field really paints a picture as to how small we are in the immensity of our universe. See every little dot? They are all galaxies just like our own, each with millions upon millions of stars… Who knows, maybe one hosts a planet just like our own!

March 9th, 2014

Dance

This beautiful, high definition picture via Hubble Space Telescope shows two galaxies dancing in a cosmic collision.

 

February 15th, 2014

heart_russell_big

In honor of yesterday being Valentine’s Day, here is a picture of the heart nebula, a reminder that love can be found even in the deepest corners of our galaxy!

 

January 29th, 2014

photo

Most likely one of the most breath-taking photos of our own Milky Way Galaxy! It’s so amazing to live in a time when these photos can be taken!

 

January 18th, 2014

Rocket

This beautiful image is not only breathtaking but also very important. When looking closely at the sun, their are two or three dots, which represent sun spots. These are regions on the Sun that are cooler compared to their surrounding.

 

January 16th, 2014

Tara Neb

The Tarantula Nebula is the most active star nursery in the night sky. Its beautiful colors and great brightness makes it a stunning structure to be seen through a telescope. This picture was taken by none other than the Hubble Space Telescope.

 

January 13th, 2014

converted PNM file

This is one of my all-time favorite photos. You see that little blue dot on the lower right side? That’s earth. Taken by the Cassini spacecraft next to Saturn, this photo truly shows how tiny we are in this vast universe. That is why we must cherish our small oasis and protect it for future generations.

 

January 12th, 2014

galaxy from mountain

 

This is  beautiful picture showing the Milky Way “erupting” from a volcano!

 

January 9th, 2014

nustar-hand-of-god         This picture recently discovered by the Chandra Telescope and NuSTAR closely resembles a hand reaching out from the night sky…Very poetic! Even more poetic is the name it has been given, The Hand Of God. Who would of thought astronomy and religion would ever mix?

It formed from the remnants of supernova. Within the hand is a pulsar star spinning 7 times a second!

 

January 5th, 2014

opo9913cIn recognition of Jupiter in opposition tonight, I present to you Jupiter! That black dot appears to be a second moon, but it’s only the shadow of the red moon.

 

January 4th, 2014

horsehead-nebula-ellison

On November 28th, 2013, this image was captured of the Horsehead nebula “ambling” with the Flame nebula. The combination of these two nebulas, both around 1,500 light years away, paints a unique, easily identifiable image in the night sky. Point your telescope towards the constellation, Orion, and you should be able to identify the nebulas.

 

January 3rd, 2014

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In honor of the decade anniversary of the Mars rover mission landing, here is a beautiful photo of the planet taken by none other than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Comments welcomed!