NGC 2366 is a small, irregular dwarf galaxy 10 million light years away in the direction of the constellation Camelopardalis - the giraffe.
[important]You can click on the image to view a larger version[/important]
The clearly visible blue region in the upper-right corner of the image is the star-forming nebula NGC 2363.
Broadly similar to the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies the Large and Small Magellanic cloud NGC 2366 may be small in comparison to many of the galaxies we are more accustomed to viewing in Hubble image though this doesn’t stop it from being a very active star factory indeed.
The smattering of active regions indicates that the galaxy is producing a great deal of the high mass blue stars (the blue smudges – and of course within NGC 2363).
The image was produced using Hubble’s infrared and green filters and so even though these regions appear blue they are actually a shade of red.
The image spans a distance of roughly 1/5 the diameter of the full moon though the galaxy itself is much too faint to be seen with the naked eye.
The view also captures a much more distant spiral galaxy which can be seen as the orange-brown structure in the upper middle portion of the image.
You can read more about the image here
Hubble has for the first time spotted Aurorae on the distant ice giant Uranus. In the image below you can see the turquoise disk of the planet has a bright ‘blotch’.
An aurora is produced when a stream of charged particles from the solar wind (the material ejected from the Sun) collides with a planet’s magnetic field (more properly called its magnetosphere) and excites the particles within the atmosphere casing them to glow. This glow is what we observe as the aurora.
On Earth aurorae with a blue or red colour are due to excited nitrogen, whilst green or a redish brown hue is due to excited oxygen. The aurorae can dance across the sky in waves of coloured light and whilst some last for a few brief minutes others can remain active for hours depending on the conditions creating them – solar storms for example can create very powerful aurorae.
Aurorae have been observed on other planets as well, particularly Jupiter and Saturn; both of which have prominent auroral systems. Those present in Uranus’ atmosphere are considerably fainter and appear to last only for a few short minutes at a time.
These images represent the first observation of Uranus aurorae, with previous data collected directly during the Voyager 2 flyby in 1986.
These new observations should help to reveal more about Uranus’ magnetic field, which we currently know little about.
You can read more here
In celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 22nd anniversary the ESA has released this truly stunning image of the star forming region 30 Doradus.
30 Doradus is better known as the Tarantula nebula and is located 170,000 light years away within the Milky Way’s largest satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).
The image shows a region of space approximately 650 light years across with several million stars present within. Combined, the sum total of the stars’ masses shown in this image would be well over a million times the mass of our own Sun.
The stars are grouped into smaller clusters ranging in age from about 2 million – 25 million years old, whilst this may sound ancient in human terms as far as the universe is concerned even the oldest star in the region is a newcommer.
The brightest cluster is NGC 2070 being one of the youngest (between 2 and 3 million years old) and most actively starforming regions with the larger structure Astronomers find it an attractive region to study. Recently in fact, it was revealed that at the heart of the cluster (which contains upwards of half a million stars) there is a dense clump of stars designated RMC 136 where the largest stars yet discovered reside. Indeed several of these monsters are more than 100 times the mass of our own sun, truly cosmic giants.
The fierce output of the regions hot stars sculpts the regions gas and just into the fantastic arcs and bubbles we can see in the image. The fierce radiation bombardment of radiation is also exciting the gas and dust molecules of the nebula making them glow in their own right and classing the region as an emission nebula.
The image is composed of data from both Hubble and the ESO’s MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and represents the one of the largest such mosaics in existence today. The data was captured by both telescopes during an observing run in October 2011.
You can read more here.
The Hubble Space telescope has given us a new insight in to the star forming region NGC 2467.
For a full size image click here
The region is a nebula composed mainly of hydrogen and it is using this hydrogen to create new stars of all masses.
Not long ago, (by astronomical terms of course!) the nebula would have been cold and dark as the newly forming stars had yet to break out of their gaseous progenitors. The most massive and thus hottest newborn stars have now blasted through the clouds of dust and gas that surrounded them, subjecting the surrounding nebula to a fierce stream of ultraviolet radiation that is eroding the larger structure and making it fluoresce in response. This fluorescence makes the nebula an emission nebula as it is emitting its own light rather than just reflecting that of the stars it contains.
Analysis of the data indicates that the majority of this radiation comes from one star. It is the bright star visible near the centre of the image.
Only the largest stars have currently emerged from their nurseries with many smaller, perhaps more sun like stars remain hidden within their denser pockets of the nebula.
NGC 2467 is like many other star forming regions including the more famous Orion Nebula. NGC 2467 is located around 13,000 light years from Earth with the Orion Nebula around 10,000 light years away.
The Nebula is located in the constellation Puppis which is completely visible to residents of the southern hemisphere (those in the northern hemisphere can observe the northern section of the constellation however it sits close to the horizon)
The image is a combination of several taken with the HST’s Wide Field Channel in several filters. The images where collected by the telescope all the way back in 2004.
Read more here
The NASA\ESA Hubble Space Telescope has obtained the highest quality image of the globular cluster Messier 9 (M9) ever produced.
This glorious sphere of stars is far too faint to be detected by the human eye, yet Hubble can resolve it as upwards of a 1/4 of a million individual glistening stars.
M9 sits towards the centre of our own galaxy, and yet whilst relaivly close by in the grand scale of the universe it is still 25,000 light years from Earth.
The stars within M9 are twice the age of our own sun and are metal poor as a result – as they formed at a time when the cosmos was still largely deprived of the heavier elements like iron, oxygen and nickel.
The cluster was first discovered in 1764 by the French astronomer Charles Messier and was included as object 9 on his list of astronomical objects (hence its name!).
The image above covers and area of sky roughly equal to a pin head held at arms reach,a true testiment to the power of Hubble.
You can read more here
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