LMC SUPERBUBBLE DEM L50

LMC SUPERBUBBLE DEM L50

LMC SUPERBUBBLE DEM L50

Image Credit & Copyright: Chandra X-ray observatory & Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). CLICK photo for larger image and look below for information and links.

Here’s another one for my southern hemisphere friends. It’s called DEM L50 and it’s located roughly 160,000 light years distant in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the constellation Dorado. It’s what’s known as a superbubble and with a diameter of roughly 500 light years it is super indeed.

These superbubbles form in regions where incredible amounts of star formation, thus, massive stars have formed over the past few million years. A few million years doesn’t seem long on the cosmic timescale but as we know, these massive stars are very unstable and burn through their nuclear fuel very fast and end their lives in cataclysmic detonations. When these detonations take place in dense stellar material left over from the birth of those very stars the incredible winds and shock wave from the supernova blow open vast cavities in the gas and dust surrounding them. That’s what we see here; that’s a superbubble. The actual supernova that caused this process is known as SNR N186 D and it’s the flare looking area at the “top” of the structure.

When Chandra imaged this object (as it is an X-ray observatory) it detected 20 times more X-ray emissions than expected from standard superbubble models. The reason was found to be 2 extra x-ray sources in the object; Supernova shock waves striking the walls of the cavity and super-heated material then evaporating from the cavity walls.

NAME: DEM L50, N186, SNR N186D.

WHAT IS IT?: Superbubble where wind and shock waves from the super nova clear out vast cavities in the surrounding gas and dust.

HOW BIG IS IT?: Roughly 500 light years in diameter.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 160,000 light years.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Dorado in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 04h 59m 49.00s | Dec -70º 10′ 28.00″.

NASA/Harvard Chandra X-ray observatory page for this image: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2013/deml50/

2013 Chandra image collection which contains this image: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/chronological13.html

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO): http://www.ctio.noao.edu/noao/

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WATERTON LAKE ECLIPSE

WATERTON LAKE ECLIPSE

WATERTON LAKE ECLIPSE

Image Credit & Copyright: Yuichi Takasaka. CLICK photo for larger view and look below for information and links.

This is today’s NASA Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD) and it’s the most gorgeous photo of the April 15th lunar eclipse that I’ve seen thus far. Taken by Yuichu Takasaka, this image overlooks Waterton Lake from Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.
To capture this sequence he took an image every ten minutes for the duration of the event. That small red dot above is Mars, the Red Planet riding shotgun across the sky with the Red Moon.

NASA APOD page for this image: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Yuichi’s website: http://www.blue-moon.ca/

Yuichi’s TWAN profile: http://www.twanight.org/takasaka

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THE DECEPTIVE NGC 411.

THE DECEPTIVE NGC 411.

THE DECEPTIVE NGC 411.

Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. CLICK photo for larger view and look below for information and links.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…….it may still not be a duck?!! That’s the case here with NGC 411; a globular….well, an open star cluster roughly 200,000 light years distant in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). Ya, that’s fooled quite a few people over the last year or so because this object looks like one of the 150-ish globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s got the shape (roughly), size, ancient star color etc. but not only is this object not in our galaxy; the stars aren’t even old. Most globular clusters contain stars from 10 to 12 billion years old but the stars here are roughly 1.5 billion years old. That means they aren’t even half the age of the Sun, not even close.
There are exceptions to most rules but in the life of globular star clusters there are simply too many young blue stars here to be a globular. Blue stars are much larger thus burn through their fuel and die quickly. If this were a globular there simply wouldn’t be enough fuel left after the billions of years to create the masses of blue stars here. This is also where the age of this cluster comes is determined as well. By studying the bluest stars in the cluster it’s been determined that an age of 1.5 billion years seems genuine. Which, for all intents and purposes is pretty old for an open cluster.

NAME: NGC 411.

WHAT IS IT?: Open star cluster.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 200,000 light years.

HOW OLD IS IT?: Approximately 1.5 billion years old.

APPARENT MAGNITUDE?: 12 or +12.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) in the constellation Tucana the toucan.

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 01h 07m 55,95s / DEC -71° 46′ 04,5″.

NASA page on this object: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/ngc411.html

ESA Hubble page on this object: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1303a/

SIMBAD data page on this object: http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=NGC+411

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

LAUNCH OF THE ULA ATLAS-V NROL-67 MISSION

LAUNCH OF THE ULA ATLAS-V NROL-67 MISSION
Here’s the video of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V carrying its classified payload for the National Reconassainse Office as part of NROL-67. Launch took place on April 10, at 13:45 EDT (17:45 UTC) from Cape Canaveral, Launch Complex-41.

Video from ULA’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedLaunchAlliance

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjNukuRZbMk

VIDEO OF SOYUZ PROGRESS M-23M TO THE ISS
Here’s the Wednesday April 9 launch of a Russian Soyuz Progress M-23M carrying supplies to the International Space Station. Launch took place at 15:36 UTC (11:26 EDT & 21:26 local Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Kazakhstan.

Video from AmericaSpace YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericaSpace

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

METEOR & MILKY WAY OVER BONSAI ROCK, LAKE TAHOE

METEOR & MILKY WAY OVER BONSAI ROCK, LAKE TAHOE

METEOR & MILKY WAY OVER BONSAI ROCK, LAKE TAHOE

Image Credit & Copyright: Rick Parchen. CLICK photo for larger image and look below for information and links.

What a beautiful night sky capture of our star city and a meteor streak over Bonsai Rock on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe.
Bonsai Rock is located on the eastern side (Nevada side) of Lake Tahoe just south of Sand Harbor but even with good coordinates it can be tricky to find and the terrain may be problematic at night. The rocks proudly displays a couple of trees that bear a resemblance to bonsai trees because the rock itself is limiting the trees development.
I just love this photo and it’s yet another example of how proper foreground usage can turn a perfect night sky image into a breathtaking work of art. Rick’s links are below go check em out and you won’t be disappointed.

Rick Parchen Photography: http://www.parchenphotography.com/nightphotography

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ParchenPhotography

500px page for this photo: http://500px.com/photo/53385804

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE NEBULOUS PLANETARY SH2-174

THE NEBULOUS PLANETARY SH2-174

THE NEBULOUS PLANETARY SH2-174

Image Credit & Copyright: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF). CLICK image for larger view and look below for related links and information.

As many of us know, planetary nebula are dying stars that shed their outer layers into the surrounding cosmos. That material is then illuminated by the exposed inner region of the soon to be white dwarf as it showers its former skin in massive doses of ultraviolet radiation. It may cross your mind that this doesn’t appear to be a classic telltale planetary nebula. They usually have a “look” to them where you can see defined lobes and shells with the dying star in or around the center. This one, not so much……

First things first; this photo was taken by the wide-field view of the mosaic camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope on Kitt Peak. The colors here are primarily; red = Hydrogen-alpha, blue = Oxygen. Its shape is a product of its age as its old and the interstellar medium has morphed and shaped this planetary into what almost looks like a classical reflection nebula. The white dwarf, which is typically near the center, is the light blue star off to the right of the object, in the blue region.

NAME: Sharpless 2-174, Sh2-174, LBN 598.

WHAT IS IT?: Ancient planetary nebula.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: Roughly 1000 light years.

HOW BIG IS IT?: Apparent dimensions on the night sky are about 10’x10’ arcminutes.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Cepheus.

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 23h 45m 02s / DEC +80° 57′ 00″.

National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) release of this image: http://www.noao.edu/news/2013/pr1301.php

NOAO image information: https://www.noao.edu/image_gallery/html/im1139.html

Travis Rector data page on this object: http://aftar.uaa.alaska.edu/gallery/details.cfm?img=334&type=

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment