Photo links 47
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3314: When Galaxies Overlap Credit: W. Keel and R. White, (U. Alabama, Tuscaloosa), Hubble
Heritage Team (STScI/ AURA), NASA - Explanation: Can this be a spiral galaxy?
In fact, NGC 3314 consists of two large spiral galaxies which just happen
to almost exactly line-up. The foreground spiral is viewed nearly face-on,
its pinwheel shape defined by young bright star clusters. But against the
glow of the background galaxy, dark swirling lanes of interstellar dust are
also seen to echo the face-on spiral's structure. The dust lanes are surprisingly
pervasive, and this remarkable pair of overlapping galaxies is one of a small
number of systems in which absorption of visible light can be used to directly
explore the distribution of dust in distant spirals. NGC 3314 is about 140
million light-years away in the southern constellation of Hydra. Just released,
this color composite was constructed from Hubble Space Telescope images made
in 1999 and 2000. Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry
Bonnell (USRA) NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply. A
service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.
Approaching Storm - Delicate Arch Arches National Park, UT - Arches National Park is said to have the largest concentration of natural rock openings in the world. Delicate Arch is the most famous. It's likeness was even featured on Utah license plates at one time. The classic image of Delicate Arch is taken on a sunny day in early Spring with the snow covered La Sal Mountains in the background. National Parks of the West - by Kerry L. Thalmann - PhotoTripUSA.Lava Masquerade - The shapes of faces are formed in a pahoehoe lava flow falling from a sea-cliff onto a newly formed black sand beach.
G. Brad Lewis - PhotoTripUSA.
Spatter Cone - A newly formed spatter cone erupting on the side of the Pu'u O'o Vent. Hawaii Volcanoes - the Photography of G. Brad Lewis - PhotoTripUSA Planets In The Sun Credit: SOHO - LASCO Consortium, ESA, NASA - Explanation: Today, all five naked-eye planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) plus the Moon and the Sun will at least approximately line-up. As viewed from planet Earth, they will be clustered within about 26 degrees, the closest alignment for all these celestial bodies since February 1962, when there was a solar eclipse! Such planetary alignments are not dangerous, except of course that the Sun might hurt your eyes when you look at it. So it might be easier to appreciate today's solar system spectacle if you use a space-based coronagraph ... like the LASCO instrument onboard the SOHO observatory. In this recent LASCO image, an occulting disk supported by a structure seen projecting from the lower left blocks out the overwhelming sunlight. It shows three of the planets along with the Sun's location and bright solar wind regions against a background of stars, but Mars and Venus are unfortunately outside LASCO's roughly 15 degree field of view. The horizontal bars through the planets are digital image artifacts. And what about the Moon? The SOHO space craft is positioned well beyond lunar orbit where its view of the Sun is never interrupted by the Moon. Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA) NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply. Service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.Planets Above The Clouds Credit & Copyright: B. Magrath - Explanation: Clouds scatter the faint orange rays of the setting sun in the foreground of this breathtaking photograph from the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Taken on April 7th, this skyscape features a dramatic lunar and planetary alignment. An overexposed crescent moon dominates the celestial scene, but the bright "star" just below and to its right is Saturn while further below Saturn is a close pairing of brilliant Jupiter and a fainter, yellowish Mars. Red giant star Aldebaran is almost directly above the moon near the top of the image and the bright blue stars of the Pleiades cluster are visible about midway up and to the right of the moon-Aldebaran line. The good news is that planetary alignments like this one do not portend disasters, are relatively common, and can clearly make inspirational viewing for casual stargazers and astronomers alike. The bad news is that the world is not going to end because of the highly publicized planetary alignment occurring tomorrow, May 5th -- so you probably will have to go to work! Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA) NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply. A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.An Iridium Flash Sunset Credit & Copyright: Jon Teus (Science Society Aranzadi, Spain) Explanation: Did you see that flash? Lasting only about 15 seconds, it's possible that nobody you ask can confirm it, but what you might have seen is sunlight reflecting off an orbiting Iridium satellite. Satellites of all types have been providing streaks and glints visible only since the launch of Sputnik I in 1957. Of these, flares from any of the 66 Iridium satellites can be particularly bright, sometimes even approaching the brightness of the Moon. If the Iridium satellites are programmed to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, they might provide even brighter flares as they burn up. Pictured above, the streak from an Iridium satellite punctuates a picturesque sunset in San Sebastian, Spain. Then again, that sky-flash you saw? If it lasted only a second or two, it might have been a meteor. Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA) NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply. A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.
Lost Horizon - This is a littoral cone at sunrise. It was formed the previous night in a series of huge explosions caused by ocean water entering a lava tube system. Lava exploded over 200 feet in the air, building this 30 foot cone. G. Brad Lewis, PhotoTripUSA.
The North America Nebula Credit & Copyright: Jason Ware - Explanation: Here's a familiar shape in an unfamiliar location! This emission nebula is famous partly because it resembles Earth's continent of North America. To the right of the North America Nebula, cataloged as NGC 7000, is a less luminous Pelican Nebula. The two emission nebula measure about 50 light-years across, are located about 1500 light-years away, and are separated by a dark absorption cloud. The nebulae can be seen with binoculars from a dark location. Look for a small nebular patch north-east of bright star Deneb in the constellation of Cygnus. It is still unknown which star or stars ionize the red-glowing hydrogen gas. Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA) NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply. A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.
Dusk Glow - A close-up shot of fingers of lava entering the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii Volcanoes - G. Brad Lewis - PhotoTripUSA.Filaments In The Cygnus Loop Credit: William P. Blair and Ravi Sankrit (Johns Hopkins University), NASA Explanation: Subtle and delicate in appearance, these are filaments of shocked interstellar gas -- part of the expanding blast wave from a violent stellar explosion. Recorded in November 1997 with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 onboard the Hubble Space Telescope, the picture is a closeup of a supernova remnant known as the Cygnus Loop. The nearly edge-on view shows a small portion of the immense shock front moving toward the top of the frame at about 170 kilometers per second while glowing in light emitted by atoms of excited Hydrogen gas. Not just another pretty picture, this particular image has provided some dramatic scientific results. In 1999, researchers used it to substantially revise downward widely accepted estimates of distance and age for this classic supernova remnant. Now determined to lie only 1,440 light-years away, the Cygnus Loop is thought to have been expanding for 5 - 10 thousand years. Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA) NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply. A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.Reflection Nebula M78 Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey Collaboration Explanation: An eerie blue glow and ominous columns of dark dust highlight M78, a bright reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion. The dust not only absorbs light, but also reflects the light of several bright blue stars that formed recently in the nebula. The same type of scattering that colors the daytime sky further enhances the blue color. M78 is about five light-years across and visible through a small telescope. M78 appears above only as it was 1600 years ago, however, because that is how long it takes light to go from there to here. M78 belongs to the larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex that contains the Great Nebula in Orion and the Horsehead Nebula. Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.
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