Thursday, March 1, 2012: Hen 3-1333 represents a planetary nebula, the dying throes of a mid-sized star as its outer layers expand into large, irregular…Read More »
globes of gas. (Planetary nebula were misnamed by the original discoverers, who though the outer layers were planets.) Hen 3-1333’s central star is thought to have a mass of around 60% that of the Sun, with variable brightness that might be caused by a disc of dust that appears almost edge-on from Earth. Astronomers class Hen 3-3333 as a Wolf-Rayet type star, as it is not large enough to count as a full Wolf-Rayet star.
Friday, March 2, 2012: An elongated solar filament lies near the edge of the upper right of the sun's edge in this photo (from roughly 12 o'clock to 3…Read More »
o'clock). Part of the filament near the north pole erupted on Feb. 19, 2012, as seen by the STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft in extreme UV light. Solar filaments consist of clouds of gases cooler than their surroundings that float above the sun's surface, suspended by magnetic forces. Filaments commonly erupt and disappear into space. In this case, the majority of this filament (to the right) did not fly up off the sun during the eruption.
Monday, March 5, 2012: Antlia Dwarf Galaxy lies more than four million light-years from Earth. Researchers only discovered the faint, small galaxy in 1997.…Read More »
Antlia Dwarf dynamically features stars at many different stages of evolution, from young to old. No one can tell yet whether the Antlia Dwarf possesses membership in our galactic neighbourhood, called the Local Group.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012: Amateur astronomer Damian Peach obtained this image of Jupiter with its moons Io and Ganymede on Sept. 12, 2010, when Jupiter…Read More »
was close to opposition. South is up. The "Great Red Spot" is visible in the image. Skywatchers have a great opportunity to see Jupiter and Venus close together now, moving to their closest positions March 12-13, 2012. [See our full article about the conjunction.]
Credit: Tom Ruen, Eugene Antoniadi, Lowell Hess, Roy A. Gallant, HST, NASA
Friday, March 9, 2012: Disney's "John Carter" motion picture opens today, inspired by a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The author was influenced…Read More »
by early renderings of Mars (called Barsoom by its inhabitants), which were later shown to be inaccurate. But they spawned some exciting reading! Left: This 1894 map of Mars was prepared by Eugene Antoniadi and redrawn by Lowell Hess. Right: A Hubble Space Telescope photo of Mars shows the modern view of our neighboring planet.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012: The larger of the two stars in the Eta Carinae binary system is a huge and unstable star that is nearing the end of its life.…Read More »
150 years ago, it emitted huge clouds of matter in a distinctive dumbbell shape, known as the Homunculus Nebula. Eta Carinae is one of the closest stars to Earth that will explode in a supernova in the relatively near future (roughly the next million years).
Wednesday, March 14, 2012: At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket rolls into the sunlight. The rocket carries…Read More »
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. The high-energy X-ray telescope will conduct a census of black holes, map radioactive material in young supernovae remnants, and study the origins of cosmic rays and the extreme physics around collapsed stars. A carrier aircraft will launch NuSTAR from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean on a revised launch date to be determined.
Friday, March 16, 2012: ESA astronaut André Kuipers of the Netherlands took this photo of Earth while aboard the International Space Station. Looking down…Read More »
on a nighttime Europe, Portugal lies at the right of the image, while Paris lives up to its nickname of “the city of light” as the brightly glowing area at left. Airglow shines above the Earth’s surface.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012: High fashion goes out of this world in this clothing line bedecked with real space imagery. This skirt by Shadowplay NYC features…Read More »
a Hubble Space Telescope image. Designers Ximena Chouza and Ali Bennaim hand-craft this skirt and other clothing items such as dresses and women’s tops adorned with actual photographs of the universe taken by the HST. [See full article.]
Thursday, March 22, 2012: The U.S. Geological Survey used data collected by Voyager and Galileo spacecraft to produce the first global geologic map of…Read More »
Jupiter's moon, Io. The small area of the map shown here offers a sampling of the many terrain features on the Jovian moon, the most volcanically active object in the solar system. Image released March 19, 2012. [Full story.]
Monday, March 26, 2012: On Friday March 23, 2012, an Ariane 5 VA205 rocket carrying the third Automated Transfer Vehicle, named Edoardo Amaldi, lifted…Read More »
off from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. The ATV-3, as it is called, will ferry cargo to the International Space Station. The unmanned ATV-3 transports the heaviest load of cargo ever delivered to the station by a robotic spacecraft, the ESA reported.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Planetary nebula NGC 6881 lies in the constellation of Cygnus. Its "wings" spread across about one light-year. A dying star…Read More »
about 60% of the mass of the sun lies at the core of the NGC 6881. A planetary nebula arises when a dying star, a red giant, flings off its outer layers. Planetary nebulas were misnamed by early discoverers, who thought the objects were giant planets.
Thursday, March 29, 2012: NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows the hot dust and gas glowing brightly in an ultraviolet image of the Cygnus Loop Nebula.…Read More »
The nebula lies about 1,500 light-years away, and represents a supernova remnant from an exploded star some 5,000-8,000 years ago. The original supernova could have been seen clearly from Earth unaided. Image released March 22, 2012. [Full Story]