Discovered in 1781 by the French comet-hunter Charles Messier, M86 is a very peculiar object. A lenticular galaxy is one which is very old and very round, smack middle of the Hubble Sequence of galaxy classification. M86 is different because it is falling towards our own galaxy at a staggering 244,000 kilometres per second!
Top: Wide-Field - Palomar/Caltech
Bottom: Close-Up - PD-HUBBLE
Urania - Muse of Astronomy
Painting by Jose Luis Munoz Luque
Sorry guys again for missing a messier post! The day was crazy! To make it up to you guys, I have some stellar photos that I took on Friday night following some work with a CCD and a 16” telescope. Enjoy!
Lunar Halo: Happens when light from the moon is scattered by literally millions of ice particles high up in the atmosphere. Spectacular sight!
Constellation of Orion: Notice the red star Betelgeuse. It is a massive and old star which is on the verge of exploding. Once it does it will be visible during daytime! And then take a look below the famous “Orions Belt” - the little cloudy star is actually not a star at all, but M42, the Orion Nebula!
Jupiter: Rises low and late this time of year, but still barely visible above the lights! Big and Bright as ever!
Neil deGrasse Tyson
"We are more insignificant than we ever imagined"
- Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, in his talk “A universe from nothing" in 2009.
Please don’t delete the link to the photographers/artists, thanks!
|—||Mark Oliphant (via infamoussayings)|
I’ve discussed in the past how as an atheist, I don’t think there should be a spokesperson out there for atheism, and we, as critical thinkers, should take the time to research and analyze everything on our own, not accept every single thing we hear from other atheists. This also means we need to…
Good comment. I’m not a huge fan of Sam Harris either, and I do feel that the atheist/skeptic community has a problem with sexism (with the likes of thunderf00t and so on…)
Harris’s stance that atheism just being an”intrinsicly male thing” as he seems to suggest here smacks of poor thinking. Nothing is “intrinsicly” any gender. There could be any number of reasons why more men are attracted to the movement than women, but my personal theory is this: women have less control over their lives than men do. That’s universally true. Religion and pseudoscience (such as alternative therapies, psychics and so on) offer a feeling of control that can be enticing. Skepticism doesn’t offer much except the opportunity to come closer to a central truth in life.
That’s just one thought off the top of my head, others may have more ideas.
Explanation: A fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, gigantic glowing gas clouds, and imposing dark dust lanes surrounds the central region of the active galaxy Centaurus A. This mosaic of Hubble Space Telescope images taken in blue, green, and red light has been processed to present a natural color picture of this cosmic maelstrom. Infrared images from the Hubble have also shown that hidden at the center of this activity are what seem to be disks of matter spiraling into a black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun! Centaurus A itself is apparently the result of a collision of two galaxies and the left over debris is steadily being consumed by the black hole. Astronomers believe that such black hole central engines generate the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A and other active galaxies. But for an active galaxy Centaurus A is close, a mere 10 million light-years away, and is a relatively convenient laboratory for exploring these powerful sources of energy.
Discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and catalogued by Charles Messier, M85 is a lenticular galaxy and a seeming twin to its neighbour, M84. It has a very old stellar population and is not actively creating new stars. There was one supernova in M85 during1960, which was carefully observed by astronomers.
Top: Wide-Field (right) - F. Espenak
Bottom: Close-Up - PD-HUBBLE
Walter S. McAfee is the African American mathematician and physicist who first calculated the speed of the moon. McAfee participated in Project Diana in the 1940s - a U.S. Army program, created to determine whether a high frequency radio signal could penetrate the earth’s outer atmosphere. To test this, scientists wanted to bounce a radar signal off the moon and back to earth. But the moon was a swiftly moving target, impossible to hit without knowing its exact speed. McAfee made the necessary calculations, and on January 10, 1946, the team sent a radar pulse through a special 40-feet square antenna towards the moon. Two and a half seconds later, they received a faint signal, proving that transmissions from earth could cross the vast distances of outer space. Official news of this scientific breakthrough did not include McAfee’s name, nor was there any recognition of the essential role he played. But Americans could not have walked on the moon had it not been for Walter S. McAfee and his calculations.
NASA has selected a $200 million mission to carry out a full-sky survey for exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. The space observatory, called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is scheduled for a 2017 launch.
Like the currently operational Kepler Space Telescope, TESS will be in the lookout for exoplanets that orbit in front of their host stars, resulting in a slight dip in starlight. This dip is known as a “transit” and Kepler has revolutionized our understanding about planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy by applying this effective technique. As of January 2013, Kepler has spotted 2,740 exoplanetary candidates.
TESS will be surveying the entire sky, supercharging our profound quest to understand how many stars like our own could host worlds, not too dissimilar to Earth, in their habitable zones.
“TESS will carry out the first space-borne all-sky transit survey, covering 400 times as much sky as any previous mission,” said TESS lead scientist George Ricker, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI).
“It will identify thousands of new planets in the solar neighborhood, with a special focus on planets comparable in size to the Earth.”
“The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest main-sequence stars hosting transiting exoplanets, which will forever be the most favorable targets for detailed investigations,” added Ricker.
a NASA announcement on Friday, “The mission will utilize an array of telescopes to perform an all-sky survey to discover transiting exoplanets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, in orbit around the nearest and brightest stars in the sky. Its goal is to identify terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars.”