IC2220 is the result of the reflection of gas and star material coming ejected from the red giant HD 65750.
The dust emitted from the red star is not displaced equally in all directions. It is thought that the material is distributed via magnetic fields, electric fields or the rotation of the central star giving an irregular shape. Astro photographer David Malin called this object the Toby Jug Nebula after the english drinking vessel. For some others the shape resembles a similarity with a flying butterfly. — Sergio Eguivar
Side Note: The two images shown above are mere crop outs from ESA’s recent hit: The 9 Billion Pixel Image of 84 Million Stars. These two focus on the bright center of the image for the purpose of highlighting what a peak at 84,000,000 stars looks like.
Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have released a breathtaking new photograph showing the central area of our Milky Way galaxy. The photograph shows a whopping 84 million stars in an image measuring 108500×81500, which contains nearly 9 billion pixels.
It’s actually a composite of thousands of individual photographs shot with the observatory’s VISTA survey telescope, the same camera that captured the amazing 55-hour exposure. Three different infrared filters were used to capture the different details present in the final image.
The VISTA’s camera is sensitive to infrared light, which allows its vision to pierce through much of the space dust that blocks the view of ordinary optical telescope/camera systems.
A new galaxy class has been identified using observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Gemini South telescope, and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Nicknamed “green bean galaxies” because of their unusual appearance, these galaxies glow in the intense light emitted from the surroundings of monster black holes and are amongst the rarest objects in the Universe.
Many galaxies have a giant black hole at their centre that causes the gas around it to glow. However, in the case of green bean galaxies, the entire galaxy is glowing, not just the centre. These new observations reveal the largest and brightest glowing regions ever found, thought to be powered by central black holes that were formerly very active but are now switching off.
Astronomer Mischa Schirmer of the Gemini Observatory had looked at many images of the distant Universe, searching for clusters of galaxies, but when he came across one object in an image from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope he was stunned — it looked like a galaxy, but it was bright green. It was unlike any galaxy he had ever seen before, something totally unexpected. He quickly applied to use ESO’s Very Large Telescope to find out what was creating the unusual green glow.
“ESO granted me special observing time at very short notice and just a few days after I submitted my proposal, this bizarre object was observed using the VLT,” says Schirmer. “Ten minutes after the data were taken in Chile, I had them on my computer in Germany. I soon refocused my research activities entirely as it became apparent that I had come across something really new.”
The new object has been labelled J224024.1−092748 or J2240. It lies in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Bearer) and its light has taken about 3.7 billion years to reach Earth.
After the discovery, Schirmer’s team searched through a list of nearly a billion other galaxies and found 16 more with similar properties, which were confirmed by observations made at the Gemini South telescope. These galaxies are so rare that there is on average only one in a cube about 1.3 billion light-years across. This new class of galaxies has been nicknamed green bean galaxies because of their colour and because they are superficially similar to, but larger than, green pea galaxies.
In many galaxies the material around the supermassive black hole at the centre gives off intense radiation and ionises the surrounding gas so that it glows strongly. These glowing regions in typical active galaxies are usually small, up to 10% of the diameter of the galaxy. However, the team’s observations showed that in the case of J2240, and other green beans spotted since, it is truly huge, spanning the entire object. J2240 displays one of the biggest and brightest such regions ever found. Ionised oxygen glows bright green, which explains the strange colour that originally caught Schirmer’s attention.
“These glowing regions are fantastic probes to try to understand the physics of galaxies — it’s like sticking a medical thermometer into a galaxy far, far away,” says Schirmer. “Usually, these regions are neither very large nor very bright, and can only be seen well in nearby galaxies. However, in these newly discovered galaxies they are so huge and bright that they can be observed in great detail, despite their large distances.” — Astronomer Mischa Schirmer of the Gemini Observatory
A gorgeous photo of a star-forming region of space called the Carina Nebula marks the inauguration of a new telescope — the largest instrument in the world devoted to surveying the sky in visible light.
Image: The spectacular star-forming Carina Nebula has been captured in great detail by the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. This picture was taken with the help of Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile, during his visit to the observatory on June 5, 2012 and released on the occasion of the new telescope’s inauguration in Naples on Dec. 6, 2012. Credit: ESO. Acknowledgement: VPHAS+ Consortium/Cambridge
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile was officially inaugurated today (Dec. 6) in Naples, Italy.
While the Carina nebula has been photographed many times before, most telescopes can only observe a small part of it at once. The VST, designed for large surveys of the sky, has a very wide field of view, and was able to image almost all of Carina in a single photo.
Distance: 70,000,000 light-years away in the Constellation Eridanus
The large face-on grand design spiral galaxy NGC 1232 has undoubtedly interacted in complex ways with its smaller irregular companion galaxy NGC 1232A and that interaction has left an indelible mark on the larger galaxy.
The sweeping spiral arms appear to be “bent” in areas rather than the gently curving structures seen in undisturbed spiral galaxies. This aberration of the arms is likely due to gravitational encounters with NGC 1232A as it orbits the larger spiral. Radiowave studies indicate a large envelope of neutral gas extending well beyond the optical extent of the galaxy.
Rotational velocity measurements of the galaxies huge spiral arms suggest a large component of dark matter comprising NGC 1232. NGC1232 spans some 200,000 light years making it almost twice the size of the Milky Way.
The Double Cluster in Perseo (H & Chi Persei)
NGC 6946, also known as the Fireworks Galaxy, is a face-on spiral galaxy about 10 million light years away beyond a multitude of forground stars within our own galaxy. It spans nearly 40000 light-years across. Nine supernovae have been discovered in NGC 6946 since 1917, which is a sign of an abnormally high star formation rate.
Tilting Saturn’s Rings
Cassini images show the corrugation extends for 19,000 kilometers (12,000 miles). Based on detailed studies of this structure, scientists conclude that a broad swath of the rings became suddenly tilted in the early 1980’s, likely because cometary debris crashed into the rings. The corrugation’s radial extent implies that the impacting material was a dispersed cloud of debris instead of a single object. The corrugation’s amplitude of 2 to 20 meters (7 to 60 feet) indicates that the debris’ total mass was around 1 trillion kilograms (or one billion metric tons).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
The Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe harbor many young star clusters and associations that each contain hundreds to thousands of hot, massive, young stars known as O and B stars.
The star cluster Cygnus OB2 contains more than 60 O-type stars and about a thousand B-type stars. At a relatively nearby distance to Earth of about 5,000 light years, Cygnus OB2 is the closest massive cluster. Deep observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory of Cygnus OB2 have been used to detect the X-ray emission from the hot outer atmospheres, or coronas, of young stars in the cluster and to probe how these great star factories form and evolve.
About 1,700 X-ray sources were detected, including about 1,450 thought to be stars in the cluster. In this image, X-rays from Chandra (blue) have been combined with infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (red) and optical data from the Isaac Newton Telescope (yellow).
Young stars ranging in age from one million to seven million years were detected. The infrared data indicates that a very low fraction of the stars have circumstellar disks of dust and gas. Even fewer disks were found close to the massive OB stars, betraying the corrosive power of their intense radiation that leads to early destruction of their disks.
Evidence is also seen that the older population of stars has lost its most massive members because of supernova explosions. Finally, a total mass of about 30,000 times the mass of the sun is derived for Cygnus OB2, similar to that of the most massive star forming regions in our Galaxy.
The large stellar association cataloged as NGC 206 is nestled within the dusty arms of neighboring spiral galaxy Andromeda (M31), 2.5 million light-years distant.
Seen near the center of this gorgeous close-up of the southwestern extent of Andromeda’s disk, the bright, blue stars of NGC 206 indicate its youth. Its youngest massive stars are less than 10 million years old.
Much larger than the clusters of young stars in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy known as open or galactic clusters, NGC 206 spans about 4,000 light-years. That’s comparable in size to the giant stellar nurseries NGC 604 in nearby spiral M33 and the Tarantula Nebula, in the Large Magellanic Cloud.