Tag Archives: stars

Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #7

This rich starfield spans almost 10 degrees across the sky toward the northern constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus. On the left, heart-shaped cosmic cloud IC 1805 and IC 1848 are popularly known as the Heart and Soul nebulae. Easy to spot on the right are star clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884 also known as h and Chi Perseii, or just the Double Cluster. Heart and Soul, with their own embedded clusters of young stars a million or so years old, are each over 200 light-years across and 6 to 7 thousand light-years away. Continue reading Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #7

Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #6

These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 near the bottom of the frame The third, NGC 6559, is right of M8, separated from the larger nebula by dark dust lanes. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula.  Continue reading Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #6

Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #5

How massive can a normal star be? Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had given one star in the open cluster Pismis 24 over 200 times the mass of our Sun, making it one of the most massive stars known. This star is the brightest object located just above the gas front in the featured image. Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from three at least. Continue reading Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #5

Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #4

Fantastic shapes lurk in clouds of glowing gas in the giant star forming region NGC 6188. The emission nebula is found about 4,000 light years away near the edge of a large molecular cloud unseen at visible wavelengths, in the southern constellation Ara. Massive, young stars of the embedded Ara OB1 association were formed in that region only a few million years ago, sculpting the dark shapes and powering the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation. Continue reading Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #4

Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #3

NGC 134 is probably not the best known spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor. Still, the tantalizing island universe is a clearly a telescopic treasure in southern skies. It shares a bright core, clumpy dust lanes, and loosely wrapped spiral arms with spiky foreground stars of the Milky Way and the more diminutive galaxy NGC 131 in this sharp cosmic vista. From a distance of about 60 million light-years, NGC 134 is seen tilted nearly edge-on. It spans some 150,000 light-years, making it even larger than our own Milky Way galaxy. NGC 134’s warped disk and faint extensions give the appearance of past gravitational interactions with neighboring galaxies. Continue reading Astronomy Picture Of The Weekend #3