March 22, 2014

Perseid Meteors over Oakland

Perseid Meteors over Oakland

Oakland, Ontario, Canada
August 11, 2013

Image Credit & Copyright: Darryl Van Gaal

March 21, 2014

IC 1848: The Soul Nebula

The Soul Nebula houses several open clusters of stars, a large radio source known as W5, and huge evacuated bubbles formed by the winds of young massive stars. Located about 6,500 light years away, the Soul Nebula spans about 100 light years and is usually imaged next to its celestial neighbor the Heart Nebula (IC 1805). This picture appears mostly red due to the emission of a specific color of light emitted by excited hydrogen gas.

Image Credit & Copyright: Bob Andersson
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March 20, 2014

Star Forming Region NGC 3582

What's happening in the NGC 3582 nebula? Bright stars and interesting molecules are forming. The complex nebula resides in the star forming region called RCW 57. Visible in this image are dense knots of dark interstellar dust, bright stars that have formed in the past few million years, fields of glowing hydrogen gas ionized by these stars, and great loops of gas expelled by dying stars. A detailed study of NGC 3582, also known as NGC 3584 and NGC 3576, uncovered at least 33 massive stars in the end stages of formation, and the clear presence of the complex carbon molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are thought to be created in the cooling gas of star forming regions, and their development in the Sun's formation nebula five billion years ago may have been an important step in the development of life on Earth. This picture was taken at the Desert Hollow Observatory north of Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Image Credit & Copyright: Desert Hollow Observatory
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March 19, 2014

A Super Moon's Halo

A Full Perigee Moon rose as the Sun set in June 2013. At its closest to Earth it was, by just a bit, the year's brightest and largest Full Moon also known as a Super Moon. Seen from Punta Piedras, Argentina and the mouth of the Rio de La Plata, near Buenos Aires, the Super Moon's light created this magnificent circular lunar halo. Still, the size of a lunar halo is determined by the geometry of six sided water ice crystals in planet Earth's high, thin clouds. The crystals deflect the rays of moonlight more strongly through a minimum angle of 22 degrees. So this halo has an inner radius of 22 degrees, just like the halos of the less-than-super moons. Even more common than a Super Moon, beautiful 22 degree halos can be spotted at any time of year.

Image Credit & Copyright: Luis Argerich
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March 17, 2014

Stellar Nursery in the arms of NGC 1672

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, showing up clusters of hot young blue stars along its spiral arms, and clouds of hydrogen gas glowing in red. Delicate curtains of dust partially obscure and redden the light of the stars behind them. NGC 1672's symmetric look is emphasised by the four principal arms, edged by eye-catching dust lanes that extend out from the centre.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA
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March 16, 2014

Ring Nebula (Messier 57)

From Earth’s perspective, the nebula looks like a simple elliptical shape with a shaggy boundary. However, new observations combining existing ground-based data with new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope data show that the nebula is shaped like a distorted doughnut. This doughnut has a rugby-ball-shaped region of lower-density material slotted into in its central “gap”, stretching towards and away from us.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. Robert O’Dell (Vanderbilt University).
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