Featured here are images from local astronomers and extracts from overseas reports. We’re getting 15,000 – 20,000 visitors a week and maintain huge subscriber base reaching people in 30 countries. So your images sure get seen. Submissions welcome.
Sun Pillar of Fire and Ice
Astrophotographer Rick Ellis from Toronto, Canada recently imaged a Sun pillar against a truly fiery sunset. Sun pillars are a vertical shaft of light extending upward or downward from the Sun, usually seen during sunrise or sunset. They form when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of high-altitude hexagonal-shaped or flat ice crystals. The crystals are typically associated with thin, high-level clouds, such as cirrostratus clouds. “Fire and ice,” Rick said via email. “Robert Frost would approve.” Rick used a Canon A460, 1/100 seconds exposure at f/3.5, ISO 80. C/o Nancy Atkinson Universe Today
One Billion Stars In Milky Way
Ten years of patience and star-gazing by astronomers has finally culminated in this incredible image showcasing around one billion stars in the Milky Way. It was produced by scientists who combined infra-red light images from two telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres. Astronomers from the UK and Chile gathered the data which was then processed and archived by teams at the universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge.
They have now made it available to studies around the world and hope it will change the way scientists carry out future research. Dr Nick Cross, of the University of Edinburgh’s school of physics and astronomy, said: ‘This incredible image gives us a new perspective of our galaxy and illustrates the far-reaching discoveries we can make from large sky surveys. MailOnline
Galaxy’s Ring of Fire
Johnny Cash may have preferred this galaxy’s burning ring of fire to the one he sang about falling into in his popular song. The “starburst ring” seen at center in red and yellow hues is not the product of love, as in the song, but is instead a frenetic region of star formation. The galaxy, a spiral beauty called Messier 94, is located about 17 million light-years away. In this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, infrared light is represented in different colors, with blue having the shortest wavelengths and red, the longest.
Starburst rings like this can often be triggered by gravitational encounters with other galaxies but, in this case, may have instead been caused by the galaxy’s oval shape. Gas in the ring is being converted into hot, young stars, which then warm the dust, causing it to glow with infrared light.
The outer, faint blue ring around the galaxy might be an optical illusion. Astronomers think that two separate spiral arms appear as a single unbroken ring when viewed from our position in space.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.Credit: NASA
This is a remarkable image – NASA’s info on the image:
On its fourth and final targeted flyby of Rhea, the Cassini spacecraft provided this stunning view of the ancient and heavily cratered surface. Billions of years of impacts have sculpted Rhea’s surface into the form we see today.
With a diameter of 949 miles (1,528 kilometers) Rhea is Saturn’s second-largest moon.
This view is centered on terrain at 33 degrees north latitude, 358 degrees west longitude. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 9, 2013.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2,280 miles (3,670 kilometers) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 92 degrees. Image scale is 72 feet (22 meters) per pixel. OR you can visit the Cassini site to see more.