quantumaniac:

Andromeda Galaxy
Our nearest spiral galaxy neighbor. 

quantumaniac:

Andromeda Galaxy

Our nearest spiral galaxy neighbor. 

thenewenlightenmentage:

Stars with Dusty Disks Should Harbor Earth-Like Worlds
Stars with disks of debris around them might be good targets to search for Earth-like planets, researchers say.
Debris disks consist of fields of planetesimals and dust encircling stars. A few hundred stars have been found that show signs of a debris disk, said astrophysicist Sean Raymond at the Observatory of Bordeaux in France.
The lifetime of dust is very short compared with that of stars — for instance, the dust can get scattered out into interstellar space by gravitational perturbations from giant planets. It is thought that any debris disks astronomers spot are replenished by collisions between asteroid-sized bodies that are basically leftovers of rocky planet formation. As such, if any disk that is seen is relatively large, it might suggest its system might be calm enough in terms of its orbital dynamics for rocky worlds to form.
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thenewenlightenmentage:

Stars with Dusty Disks Should Harbor Earth-Like Worlds

Stars with disks of debris around them might be good targets to search for Earth-like planets, researchers say.

Debris disks consist of fields of planetesimals and dust encircling . A few hundred stars have been found that show signs of a debris disk, said Sean Raymond at the of Bordeaux in France.

The lifetime of dust is very short compared with that of stars — for instance, the dust can get scattered out into interstellar space by gravitational perturbations from . It is thought that any debris disks astronomers spot are replenished by collisions between asteroid-sized bodies that are basically leftovers of rocky planet formation. As such, if any disk that is seen is relatively large, it might suggest its system might be calm enough in terms of its orbital dynamics for rocky worlds to form.

Read More

ouruniversevisualized:

Massive 4576×3886 pixel mosaic of the moon taken from 107 separate images acquired on March 3, 2012. Click through to see the highest resolution and see the amazing amount of detail everywhere you look.
credit: André vd Hoeven

ouruniversevisualized:

Massive 4576×3886 pixel mosaic of the moon taken from 107 separate images acquired on March 3, 2012. Click through to see the highest resolution and see the amazing amount of detail everywhere you look.

credit: André vd Hoeven

NGC 1579: Trifid of the North 
Colorful NGC 1579 resembles the better known Trifid Nebula, but lies much farther north in planet Earth’s sky, in the heroic constellation Perseus. About 2,100 light-years away and 3 light-years across, NGC 1579 is, like the Trifid, a study in contrasting blue and red colors, with dark dust lanes prominent in the nebula’s central regions. In both, dust reflects starlight to produce beautiful blue reflection nebulae. But unlike the Trifid, in NGC 1579 the reddish glow is not emission from clouds of glowing hydrogen gas excited by ultraviolet light from a nearby hot star. Instead, the dust in NGC 1579 drastically diminishes, reddens, and scatters the light from an embedded, extremely young, massive star, itself a strong emitter of the characteristic red hydrogen alpha light.

NGC 1579: Trifid of the North 

Colorful NGC 1579 resembles the better known Trifid Nebula, but lies much farther north in planet Earth’s sky, in the heroic constellation Perseus. About 2,100 light-years away and 3 light-years across, NGC 1579 is, like the Trifid, a study in contrasting blue and red colors, with dark dust lanes prominent in the nebula’s central regions. In both, dust reflects starlight to produce beautiful blue reflection nebulae. But unlike the Trifid, in NGC 1579 the reddish glow is not emission from clouds of glowing hydrogen gas excited by ultraviolet light from a nearby hot star. Instead, the dust in NGC 1579 drastically diminishes, reddens, and scatters the light from an embedded, extremely young, massive star, itself a strong emitter of the characteristic red hydrogen alpha light.

(Source: apod.nasa.gov)

The Seagull Nebula 
A broad expanse of glowing gas and dust presents a bird-like visage to astronomers from planet Earth, suggesting its popular moniker - The Seagull Nebula. This portrait of the cosmic bird covers a 1.6 degree wide swath across the plane of the Milky Way, near the direction of Sirius, alpha star of the constellation Canis Major. Of course, the region includes objects with other catalog designations: notably NGC 2327, a compact, dusty emission region with an embedded massive star that forms the bird’s head (aka the Parrot Nebula, above center). IC 2177 forms the sweeping arc of the seagull’s wings. Dominated by the reddish glow of atomic hydrogen, the complex of gas and dust clouds with bright young stars spans over 100 light-years at an estimated 3,800 light-year distance.

The Seagull Nebula 

A broad expanse of glowing gas and dust presents a bird-like visage to astronomers from planet Earth, suggesting its popular moniker - The Seagull Nebula. This portrait of the cosmic bird covers a 1.6 degree wide swath across the plane of the Milky Way, near the direction of Sirius, alpha star of the constellation Canis Major. Of course, the region includes objects with other catalog designations: notably NGC 2327, a compact, dusty emission region with an embedded massive star that forms the bird’s head (aka the Parrot Nebula, above center). IC 2177 forms the sweeping arc of the seagull’s wings. Dominated by the reddish glow of atomic hydrogen, the complex of gas and dust clouds with bright young stars spans over 100 light-years at an estimated 3,800 light-year distance.

(Source: apod.nasa.gov)

A Thin Blue Line
A docked Russian Soyuz spacecraft (right) backdropped by the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere and the blackness of space is featured in this image, which was taken by the STS-133 crew. The image also features a portion of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock and solar array panels. 

A Thin Blue Line

A docked Russian Soyuz spacecraft (right) backdropped by the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere and the blackness of space is featured in this image, which was taken by the STS-133 crew. The image also features a portion of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock and solar array panels. 

(Source: nasa.gov)

Conjunction Over Reunion Island 
You don’t have to be on Reunion Island to see this week’s planetary conjunction. Only if you want to see this picturesque seascape as well. To see the conjunction from just about anywhere in the world, look to the west after sunset. The first planet you may notice is Venus, the brightest object in the western sky. Above Venus, the second brightest object is Jupiter. The hardest planet to spot is Mercury, which is visible only briefly after sunset as a faint dot just above the horizon. Picturesque rocks leading out from Reunion Island to the Indian Ocean populate the foreground of the above picture. Taken last week, the distant planets Venus and Jupiter were joined by a bright crescent Moon, which has now moved away.

Conjunction Over Reunion Island 

You don’t have to be on Reunion Island to see this week’s planetary conjunction. Only if you want to see this picturesque seascape as well. To see the conjunction from just about anywhere in the world, look to the west after sunset. The first planet you may notice is Venus, the brightest object in the western sky. Above Venus, the second brightest object is Jupiter. The hardest planet to spot is Mercury, which is visible only briefly after sunset as a faint dot just above the horizon. Picturesque rocks leading out from Reunion Island to the Indian Ocean populate the foreground of the above picture. Taken last week, the distant planets Venus and Jupiter were joined by a bright crescent Moon, which has now moved away.

(Source: apod.nasa.gov)