Russell Brand Messiah Complex
Russell Brand Messiah Complex
In this composite image of spiral galaxy M106 (NGC 4258), optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey is shown as yellow, radio data from the Very Large Array appears as purple, X-ray data from Chandra is coded blue, and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope appears red. Two anomalous arms, which aren’t visible at optical wavelengths, appear as purple and blue emission.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech; X-ray: CXC/Univ. of Maryland/A.S. Wilson et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS; IR: VLA: NRAO/AUI/NSF
Hey, you feel like going to Mars today? Climb on top of a dune in Gale Crater’s “Dingo Gap” with Mars Curiosity, via Andrew Bornov’s latest interactive Mars panorama. Adam Mann has more info on what you’re looking at over at Wired.
If you’re on a non-mobile device, I’ve embedded it below. If you ARE on a mobile device, click here, and you’re in for a special augmented reality treat!
Black Holes Heated Early Universe Slower Than Previously Thought
Black holes acting as companions to early stars may have taken more time to raise the temperature of the ancient universe than previously thought, a new study suggests.
Scientists found that the energy streaming from these early pairings took longer to raise the temperature of the universe, which means astronomers could detect signs of the heating process previously thought to be out of bounds. Two cosmic milestones occurred in the universe a few hundred million years after the Big Bang— dominating hydrogen gas was both heated and made transparent.
Mariner 10’s First Close-Up Photo of Venus
On Feb. 5, 1974, NASA’s Mariner 10 mission took this first close-up photo of Venus.
Made using an ultraviolet filter in its imaging system, the photo has been color-enhanced to bring out Venus’s cloudy atmosphere as the human eye would see it. Venus is perpetually blanketed by a thick veil of clouds high in carbon dioxide and its surface temperature approaches 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Launched on Nov. 3, 1973 atop an Atlas-Centaur rocket, Mariner 10 flew by Venus in 1974.
Image Credit: NASA
The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared One of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. The dark band of dust that obscures the mid-section of the Sombrero Galaxy in optical light actually glows brightly in infrared light. The above image, digitally sharpened, shows the infrared glow, recently recorded by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope
International Space Station Silhouetted against The Moon
As young stars form, they often produce narrow high-speed jets from their poles. By astronomical standards, these fountains are dense, narrowly collimated, and quickly changing. The jets have been measured at velocities greater than 200 km/s and Mach numbers as high as 20. The animation above (which you should watch in its full and glorious resolution here) is a numerical simulation of a protostellar jet. Every few decades the source star releases a new pulse, which expands, cools, and becomes unstable as it travels away from the star. Models like these, combined with observations from telescopes like Hubble, help astronomers unravel how and why these jets form. (Image credit: J. Stone and M. Norman)
ETA: As it happens, the APOD today is also about protostellar jets, so check that out for an image of the real thing. Thanks, jshoer!
Gaia comes into focus
ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia is slowly being brought into focus. This test image shows a dense cluster of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.
Once Gaia starts making routine measurements, it will generate truly enormous amounts of data. To maximise the key science of the mission, only small ‘cut-outs’ centred on each of the stars it detects will be sent back to Earth for analysis.
This test picture, taken as part of commissioning the mission to ‘fine tune’ the behaviour of the instruments, is one of the first proper ‘images’ to be seen from Gaia, but ironically, it will also be one of the last, as Gaia’s main scientific operational mode does not involve sending full images back to Earth.
Gaia was launched on 19 December 2013, and is orbiting around a virtual point in space called L2, 1.5 million kilometres from Earth.
Gaia’s goal is to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. It will make precise measurements of the positions and motions of about 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion stars in our home Galaxy to help answer questions about its origin and evolution.
Repeatedly scanning the sky, Gaia will observe each of its billion stars an average of 70 times each over five years. In addition to positions and motions, Gaia will also measure key physical properties of each star, including its brightness, temperature and chemical composition.
Image credit: ESA/DPAC/Airbus DS
Planning for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover envisions a basic structure that capitalizes on re-using the design and engineering work done for the NASA rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, but with new science instruments selected through competition for accomplishing different science objectives with the 2020 mission.