This Week’s Where In The Universe Challenge

Article written: 4 Mar , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

It’s Wednesday, so that means its time for another Where In The Universe Challenge. Your mission, should you choose to accept is to name where in the Universe this image is from. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for this image. Check back on Thursday so find the answer. Good luck!

UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below. Don’t peek before you make your guess!

First of all, I owe everyone an apology, because a spacecraft didn’t take this image, it was an Earth-based telescope, the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ.

Hubble did take an image of the same object (which can be seen here) but its not the image above.

And what is this image? It shows a deep Hydrogen-alpha image of the brightest X-ray source in the sky, NGC 1275.

No one really knows exactly why or how these filaments emanating from the galaxy are produced, but they likely are the result of an interaction between the black hole in the center of the galaxy and the intracluster medium surrounding it. (The glowing background objects in this image are galaxies in that same galaxy cluster.)

At a distance of about 230 million light-years, this is the nearest example to Earth of such vast structures, which are seen surrounding the most massive galaxies throughout the Universe.

Credit for this image: C. Conselice/Caltech and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Its a very nifty image, that’s for sure , and yes, the Flying Spaghetti Monster does come to mind when looking at this! A few of you did say NGC 1275, and Jon Hanford actually got everything correct by saying the correct telescope, but I hope the rest of you didn’t get thrown off too much by my asking for the spaceraft– sorry, I got mixed up on which image I ended up using.

Thanks for playing, and check back again next week for another Where In The Universe Challenge.

40 Responses

  1. Dominion says

    a space mosquito from Titan impacted the Hubble telescope.

  2. Ben Postlethwaite says

    Picture –
    It’s a bowling ball in a bowling alley, reflecting the lights from above.
    Spacecraft –
    Taken by the lazy time wasting slacker “The Dude” Lebowski, with his trusty Deep Lane Explorer #9 automatic.

  3. Steve says

    It looks like a supernova remnant but I have no idea which one or which satellite.

    The Dude abides.

  4. RapidEye says

    Its the Flying Spagetti Monster preparing to eat her next victem!!! =-)

    I think the galaxies are hubble with the spray coming from spitzer – possibly showing the jets from active black holes interacting with intergalactic medium in X-Ray. Guessing on the number of spherical galaxies, I’d say it was somewhere in the Coma-Virgo Cluster.

  5. Vino says

    Definitely a supernova reminant…Probably a composite as well….Optical from Hubble??? and the other no idea at all!!!

  6. Dave Finton says

    I’m going to hazard a guess here, but here goes…

    It’s a composite image. One part Hubble, one part Spitzer. The background galaxies are the Hubble portion, and the foreground nebula belongs to the Spitzer telescope. I have a feeling this might even be part of a deep-field image, given the galaxy density.

    This is a guess. Honestly, I have no idea what this particular nebula might be, specifically speaking.

  7. Pogomo says

    NGC1275, taken by the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ, in 1999.

  8. Scott Hudson Riley says

    does anyone know where we got to find out the answer to “Where in the Universe?”

  9. Eduardo says

    Caramba Nancy, ésta si se ve difícil… si definitivamente es la galaxia activa NGC 1275 en Perseo, uno de los cuerpos más bizarros del cielo, pero la imagen pareciera tener polvo y luz visible… Hubble y Spitzer quizás?


  10. Jorge says

    This, I think, is a massive gas cloud within an equally massive galaxy cluster. The telltale, for me, are the yellowish ovals, which are big elliptical galaxies in natural colours. Most likely photographed by Hubble.

    The pink gas, however is not photographed by Hubble. It’s not visible light. It might be infrared, in which case it would probably be Spitzer. But I’m far from being sure here.

  11. Jorge says

    does anyone know where we got to find out the answer to “Where in the Universe?”

    You wait, patiently, and come back to this very post tomorrow or the day after.

  12. neoguru says

    I figured the cave glow worms would fool everybody, but it fooled very few. This one is excellent revenge. I’ll guess: It’s in our galaxy and obviously false colored. It just doesn’t quite look like a super-nova remnant. I’ll say it’s the last vestage of a very young star in the last stages of accreting it’s dust cloud. As a back-up I’ll call it an aged planetary nebula – just the opposite as my first guess. I’m guessing it was taken by the Hubble but could easily be a composite.

  13. Taunide says

    It cannot be our Galaxy for we have no mean of watching it from outside..

    I say Crab Nebula by Spitzer

  14. Kevin says

    Don’t think it could possibly be in the galaxy unless the other galaxies have been superimposed somehow. Looks like an x-ray image of a superheated gas cloud surrounding a large elliptical galaxy in some nearby galaxy cluster.

  15. Navneeth says

    This is somewhere within one of those Abell clusters photographed by the Hubble.

  16. Jon Hanford says

    NGC 1275 = Per A in Abell 426 taken with the 3.5 meter WIYN reflector. The pink filaments result from narrow-band hydrogen alpha emission from the infalling gas clouds. Great shot of this galactic cannibal.

  17. Eduardo says

    RapidEye I hope you have been touched by his noodly appendage!


  18. Earth Ling says

    This image brought on the most intense sensation of deja vu! Wild guess, but it certainly appears to be a composite, with the background (rather densely populated) galaxy field owing to the Hubble and the forefront image being one of spitzer’s, perhaps a supernova remnant?

  19. Vino says

    A note on a tangential direction: I am happy that Oilsmastery didnt bring out his crap on this article as well!!! Thank God for that!!

  20. Why is the hydrogen purple? Beta rays?

  21. ThereIsNoSuchThingAsMagic says

    @OillsMastery: It looks that colour because the H-Alpha emission line has a wavelength of 656.281 nanometers, which gives it that lovely red-purple colour. Its quite pretty.

  22. ThereIsNoSuchThingAsMagic,

    Thx for your help!

    What is causing the H-Alpha emission line?

  23. ThereIsNoSuchThingAsMagic says

    I cannot say for certain, as i am not an astronomer, maybe an expert here can answer this one?

    But in the article above, it says ” but they likely are the result of an interaction between the black hole in the center of the galaxy and the intracluster medium surrounding it.”

    It seems that as there is gravitational interaction going on, the hydrogen gas is being energized by said interaction, causing the hydrogen to emit in the H-Alpha line.

    But as i said, im not an astronomer, so im only guessing…

  24. DrFlimmer says

    @ ThereIsNoSuchThingAsMagic

    Emission lines result from a process called recombination. A hydrogen atom that was ionised afore recombines to become a neutral atom again. Since the electron has a low probability of falling down to the ground state directly, it will fall down step by step always emitting a little peace of its energy as electromagnetic radiation. The jump from the 3rd state to the 2nd state is in the visible part of the spectrum, exactly the wavelength you mentioned.
    But, as I said, to gain that radiation you have to ionise the hydrogen in the first place. You can achieve that with heat, UV radiation (wavelength shorter than 91,2nm), collisions, etc.

  25. Dr. Flimmer,


    So the color is the electromagnetic radiation released when an electron jumps from the 3rd to the 2nd orbit.

    But that should produce red and it appears purple so there must be some other sort of electric transitioning going on to cause the purple.

  26. DrFlimmer says

    false colour image probably?

  27. I’m curious to find out…:P

  28. H-gamma the 5 to 2 transition causes purple.

  29. DrFlimmer says

    still the process is the same……

  30. Zibit says

    Clearly Electric Universe.

  31. Dave says

    Zibit: in no possible way is it ‘clearly’ electric universe.

  32. Zibit,

    Obviously electrons are electric.


    The last time I checked electrons are charged particles, thus electric.

  33. dave says

    Uh huh, right…..and the last time i checked, EU theory is bunk…..

    And im not even going to bother to debate this further with a well known troll like you Oils.

    To anyone reading this thread, have a look at the continual flame wars created by the complete nonsense coming out of OilsMastery’s mouth… is no wonder he has been banned from the BAUT ( Bad Astronomet / Universe Today ) forums, and if there was a moderation system for these forums, he would have been banned from here too.

    Go have a look at most articles here mentioning gravity, or go read his blog, and you will see what i mean people, it is simply not possible to take OilsMastery seriously….

  34. Dave,

    “EU theory is bunk”

    Why don’t you believe in electricty, electromagnetism, electrons, charged particles, and plasma?

    Have you ever seen lightning before? That’s electricity.

    And since you don’t believe in them here is video of an electrically charged particle called an electron:

  35. dave says

    Oils: your stupidity blows me away every time…

    Can you read complete sentences? Seriously man, can you?

    If you could, you would see zibit said Electric Universe…..and as we all know, E U theory is also known as Plasma Cosmology, that consistently discredited theory you still cling to….

    Wow….you continue to blow me away with blatant idiocy every time you open your mouth Oils…..just….wow….

  36. Dave,

    You use ad hominem fallacies and personal attacks like stupid but you can’t even answer simple questions. You get an F for fail.

    Why don’t you believe in electricity and plasma?

  37. DrFlimmer says

    Electricity and plasma: YES.

    The ideas of an “electric universe” or “plasma cosmology”: NO.

  38. Dr. Flimmer,

    Electricity and plasma precisely are the ideas of electric universe and plasma cosmology.

    Therefore your comment is absurd.

  39. Your comment violates the Law of Contradiction. If something is blue it impossible for it to be not blue.

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