The Gemini South telescope has captured a new image of the glowing nebula IC 2220. Nicknamed the Toby Jug Nebula, this object got its name because it looks like an old English jug. But no fun drinking games are happening here.Continue reading “A Dying Red Giant Star has Thrown Out Giant Symmetrical Loops of Gas and Dust”
A stellar nursery sounds like a placid place where baby stars go about their business undisturbed. But, of course, a stellar nursery is nothing like that. (Babies are noisy and cry a lot.) They’re dynamic places where powerful elemental forces rage mightily and bend the surroundings to their will. And this one, even though its name is the drowsy-sounding Smiling Cat Nebula, is no exception.Continue reading “A Feline in the Heavens: The Smiling Cat Nebula”
The Tarantula Nebula is a star formation region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Tarantula is about 160,000 light-years away and is highly luminous for a non-stellar object. It’s the brightest and largest star formation region in the entire Local Group of galaxies.
But it shouldn’t be.Continue reading “The Tarantula Nebula Shouldn’t Be Forming Stars. What’s Going On?”
Located near the summit of Maunakea, Hawaii, the 15-meter (~49 ft) James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) at the East Asia Observatory (EAO) is the largest telescope in the world designed to operate exclusively in the submillimetre-wavelength. In 2018, Molokai’i High School alumna Mallory Go was awarded time with the JCMT under the Maunakea Scholars program. With the assistance of EAO astronomer Dr. Harriet Parsons, Go obtained unique images of the Horsehead Nebula in polarized light, which revealed the nebula’s magnetic fields.Continue reading “New Images Reveal the Magnetic Fields in the Horsehead Nebula”
When it comes to cosmic eye candy, planetary nebulae are at the top of the candy bowl. Like fingerprints—or maybe fireworks displays—each one is different. What factors are at work to make them so unique from one another?Continue reading “Each Planetary Nebula is Unique. Why Do They Look So Different?”
The average temperature of the universe is downright cold – right around 3 degrees above absolute zero.Continue reading “How Cold is Space?”
The Tarantula Nebula, also called 30 Doradus, is the brightest star-forming region in our part of the galaxy. It’s in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and contains the most massive and hottest stars we know of. The Tarantula Nebula has been a repeat target for the Hubble since the telescope’s early years.
Continue reading “Hubble’s New View of the Tarantula Nebula”
Here’s another striking image from the venerable Hubble Space Telescope. These billows of blue and red show a detailed look at a small portion of the famous Orion Nebula. But what really catches the eye are the brilliant stars with the cross-shaped diffraction spikes — a hallmark of Hubble images.Continue reading “Beautiful New Hubble Photo Shows Hot, Young Variable Stars in the Orion Nebula”
The ancients didn’t have the scientific understanding of nature that we have now. All they could do was look up at the night sky and wonder, which isn’t a bad way to spend time. Part of understanding something is naming it, and when the ancients looked up at the patterns in the stars, they gave them simple names based entirely on their appearances. That’s likely how the Greeks named the constellation Serpens: it looks like a snake, so they called it that.
The Greeks lacked astronomical telescopes, so they never saw any of the rich detail in Serpens that a new image from the European Southern Observatory reveals.Continue reading “This Serpent’s Tail is Made of Starry Nebulae”
Like a famous (and photogenic) actor followed by paparazzi, the Carina Nebula is one of the most photographed objects in space because of its stunning beauty. Over the years, the Carina Nebula has been one of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most-imaged objects.Continue reading “Here's a new Image of the Carina Nebula From Hubble”