Galactic Photobombing

These two spiral galaxies appear to be colliding, but are only overlapping from our vantage point at Earth. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Keel/Galaxy Zoo.

This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, appears to show two spiral galaxies colliding. In fact, they are just overlapping from our vantage point and are likely quite distant from each other. The galaxies are named SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461, and they lie more than a billion light-years from Earth. This ‘photobombing’ of one galaxy getting in the same picture as another was originally found by volunteers from the Galaxy Zoo project, which uses the power of crowdsourcing to find unusual galaxies in our Universe.

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Here’s the Largest Image JWST Has Taken So Far

Image of CEERS scientists looking at the Epoch 1 NIRCam color mosaic in TACC's visualization lab at UT Austin. Credit: R. Larson

A team of scientists using the James Webb Space Telescope have just released the largest image taken by the telescope so far. The image is a mosaic of 690 individual frames taken with the telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and it covers an area of sky about eight times as large as JWST’s First Deep Field Image released on July 12. And it is absolutely FULL of stunning early galaxies, many never seen before. Additionally, the team may have photographed one of the most distant galaxies yet observed.

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The Earliest Galaxies Rotated Slowly, Revving up Over Billions of Years

This image features the spiral galaxy NGC 691, imaged in fantastic detail by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). This galaxy is the eponymous member of the NGC 691 galaxy group, a group of gravitationally bound galaxies that lie about 120 million light-years from Earth.  Objects such as NGC 691 are observed by Hubble using a range of filters. Each filter only allows certain wavelengths of light to reach Hubble’s WFC3. The images collected using different filters are then coloured by specialised visual artists who can make informed choices about which colour best corresponds to which filter. By combining the coloured images from individual filters, a full-colour image of the astronomical object can be recreated. In this way, we can get remarkably good insight into the nature and appearance of these objects. Links Video of the Eponymous NGC 691

A team of astronomers have used the ALMA telescope to find a slowly-rotating galaxy in the early universe. That galaxy is the youngest ever found with a measured rotation, and it’s much slower than present-day galaxies.

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Hubble Finds a Bunch of Galaxies That Webb Should Check out

Galaxies from the last 10 billion years witnessed in the 3D-DASH program, created using 3D-DASH/F160W and ACS-COSMOS/F814W imaging. Image Credit: Lamiya Mowla

The Universe is full of massive galaxies like ours, but astronomers don’t fully understand how they grew and evolved. They know that the first galaxies formed at least as early as 670 million years after the Big Bang. They know that mergers play a role in the growth of galaxies. Astronomers also know that supermassive black holes are involved in the growth of galaxies, but they don’t know precisely how.

A new Hubble survey of galaxies should help astronomers figure some of this out.

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Gaze Into the Heart of a Grand Spiral Galaxy

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Filippenko (University of California - Berkeley), and D. Sand (University of Arizona); Image Processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America)

Here’s Hubble doing what Hubble does best.

Some of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most famous and stunning images are of distant galaxies, and this one is drop-dead gorgeous too.

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Part of the Milky Way Is Much Older Than Previously Believed

Basic structure of our home galaxy, edge-on view. The new results from ESA's Gaia mission provide for a reconstruction of the history of the Milky Way, in particular of the evolution of the so-called thick disc. Image Credit: Stefan Payne-Wardenaar / MPIA

The Milky Way is older than astronomers thought, or part of it is. A newly-published study shows that part of the disk is two billion years older than we thought. The region, called the thick disk, started forming only 0.8 billion years after the Big Bang.

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New Photos Show a Black Hole Blasting out Powerful Winds

Pictures of galaxies never cease to amaze, and astronomers are consistently coming up with new ones that provide a different viewpoint on the universe and maybe some exciting science along with it.  A recent picture of the galaxy NGC 7582, taken with the Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows an active supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core. However, something appears to be redirecting its “wind” away from the rest of the spiral galaxy.

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Missing Mass? Not on our Watch—Dr. Paul Sutter Explains Dark Matter

Credit: ArsTechnica

Do you have a few minutes to spare and a thirst for knowledge about one of the greater mysteries of the Universe? Then head on over to ArsTechnica and check out the new series they’re releasing titled Edge of Knowledge, starring none other than Dr. Paul Sutter. In what promises to be an enlightening journey, Dr. Sutter will guide viewers through an eight-episode miniseries that explores the mysteries of the cosmos, such as black holes, the future of climate change, the origins of life, and (for their premiere episode) Dark Matter!

As far as astrophysicists and cosmologists are concerned, Dark Matter is one of the most enduring, frustrating, and confusing mysteries ever! Then, one must wonder why scientists are working so tirelessly to track it down? The short answer is: the most widely accepted theories of the Universe don’t make sense without out. The long answer is… it’s both complicated and long! Luckily, Dr. Sutter manages to sum it all up in less than 15 minutes. As an accomplished physicist, he also explains why it is so important that we track Dark Matter down!

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Nancy Grace Roman Telescope Will do its Own, Wide-Angle Version of the Hubble Deep Field

This synthetic image visualizes what a Roman ultra-deep field could look like. The 18 squares at the top of this image outline the area Roman can see in a single observation, known as its footprint. The inset at the lower-right zooms into one of the squares of Roman's footprint, and the inset at the lower-left zooms in even further. The image, which contains more than 10 million galaxies, was constructed from a simulation that produced a realistic distribution of the galaxies in the universe. Image Credit: Nicole Drakos, Bruno Villasenor, Brant Robertson, Ryan Hausen, Mark Dickinson, Henry Ferguson, Steven Furlanetto, Jenny Greene, Piero Madau, Alice Shapley, Daniel Stark, Risa Wechsler

Remember the Hubble Space Telescope’s Deep Field and Ultra-Deep Field images?

Those images showed everyone that what appears to be a tiny, empty part of the sky contains thousands of galaxies, some dating back to the Universe’s early days. Each of those galaxies can have hundreds of billions of stars. These early galaxies formed only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. The images inspired awe in the human minds that took the time to understand them. And they’re part of history now.

The upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (NGRST) will capture its own version of those historical images but in wide-angle. To whet our appetites for the NGRST’s image, a group of astrophysicists have created a simulation to show us what it’ll look like.

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If you had Radio Telescopes for Eyes, one of the Biggest Things in the sky Would be a jet of Material Blasting out of a Nearby Galaxy

Merging X-ray data (blue) from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory with microwave (orange) and visible images reveals the jets and radio-emitting lobes emanating from Centaurus A's central black hole. Credit: ESO/WFI (visible); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (microwave); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)

One concept that’s difficult to visualize is the apparent size of objects in the sky. No the actual size of an object, but rather the amount of area an object covers in the sky. Apparent size depends on an object’s actual size and its distance from us. For example, the Sun is about 400 times wider than the Moon, but also about 400 times more distant, so the Sun and Moon have roughly the same apparent size.

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