Category: astronomy

Between Local and LaniakeaBehind the swirlin…

Between Local and Laniakea

Behind the swirling spiral to the lower left of this image is a galaxy cluster.

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Night sky just after sunset on March 24, 2012 …

Night sky just after sunset on March 24, 2012 with crescent moon and backlight, Jupiter, Venus and the Pleiades.

by

Ritzelmut

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M42: The Great Orion Nebula : Few astronomica…

M42: The Great Orion Nebula : Few astronomical sights excite the imagination like the nearby stellar nursery known as the Orion Nebula. The Nebula’s glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud. Many of the filamentary structures visible in the featured image are actually shock waves – fronts where fast moving material encounters slow moving gas. The Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located about 1500 light years away in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye just below and to the left of the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. The featured image, taken last month, shows a two-hour exposure of the nebula in three colors. The whole Orion Nebula cloud complex, which includes the Horsehead Nebula, will slowly disperse over the next 100,000 years. via NASA

Bee-Zed is a curious little asteroid that we’r…

Bee-Zed is a curious little asteroid that we’re just now learning more about. It may actually be our very first permanent interstellar object! You can read more about Bee-Zed here: 
http://www.astronomy.com/news/2018/05/the-first-interstellar-immigrant

In 40 million years, Mars may have a ring (a…

In 40 million years, Mars may have a ring (and one fewer moon)

Nothing lasts forever – especially Phobos, one of the two small moons orbiting Mars. The moonlet is spiraling closer and closer to the Red Planet on its way toward an inevitable collision with its host. But a new study suggests that pieces of Phobos will get a second life as a ring around the rocky planet.

A moon – or moonlet – in orbit around a planet has three possible destinies. If it is just the right distance from its host, it will stay in orbit indefinitely. If it’s beyond that point of equilibrium, it will slowly drift away. (This is the situation with the moon; as it gradually pulls away from Earth, its orbit is growing by about 1.5 inches per year.) And if a moon starts out on the too-close side, its orbit will keep shrinking until there is no distance left between it and its host planet.

The Martian ring will last for at least 1 million years – and perhaps for as long as 100 million years, according to the study.

The rest of Phobos will probably remain intact, until it hits the Martian surface. But it won’t be a direct impact; instead, the moonlet’s remains will strike at an oblique angle, skipping along the surface like a smooth stone on a calm lake.

This has probably happened before – scientists believe a group of elliptical craters on the Martian surface were caused by a small moon that skidded to its demise. (If this were to happen on Earth, our planet’s greater mass would produce a crash as big as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, the researchers noted as an aside.)

source

images: NASA/JPL,

Tushar Mittal using Celestia 2001-2010, Celestia Development Team.

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Nebula Images: http://nebulaimages.com/ Astron…

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Nebula Images: http://nebulaimages.com/ Astron…

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