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 In Hubble

“What’s Hubble been up to lately? Oh just taking mind-blowing pictures of our universe. Keep up with all the latest science and images coming from the Hubble Space Telescopewww.nasa.gov/hubble

The arrangement of the spiral arms in the galaxy Messier 63, seen here in an image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, recall the pattern at the center of a sunflower. So the nickname for this cosmic object — the Sunflower Galaxy — is no coincidence. Discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1779, the galaxy later made it as the 63rd entry into fellow French astronomer Charles Messier’s famous catalogue, published in 1781. The two astronomers spotted the Sunflower Galaxy’s glow in the small, northern constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). We now know this galaxy is about 27 million light-years away and belongs to the M51 Group — a group of galaxies, named after its brightest member, Messier 51, another spiral-shaped galaxy dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy. Galactic arms, sunflowers and whirlpools are only a few examples of nature’s apparent preference for spirals. For galaxies like Messier 63 the winding arms shine bright because of the presence of recently formed, blue–white giant stars and clusters, readily seen in this Hubble image. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Text credit: European Space Agency

The arrangement of the spiral arms in the galaxy Messier 63, seen here in an image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, recall the pattern at the center of a sunflower. So the nickname for this cosmic object — the Sunflower Galaxy — is no coincidence.
Discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1779, the galaxy later made it as the 63rd entry into fellow French astronomer Charles Messier’s famous catalogue, published in 1781. The two astronomers spotted the Sunflower Galaxy’s glow in the small, northern constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). We now know this galaxy is about 27 million light-years away and belongs to the M51 Group — a group of galaxies, named after its brightest member, Messier 51, another spiral-shaped galaxy dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy.
Galactic arms, sunflowers and whirlpools are only a few examples of nature’s apparent preference for spirals. For galaxies like Messier 63 the winding arms shine bright because of the presence of recently formed, blue–white giant stars and clusters, readily seen in this Hubble image.
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text credit: European Space Agency

 

Latest News: Hubble’s new close-up look at the Veil Nebula reveals wisps of gas that are all that remain of what was once a star 20 times more massive than our Sun. The fast-moving blast wave from the ancient explosion is plowing into a wall of cool, denser interstellar gas, emitting light. http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2015/29

Latest News: Hubble’s new close-up look at the Veil Nebula reveals wisps of gas that are all that remain of what was once a star 20 times more massive than our Sun. The fast-moving blast wave from the ancient explosion is plowing into a wall of cool, denser interstellar gas, emitting light.
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2015/29

 

This planetary nebula is called PK 329-02.2 and is located in the constellation of Norma in the southern sky. It is also sometimes referred to as Menzel 2, or Mz 2, named after the astronomer Donald Menzel who discovered the nebula in 1922. When stars that are around the mass of the sun reach their final stages of life, they shed their outer layers into space, which appear as glowing clouds of gas called planetary nebulae. The ejection of mass in stellar burnout is irregular and not symmetrical, so that planetary nebulae can have very complex shapes. In the case of Menzel 2 the nebula forms a winding blue cloud that perfectly aligns with two stars at its center. In 1999 astronomers discovered that the star at the upper right is in fact the central star of the nebula, and the star to the lower left is probably a true physical companion of the central star. For tens of thousands of years the stellar core will be cocooned in spectacular clouds of gas and then, over a period of a few thousand years, the gas will fade away into the depths of the universe. The curving structure of Menzel 2 resembles a last goodbye before the star reaches its final stage of retirement as a white dwarf. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Serge Meunier Text credit: European Space Agency

This planetary nebula is called PK 329-02.2 and is located in the constellation of Norma in the southern sky. It is also sometimes referred to as Menzel 2, or Mz 2, named after the astronomer Donald Menzel who discovered the nebula in 1922.
When stars that are around the mass of the sun reach their final stages of life, they shed their outer layers into space, which appear as glowing clouds of gas called planetary nebulae. The ejection of mass in stellar burnout is irregular and not symmetrical, so that planetary nebulae can have very complex shapes. In the case of Menzel 2 the nebula forms a winding blue cloud that perfectly aligns with two stars at its center. In 1999 astronomers discovered that the star at the upper right is in fact the central star of the nebula, and the star to the lower left is probably a true physical companion of the central star.
For tens of thousands of years the stellar core will be cocooned in spectacular clouds of gas and then, over a period of a few thousand years, the gas will fade away into the depths of the universe. The curving structure of Menzel 2 resembles a last goodbye before the star reaches its final stage of retirement as a white dwarf.
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Serge Meunier
Text credit: European Space Agency

 

Ribbons of dust festoon the galaxy NGC 613 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 613 is classified as a barred spiral galaxy for the bar-shaped band of stars and dust crossing its intensely glowing center. About two-thirds of spiral galaxies show a characteristic bar shape like NGC 613 — our own galaxy appears to have one of these bars through its midline as well. NGC 613 lies 65 million light-years away in the constellation of The Sculptor. It was first noted by the English astronomer William Herschel in 1798 and later by John Louis Emil Dreyer, a Danish–Irish astronomer, who recorded the object in his 1888 New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars — hence the letters "NGC." NGC 613's core looks bright and uniformly white in this image as a result of the combined light shining from the high concentration of stars packed into the core, but lurking at the center of this brilliance lies a dark secret. As with nearly all spiral galaxies, a monstrous black hole resides at the heart of NGC 613. Its mass is estimated at about 10 times that of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole and it is consuming stars, gas and dust. As this matter descends into the black hole's maw it radiates away energy and spews out radio waves. However, when looking at the galaxy in the optical and infrared wavelengths used to take this image, there is no trace of the dark heart. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast); Acknowledgement: Robert Gendler Text credit: European Space Agency

Ribbons of dust festoon the galaxy NGC 613 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 613 is classified as a barred spiral galaxy for the bar-shaped band of stars and dust crossing its intensely glowing center.
About two-thirds of spiral galaxies show a characteristic bar shape like NGC 613 — our own galaxy appears to have one of these bars through its midline as well.
NGC 613 lies 65 million light-years away in the constellation of The Sculptor. It was first noted by the English astronomer William Herschel in 1798 and later by John Louis Emil Dreyer, a Danish–Irish astronomer, who recorded the object in his 1888 New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars — hence the letters “NGC.”
NGC 613’s core looks bright and uniformly white in this image as a result of the combined light shining from the high concentration of stars packed into the core, but lurking at the center of this brilliance lies a dark secret.
As with nearly all spiral galaxies, a monstrous black hole resides at the heart of NGC 613. Its mass is estimated at about 10 times that of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole and it is consuming stars, gas and dust. As this matter descends into the black hole’s maw it radiates away energy and spews out radio waves. However, when looking at the galaxy in the optical and infrared wavelengths used to take this image, there is no trace of the dark heart.
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and S. Smartt (Queen’s University Belfast); Acknowledgement: Robert Gendler
Text credit: European Space Agency

 

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