NASA has released an image this week to commemorate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 100,000 orbit.
“The image reveals dramatic ridges and valleys of dust, serpent-head ‘pillars of creation,’ and gaseous filaments glowing fiercely under torrential ultraviolet radiation. The region is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud that is an incubator for the birth of new stars. The high-energy radiation blazing out from clusters of hot young stars is sculpting the wall of the nebula by slowly eroding it away. Another young cluster may be hidden beneath a circle of brilliant blue gas. In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower, right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. The region is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a fascinating laboratory for observing star-formation regions and their evolution. Dwarf galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud are considered to be the primitive building blocks of larger galaxies.”
You might also want to check out the The First Universe of Galaxies Map.
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Another star died in an explosive death. According to CNN; “astronomers used a NASA X-ray satellite to spy on a star already well into its death throes, when another star in the same galaxy started to explode. The outburst was 100 billion times brighter than Earth’s sun.
The death of this star went through stages, with the core getting heavier in successive nuclear reactions and atomic particles being shed out toward the cosmos, Filippenko said. It started out in its normal life with hydrogen being converted to helium, which is what is happening in our sun.
The helium then converts to oxygen and carbon, and into heavier and heavier elements until it turns into iron.
That’s when the star core becomes so heavy it collapses in on itself, and the supernova starts with a shock wave of particles piercing through the shell of the star, which is what the Soderberg team captured on x-rays.”
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