Category: Astrophotography


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NGC 7252: Hubble Captures Image of Atoms for Peace Galaxy

Dec 7, 2015 by Sergio Prostak

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this beautiful image of the inner parts of the distant galaxy NGC 7252.

This image shows the central regions of the peculiar galaxy NGC 7252. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / Judy Schmidt, www.geckzilla.com.

This image shows the central regions of the peculiar galaxy NGC 7252. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / Judy Schmidt, http://www.geckzilla.com.

NGC 7252, also known as LEDA 68612 or Arp 226, is a 12.7 magnitude peculiar galaxy in the constellation Aquarius.

It is about 212 million light-years distant and almost 200,000 light years across.

The galaxy has an odd nickname. In December 1953, President Eisenhower gave a speech that was dubbed Atoms for Peace.

The theme was promoting nuclear power for peaceful purposes – a particularly hot topic at the time.

This speech and the associated conference made waves in the scientific community and beyond to such an extent that NGC 7252 was named the Atoms for Peace galaxy.

This nickname is quite ironic, as the galaxy’s past was anything but peaceful.

Its peculiar appearance is the result of a collision between two similar gas-rich disc galaxies that took place about 600 million years ago, which ripped both galaxies apart.

The loop-like outer structures, likely made up of dust and stars flung outwards by the crash, but recalling orbiting electrons in an atom, are partly responsible for the galaxy’s nickname.

 

 

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Phys.org

Comet Catalina grows two tails, soars at dawn

November 23, 2015 by Bob King, Universe Today
Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina shows off a compact green coma and two tails in this photo taken this morning (Nov. 22, 2015) at dawn from Arizona. The green color comes from carbon compounds fluorescing in UV sunlight. Credit: Chris Schur

Amateur astronomer Chris Schur of Arizona had only five minutes to observe and photograph Comet Catalina this morning before twilight got the better of the night. In that brief time, he secured two beautiful images and made a quick observation through his 80mm refractor. He writes:

“Very difficult observation on this one. (I observed) it visually with the 35mm Panoptic ocular. It was a round, slightly condensed object with no sign of the twin tails that show up in the images. After five minutes, we lost it visually as it was 2° degrees up in bright twilight. Images show it for a longer time and a beautiful emerald green head with two tails forming a Y shaped fan.”

North is up and east to the left in these two photos of the comet made by Dr. D.T. Durig at 6:23 a.m. EST on Nov. 21st from Cordell-Lorenz Observatory in Sewanee, Tenn. He estimated the coma diameter at ~2 arc minutes with a tail at least …

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-11-comet-catalina-tails-soars-dawn.html#jCp

Schur estimated the comet’s brightness at around magnitude +6. What appears to be the dust extends to the lower right (southeast) with a narrower ion tail pointing north. With its twin tails, I’m reminded of a soaring eagle or perhaps a turkey vulture rocking back and forth on its wings. While they scavenge for food, Catalina soaks up sunlight.

I also headed out before dawn for a look. After a failed attempt to spot the new visitor on Saturday, I headed down to the Lake Superior shoreline at 5:30 a.m. today and waited until the comet rose above the murk. Using 7×50 binoculars in a similar narrow observing window, I could barely detect it as a small, fuzzy spot 2.5° south of 4th magnitude Lambda Virginis at 5:50 a.m. 10 minutes after the start of astronomical twilight. The camera did better!

 

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Universe Today

A mosaic of two wide field images taken from the Nevada desert, with the view stretching from Cepheus to the Milky Way core in Sagittarius. Credit and copyright: Tanja Sund. A mosaic of two wide field images taken from the Nevada desert, with the view stretching from Cepheus to the Milky Way core in Sagittarius. Credit and copyright: Tanja Sund.

This gorgeous view of the Milky Way was taken by astrophotographer Tanja Sund during a trip to the desert in Nevada. Made from just two images, this long exposure (180 seconds) mosaic has incredible detail and stunning clarity. You seriously need to click on this image to see a larger version!

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