adobe photoshop 6 book Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium software download adobe photoshop lightroom crack leagal adobe photoshop software for cheap Adobe InCopy CS5 for Mac software download actualizacion adobe illustrator 10 download adobe acrobat tryout crack Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software download adobe illustrator cs2 12.0.0 crackz serialz adobe acrobat 70 professional free download Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 software download adobe photoshop elements 5.0 scrapbook download adobe acrobat standard Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium software download adobe illustrator demos 5.0 acrobat adobe download free reader Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended software download adobe illustrator parallogram total training for adobe photoshop cs Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection software download adobe creative suite academic adobe photoshop cs3 mac keygen Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended software download scrolling in adobe illustrator downloading software acrobat adobe form client Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 software download adobe photoshop cs2 filters serial number adobe acrobat 6.0 Adobe Illustrator CS5 software download adobe photoshop killer tips

Happy Halloween from Hubble!

October 31, 2008 on 7:27 am | In Astronomy, Hubble | 41 Comments

The Hubble Space Telescope, shut down for months now, came back online earlier this week and looks to be working just fine again. Check out its latest picture and see for yourself!

But I’m going to be running around in my Halloween Costume today; pictures tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime enjoy some scary Halloween Astronomy pictures, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope.

First up, we have eyeballs, starting with the Cat’s Eye Nebula:

Then there’s NGC 6751, which for some reason isn’t called the Eyeball Nebula:

And now we turn to astro-ghosts, with the Ghost Head Nebula (NGC 2080):

And finally, a little challenge! Can you spot the monster in this picture?

Happy Halloween!

Update: And if you get a chance this weekend, I’ve just been informed that two interesting shows are premiering on the National Geographic channel this weekend: Five Years On Mars this Sunday at 8 PM (about the Mars rovers) and Calling All Aliens after that at 10 PM (about SETI). Check it out if you’ve got time; they sound awesome!

Seriously, WTF is that?

September 19, 2008 on 2:49 pm | In Astronomy, Hubble | 19 Comments

I can usually rely on SWAB reader Dave to regularly ask some interesting questions. But he sent me a link to an article entitled, “Hubble Finds Unidentified Object in Space, Scientists Puzzled.” And my first thought is, of course, yeah, right.

But then I took a look at the article, and it turns out that we really are puzzled. Here’s the deal. While looking at a previously viewed patch of the sky, astronomers found a light source where there wasn’t one before. It continued to brighten, and for 100 days got brighter and brighter, eventually reaching a maximum. Then it dimmed out over the same time, and now there’s nothing again.

What’s the big deal about this? A number of things. First off, there’s nothing there. Nothing. No galaxies, no star clusters, no visible stars. Nothing. So either it’s something we’ve never seen before happening right here in our own galaxy, or there’s something going on so far away that we can’t even see the galaxy that’s hosting it with the Hubble Space Telescope! That’s right, Hubble Space Telescope: still a badass after all these years.

So we don’t see anything at all in the sky where this bright object appeared and then disappeared. Well, my friends, what do you suppose it was? Let’s examine the options:

  1. A Variable Star: Sure, why not? After all, there’s such a huge variety of variable stars that maybe one of them could brighten so much that we could see it only at its very brightest, and then it could disappear again, possibly for as long as 3 years or so. But this object’s spectrum doesn’t match up with variable stars.
  2. Nova or supernova: Yeah, sure, why not? They appear out of nowhere, get really bright, and then fade away. The problem is that this thing brightened more slowly than all known supernova types, and the spectrum not only doesn’t match novae or supernovae, but doesn’t match any of the spectra in the entire SDSS database, which has surveyed 10,000 square degrees on the sky! By comparison, this image, which shows a supernova going off in galaxy NGC 4526, shows about 0.02 square degrees of the sky.
  3. Microlensing: Alright, it must be microlensing. This is where a dark object moves in front of a bright one, increasing the amount of light that you see while everything is in perfect alignment, much like everyone’s favorite photoshop effect: the lens flare! The problem with this? The shape of the light curve is all wrong. See for yourself: on page two of this paper, the light-curve is way too broad to match up with microlensing, which looks like this:

So what does all of this mean? We’ve discovered something unlike anything ever recorded in the history of astronomy. My best guess? That it’s a new class of lensed object, and that if we perform an extra-deep telescopic survey of that area, we’ll find out exactly what it was that caused it. But for right now, it’ll have to remain a mystery!

Where are stars born?

August 15, 2008 on 1:02 pm | In Astronomy, Hubble | 16 Comments

No, it isn’t the Mickey Mouse Club; there are special places in space where stars can form. We call them star forming regions, and they’re some of the prettiest objects in the sky, looking something like this:

What are these places, and why do they look like this? These are giant clouds of gas, made of molecules like hydrogen, carbon dioxide, water, ammonia, and other gasses, but mostly they’re made of hydrogen. It took the Hubble Space Telescope to show us just how beautiful and varied these places are, and since it just celebrated it’s 100,000th orbit around Earth, here are a couple of the prettiest pictures it’s taken of these regions:

and a famous one in the Eagle Nebula:

Other than the amazing colors in the images, notice the big, obscuring clouds of what looks like dust? In the Eagle Nebula, they probably look more like pillars. These are regions where the gas is very dense, and where we think new stars are just starting to form. The way this works is that these big, diffuse clouds of gas start to collapse under their own gravity, and at some point they become so dense that they block the light coming from the stars behind and around them. Rather than being illuminated by them, like the rest of the nebula, they appear dark.

But when the density gets high enough, and the pressure of the surrounding gas gets large enough, nuclear fusion starts in the center, and that’s how you begin to form a star:

Some of the dust gets blown off, and some of it continues to accrete onto the proto-star. But the part you care about is some of that dust settles into a disk or a series of rings around the proto-star, and that eventually forms up into planets. We can actually see this in action around some stars:

And that’s not only where stars are born, but that’s where whole solar systems come from!

Can’t get enough of astronomy and outer space stuff? Check out this week’s Carnival of Space over at Next Generation, and enjoy!

Hubble Snaps History

June 10, 2008 on 9:38 am | In Hubble | 5 Comments

In 1933, an astronomer named Fritz Zwicky took a good, long look at the largest cluster of galaxies known at the time, the Coma Cluster. It is still one of the largest and densest clusters of galaxies, with thousands and thousands of galaxies. Other people had noticed this cluster before, and in particular they noticed how, bizarrely, almost all of the galaxies in it were elliptical galaxies (left), rather than spirals (right). (We now know that this is true for all clusters, that they are rich in ellipticals.)

Fritz figured out how far apart these galaxies were, estimated their masses based on their starlight, and calculated how fast they ought to be moving due to Newton’s laws of gravity. And then he measured how fast they were moving, and found something interesting. Either the laws of gravity were way wrong, or there was a ton of matter that was dark! This was 65 years ago; people didn’t take dark matter seriously until over 40 years later. But Fritz was right, and the evidence for dark matter is now considered to be overwhelming.

The Coma Cluster is still an interesting and beautiful place, though, and now the Hubble Space Telescope has taken some amazing shots of it. This isn’t aimed at the center of the cluster, but about a third of the way out, about the same amount out that our Sun is from the center of the galaxy. Have a good look and enjoy the oohs and aahs, but don’t forget that this is the birthplace of our understanding of the dark side of the Universe!

There are a few spiral galaxies in the cluster; here’s one of the more spectacular ones:

But yeah, like I said, most of them are ellipticals. Really, much more than 50%. Take a look at the same size patch of sky, just with the camera pointed elsewhere:

And finally, to reward your patience, here is a full-scale image of the entire Coma Cluster, with major galaxies labeled, in as big a box as the screen will allow (click here to see the entire image):

How lonely are we, with just our one large galaxy, Andromeda, to call our neighbor?

Quasars: Worth a million bucks!

May 30, 2008 on 1:50 pm | In Astronomy, Hubble | 3 Comments

What would you do if you were a radio astronomer, looking up at the night sky with your giant radio telescope, and you saw a bunch of powerful radio waves being emitted from one point? Well, you’d point your other telescopes that are sensitive to visible light at it and see what the big idea was.

Sure, sometimes you’d see a galaxy or star cluster or planetary nebula, because those can emit radio waves. But sometimes you’d see just a little star-like dot in the sky, and sometimes you’d see nothing at all in the direction of the radio waves:

Well, what would you call such an object? The scientists who saw them called them Quasi-Stellar Radio Sources. QSRS, they wrote down. How do you pronounce that? Oh right, quasars! (See the wikipedia article for a false etymology.)

So what are these things? Well, we know from measuring their redshifts that they’re very far away, and from measuring their magnitudes that they’re extremely bright. From the emission lines, we can measure their masses, too; they typically weigh in at a few hundred million times that of our Sun. Occasionally, we get lucky, and can detect that they emit jets like quasar 3C 273:

So what makes them? Well, we now know that they’re collapsed clouds of matter that surround extremely massive black holes! The spinning black holes accelerate the matter and cause the emission of lots of different types of light, including radio waves, and we observe them. Close up, a quasar looks like this (the image is of quasar 3C 120, as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope):

Well, this year’s Kavli Prize for astrophysics goes to Maarten Schmidt and Donald Lynden-Bell for their discoveries that quasars are both so far away and so energetic, and how they get to be that way. And the award comes with a hefty cash sum, too. How much, you ask?

One Million Dollars! Have a great weekend, folks, and don’t forget to check out this week’s Carnival of Space, with a ton of articles about Mars and the Phoenix mission, as well as a special tribute to the NASA astronauts who lost their lives as part of the space program.

Next Page »

Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^ Powered by with a personally modified jd-nebula-3c theme design.