January 17, 2022
NASA Spotlight: Astronomy Pictures for the Week (11/27 to 12/03/2021)

NASA Spotlight: Astronomy Pictures for the Week (11/27 to 12/03/2021)

How about starting the weekend by checking out the latest astronomical images highlighted by NASA? In this compilation you will find pictures of galaxies of different types: one with a spiral structure, the other irregular – surely they are all amazing. In addition, you will also see a history of a file Comita Leonard Accompanied by galaxies of strange shapes.

You can also find a video of Uranus accompanied by some of its moons. And speaking of natural satellites, also enjoy a beautiful picture of the moon, taken during the partial lunar eclipse.

Let’s go?

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Saturday (27) – Galaxy Wind Wind

The weather vane galaxy, made up of at least a trillion stars (Image: cloning/NASA, ESA, CFHT, NOAO; K.Kuntz (GSFC), F.Bresolin (U.Hawaii), J.Trauger (JPL), J. Mold (NOAO), Y.-H.Chu (USA, Illinois)

Galaxy M101, also known as the “Wind Vane Galaxy,” appears here in one of the largest images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of a spiral galaxy. It’s just that the object recorded here is 170,000 light-years wide – keep in mind that’s twice the diameter of the Milky Way.

Astronomers believe that M101 contains at least a trillion stars, along with numerous nebulae scattered throughout its arms. These nebulae contain giant molecular clouds of hydrogen, which are regions where stars are forming intensely. Regions in blue indicate small clusters of hot, bluish, and newborn stars.

The Feather Galaxy is located about 25 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Ursa Major, and is generally observable through small telescopes. This image is the result of a combination of 51 exposures conducted over several studies conducted over nearly a decade, gathering information from infrared and visible light.

Domingo (28) – Komita Churyumov Gerasimenko

Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the Rosetta probe record (Image: clone/ESA, Rosetta, NAVCAM; Stuart Atkinson)

Is this landscape part of a distant planet or moon? Well, actually, it’s one of several details of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG) recorded by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission. The spacecraft arrived at it in 2014 and spent some time orbiting it collecting data, until it landed orderly on its surface in 2016.

The cliff seen here is about a kilometer long, and if you can venture there, you might be able to climb it easily, because the comet’s surface gravity is low. At the bottom of the cliff is a relatively smooth terrain with boulders up to 20 meters long.

Data obtained by the mission indicates that ice from CG contains a different amount of deuterium than water in Earth’s oceans. Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko consists of 26 distinct regions, each of which is named after some Egyptian deities. The regions of the larger wolf are named after the deities, and those of the smaller deities.

Monday (29) – a cosmic mystery

Formation of a pre-planetary nebula around binary star LL Pegasi (Image: Reproduction/NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA/Jonathan Lodge)

The image above shows something mysterious and intriguing, as it is unclear what formed this spiral structure in the upper left corner.

One possibility is that it is a rare pre-planetary nebula forming around the binary star LL Pegasi; In these systems, the two stars orbit a common center of mass. In general, the brightest is classified as the primary star in these systems, while the darkest is classified as the secondary star.

The helix could have been formed by a continuous process in the LL Pegasi system, in which one star loses material to its neighbor. Moreover, it is possible for the binary system to become a planetary nebula. This is the end-of-life phase of red giant stars, when they expand their layers of ionized gas.

In the image shown here, the rate of gas expansion appears to indicate that a new layer will appear in about 800 years, a period corresponding to that required for the two stars to orbit each other. Another mystery is related to the helix’s glow, possibly due to light reflected from nearby stars.

Tuesday (30) – Uranus and some moons

This video shows some of the glow of Uranus and its moons, recorded by the Bayfordbury Observatory in Hertfordshire, UK.

Although it only lasted a few seconds, the sequence shows four hours of observation of this distant system, which consists of a planet whose dimensions are four times larger than Earth.

You wouldn’t want to travel to Uranus, because the temperatures, pressures, and materials in this distant world are too extreme and volatile for life as we know it. To get an idea, consider that years there last about 84 Earth years, while winter lasts for 21 years.

Today, astronomers have identified 27 moons in the planet’s orbit – and unlike most of our solar system neighbors, they are named after the works of poets William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. In this video, we’ve seen moons Titania, Oberon, Umbriel, and Ariel.

Wednesday (1) – Colors on the Moon

The moon in three different colors (Photo: clone/angel Yu)

We’re used to seeing the moon in shades of gray, but the image above has some other colors in it. The image was taken during the last partial lunar eclipse and has some interesting effects: the grayscale of the lower part of the lunar disk is the typical color of our natural moon, originating from compounds on the moon’s surface such as oxygen, silicon, magnesium, iron and others.

The dark areas were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions and reflect less light – so they appear darker. The reddish portion is the result of a process similar to that which causes the red color of sunsets and sunrises, as when sunlight passes through the atmosphere during an eclipse, a portion of the color spectrum is “filtered”.

Since the wavelengths of red light are the least affected, it reaches the moon and makes it reddish. Finally, we’ve left this little blue bar in the middle of the lunar disk, which is simply the result of sunlight making it pass through the top of Earth’s atmosphere.

Thursday (22) – Barnard’s Galaxy

Barnard’s irregular-type galaxy lies 1.5 million light-years away from us (Photo: Reproduction/Dietmar Hager, Eric Benson)

Here, we have the galaxy NGC 6822. Also known as the “Barnard Galaxy,” it is only 1.5 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius and measures about 7,000 light-years away.

It is an irregular dwarf galaxy that tends to have low metallicity and relatively high levels of gas. This makes it a good tool to help astronomers better understand the evolution of galaxies.

Some irregular galaxies may have spiral shapes, but they have been distorted by the gravity of a neighboring object, affecting their structure. In the image, we find some blue and young stars in the Barnard Galaxy, also accompanied by a pink glow.

This color, found in only a few regions, comes from hydrogen emissions from regions where star formation processes occur. NGC 6822 is also part of the Local Group, made up of more than 50 galaxies – among the largest are Andromeda, the Triangle, and the Milky Way itself.

Friday (03) – Comet Leonard and the Galaxies

Comet Leonard is visible in the center of the image, with galaxies NGC 4631 and NGC 4656 at the top and bottom, respectively (Image: clone/Greg Rubell)

Have you ever thought about seeing a comet that appears between two different galaxies? This is exactly what appears in this image of Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1), which appears to be crossing the space between two galaxies.

It is getting closer and closer to the Earth and the Sun, but 35 thousand years ago, Leonard was 525 billion km from our star; On December 12th, Leonard will make its closest approach to Earth. After Christmas, the comet should leave our field of view, and reach the point closest to the sun on January 3rd. After it orbits the star, it will be released from the solar system and will no longer be seen.

In addition to the comet, the image also contains some interesting galaxies: the image above is NGC 4631, known as the “Whale Galaxy.” This is a spiral-like galaxy seen from the side of the Earth. Therefore, the slight distortion in its disk appears to be something like a whale.

The other is NGC 4656, called the “Hockey Stick Galaxy,” whose intriguing shape may be the result of interactions with other galaxies. Of course, the comet’s apparent proximity to the galaxies is just an impression, as they are more than 25 million light years away.

Source: APOD