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A golden veil cloaks a newborn star
30-05-2016 04:11 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

A golden veil cloaks a newborn star

This young star is breaking out. Like a hatchling pecking through its shell, this particular stellar newborn is forcing its way out into the surrounding Universe.

The golden veil of light cloaks a young stellar object known only as IRAS 14568-6304. It is ejecting gas at supersonic speeds and eventually will have cleared a hole in the cloud, allowing it to be easily visible to the outside Universe.

Stars are born deep in dense clouds of dust and gas. This particular cloud is known as the Circinus molecular cloud complex. It is 2280 light-years away and stretches across 180 light-years of space. If our eyes could register the faint infrared glow of the gas in the cloud, it would stretch across our sky more than 70 times the size of the full Moon. It contains enough gas to make 250 000 stars like the Sun.

IRAS 14568-6304 was discovered with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, launched in 1983 as a joint project of the US, the UK and the Netherlands to make the first all-sky infrared survey from space.

This particular image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It is a combination of just two wavelengths: optical light (blue) and infrared (golden orange). The dark swath running across the image is the Circinus molecular cloud, which is so dense that it obscures the stars beyond.

At longer infrared wavelengths, this darkness is filled with point-like stars, all deeply embedded and which will one day break out like IRAS 14568-6304 is doing.

Indeed, IRAS 14568-6304 is just one member of a nest of young stellar objects in this part of Circinus, each of which is producing jets. Put together, they make up one of the brightest, most massive and most energetic outflows that astronomers have yet observed. In years to come, they will be a beautiful, brightly visible star cloud.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Acknowledgements: R. Sahai (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), S. Meunier

Couture in orbit – Ravensbourne
30-05-2016 03:09 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Couture in orbit - Ravensbourne

Couture in orbit space fashion show at London Science Museum, 25 May 2016 – design by Ravensbourne student

Credit: Barry Macdonald

A heavy-metal home
30-05-2016 02:11 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

A heavy-metal home

This 10.5-billion-year-old globular cluster, NGC 6496, is home to heavy-metal stars of a celestial kind! The stars comprising this spectacular spherical cluster are enriched with much higher proportions of metals – elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, are in astronomy curiously known as metals – than stars found in similar clusters.

A handful of these high-metallicity stars are also variable stars, meaning that their brightness fluctuates over time. NGC 6496 hosts a selection of long-period variables – giant pulsating stars whose brightness can take up to, and even over, a thousand days to change – and short-period eclipsing binaries, which dim when eclipsed by a stellar companion.

The nature of the variability of these stars can reveal important information about their mass, radius, luminosity, temperature, composition, and evolution, providing astronomers with measurements that would be difficult or even impossible to obtain through other methods.

NGC 6496 was discovered in 1826 by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop. The cluster resides at about 35 000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).

More info here.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

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