Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Ok, so it's Tuesday, I know.....but this is an astronomical miscellania, so doesn't really count as Miscellaneous Monday!

Herschel images of Rosetta nebula stellar nursery:

Spectacular image from the Herschel observatory. I find this absolutely stunning.

Stars are being born.

That alone is worth a pause. Think about it. Stars. Being. Born. Excuse the anthropomorphism, but these events are where EVERYTHING comes from. I wrote a post about this a while back: http://jmahony.posterous.com/twinkle-twinkle-little-star-9

Huge clouds of matter have collapsed gravitationally and the pressure induced is such that nuclear fusion has initiated in the core. We know how this happens, and can describe it mathematically. To see actually in progress is evidence that SCIENCE ACTUALLY WORKS! More info here: http://tinyurl.com/ychg76k

Supermassive Black Hole in Centaurus A :

This is an amazing composite image, in various wavelengths (x-ray, visible and submillimetre), of the Centaurus A galaxy, which has a supermassive black hole at its centre. This shows the extent of this black hole's influence. A jet of X-ray radiation (represented as blue) extends -get this- 13000 light years from its source; the material contained in it seems to be travelling at about half the speed of light! It's  absolutely mindblowing. That something this powerful can even exist really should put us in our place, but of course it's far away (about 11 million light years) and not a threat so, ho-hum, few are impressed. But I am.

For more more on this:

And speaking of threats.....here's a piece about a fantastically destructive antimatter explosion -  Supernova SN2007bi wreaking unimaginable havoc on its neighbourhood.

If you're interested in destruction in and from space, you could do a lot worse than picking up a copy of Phil Plait's "Death from the Skies". It came in the annual book-orgy that is my Christmas list and it's really excellent, highly recommended.


More miscellania soon!


Posted via web from John's posterous

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