Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI), J. Anderson, S. E. de Mink, R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and N. Walborn (STScI), N. Bastian (Excellence Cluster, Munich), L. Bedin (INAF, Padua), E. Bressert (ESO), P. Crowther (University of Sheffield), A. de Koter (University of Amsterdam), C. Evans (UKATC/STFC, Edinburgh), A. Herrero (IAC, Tenerife), N. Langer (AifA, Bonn), I. Platais (JHU), and H. Sana (University of Amsterdam)
Star-forming region 30 Doradus is colloquially known as the Tarantula Nebula (creepy!), but this new image released with data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys makes it look more like a rich underwater scene. Located within our galaxy’s close neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud, it is one of the best stellar nurseries for astronomers to observe prolific star birth and learn more about how young stars form and grow. This image combines dozens of observations from Hubble, showing off star clusters at varying ages. The false color in this image represents the hot gas within the regions – red signifies hydrogen gas and blue represents oxygen. What a tangled web these stars weave!
No, it didn’t wear a cape or shoot lasers, but Saturday’s “supermoon” was a bit bigger and brighter than most full Moons due to its slightly decreased distance from Earth. It was blocked by clouds in some areas, but if you got a clear view – wasn’t it lovely? It was exciting to see the Moon trending on Twitter! We perused Flickr for some amazing shots of the supermoon from around the world… Read more »
Hello, and happy new year to all our readers/listeners!
Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who entered our snowflake contest! We’ll announce the winners this week.
Registration is going to open soon for a NASA tweet-up that will give an insider look at its planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft and the agency’s Ames Research Center on Feb. 11 in Moffett Field in California.
The NASA Administrator sent this cute NASA logo holiday wreath with his holiday greeting this year – we thought it was kind of cute:
Remember that squirrel that photobombed that couple’s vacation photo? Well, this is kind of like the astronomical equivalent! This image of dwarf galaxy PGC 39058 is dominated by this bright star that just happens to lie between us and the galaxy! The star, much dimmer when viewed from Earth, shines with great intensity in this Hubble image.
Another milestone for the James Webb Space Telescope – the first primary mirror segment to be coated in gold (it’s a flight spare and engineering design unit) is undergoing cryo testing! Isn’t it pretty? I can’t wait to see what the whole mirror assembly will look like once it’s all coated in gold!
Do we have any science fiction fans out there? It seems like solar sails are a mainstay of spaceships in many books and movies (Avatar had a cool-looking ship with one). Are we one step closer to making this a reality? Meet NanoSail-D, which was designed and built by NASA. A solar sail works by capturing contantly streaming solar particles (photons). If you get enough of these particles, the sunlight will propel a vehicle much like wind would push a sailboat through water. Here’s an unfurled solar sail:
Last week Goddard shipped a piece of new technology developed for the James Webb Space Telescope to the European Space Agency for integration with the Webb’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). This new piece of tech are the microshutters, tiny little shutters as small as the width of a human hair. They are tiny doorways that focus the attention of the infrared camera on specific targets to the exclusion of others. They will focus in on objects like very distant stars and galaxies. Learn more about the microshutters in this news release.
Check out this gorgeous new zoom! It begins with a wide field view of the southern hemisphere sky, including both the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds and closes in on a star forming region of the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Credit: NASA/ESA, ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2, Akira Fujii and Eckhard Slawik. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin