Fireworks Galaxy 01-01-0011


2011 January 1
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Fireworks Galaxy NGC 6946
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam BlockMt. Lemmon SkyCenterU. Arizona

Explanation: Celebrate the New Year with the Fireworks Galaxy! Also known as NGC 6946, the big, beautiful spiral galaxy is located just 10 million light-years away, behind a veil of foreground dust and stars in the high and far-off constellation of Cepheus. From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 6946 face-on. In this colorful cosmic portrait, the galaxy’s colors change from the yellowish light of old stars in the core to young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions along the loose, fragmented spiral arms. NGC 6946 is bright in infrared light and rich in gas and dust, exhibiting a furious rate of star formation. Nearly 40,000 light-years across, the nearby spiral is fittingly referred to as the Fireworks Galaxy. Over the last 100 years, at least nine supernovae, the death explosions of massive stars, were discovered in NGC 6946. By comparison, the average rate for supernovae in the Milky Way is about 1 per century.

2011 January 2
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Looking Back at an Eclipsed Earth
Credit: Mir 27 CrewCopyright: CNES

Explanation: Here is what the Earth looks like during a solar eclipse. The shadow of the Moon can be seen darkening part of Earth. This shadow moved acrossthe Earth at nearly 2000 kilometers per hour. Only observers near the center of the dark circle see a total solar eclipse – others see a partial eclipse where only part of the Sun appears blocked by the Moon. This spectacular picture of the 1999 August 11 solar eclipse was one of the last ever taken from the Mir space station. The two bright spots that appear on the upper left are thought to be Jupiter and Saturn. Mir was deorbited in a controlled re-entry in 2001

2011 January 3
See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

Winter Hexagon Over Stagecoach Colorado
Credit & Copyright: Jimmy Westlake (Colorado Mountain College)

Explanation: If you can find Orion, you might be able to find the Winter Hexagon. The Winter Hexagon involves some of the brightest stars visible, together forming a large and easily found pattern in the winter sky of Earth‘s northern hemisphere. The stars involved can usually be identified even in the bright night skies of a big city, although here they appear over darker StagecoachColorado, USA.. The six stars that compose the Winter Hexagon are AldebaranCapellaCastor(and Pollux), ProcyonRigel, and Sirius. Here, the band of our Milky Way Galaxy runs through the center of the Winter Hexagon, while the Pleiades open star cluster is visible just above. The Winter Hexagon asterism engulfs several

2011 January 4
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

A Green Flash from the Sun
Credit & Copyright: Juan José Manzano (Grupo de Observadores Astronómicos de Tenerife)

Explanation: Many think it is just a myth. Others think it is true but its cause isn’t known. Adventurers pride themselves on having seen it. It’s a green flash from theSun. The truth is the green flash does exist and its cause is well understood. Just as the setting Sun disappears completely from view, a last glimmer appears startlingly green. The effect is typically visible only from locations with a low, distant horizon, and lasts just a few seconds. A green flash is also visible for a risingSun, but takes better timing to spot. A dramatic green flash, as well as an even more rare blue flash, was caught in the above photograph recently observed during a sunset visible from Teide Observatory at TenerifeCannary IslandsSpain. The Sun itself does not turn partly green or blue — the effect is caused by layers of theEarth’s atmosphere acting like a prism

Comments
5 Responses to “Fireworks Galaxy 01-01-0011”
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