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User Image nasagoddard Posted: Sep 29, 2017 3:11 PM (UTC)
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Did you ever wonder what a galaxy surrounded by a swarm of star clusters looked like? Oh, and those small smudges in the background - they took several hundred million to billions of years to reach us!

In the center of a rich cluster of galaxies located in the direction of the constellation of Coma Berenices, lies a galaxy surrounded by a swarm of star clusters. NGC 4874 is a giant elliptical galaxy, about ten times larger than the Milky Way, at the center of the Coma Galaxy Cluster. With its strong gravitational pull, it is able to hold onto more than 30,000 globular clusters of stars, more than any other galaxy that we know of, and even has a few dwarf galaxies in its grasp.

In this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, NGC 4874 is the brightest object, located to the right of the frame and seen as a bright star-like core surrounded by a hazy halo. A few of the other galaxies of the cluster are also visible, looking like flying saucers dancing around NGC 4874. But the really remarkable feature of this image is the point-like objects around NGC 4874, revealed on a closer look: almost all of them are clusters of stars that belong to the galaxy. Each of these globular star clusters contains many hundreds of thousands of stars.

Recently, astronomers discovered that a few of these point-like objects are not star clusters but ultra-compact dwarf galaxies, also under the gravitational influence of NGC 4874. Being only about 200 light-years across and mostly made up of old stars, these galaxies resemble brighter and larger versions of globular clusters. They are thought to be the cores of small elliptical galaxies that, due to the violent interactions with other galaxies in the cluster, lost their gas and surrounding stars.

This Hubble image also shows many more distant galaxies that do not belong to the cluster, seen as small smudges in the background. While the galaxies in the Coma Cluster are located about 350 million light-years away, these other objects are much farther out. Their light took several hundred million to billions of years to reach us.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #Hubble #space #star #galaxy #science

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User Image nasagoddard Posted: Feb 23, 2018 4:24 PM (UTC)
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What happens when galaxies collide? In this case, @NASAHubble spots the calm after the galactic storm.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope caught sight of a soft, diffuse-looking galaxy that is probably the aftermath of a long-ago galactic collision. Two spiral galaxies, each perhaps much like the Milky Way, swirled together for millions of years.
In such mergers, the original galaxies are often stretched and pulled apart as they wrap around a common center of gravity. After a few back-and-forths, this starry tempest settles down into a new, round object. The now subdued celestial body is technically known as an elliptical galaxy.
When galaxies collide — a common event in the universe — a fresh burst of star formation typically takes place as gas clouds mash together. At this point, the galaxy has a blue hue, but the color does not mean it is cold: it is a result of the intense heat of newly formed blue–white stars. Those stars do not last long, and after a few billion years the reddish hues of aging, smaller stars dominate an elliptical galaxy's spectrum. Hubble has helped astronomers learn of this sequence by observing galaxy mergers at all stages of the process.

Credit: @europeanspaceagency/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #space #galaxy #science #space
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Feb 16, 2018 8:59 PM (UTC)
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This image from @europeanspaceagency/@NASAHubble Space Telescope shows the galaxy cluster PLCK G004.5-19.5. The large galaxy at the center is the brightest galaxy in the cluster, and above it a thin, curved gravitational lens arc is visible. This arc is caused by the gravitational forces of the cluster bending the path of light from stars and galaxies behind it, in a similar way to how a glass lens bends light.

Several stars are visible in front of the cluster — recognizable by their diffraction spikes — but aside from these, all other visible objects are distant galaxies. Their light has become redshifted by the expansion of space, making them appear redder than they actually are. By measuring the amount of redshift, we know that it took more than 5 billion years for the light from this galaxy cluster to reach us. The light of the galaxies in the background had to travel even longer than that, making this image an extremely old window into the far reaches of the universe.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS; Acknowledgement: D. Coe et al. #nasagoddard #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Feb 9, 2018 9:26 PM (UTC)

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Roughly 50 million light-years away lies a somewhat overlooked little galaxy named NGC 1559. Pictured here by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, this barred spiral lies in the little-observed southern constellation of Reticulum (the Reticule).
NGC 1559 has massive spiral arms chock-full of star formation, and is receding from us at a speed of about 808 miles per second (1,300 kilometers per second). The galaxy contains the mass of around ten billion suns — while this may sound like a lot, it is over 20 times less massive than the Milky Way. Although NGC 1559 appears in the sky near one of our closest galaxy neighbors, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), this is just a trick of perspective. In reality, NGC 1559 is physically nowhere near the LMC in space — in fact, it truly is a loner, lacking the company of any nearby galaxies or membership of any galaxy cluster.
Despite its lack of cosmic companions, when this lonely galaxy has a telescope pointed in its direction, it puts on quite a show. NGC 1559 has hosted a variety of spectacular exploding stars called supernovae, four of which we have observed — in 1984, 1986, 2005, and 2009.
NGC 1559 may be alone in space, but we are watching and admiring from far away.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #space #science #galaxy #stars #star
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Feb 6, 2018 10:30 PM (UTC)

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@NASAHubble's Orion Nebula - 360° Video
This visualization journeys into the famous star-forming region of the Orion Nebula based on an image from the Hubble Space Telescope. This exhilarating trip begins by flying through a layer of gas above the nebula, called the "veil." The descent to the gaseous surface provides an overview of the structure of the region as the winds and radiation from the central cluster have carved out a long "valley" in the cloud. The massive bright stars are responsible for heating the gas to temperatures at which it glows. .
To view the 360° video go to:
Credits: Frank Summers, Greg Bacon, Zolt Levay, Lisa Frattare, Massimo Robberto (STScI) Acknowledgment: Robert Gendler. Music: "Blizzard (PON I)", Kai Engel, CC BY-NC #nasagoddard #space #science #nasa
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Feb 2, 2018 5:31 PM (UTC)
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Next time you are 45 million light-years away in the neighboorhood of the constellation of Pegasus you might want to keep an eye out for this spectacular spiral galaxy.

This @nasahubble image shows a spiral galaxy known as NGC 7331. First spotted by the prolific galaxy hunter William Herschel in 1784, NGC 7331 is located about 45 million light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus (the Winged Horse). Facing us partially edge-on, the galaxy showcases its beautiful arms, which swirl like a whirlpool around its bright central region.

Astronomers took this image using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star — a supernova — near the galaxy’s central yellow core. Named SN 2014C, it rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars.

NGC 7331 is similar in size, shape and mass to the Milky Way. It also has a comparable star formation rate, hosts a similar number of stars, has a central supermassive black hole and comparable spiral arms. The primary difference between this galaxy and our own is that NGC 7331 is an unbarred spiral galaxy — it lacks a “bar” of stars, gas and dust cutting through its nucleus, as we see in the Milky Way. Its central bulge also displays a quirky and unusual rotation pattern, spinning in the opposite direction to the galactic disk itself.

By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University) #nasagoddard #space #science #galaxy
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 23, 2018 5:23 PM (UTC)

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A Black Brant IX sounding rocket launched from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska Jan. 19, carrying a mission to measure diffuse X-rays from the local galactic neighborhood. The flight was a success, and the science team is reviewing data.
Credit: NASA/Allison Stancil #nasagoddard #science #space #alaska
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 22, 2018 4:24 PM (UTC)

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Sorry, but we won't be tweeting/responding to replies during the government shutdown. Also, all public NASA activities and events are canceled or postponed until further notice. We'll be back as soon as possible! Sorry for the inconvenience.
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 16, 2018 5:10 PM (UTC)

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Why did astronomers nickname this enormous galaxy cluster “El Gordo” (“the Fat One” in Spanish)?
In 2014, astronomers using @NASAHubble found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns — so it’s little wonder that it has earned the nickname of “El Gordo” (“the Fat One” in Spanish)! Known officially as ACT-CLJ0102-4915, it is the largest, hottest, and brightest X-ray galaxy cluster ever discovered in the distant Universe.
Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the Universe that are bound together by gravity. They form over billions of years as smaller groups of galaxies slowly come together. In 2012, observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope showed that El Gordo is actually composed of two galaxy clusters colliding at millions of kilometers per hour.
The formation of galaxy clusters depends heavily on dark matter and dark energy; studying such clusters can therefore help shed light on these elusive phenomena. In 2014, Hubble found that most of El Gordo’s mass is concealed in the form of dark matter. Evidence suggests that El Gordo’s “normal” matter — largely composed of hot gas that is bright in the X-ray wavelength domain — is being torn from the dark matter in the collision. The hot gas is slowing down, while the dark matter is not.
This image was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 as part of an observing program called RELICS (Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey). RELICS imaged 41 massive galaxy clusters with the aim of finding the brightest distant galaxies for the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope to study.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS #NASAGoddard #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 11, 2018 8:07 PM (UTC)
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Flying through the Orion nebula
By combining the visible and infrared capabilities of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers and visualization specialists from NASA’s Universe of Learning program have created a spectacular, three-dimensional, fly-through movie of the magnificent Orion nebula, a nearby stellar nursery. Using actual scientific data along with Hollywood techniques, a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California, has produced the best and most detailed multi-wavelength visualization yet of the Orion nebula.

#nasagoddard #space #orion #nebula
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 8, 2018 4:57 PM (UTC)
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Hubble’s Barred and Booming Spiral Galaxy
This image, captured by the @NASAHubble, shows a galaxy named UGC 6093. As can be easily seen, UGC 6093 is something known as a barred spiral galaxy — it has beautiful arms that swirl outwards from a bar slicing through the galaxy’s center. It is classified as an active galaxy, which means that it hosts an active galactic nucleus, or AGN: a compact region at a galaxy’s center within which material is dragged towards a supermassive black hole. As this black hole devours the surrounding matter it emits intense radiation, causing it to shine brightly.

But UGC 6093 is more exotic still. The galaxy essentially acts as a giant astronomical laser that also spews out light at microwave, not visible, wavelengths — this type of object is dubbed a megamaser (maser being the term for a microwave laser). Megamasers such as UGC 6093 can be some 100 million times brighter than masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #galaxy #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Jan 4, 2018 8:00 PM (UTC)

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Amazing view from space shows the #BombCyclone as this powerful winter nor'easter was moving toward New England on Jan. 4, 2018.
NOAA's GOES-East satellite provides infrared and visible data of the eastern half of the U.S. In a visible image taken Jan. 4, 2018 at 1842 UTC (1:42 p.m. EST) from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite, known as GOES East showed the center of the low pressure area off the coast of the northeastern U.S. and a thick band of clouds bringing snow and gusty winds from the Mid-Atlantic states to New England.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center noted "a strengthening Nor'easter will bring snow and gusty winds, with blizzard conditions along the coast and blowing snow elsewhere, along the Middle Atlantic and Northeast through Thursday. Minor to major coastal flooding and erosion will be possible, especially during high tides. Dangerous travel, scattered power outages, and bitter wind chill can be expected across the entire east coast." Image caption: This visible image of the U.S. was captured from NOAA's GOES-East satellite on Jan. 4, 2018 at 1842 UTC (1:42 p.m. EST). For updated forecasts, visit the NWS website: #nasagoddard #weather #science #bombcyclone #snow
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 31, 2017 7:59 PM (UTC)
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2017's trip around the sun brought us milestones, discoveries and excitement! And as always, we hope you join us as we chase the sun and push the boundaries of science and exploration in 2018!

Credit: NASA Goddard #2017 #happynewyear #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 24, 2017 9:42 PM (UTC)

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Hate to disappoint, but there aren't any "Maids a Milking" or "Lords a Leaping" in our version of this holiday favorite...just one shiny space telescope! 🎶🛰️ Wishing all our friends on Instagram a wonderful holiday!🎄 ❄️🚀 Credit: NASA Goddard
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 22, 2017 5:22 PM (UTC)
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Hubble's Holiday Nebula “Ornament”
@NASAHubble captured what looks like a colorful holiday ornament in space. It's actually an image of NGC 6326, a planetary nebula with glowing wisps of outpouring gas that are lit up by a central star nearing the end of its life.
When a star ages and the red giant phase of its life comes to an end, it starts to eject layers of gas from its surface leaving behind a hot and compact white dwarf. Sometimes this ejection results in elegantly symmetric patterns of glowing gas, but NGC 6326 is much less structured. This object is located in the constellation of Ara, the Altar, about 11,000 light-years from Earth.
Planetary nebulae are one of the main ways in which elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are dispersed into space after their creation in the hearts of stars. Eventually some of this out-flung material may form new stars and planets.
This picture was created from images taken using the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The vivid blue and red hues come from material including ionized oxygen and hydrogen glowing under the action of the fierce ultraviolet radiation from the still hot central star.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #space #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 12, 2017 7:23 PM (UTC)

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Hubble's Celestial Snow Globe ❄️🛰️🌠
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in this @NASAHubble image of a blizzard of stars, which resembles a swirling snowstorm in a snow globe.
The stars are residents of the globular star cluster Messier 79, or M79, located 41,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lepus. The cluster is also known as NGC 1904.

Globular clusters are gravitationally bound groupings of as many as 1 million stars. M79 contains about 150,000 stars packed into an area measuring only 118 light-years across. These giant “star-globes” contain some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, estimated to be 11.7 billion years old.
This video starts with a wide-field view of the sky covering the constellations of Orion, the hunter, and Lepus, the hare. The view zooms down to the relatively tiny field of the Hubble image of globular star cluster Messier 79 (M79). The sequence then dissolves to a visualization of a rotating star cluster that provides three-dimensional perspective. The simulated star cluster is modeled to reflect the number, color, and distribution of stars in M79, but not its exact structure. Finally, the scene pulls back to reveal a special holiday greeting.
In the Hubble image, Sun-like stars appear yellow. The reddish stars are bright giants that represent the final stages of a star’s life. Most of the blue stars sprinkled throughout the cluster are aging “helium-burning” stars. These bright blue stars have exhausted their hydrogen fuel and are now fusing helium in their cores.
A scattering of fainter blue stars are “blue stragglers.” These unusual stars glow in blue light, mimicking the appearance of hot, young stars. Blue stragglers form either by the merger of stars in a binary system or by the collision of two unrelated stars in M79’s crowded core.
Credit: NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: S. Djorgovski (Caltech) and F. Ferraro (University of Bologna) #nasagoddard #space #gaalaxy #star
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 9, 2017 9:37 PM (UTC)

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Hubble Frames an Explosive Galaxy

Don’t be fooled! The cosmic swirl of stars in this ESA/ @NASAHubble Space Telescope image may seem tranquil and unassuming, but this spiral galaxy, known as ESO 580-49, actually displays some explosive tendencies.

In October of 2011, a cataclysmic burst of high-energy gamma-ray radiation — known as a gamma-ray burst, or GRB — was detected coming from the region of sky containing ESO 580-49. Astronomers believe that the galaxy was the host of the GRB, given that the chance of a coincidental alignment between the two is roughly 1 in 10 million. At a distance of around 185 million light-years from Earth, it was the second-closest gamma-ray burst (GRB) ever detected.

Gamma-ray bursts are among the brightest events in the cosmos, occasionally outshining the combined gamma-ray output of the entire observable Universe for a few seconds. The exact cause of the GRB that probably occurred within this galaxy, catalogued as GRB 111005A, remains a mystery. Several events are known to lead to GRBs, but none of these explanations appear to fit the bill in this case. Astronomers have therefore suggested that ESO 580-49 hosted a new type of GRB explosion — one that has not yet been characterized.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #space #Hubble #star #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 6, 2017 7:34 PM (UTC)
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Santa Ana Winds Help Flame Huge Firestorm in Southern California

The fires in Southern California went from 0 to 30,000 (acres) in a matter of hours fueled by the Santa Ana winds. These winds, also dubbed the Diablo (Devil) Winds, are hot, dry, and ferocious. They can whip a small brush fire into a raging inferno in just hours. This is exactly what Southern California experienced on Monday night (Dec. 4). Thousands of residents found themselves evacuating when the Thomas Fire suddenly pushed into Ventura by the Santa Ana winds. These horrific winds are expected to continue through the end of the week making firefighting more difficult and much more dangerous. Winds in the area could reach 70 mph and this would have a devastating effect on the fire's movement. The fire has consumed over 50,000 acres at present as it jumped over Highway 101 and moved towards the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of homes and structures have been destroyed in this latest round of wildfires in #California. Per the National Weather Center red flag conditions are expected to continue through the end of the week. This current round of Diablo Winds has been the longest and strongest wind event recorded this season.

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument on Dec. 05, 2017. Actively burning areas (hot spots), detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. Each hot spot is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC #nasagoddard #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 5, 2017 7:33 AM (UTC)

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NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Arabian Sea on Dec. 4 and found Tropical #Cyclone Ockhi moving north as desert dust pushed into the region north of the storm.

NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image of Ockhi on Dec. 4 at 1:20 a.m. The image shows thunderstorms were being pushed to the northeast into the leading edge of an approaching trough (elongated area) of low pressure from the west. That vertical wind shear that's causing the displacement has been increasing as the tropical cyclone moves north.

The tropical cyclone is battling wind shear that is forecast to increase over the next two days, and it is moving into an area with dry air. Both factors will weaken the storm, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Ockhi is expected to continue weakening and become a remnant low pressure area by the time of landfall near the Gulf of Khambhat on Dec. 6.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response #nasagoddard #space #science #dust #duststorm
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 3, 2017 5:51 AM (UTC)

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Hubble Sees Galaxy Cluster Warping Space and Time
This picturesque view from the ESA/@NASAHubble Space Telescope peers into the distant universe to reveal a galaxy cluster called Abell 2537.
Galaxy clusters such as this one contain thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes and sizes, together totaling a mass thousands of times greater than that of the Milky Way. These groupings of galaxies are colossal — they are the largest structures in the Universe to be held together by their own gravity.
Clusters are useful in probing mysterious cosmic phenomena like dark energy and dark matter, which can contort space itself. There is so much matter stuffed into a cluster like Abell 2537 that its gravity has visible effects on its surroundings. Abell 2537’s gravity warps the very structure of its environment (spacetime), causing light to travel along distorted paths through space. This phenomenon can produce a magnifying effect, allowing us to see faint objects that lie far behind the cluster and are thus otherwise unobservable from Earth. Abell 2537 is a particularly efficient lens, as demonstrated by the stretched stripes and streaking arcs visible in the frame. These smeared shapes are in fact galaxies, their light heavily distorted by the gravitational field of Abell 2537.
Credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA #nasagoddard #Hubble #space #galaxy #science
User Image nasagoddard Posted: Dec 1, 2017 4:49 PM (UTC)
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“I know for certain that having strong #women mentors in college, graduate school and NASA let me know that my goals in science were achievable. The more women in these roles, the better it will be for those who follow.” — Astronaut Peggy Whitson on the new @MediaplanetUSA #WomeninResearch campaign.

Hear from @NASAGoddard's Christyl Johnson along with esteemed colleagues Sandra Coleman, Peggy Whitson and Ellen Ochoa as they speak about finding support with fellow women in male-dominated fields at: #nasagoddard #nasa #science #stem #WomenInSTEM #WomenInScience