Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Heart Nebula

IC 1805: The Heart Nebula Credit & Copyright: Daniel Marquardt

Sprawling across almost 200 light-years, emission nebula IC 1805 is a mix of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds. Its nickname is the Heart Nebula.

About 7,500 light-years away in the Perseus spiral arm of our galaxy, stars were born in IC 1805. In fact, near the cosmic heart's center are the massive hot stars of a newborn star cluster also known as Melotte 15, about 1.5 million years young.

A little ironically, the Heart Nebula is located in the constellation Cassiopeia. From Greek mythology, the northern constellation is named for a vain and boastful queen.

This deep view of the region around the Heart Nebula, cropped from a larger mosaic, spans about 2.5 degrees on the sky or about 5 times the diameter of the Full Moon.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Temporary Migration

Quasar9 is temporarily migrating to Facebook

Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow in Cambridge

An unusual & rare sight
Cambridge covered in a blanket of white snow

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Centaurus A

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al.; Submillimeter: MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al.; Optical: ESO/WFI

This image of Centaurus A shows a spectacular new view of a supermassive black hole's power.

Jets and lobes powered by the central black hole in this nearby galaxy are shown by submillimeter data (coloured orange) from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile and X-ray data (coloured blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Visible light data from the Wide Field Imager on the Max-Planck/ESO 2.2 m telescope, also located in Chile, shows the dust lane in the galaxy and background stars.

The X-ray jet in the upper left extends for about 13,000 light years away from the black hole. The APEX data shows that material in the jet is travelling at about half the speed of light.