“damn, what a sky…” – redux

[Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky]  Another stunning time-lapse video of the wondrous night sky above the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope [VLT] array on top of Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert.  This time presented as ESO Cast 50: Chile Chill 1.  [Marvel at the solar system in motion… – Ed]  Or, indeed, the galaxy.  Stay with it past a relatively slow start for the best images. Video via Eso Observatory. Video Credit: ESO. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi …

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The Galactic Centre Revisited

While waiting, hopefully, for the arrival of the James Webb Space Telescope, here’s a short video of what the current space telescopes, particularly Nasa’s Spitzer and ESA’s Herschel, have seen at the centre of our galaxy.  The above image is a three-color composite, showing infrared observations from two of Spitzer instruments. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech].  Video from SpitzerSpaceCenter. As well as the twisted ring of very dense and cold gas and dust at the galactic centre, there have been other amazing structures observed.  Then there are the “colossal swathes of …

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Chandra finds evidence of Tycho’s origin

Nasa’s Chandra X-ray observatory has been in orbit since 1999 and it’s still producing results.  Like this stunning image of the remnant of the Type Ia supernova first observed by Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in 1572. The data for the images was collected in 283 hours of observation from 2 pointings between April 29, 2003 and May 3, 2009. (Credit: NASA/CXC/Chinese Academy of Sciences/F. Lu et al) From the text accompanying Chandra’s Tycho photo album This new image of Tycho’s supernova remnant, …

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Fermi Finds Galactic Gamma-ray-emitting Bubbles

Fascinating discovery by Nasa’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which achieved first light in August 2008.  Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. From the Nasa press release NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has unveiled a previously unseen structure centered in the Milky Way. The feature spans 50,000 light-years and may be the remnant of an eruption from a supersized black hole at the center of our galaxy. “What we see are two gamma-ray-emitting bubbles that extend 25,000 light-years north and …

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More telescopes…

As the BBC notes, for the first time astronomers have directly observed the orbit of an exo-planet – Beta Pictoris b, a gas giant about nine times the mass of Jupiter, some 60 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Pictar.  The team used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. [Image credit: ESO] Only 12 million years old, or less than three-thousandths of the age of the Sun, Beta Pictoris is 75% more massive than our parent …

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