Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This is Gallifrey (aka The Hubble Space Telescope’s Finest Photos)
A Star is Born - April 1, 1995
One of Hubble’s first victories was capturing several embryonic stars or EGGs (evaporating gaseous globules) hiding throughout clouds in the Eagle Nebula. Within these finger-shaped clouds, nicknamed the “pillars of creation,” molecules of gases such as hydrogen and helium clump together and begin to generate their own gravity, which draws in nearby gas and dust. If these balls of gravity grow big enough, nuclear fusion reactions will be triggered in their cores, and they will become stars.
A Supernova Mystery - June 30, 2000
What kind of star died on October 9, 1604? On that day, several observers spotted a supernova that was as bright as Mars. German astronomer Johannes Kepler was so taken with the sight that he wrote a book about it. Kepler’s supernova is thought to be the most recent star to explode in our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers combined the forces of the Hubble, Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory to see if they could identify the type of star that produced the explosion; they could not. But this rainbow photograph of the supernova remnant combines all the images. The different colors represent infrared radiation (red), visible light (yellow), and X-rays (blue/green).
Stellar death On July 4, 1054, a “new star” startled Chinese astronomers, who wrote that the star was so bright that it was visible in broad daylight for several weeks. Almost a thousand years later, we know that the appearance was caused by a star 10 times the mass of our sun that exploded as a supernova. What’s left of the dead star is still spewing out high-energy particles into the Crab Nebula. This Hubble image, composed from 24 exposures, reveals the nebula’s structure.
Space Clocks the worlds oldest and dimmest stars - white dwarfs to you nerds