The eye candy

It has recently occurred to me that I’ve been neglecting the Hubble eye candy posts. Well, I’m technically still doing that because this image (“Ring Nebula”) was taken with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. But it’s still eye candy.

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Milky Way kicks out star for eternity

One of the fastest moving stars ever discovered is on its way out of the Milky Way, but Hubble can still see it.

Nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected a rare hypervelocity star that was spat out of the centre of our galaxy and is travelling three times as fast as the Sun.

Scientists believe that it was created when three stars travelling together passed too close to the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way around a hundred million years ago.

One of the stars was captured while the other two were flung out of the galaxy and merged to form a super-hot blue star travelling at around 1.6 million miles per hour.

Creationist interpretation: a deceitful designer placed the star at a high velocity in just such a way that we would be tricked into thinking something plausible had happened instead.

Anyway.

Here are a couple images. The first is a NASA graphic while the second is the actual image.

Hubble captures fireworks

How a theist can look at all the fantastic images Hubble has offered humanity and somehow not feel insignificant in the Universe is one of the greatest feats of arrogance there is.

This gorgeous star cluster doesn’t need a holiday to set off fireworks. Officially called NGC 3603, the small community of young stars is located about 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina.

Ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds from the cluster’s stars shoved away the cloud of gas and dust in which the stars formed, giving the Hubble Space Telescope’s new Wide Field Camera 3 a clear view. Hubble captured this image in August 2009 and December 2009, just a few months after the new camera was installed, in both visible and infrared light. The image shows a sharper view of the stars than an earlier image taken with Hubble’s NICMOS infrared camera in 2007, and traces sources of sulfur, hydrogen and iron.

Most of the stars in the cluster were born around the same time, but age differently depending on their masses. Clusters like NGC 3603 give astronomers a lab to study stars’ life cycles in detail, as well as a window into the origin of massive star formation in the distant universe. NGC 3603’s stars are among the most massive known. After they burn through their fuel, these stars will end their lives in spectacular supernova explosions.

Via Wired.

Hubble images offer better benchmark for stellar evolution

Hubble images have helped to detect minute movements in relatively new stars previously expected to have settled down by now.

The discovery, reported in June 2 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, may cause astronomers to rethink how clusters form and evolve. The new measurements will help astronomers to develop benchmarks of cluster evolution and better estimate the masses of other star clusters. Many such measurements are based on the stars having reached a more settled state known as virial equilibrium. If the stars haven’t reached this state, the mass of the cluster will be overestimated.

Crab Nebula

When I choose Hubble images to put on FTSOS, I specifically try to avoid the Crab Nebula image. It’s just so common, so frequent. It’s almost a stereotype in a way, at least to me. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve slipped up actually posted it in the past. But I was just rethinking it. Stereotype, cliche, overused, too common, too frequent: none of that matter. It’s a frickin’ cool image. That’s all the justification I need.

Yeah, that’s probably empty

I mean, there are only billions and billions of these. I can see how it might be reasonable to presume each one is empty.

If you’re arrogant, that is.

Hubble, WISE, and VISTA

Hubble is great and all, but it’s better in a bundle.

In order: Hubble, WISE, VISTA. And no, not the OS.