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SpaceAstronomer
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Astronomy & Space / Astronomía y Espacio
Astronomy & Space / Astronomía y Espacio

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The Observable Universe
Illustration Credit & Licence: Wikipedia, Pablo Carlos Budassi
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180508.html

How far can you see? Everything you can see, and everything you could possibly see, right now, assuming your eyes could detect all types of radiations around you -- is the observable universe. In visible light, the farthest we can see comes from the cosmic microwave background, a time 13.8 billion years ago when the universe was opaque like thick fog. Some neutrinos and gravitational waves that surround us come from even farther out, but humanity does not yet have the technology to detect them. The featured image illustrates the observable universe on an increasingly compact scale, with the Earth and Sun at the center surrounded by our Solar System, nearby stars, nearby galaxies, distant galaxies, filaments of early matter, and the cosmic microwave background. Cosmologists typically assume that our observable universe is just the nearby part of a greater entity known as "the universe" where the same physics applies. However, there are several lines of popular but speculative reasoning that assert that even our universe is part of a greater multiverse where either different physical constants occur, different physical laws apply, higher dimensions operate, or slightly different-by-chance versions of our standard universe exist.
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We have lost a great physicist, Stephen Hawking
“Today, the world lost a giant among men, whose impact cannot be overstated. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Stephen Hawking.

“Stephen’s breakthroughs in the fields of physics and astronomy not only changed how we view the cosmos, but also has played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in shaping NASA’s efforts to explore our solar system and beyond.

“Along with groundbreaking and inspiring work came another attribute that made Stephen a hero not just to younger generations, but also to his peers. A longtime friend to NASA, Stephen was a passionate communicator who wanted to share the excitement of discovery with all.

“His loss is felt around the world by all he inspired with his work and his personal story of perseverance.”
- Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot
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Acting Administrator Lightfoot on Professor Stephen Hawking's passing: "Today, the world lost a giant among men, whose impact cannot be overstated... A longtime friend to NASA, Stephen...share[d] the excitement of discovery with all"

More: http://go.nasa.gov/2p9Q2iO
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LL Ori and the Orion Nebula
Image Credit: +NASA, +European Space Agency, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180218.html

Stars can make waves in the Orion Nebula's sea of gas and dust. This esthetic close-up of cosmic clouds and stellar winds features LL Orionis, interacting with the Orion Nebula flow. Adrift in Orion's stellar nursery and still in its formative years, variable star LL Orionis produces a wind more energetic than the wind from our own middle-aged Sun. As the fast stellar wind runs into slow moving gas a shock front is formed, analogous to the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed. The small, arcing, graceful structure just above and left of center is LL Ori's cosmic bow shock, measuring about half a light-year across. The slower gas is flowing away from the Orion Nebula's hot central star cluster, the Trapezium, located off the upper left corner of the picture. In three dimensions, LL Ori's wrap-around shock front is shaped like a bowl that appears brightest when viewed along the "bottom" edge. This beautiful painting-like photograph is part of a large mosaic view of the complex stellar nursery in Orion, filled with a myriad of fluid shapes associated with star formation.
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What if we could refuel satellites autonomously? Our Satellite Servicing Restore-L project will use 3D laser imaging to locate, approach and grapple a satellite for refueling…all without a human at the controls! Details: http://go.nasa.gov/2BzbtRs
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The Witch Head Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Jeff Signorelli
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap151030.html

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble .... maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. A suggestively shaped reflection nebula, this cosmic crone is about 800 light-years away though. Its frightening visage seems to glare toward nearby bright star Rigel in Orion, just off the right edge of this frame. More formally known as IC 2118, the interstellar cloud of dust and gas is nearly 70 light-years across, its dust grains reflecting Rigel's starlight. In this composite portrait, the nebula's color is caused not only by the star's intense bluish light but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth's daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in planet Earth's atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen.
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Thanks to the Cassini mission, a great deal has been learned about Saturn’s system of moons (aka. the Cronian system) in the past decade. Thanks to the presence of an orbiter in the system, astronomers and space exploration enthusiasts have been treated…
Saturn’s Moon Dione
Saturn’s Moon Dione
universetoday.com
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Hubble View: Smoke Ring for a Halo

Two stars shine through the center of a ring of cascading dust in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The star system is named DI Cha, and while only two stars are apparent, it is actually a quadruple system containing two sets of binary stars.

Learn more: http://go.nasa.gov/1SdbxpF
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We've come a long way from the first days when Clyde W. Tombaugh's grainy images of the ninth planet teased our imaginations. 
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Congratulations to everyone involved in +NASA New Horizons from all of us in Europe! A new horizon indeed! #Plutoflyby

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/display.cfm?News_ID=49503

Credit: NASA/John Hopkins University of Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
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