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Originally shared by Pierre Markuse
Merging Galaxies

In this image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see NGC 2623 (Arp 243), two galaxies in the process of merging in the constellation of Cancer (The Crab,, about 250 million light-years away from Earth.

NGC 2623 was formed by the collision of two galaxies, now merging ( into one bigger galaxy. You can see clouds of gas lighting up with heavy star formation (, caused by the compression of the collision.

Also visible are two tidal tails (, about 50,000 light-years long each and caused by the enormous tidal forces of the collision.

In the background you can see many more, far distant, galaxies.

More information here:

More information and images here:

Image credit: NGC 2623 ESA/Hubble & NASA CC BY 4.0

Thank you for your interest in this Astronomy/Astrophysics collection. Maybe add me on Google+ (+Pierre Markuse) and Twitter ( or have a look at the Space/Space Technology collection here:

#science #astronomy #astrophysics #ngc2623 #arp243 #merger #galaxymerger #space #hubble #hst

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Traveling faster than the speed of light is a staple of science fiction. Whether it's jumping to hyperspace, engaging the warp drive, or opening the stargate, most stories about interstellar travel have some hack to get from point A to point B faster than light.

But here in the real world, we have to obey the laws of physics. And physics is very strict about nothing moving faster than the speed of light. Or is it? While the laws of relativity forbid you and I from moving faster than light, the mathematics of relativity still work even at faster-than-light speeds. This means we can find out what it would look like if we could break the universe's speed

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Originally shared by Parimah Salehi
March 28, 2017 / Source: +European Southern Observatory (ESO) +NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory
ESO’s VLT Views Stars Born in Winds from Supermassive Black Holes
Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have revealed stars forming within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies. These are the first confirmed observations of stars forming in this kind of extreme environment. The discovery has many consequences for understanding galaxy properties and evolution.
A UK - led group of European astronomers used the MUSE and X - shooter instruments on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile to study an ongoing collision between two galaxies, known collectively as IRAS F23128 - 5919, that lie around 600 million light - years from Earth. The group observed the colossal winds of material - or outflows - that originate near the supermassive black hole at the heart of the pair’s southern galaxy, and have found the first clear evidence that stars are being born within them.
Such galactic outflows are driven by the huge energy output from the active and turbulent centers of galaxies. Supermassive black holes lurk in the cores of most galaxies, and when they gobble up matter they also heat the surrounding gas and expel it from the host galaxy in powerful, dense winds.
Astronomers have thought for a while that conditions within these outflows could be right for star formation, but no one has seen it actually happening as it’s a very difficult observation, comments team leader Roberto Maiolino from the University of Cambridge. Our results are exciting because they show unambiguously that stars are being created inside these outflows.
Co - author Helen Russell (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK) expands: The stars that form in the wind close to the galaxy center might slow down and even start heading back inwards, but the stars that form further out in the flow experience less deceleration and can even fly off out of the galaxy altogether.

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Where do we fit in with the universe? This film seeks to explore our place among the ever-expanding universe.
Director: Bayley Silleck
This part from Imax movie Cosmic Voyage (1996)

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The 2017 Nobel prize in physics has been awarded to three US scientists for the detection of gravitational waves.

The ripples were predicted by Albert Einstein and are a fundamental consequence of his General Theory of Relativity.

More than 100 years his theory predictions are still mindblowing and rank among humanity's greatest achievements.

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Originally shared by annarita ruberto
Waiting for the ESO Press Conference on 16 October 2017...

From the announcement:

"ESO will hold a press conference on 16 October 2017 at 16:00 CEST, at its Headquarters in Garching, Germany, to present groundbreaking observations of an astronomical phenomenon that has never been witnessed before.

The event will be introduced from ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile by the Director General, Xavier Barcons, and will feature talks by representatives of many research groups around Europe."

Read the full announcement>>

So what is it about?
Scientists have their mouth sewn shut! We can only make assumptions and, of course, respect the embargo imposed by research bodies. Perhaps something new in the field of gravitational-wave astronomy?
Bah, we'll see.

I think that ESO's announcement could have something to do with LIGO's announcement.
Take a look at this link>>

We can read:

"11 Oct 2017 -- Scientists representing LIGO, Virgo, and some 70 observatories will reveal new details and discoveries made in the ongoing search for gravitational waves. This will take place on Monday, October 16th, at 10:00am EDT at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. A live-stream of the press conference can be viewed at this link ( An alternate link ( will also carry the live-stream, followed by a 30-minute YouTube question & answer session with gravitational-wave scientists.

For additional information see the full media advisory here [pdf]." >>

Let's wait for 16 October!

► Image: artist impression of gravitational waves being created.
R. Hurt/Caltech- JPL

#Research, #Astrophysics, #ESO

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Source: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) have directly measured the distance to a star-forming region on the opposite side of our Milky Way Galaxy from the Sun. Their achievement nearly doubles the previous record for distance measurement within our Galaxy.

“This means that, using the VLBA, we now can accurately map the whole extent of our Galaxy,” said Alberto Sanna, of the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Germany.

Distance measurements are crucial for understanding the structure of the Milky Way. Most of our Galaxy’s material, consisting principally of stars, gas, and dust, lies within a flattened disk, in which our Solar System is embedded. Because we can’t see our Galaxy face-on, its structure, including the shape of its spiral arms, can only be mapped by measuring distances to objects elsewhere in the Galaxy.

The astronomers used a technique called trigonometric parallax, first used in 1838 to measure the distance to a star. This technique measures the apparent shift in the sky position of a celestial object as seen from opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. This effect can be demonstrated by holding a finger in front of one’s nose and alternately closing each eye — the finger appears to jump from side to side.

Measuring the angle of an object’s apparent shift in position this way allows astronomers to use simple trigonometry to directly calculate the distance to that object. The smaller the angle, the greater the distance. The VLBA, a continent-wide radio telescope system with ten dish antennas distributed across North America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean, can measure the minuscule angles associated with great distances. In this case, the measurement was roughly equal to the angular size of a baseball on the Moon.

Journal Reference:
Alberto Sanna, Mark J. Reid, Thomas M. Dame, Karl M. Menten, Andreas Brunthaler. Mapping spiral structure on the far side of the Milky Way. Science, 2017; 358 (6360): 227

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Could we have another space race on our hands?! It appears that a competition to get a rover on the moon is being hosted by Google. However, the governments are mostly out, and instead, the private sector is taking over! You should definitely read this whole article. #AstroCamp #racetospace #exploration #moon #lunar #forscience #forhumanity

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For Science!

Want to work on a NASA-funded project for science? +CosmoQuest has a new project where you can help identify things seen in photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. It's a great way to help make these images more useful to scientists all over the world!

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Global Aurora at Mars
A strong solar event last month triggered intense global aurora at Mars. Before (left) and during (right) the solar storm, these projections show the sudden increase in ultraviolet emission from martian aurora, more than 25 times brighter than auroral emission previously detected by the orbiting MAVEN spacecraft.

With a sunlit crescent toward the right, data from MAVEN's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph is projected in purple hues on the night side of Mars globes simulated to match the observation dates and times. On Mars, solar storms can result in planet-wide aurora because, unlike Earth, the Red Planet isn't protected by a strong global magnetic field that can funnel energetic charged particles toward the poles.

For all those on the planet's surface during the solar storm, dangerous radiation levels were double any previously measured by the Curiosity rover. MAVEN is studying whether Mars lost its atmosphere due to its lack of a global magnetic field.

Image & info via APOD
Image Credit: MAVEN, LASP, University of Colorado, NASA

#space #nasa #universe #science #mars #MAVEN
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