Arp 148


arp 148Mayall’s Object is classified in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 148. It is believed to be the result of two colliding galaxies located 500 million light years away within the constellation of Ursa Major. Astronomers believe that a pair of galaxies collided, resulting in a new object consisting of a ring-shaped galaxy with a tail emerging from it. It is thought that the original collision created a shockwave that initially drew matter into the center which then formed the ring.

Image Credit: NASA

Arp 188


Tadpole Arp 188The Tadpole Galaxy is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy 420 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Draco. Its most dramatic features is a trail of stars about 280,000 light-years long and massive, bright blue star clusters. Like a tadpole here on Earth, the galaxy will likely lose its tail as it grows older—the tail’s stars will probably form smaller satellite galaxies of the larger spiral.

Image Credit: NASA

In the Center of the Lagoon


lagooncenter_hstschmidt_960The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, lies about 5,000 light years distant toward the constellation of Sagittarius. Its center is a maelstrom of star formation. The two long funnel-shaped clouds near the center of the picture are each roughly half a light-year long. They were formed by extreme stellar winds and intense energetic starlight. An exceptionally bright nearby star, Herschel 36, dominates the area. Walls of dust hide and redden other hot young stars. This picture spans about 5 light years and combines several images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive / NASA / ESA
Processing & License: Judy Schmidt

A Zombie Star


zombieA team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope has found a star system that may have left behind a “zombie star” after an unusually weak supernova explosion. A supernova normally obliterates the exploding white dwarf, and the star effectively dies. Scientists believe this faint supernova may have left behind a surviving portion of the dwarf star—a sort of zombie star. The two inset images show before-and-after images captured by Hubble of Supernova 2012Z in the spiral galaxy NGC 1309. The white X at the top of the main image marks the location of the supernova in the galaxy.

Image Credit: NASA

Knots of Wonder


Video Credit: NASA / STSci

Helix Nebula


The Helix Nebula (aka NGC 7293) is a large planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. It’s about 700 light-years away. The Helix Nebula has sometimes been referred to as the “Eye of God.” Tolkien fans have occasionally called it the “Eye of Sauron”

This animation of a 3-D model was created from Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based data of the Helix Nebula.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Too Close for Comfort


Video Credit: NASA

UPDATE—A personal note: I contributed to the design of components of the Burst Alert Telescope instrument on Swift. My contributions include the ultra-quiet power regulators for the detectors in the instrument, the variable high-voltage supply for the detectors, and the pulse-width-modulation regulator for the thermal control system of the BAT. The same PWM regulator was also used in other locations on the satellite.