Campbell’s Hydrogen Star

HD 184738This is Campbell’s hydrogen star (aka HD 184738). It is surrounded by plumes of reddish gas—the red and orange are the glow of surrounding gases such as hydrogen and nitrogen. The star is at the center of a small planetary nebula, and very bright in the infrared part of the spectrum. The surrounding dust is probably very similar to the material from which the Earth formed. The origin of this dust is uncertain.

Image Credit: NASA


This JWST’s near-infrared view of Herbig-Haro 211 reveals exquisite detail of the outflow of a young star. Herbig-Haro objects are formed when high speed stellar winds or jets of gas flowing from newborn stars produce shock waves as they collide with nearby gas and dust.

The bow shocks in this image are moving to the southeast (lower-left) and northwest (upper-right) powered by the narrow bipolar jets from the star. Molecules excited by the turbulent conditions, including hydrogen, carbon monoxide and silicon monoxide, glow in infrared light.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / Tom Ray (Dublin)

What Do Eagles and Big Cat’s Have in Common?

Wind farms are not their friends.

We’ve known for decades that wind farm are deadly for birds, and their effects on jaguars and pumas has been in the news of late. This is from the Wall Street Journal (bypasses paywall)—

Jaguars and pumas are facing extinction in the Caatinga, Brazil’s northeastern shrublands, as Europe and China pour investment into wind farms, puncturing the land with vast turbines that are scaring the animals away from the region’s scant water sources.

Particularly sensitive to changes to their habitat, the jaguars and pumas abandon their lairs as soon as construction work on the wind farms begins, said Claudia Bueno de Campos, a biologist who helped found the group Friends of the Jaguars and has tracked the region’s vanishing feline population. They then roam vast distances across the dusty plains in search of new streams and rivers.

The weakest perish along the way. Others venture closer to villages, where locals have started laying traps to protect their small herds of goats and sheep, often their only form of survival in this impoverished region.

The wind power industry has doubled its capacity in Brazil since 2018, setting the country up to be the world’s fourth-biggest producer by 2027 behind China, the U.S. and Germany, according to the Brazilian Wind Power Association, an industry body.

But by helping to solve one problem—climate change—the wind industry risks creating others, warn conservationists.

. . .

While the big cats are still plentiful in the Amazon and Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands, those in the Caatinga are unique, having adapted to cope with the intense heat.  Jaguars have yellowish fur with black spots and are stockier than pumas, which feature a single brown to gray color. Jaguars are more sensitive to changes in their environment, biologists say.

The disappearance of the felines would throw the region’s ecosystem out of whack, leading to a proliferation of animals that serve as prey, such as wild boar, deer and armadillos, said Felipe Melo, a researcher at the Federal University of Pernambuco who has studied the impact of the wind power industry in the Caatinga.

Read the whole thing.


Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star, one of the largest visible to the naked eye. It is usually the tenth-brightest star in the night sky and the second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. It is a semiregular variable star with an apparent magnitude varying between +0.0 and +1.6. It has the widest range of brightness displayed by any first-magnitude star.

Beginning in October, 2019, Betelgeuse began to dim noticeably, and by February, 2020, its brightness had dropped from magnitude 0.5 to 1.7, a factor of 3. It then returned to more normal brightness by April, 2023. Observations using the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that dust created by a surface mass ejection was the cause of the unusual dimming.

The image above show Betelgeuse surrounded by a clumpy envelope of material in its immediate vicinity. It was taken by the Herschel Space Observatory in 2013.

Image Credit: ESA

NGC 3156

This is NGC 3156, a lenticular galaxy with visible threads of dark reddish-brown dust across its disk. Lenticular galaxies have lens-like appearance when viewed from the side or edge-on. They share characteristics with both elliptical and spiral galaxies. Like spirals, lenticulars have a central bulge of stars and a large disk surrounding it. They often have dark dust lanes like spirals, but no large-scale spiral arms. Like ellipticals, lenticular galaxies have mostly older stars and little ongoing star formation.

NGC 3156 isabout 73 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Sextans.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Messier 15

m15_hubble_960M15 (in the constellation of Pegasus) is an easy target for backyard astronomers. On a clear night, it’s visible as fuzzy spot with a decent pair of binoculars. A 150-mm or larger telescope will reveal some individual stars in the cluster. Here’s what it looks like using Hubble.

The cluster is estimated to be one of the oldest known, about 12 billion years old. It contains over 100 variable stars, eight known pulsars, and a double neutron star. Its central region has undergone core collapse and may contain a black hole.

Image Credit: NASA

An Inside View of a Coronal Mass Ejection

In September, 2022, the Parker Solar Probe flew through one of the most powerful coronal mass ejections (CMEs) ever recorded. Parker’s data gathering while in the CME is providing information about the interaction of CMEs with interplanetary dust, with implications for space weather predictions.The spacecraft Parker Solar Probe watched the CME clearing the dust out of its path. The interaction between the CME and dust shows up as decreased brightness in images from Parker’s Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) camera because interplanetary dust reflects light, amplifying brightness where the dust is present.

Image Credit: NASA

Terzan 12

The globular star cluster Terzan 12 is an excellent example of how the dust in space affects starlight coming from background objects. The location of this globular cluster, deep in the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius about 15,000 light-years away, means that it is shrouded in gas and dust which absorb its starlight. Intervening dust particles between Earth and the cluster to scatter blue light, so mostly the redder wavelengths make it to Earth, and interstellar dust clouds are inconsistent causing parts of the cluster look redder than others.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann

73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann (aka Schwassmann–Wachmann 3 or SW3) is a periodic comet that has a 5.4 year orbital period and that has been actively disintegrating since 1995. It initially broke into four large pieces labeled 73P-A, B, C and D. As of March 2006, at least eight fragments were known: B, C, G, H, J, L, M and N. This animated gif of Fragment B was put together from Hubble images taken over a period of 3 days in April, 2016.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI

Sunrise Over the ELT

This timelapse video show the Sun rising behind the construction site for the Extremely Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in the Altacama Desert in Chile. If you look carefully, you can just about make out a couple of sunspots on the Sun’s surface.

Video CreditL ESO

A Cosmic Prawn

The Prawn Nebula in close-upPrawn Nebula, IC 4628, is an emission nebula located around 6000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius.

Though the nebula stretches across 250 light-years, covering slice of sky four times the size of the full moon, it emits light primarily in wavelengths the human eye cannot detect. It is very faint as seen from Earth.

Image Credit: ESO

SN 1987A

JWST’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) captured this detailed image of SN 1987A, the remnant of supernova 1987A). The material ejected from the supernova in the center of the remnant forms a keyhole shape. The faint crescents just outside the center were newly discovered by JWST.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / M. Matsuura (Cardiff University) / R. Arendt (GSFC & UMBCy) / C. Fransson