Webb Looks at Dimorphos

This image from JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) shows Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet in the double-asteroid system of Didymos, about 4 hours after DART hit it. A tight, compact core and wispy plumes of material  streaming away are visible. The eight sharp points are Webb’s distinctive diffraction spikes, an artifact of the telescope’s structure.

Image Credits: NASA / ESA / CSA / Cristina Thomas (Northern Arizona University) / Ian Wong (NASA-GSFC) / Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

Second Star to the Right …

tinkerbell_eso… and straight on ’til morning. Just follow Tinker Bell. This image from the ESO‘s Very Large Telescope shows a rare merger of three galaxies. The system, which bears a resemblance to Tinker Bell, is composed of two massive spiral galaxies and a third irregular galaxy.

The image is a multi-band composite of infrared data from the  VLT combined with archive images from Hubble. The VLT data allowed astronomers to not only see the two previously known galaxies, but to identify a third, an irregular, massive galaxy that seems to form stars at a frantic rate.

Image Credit: ESO

Dimorphos

These are the final images of the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos taken by the DRACO camera about the DART spacecraft as it crashed into Dimorphos. The moonlet is only about 170 m (560 ft) in diameter, making it one of the smallest astronomical objects that has been given a permanent name. Early telemetry suggests that DART hit within 17 m of dead center.

 

Video Credit: NASA / APL

LMC in IR and Radio

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a satellite of the Milky Way containing about 30 billion stars. In this combined radio and near infrared view the LMC’s cool and warm dust are shown in green and blue, respectively, and hydrogen gas in red. The image is composed of data from the European Space Agency Herschel and Planck missions; two retired NASA missions, the Infrared Astronomy Survey and Cosmic Background Explorer; and the ground-based Parkes, ATCA, and Mopra radio telescopes.

Image Credits: ESA / NASA / NASA-JPL / Caltech ; Christopher Clark (STScI) / S. Kim (Sejong University) / T. Wong (UIUC)

The Fornax Dwarf

Fornax_dwarf_galaxyThe Fornax Dwarf Spheroidal is an elliptical dwarf galaxy found in the constellation Fornax. The galaxy is a satellite of the Milky Way and is receding from the us at 53 km/s. It contains six know globular star clusters, an unusually large number for such a small galaxy. Four of them (Fornax 1, 2, 3, and 5) are pictured below.

Image Credits: ESO and ESA

Jupiter is Ready for Its Close Up

However, it’s not too close. It’s over 365 million miles away, but that’s about as close as it ever gets. Next Monday, the giant planet reaches opposition, when the planet and the Sun are on opposite side of the Earth. The planet  rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west.

Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, but during this opposition, it will also make its closest approach to Earth in the last 70 years. The orbits of the planets are ellipses with the Sun, so planets will pass each other at different distances at opposition. Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition. This year’s views should be extraordinary. Grab a pair of binoculars or a telescope and take a look.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / A. Simon (GSFC), and M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley)

You Can’t See This From Here

The Cassini spacecraft took this wide-angle view of Saturn on 28 October, 2016, when it was about 1.4 million km from the planet. This point of view is from the far side of the planet showing shadows that can’t be seen from Earth. The spacecraft has spent 13 years exploring Saturn and its moons before being de-orbited into the planet’s atmosphere..

Image Credit: NASA

Overlapping Galaxies

These two galaxies, SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461, are more than a billion light-years from Earth. They’re not about to collide. One is farther away from us than the other.

Video Credit: ESA /  NASA / W. Keel
Music Credit: Stellardrone – Billions and Billions
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