When THE Science Follows THE Narrative

OK, I suppose being misinformed could cause someone to make a poor choice about one’s health.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Yesterday’s TKPOTD dealt with an example of how Team Kimberlin often refused to let go of a failing strategy. This Dead Horse Du Jour was the follow up post from five years ago today.

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The Cabin Boy™ wants to keep flogging his dead horse story of non-existent plagiarism.

Fine. I hope he keeps it up. It has several benefits.

First, his foolishness provides an opportunity for pointage, laughery, and mockification by those who enjoy it.

Second, his time and energy spent ranting about me is time and energy that won’t be spent cyberstalking toddlers or cyberharassing the employers of his perceived enemies.

Third, over the past year or so, Bill Schmalfeldt and Breitbart Unmasked Bunny Billy Boy Unread have lost what little credibility and what few readers they once had. At this point, nothing they write or say has any clout. While I intend to hold them to account for their earlier troublemaking, what they do online now (with the exception of continuing breaches of the 2014 Settlement Agreement) is not likely to be worth the trouble of addressing with anything other than derision.

Fourth, … oh, you get the picture, Gentle Reader.


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Losing losers gotta lose.

The Second Buchanan Administration

I started off hoping that the Xiden Administration would only be like a third Obama term. Then, I hoped it would only be Carter Redux. Now, a second Buchanan administration is looking like a best case scenario.The Gentle Reader may remember that the Democrats were also engaged in the protection of slavery during the Buchanan Administration.

The Tadpole Nebula

The_TadpoleWhen I was a kid, one of the pleasures of spring was going to the creek and catching tadpoles. Even though I was interested in astronomy, I never thought of looking for one in the night sky. This bright blue tadpole seems to swim through the inky blackness of space. Catalogued as IRAS 20324+4057, “The Tadpole” is a clump of gas and dust giving birth to a bright protostar, one of the earliest steps in building a star.

There are multiple protostars in the tadpole’s head; the glowing yellow one in this image is the most luminous and massive. When this protostar has gathered together enough mass from its surroundings, it will become a fully-fledged young star.

The intense blue glow is caused by intense ultraviolet radiation from nearby stars. Pressure from that UV sculpts the tail into a long, wiggly shape. The Tadpole spans roughly a light-year from head to tail-tip, and contains gas with about four times the mass of the Sun.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

NCC 1365

NGC 1365NGC 1365 is enormous. It is one of the largest galaxies known to astronomers—over 200,000 light-years across. This, plus the sharply defined bar of old stars across its structure is why it is also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy. Astronomers believe that the Milky Way, which is only half as big, may look very similar to this galaxy. The bright centre of the galaxy is thought to be caused by huge amounts of superhot gas ejected from the ring of material circling a central black hole. Young luminous hot stars, born in the interstellar clouds, give the arms their blue color. The bar and spiral pattern rotates, with one full turn taking about 350 million years. NGC 1365 is about 61 million light-years away in the constellation Fornax (the Furnace).

Image Credit: ESO

Mergers and Acquisitions

NGC 799 & NGC 800This pair of galaxies, NGC 799 (below) and NGC 800 (above), is located in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale) about 300 million light-years away. Our face-on point of view lets us see these objects are both spiral galaxies with characteristic long arms winding towards a bright bulge at the center.

It may appear that these spiral galaxies are coexisting in an everlasting peace, but that is unlikely. What we see is probably the calm before the storm. Typically, when two galaxies are close enough, they interact over hundreds of millions of years through mutual gravitational attraction. In some cases, only minor interactions occur, causing shape distortions, but sometimes galaxies collide, merging to form a single, new and larger galaxy.

We’ll have to check back in a few hundred million years.

Image Credit: ESO

A Large Galaxy and Its Satellite

NGC1232The colors of the different regions of NGC 1232 stand out in this picture—the central areas contain older reddish stars while the spiral arms are populated by younger blue stars and many star-forming regions. This galaxy is about 100 million light-years away and about twice the size of our Milky Way galaxy. Note the companion galaxy at the lower left, shaped like the squashed greek letter “theta”. NGC 1232A, the satellite galaxy of NGC 1232, is thought to be the cause of unusual bending in the spiral arms in its larger neighbor.

Image Credit: ESO

NGC 2481

ngc-2841NGC 2841 lies 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. It currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals that are ablaze with emission nebulae. Notably missing are pinkish emission nebulae that accompany new star birth. It is likely that the radiation and supersonic winds from fiery, super-hot, young blue stars cleared out the remaining gas, and  shut down further nearby star formation. MGC 2481 is prime example of a flocculent spiral galaxy, one whose arms are patchy and discontinuous. It has no grand design structure apparent when seen in visible light as in this Hubble image, although some inner spiral arms can be seen in the near infrared.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA