The Blinking Galaxy

NGC 6118NGC 6118 is a grand-design spiral galaxy, and it shines bright in this image taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Its central bar and tight spiral arms are clearly visible. The galaxy is sometimes known to amateur astronomers as the “Blinking Galaxy” because this relatively faint, fuzzy object can appear to flick into existence when viewed through small telescopes and then suddenly disappear again as the observer’s eye position shifted.

Image Credit: ESO

A New Star Factory

Star cluster NGC 6193 and nebula NGC 6188Star cluster NGC 6193 is in the center of this image. It contains thirty or so bright stars and forms the heart of the Ara OB1 association (so named because it is in the southern constellation of Ara, the Altar). The two brightest stars are very hot giants. Together, they provide the main source of illumination for the nearby emission nebula, the Rim Nebula, or NGC 6188, visible to the right of the cluster.

The ultraviolet radiation and intense stellar wind from the stars of NGC 6193 seem to be driving the next generation of star formation in the surrounding clouds of gas and dust. As the gas and duct collapse, it forms new stars.

Image Credit: ESO

It’s Raining Iron on WASP-76b

The star WASP-76 is about 360 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Pisces. This animations shows the orbit of one of its planets called WASP-76b. The planet’s orbit is very close to the star, and it is tidally locked, so on side faces the star all the time. Day side temperatures range above 2400 C, high enough to vaporise metals. Winds circulate iron vapor to the cooler night side where it condenses and falls as iron droplets.

Video Credit: ESO