NGC 3310


NGC 3310NGC 3310 is a grand design spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It is also a starburst galaxy. (Starburst galaxies are undergoing an exceptionally high rate of star formation.) NGC 3310 probably collided with one of its satellite galaxies about 100 million years ago, triggering widespread star formation. The ring clusters of NGC 3310 have been undergoing starburst activity for at least the last 40 million years.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Mergers and Acquisitions


NGC 2623 is really two galaxies that are merging to become one. The pair lies some 300 million light-years distant toward the constellation Cancer. The are in the final stages their merger. The violent encounter between two galaxies that once may have been similar to our Milky Way has resulted in widespread star formation near a luminous core and along tidal tails. The opposing tidal tails extend more than 50,000 light-years from the combined nucleus and are filled with dust, gas, and young blue star clusters. Accretion by a supermassive black hole drives the activity near the nucleus. Star formation and the active galactic nucleus cause NGC 2623 to shine brightly across the spectrum.

BTW, in about 4 billion years, our galaxy, The Milky Way, will merge with the Andromeda Galaxy.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

An Infrared View of the Trifid Nebula


The Trifid Nebula, aka M20, is easy to find with a small telescope. It’s a well known object in the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. Visible light pictures show the nebula divided into three parts by dark, obscuring dust lanes, but this infrared image reveals filaments of luminous gas and newborn stars. This false-color view was taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The Trifid is about 30 light-years across and around 5,500 light-years away.

Image Credit: NASA

NGC 4414, An Unbarred Spiral Galaxy


ngc-4414NGC 4414 is an unbarred spiral galaxy about 62 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. It has short segments of spiral structure but lacks the dramatic well-defined spiral arms of a grand design spiral galaxy. NGC 4414 is also a very isolated galaxy without signs of past interactions with other galaxies.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

A Dwarf with a Supermassive Black Hole


A dwarf starburst galaxy about 30 million light years from Earth.Henize 2-10 is a dwarf galaxy, and it is the first dwarf galaxy ever discovered to contain a supermassive black hole at its center. This was surprising because the black hole is about one quarter of the size of the one at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. However, Henize 2-10 is only about1/1,000th the size of the Milky Way..

This image combines x-ray (Chandra), visible light (Hubble), and radio telescope (Very Large Array) views.

Image Credit: NASA / NRAO

Kaboom


On  23 April, 2014, the rising tide of X-rays from a superflare on red dwarf DG CVn triggered the Swift satellite’s Burst Alert Telescope (BAT). The satellite turned to observe the source in greater detail with its other instruments and notified astronomers around the globe that a powerful outburst was in progress.

BTW, my principal contribution to the Swift satellite was the design and testing of the ultra-quiet power regulation system for the sensor array in the BAT.

Video Credit: NASA

Mergers and Acquisitions


Cartwheel GalaxyThe Cartwheel Galaxy (also known as ESO 350-40) is a lenticular and ring galaxy about 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. The ring resulted from a collision between two galaxies that would have been observed for the first time on Earth at the beginning of the Jurassic Period 200 million years ago. What we see today took 200 million years to develop, based on rate analysis of expanding gases.

Image Credit: NASA

A Dwarf Flock


dwarf galaxyThis Hubble image looks a bit like a flock of birds. It’s really a picture of a dwarf galaxy called ESO 540-31 a bit more than 11 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). All those galaxies in the background are much further away.

Dwarf galaxies are some of the smaller and dimmer members of the galactic family with only a few hundred million stars or so. Although that may seem like a large number, it is tiny compared to spiral galaxies like our Milky Way, which are made up of hundreds of billions of stars.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Jupiter in Visible Light and UV


From time to time, the Hubble Space Telescope takes observes the four gas giant planets in the Solar System in a ongoing survey of the outer planets’ weather systems. It took the last images of Jupiter in that series on 25 August. This video opens with a view of Jupiter in visible light. Then, a false-color UV view wipes across the planet, followed by a wipe back to visible light.

Video Credit: NASA