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Full Version: Space... In all it's majesty!
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Being a bit of a space nut, I thought I'd share these stunning images with you.

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Messier 82 (M82) Galaxy (22 MB jpeg, 9500x7400)

To celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope's 16 years of success, the two space agencies involved in the project, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), are releasing this image of the magnificent starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). This mosaic image is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of M82. The galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds, and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions.

Throughout the galaxy's center, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy. The resulting huge concentration of young stars carved into the gas and dust at the galaxy's center. The fierce galactic superwind generated from these stars compresses enough gas to make millions of more stars.

In M82, young stars are crammed into tiny but massive star clusters. These, in turn, congregate by the dozens to make the bright patches, or "starburst clumps," in the central parts of M82. The clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale, white objects sprinkled around the body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually individual star clusters about 20 light-years across and contain up to a million stars.

The rapid rate of star formation in this galaxy eventually will be self- limiting. When star formation becomes too vigorous, it will consume or destroy the material needed to make more stars. The starburst then will subside, probably in a few tens of millions of years.

Located 12 million light-years away, M82 appears high in the northern spring sky in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. It is also called the "Cigar Galaxy" because of the elliptical shape produced by the oblique tilt of its starry disk relative to our line of sight.

Source: NASA HQ
April 24, 2006


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A Sun Halo over Utah
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Credit & Copyright: Doug Wilson
Explanation: Have you ever seen a halo around the Sun? This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens. Because most of the crystals have a similar elongated hexagonal shape, light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the Sun Halo. A similar Moon Halo may be visible during the night. The picture was taken in Gunlock, Utah, USA. A flock of birds was caught by chance in the foreground. Exactly how ice-crystals form in clouds remains under investigation.


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A Solar Prominence from SOHO (1024x1024 jpeg, 448 kb)

Credit: SOHO-EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation: How can gas float above the Sun? Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. In September 1999, this dramatic and detailed image was recorded by the EIT experiment on board the space-based SOHO observatory in the light emitted by ionized Helium. It shows hot plasma escaping into space as a fiery prominence breaks free from magnetic confinement a hundred thousand kilometers above the Sun. These awesome events bear watching as they can affect communications and power systems over 100 million kilometers away on Planet Earth.


Hope you like these. I have plenty more if you so desire.

Bring them on. I especially liked the SOHO shot. I have always been interested in the SOHO project, since we have learned so much about our sun from it.
Glad you liked them, John. Perhaps you have some images of your own that you'd like to add to the thread. I'd like to see them if you have.

Nice to have found some common ground after so long in the wilderness. S1

I shall see what others I can dig up.
there are a lot of them at
what is the SOHO project?
SOHO stands for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Basically it's a spacecraft that was launched in 1995 to study the sun.

It was only expected to function for a couple of years but still continues to send back images and data today, much to the delight of both NASA and the ESA. Here's one of the latest images taken a couple of days ago.

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The SOHO website is :
One of my favourites.

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Hubble Mosaic of the Majestic Sombrero Galaxy

Hi Res images can be found here:

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe's most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat.

At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth.

Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

I wonder who lives there.
John L Wrote:there are a lot of them at

Obviously, John.