Hubble Photographs Turbulent Neighborhood Near Eruptive Star

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A recent theory suggests that Eta Carinae, which may once have weighed as much as Suns, started out as a triple system, and the s mass ejection was triggered when the primary star devoured one of its companions, rocketing more than ten times the mass of our Sun into space. While the exact circumstances of that show-stopping burst of light remain a mystery for now, astronomers are more certain of how this cosmic light show will conclude.


Eta Carinae's fireworks display is fated to reach its finale when it explodes as a supernova, greatly surpassing even its last powerful outburst. This may already have happened, but the tsunami of light from such a blinding blast would take years to reach Earth. More than asteroids have been identified to date, and predictions indicate that many more might be out there, each left over from the early days when planets were taking shape around the Sun.

Rather than leaving one long trail, the asteroids appear in multiple Hubble exposures that have been combined into one image. The image shows a total of twenty asteroid trails, belonging to seven unique objects; five of these were new discoveries — too faint to be seen previously. The project was developed as part of the Zooniverse — the world's largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. Everyone can participate! By identifying the asteroids potentially present in these images and marking the exact position of their trails, you too can help the team improve the asteroid orbit determination and better characterize these objects.

Precise knowledge of the orbit is particularly important for so-called near-Earth asteroids , those potentially flying close to our planet. Sunnquist and J. This maximized Hubble's observational efficiency in doing deep space exposures , imaging a myriad of far away galaxies. It was assembled from images taken in visible and infrared light and contains thousands of galaxies, including massive yellowish ellipticals and majestic blue spirals. Much smaller, fragmentary blue galaxies are sprinkled throughout the field.

The reddest objects are most likely the farthest galaxies, whose light has been stretched into the red part of the spectrum by the expansion of space. This is the region in which most asteroids orbit the Sun, which is why Hubble astronomers saw so many crossings. Hubble deep-sky observations taken along a line-of-sight near the plane of our Solar System commonly record asteroid trails. The day falls on the anniversary of the Tunguska event that took place on 30 June , the most harmful known asteroid related event in recent history.

It is the closest-known starburst galaxy to us, meaning that it is undergoing a furious bout of star formation fueled by ample supplies of cool hydrogen gas. This gas condensescongeals into vast molecular clouds, which then formcondense into dense knots where pressures and temperatures reach a point sufficient to ignite nuclear fusion , thus giving rise to new generations of stars. Figure Spiral, elliptical, irregular. As an irregular galaxy, IC 10 lacks the majestic shape of spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way, or the rounded, ethereal appearance of elliptical galaxies.

It is a faint object, despite its relative proximity to us — just of 2. In fact, IC 10 only became known to humankind in , when American astronomer Lewis Swift spotted it during an observing campaign. The small galaxy remains difficult to study even today, because it is located along a line -of -sight which is chock-full of cosmic dust and stars image credit: NASA, ESA and F. Bauer; CC BY 4. Starburst galaxies form stars at exceptionally high rates, creating stellar newborns of up to times faster than the Milky Way.

Notably, the space telescope has explored the galaxy's multiple super star clusters , very dense regions only a few million years old and packed with massive stars. These spectacular areas can have a huge impact on their host galaxies. Studying them allows astronomers to investigate the earliest stages of their evolution, in a bid to understand how massive stars form and change throughout the Universe.

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Astronomers know that almost every large galaxy hosts such an object at its center, and, in general, the bigger the galaxy, the more massive the black hole. ESO , also known as Henize is a dwarf galaxy, only three percent the size of the Milky Way, and yet there are indications that the black hole at its core is over a million times as massive as the Sun — an extremely unusual scenario.

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The origin of the central supermassive black holes in galaxies is still a matter of debate — do the galaxies form first and then crush material at their centers into black holes, or do pre-existing black holes gather galaxies around them? Do they evolve together — or could the answer be something else entirely? Finding a black hole at the galaxy's heart is therefore a strong indication that black holes may have formed first, with galaxies later developing and evolving around them.

Figure Nestled within this field of bright foreground stars lies ESO , a tiny galaxy with a big heart. ESO may be just light-years across, but that is not stopping the galaxy from furiously forming huge numbers of stars. It may also host a supermassive black hole; this is unusual for a galaxy of its size, and may provide intriguing hints as to how galaxies form and evolve image credit: NASA, ESA, W.

WFC3 is responsible for many of Hubble's most breathtaking and iconic photographs, including Pictures of the Week.

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Shown here, NGC is a beautiful example of a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Pegasus. A luminous bar-shaped structure cuts prominently through the galaxy's bright core, extending to the inner boundary of NGC 's sweeping, pinwheel-like spiral arms. Astronomers think that these bar structures emerge later in the lifetime of a galaxy, as star-forming material makes its way towards the galactic center — younger spirals do not feature barred structures as often as older spirals do, suggesting that bars are a sign of galactic maturity.

While over a dozen exoplanets have been directly imaged, this is only the second multi-planet system to be photographed. The first was a four-planet system orbiting the star HR Unlike HR , though, the planets in this system are still growing by accreting material from the disk. Figure This artist's illustration shows two gas giant exoplanets orbiting the young star PDS These planets are still growing by accreting material from a surrounding disk.

In the process, they have gravitationally carved out a large gap in the disk. The young 6-million-year-old star is slightly smaller and less massive than our Sun, and is still accreting gas.

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It is surrounded by a disk of gas and dust that has a large gap extending from about 1. The team estimates that it weighs anywhere from 4 to 17 times as much as Jupiter.


It was first detected in It is less massive than planet b, weighing between 1 and 10 times as much as Jupiter. The two planetary orbits are near a 2-to-1 resonance, meaning that the inner planet circles the star twice in the time it takes the outer planet to go around once. The open question has been, are there planets there? In this case, the answer is yes," explained Girard. Their new technique relied on the combination of the high spatial resolution provided by the 8-meter telescope equipped with four lasers and the instrument's medium spectral resolution that allows it to "lock onto" light emitted by hydrogen, which is a sign of gas accretion.

But this new mode also makes it suitable for exoplanet imaging, which was not the original science driver for the MUSE instrument," said Sebastiaan Haffert of Leiden Observatory, lead author on the paper.

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  • This would allow scientists to measure the temperature and density of gas within the disk, which would help our understanding of the growth of gas giant planets. The system might also be targeted by the WFIRST mission, which will carry a high-performance coronagraph technology demonstration that can block out the star's light to reveal fainter light from the surrounding disk and companion planets.

    As this latter moniker indicates, the galaxy is listed in the famous catalog of deep-sky objects compiled by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in the 18th century. However, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Koehler is credited with discovering the galaxy just days before Messier added it to his collection in Figure 45 : Modern observations show that Messier 59 is an elliptical galaxy, one of the three main kinds of galaxies along with spirals and irregulars.

    Ellipticals tend to be the most evolved of the trio, full of old, red stars and exhibiting little or no new star formation. Found about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs , the strange result of these interacting galaxies has resulted in an entry in the Atlas of Peculiar galaxies : Arp Still engaged in a destructive yet creative dance, the gravitational force between them continues to warp each of them out of all recognition, while at the same time creating the conditions for huge regions of intense star formation.

    The stream is made up of bright knots and huge pockets of gassy regions, as well as enormous regions of star formation in which young, massive, blue stars are born. Short-lived, however, these stars quickly run out of fuel and end their lives in dramatic explosions. While such an event seems to be purely destructive, it also enriches the cosmic environment with heavier elements and delivers new material to form a new generation of stars. The right of the image reveals a portion of the galaxy ripped towards its larger neighbor, bursting with hot, blue stars and streams of dust and gas.

    The new data provide further insights into the complex and mysterious field of galaxy evolution. The gravity of the second galaxy has disrupted the ordered collection of stars, gas and dust, giving rise to an erratic region of newborn, hot, blue stars and chaotic clumps and streams of dust and gas image credit: ESA, NASA. First discovered by the South Pole Telescope less than a decade ago, SPT is exceptional among the myriad clusters so far catalogued in our map of the Universe — it is the highest-redshift cluster for which a full, strong lens model is published.

    Gravitational lensing occurs when light from a background object is deflected around mass between the object and the observer.

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    Among the identified background objects, there is SPTJD, a galaxy that is thought to have emerged just million years after the Big Bang. This puts it among the very earliest structures to form in the Universe. It is also the farthest galaxy ever imaged by means of gravitational lensing.

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    To learn about cosmological history, astronomers explore the most distant reaches of the Universe, probing ever further out into the cosmos. The light from distant objects travels to us from so far away that it takes an immensely long time to reach us, meaning that it carries information from the past — information about the time at which it was emitted. Karachentsev et al. High et al. CC BY 4. In fact, this image from Hubble frames a perfect spiral specimen: the stunning NGC Figure NGC is located about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo the Lion , and was studied as part of a Hubble survey of the central regions of roughly nearby disk galaxies.

    Ho et al. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. The universe's evolutionary history is also chronicled in this one sweeping view. The portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing the key features of galaxy assembly over time.