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💫Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust




A new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star. The dust is flying past and engulfing a nearby family of stars. Scientists think the stars in the image are part of a stellar cluster in which the a supernova exploded. The material ejected in the explosion is now blowing past these stars at high velocities. The composite image of G54.1+0.3 shows X-rays from Chandra in blue, and data from Spitzer in green (shorter wavelength infrared) and red-yellow (longer wavelength infrared). The white source near the center of the image is a dense, rapidly rotating neutron star, or "pulsar," left behind after a core-collapse supernova explosion. The pulsar generates a wind of high-energy particles -- seen in the Chandra data -- that expands into the surrounding environment, illuminating the material ejected in the supernova explosion.

The infrared shell that surrounds the pulsar wind is made up of gas and dust that condensed out of debris from the supernova. As the cold dust expands into the surroundings, it is heated and lit up by the stars in the cluster so that it is observable in the infrared. The dust closest to the stars is the hottest and is seen to glow in yellow in the image. Some of the dust is also being heated by the expanding pulsar wind as it overtakes the material in the shell. The unique environment into which this supernova exploded makes it possible for astronomers to observe the condensed dust from the supernova that is usually too cold to emit in the infrared. Without the presence of the stellar cluster, it would not be possible to observe this dust until it becomes energized and heated by a shock wave from the supernova. However, the very action of such shock heating would destroy many of the smaller dust particles. In G54.1+0.3, astronomers are observing pristine dust before any such destruction.

Credit:     X-ray: NASA / CXC / SAO / T.Temim;     IR: NASA / JPL-Caltech


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💫Chandra Reveals Origin of Key Cosmic Explosions in M31


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This composite image of M31 (also known as the Andromeda galaxy) shows X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in gold, optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey in light blue and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. The Chandra data covers only the central region of M31 as shown in the inset box for the image (roll your mouse over the image above). New results show that the Chandra image would be about 40 times brighter than observed if Type Ia supernova in the bulge of this galaxy were triggered by material from a normal star falling onto a white dwarf star. This implies that the merger of two white dwarfs is the main trigger for Type Ia supernovas for the area observed by Chandra.



Similar results for five elliptical galaxies were found. These findings represent a major advance in understanding the origin of Type Ia supernovas, explosions that are used as cosmic mile markers to measure the accelerated expansion of the universe and study dark energy. Most scientists agree that a Type Ia supernova occurs when a white dwarf star, a collapsed remnant of an elderly star, exceeds its weight limit, becomes unstable and explodes. However, there is uncertainty about what pushes the white dwarf over the edge, either accretion onto the white dwarf or a merger between two white dwarfs.

Credit: X-ray (NASA / CXC / MPA / M.Gilfanov & A.Bogdan);     Infrared (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSC);     Optical (DSS)


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💫Wide-field view of the Virgo cluster


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Globular star clusters, dense bunches of hundreds of thousands of stars, have some of the oldest surviving stars in the universe. A new study of globular clusters outside our Milky Way Galaxy has found evidence that these hardy pioneers are more likely to form in dense areas, where star birth occurs at a rapid rate, instead of uniformly from galaxy to galaxy. Astronomers used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to identify over 11,000 globular clusters in the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Most are older than 5 billion years.


The sharp vision of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys resolved the star clusters in 100 galaxies of various sizes, shapes, and brightnesses, even in faint, dwarf galaxies. The images in this photo show four members of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Comprised of over 2,000 galaxies, the Virgo cluster is the nearest large galaxy cluster to Earth, located about 54 million light-years away. Virgo cluster of galaxies image taken with the Palomar Observatory 48-inch Schmidt telescope as part of the Digitized Sky Survey.

Credit: NASA / ESA / Digitized Sky Survey;     Acknowledgment: Z. Levay (STScI) and Davide De Martin (ESA / Hubble)


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💫NGC 6791


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The full Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys field is full of stars estimated to be 8 billion years old.



Two background galaxies can be seen at upper left.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and L. Bedin (STScI)


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💫IC2177 Seagull Nebula (Canis Major)


Lainate, 15 Dicembre 2018
Ultima ripresa della scorsa notte su questa estesa nebulosa situata sul confine tra le Costellazione del Cane Maggiore e quella dell'Unicorno. L'inquadratura (parziale, per le dimensioni della nebulosa) è incentrata sulla testa del Gabbiano.
6x30' bin 1 H-alpha 7nm Optolong - Moravian G2 8300 - Tripletto 115/800 - iOptron CEM60

💫M45 Pleiades - Taurus




Lainate, 15 Dicembre 2018
Altra ripresa della scorsa notte (leggera foschia sempre presente), dedicata alle Sette Sorelle nella Costellazione del Toro.
LRGB: 120:20:20:20 Optolong Filters _ Moravian G2 8300 AstroProfessional Apo Triplet 115/800 _ iOptron CEM60