October 20, 2010

* Astronomy Picture of the Day

For anyone interested in this vast and magical Universe and how it is being formed, please google "Astronomy Picture of the Day"  A new photo is shared each day by NASA with a brief explanation below.  Exciting and Mystical stuff.  The photography alone is enough to take my breath away.  On October 17th, this was the photo and explanation.


NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud
Credit: A. Nota (ESA/STScI) et al., ESA, NASA
Explanation: How and why are all these stars forming? Found among the Small Magellanic Cloud's (SMC's) clusters and nebulae NGC 346 is a star forming region about 200 light-years across, pictured above by the Hubble Space Telescope. A satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a wonder of the southern sky, a mere 210,000 light-years distant in the constellation of the Toucan (Tucana). Exploring NGC 346, astronomers have identified a population of embryonic stars strung along the dark, intersecting dust lanes visible here on the right. Still collapsing within their natal clouds, the stellar infants' light is reddened by the intervening dust. A small, irregular galaxy, the SMC itself represents a type of galaxy more common in the early Universe. But these small galaxies are thought to be a building blocks for the larger galaxies present today. Within the SMC, stellar nurseries like NGC 346 are also thought to be similar to those found in the early Universe.
Is this not incredible?  A friend of mine introduced me to this site and I'm hooked.

What grander idea can the mind of man form to itself than a prodigious, glorious and firy globe hanging in the midst of an infinite and boundless space surrounded with bodies of whom our earth is scarcely any thing in comparison, moving their rounds about its body and held tight to their respective orbits by the attractive force inherent to it while they are suspended in the same space by the Creator's almighty arm! And then let us cast our eyes up to the spangled canopy of heaven, where innumerable luminaries at such an immense distance from us cover the face of the skies. All suns as great as that which illumines us, surrounded with earths perhaps no way inferior to the ball which we inhabit and no part of the amazing whole unfilled! System running into system, and worlds bordering on worlds! Sun, earth, moon, stars be ye made, and they were made!
       
- Edmund Burke, at age 15 praising the 'noble science' of astronomy

4 comments:

  1. Wow, this is so cool - especially on the eve just before I head up to Mt. Palomar. There is a huge observatory up there and it is supposed to be one of the best places anywhere to view the stars. Hopefully it will clear up some so we can see them! What an amazing shot. Makes you feel kind of small, but what an astoundingly amazing univese it is!!!

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  2. P.S. I put the shot of the day on my favorites!!

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  3. You will be able to investigate the observatory! Lucky you .. I love places like that. Enjoy. This site is amazing .. I think you would enjoy it - especially with your eye for photography. It amazes me still that the human race is taking photos like that. By the way .. in case you have any butterflies ... you will be wonderful at the retreat. Everything will be absolutely as it should be . xx

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