Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2012

This new image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) 2012 campaign reveals a previously unseen population of seven faraway galaxies, which are observed as they appeared in a period 350 million to 600 million years after the big bang.

Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech), and the UDF 2012 Team Mission: Hubble

Arp 188 and the Tadpole s Tail

In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Draco. Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 - from right to left in this view - and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy's stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail. The intruder galaxy itself, estimated to lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the Tadpole, can be seen through foreground spiral arms at the upper left. Following its terrestrial namesake, the Tadpole Galaxy will likely lose its tail as it grows older, the tail's star clusters forming smaller satellites of the large spiral galaxy.

Wx Fact #5 1/5/2013

2012: For the first time in MN weather history (back to 1891), temperatures reached 60 degrees during the first week in January-the warmest: 63 degrees near Canby. A MN temperature has reached 60 degrees in only 10 of the last 120 years anytime during January.

THE SKY TONIGHT via Sky & Telescope
Jan 5, 2013

*Before dawn Sunday morning, Spica shines to the upper right of the waning Moon, and Saturn shines to the Moon's upper left.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Solar Eruption

A solar eruption gracefully rose up from the sun on Dec. 31, 2012, twisting and turning. Magnetic forces drove the flow of plasma, but without sufficient force to overcome the sun’s gravity much of the plasma fell back into the sun.

The length of the eruption extends about 160,000 miles out from the Sun. With Earth about 7,900 miles in diameter, this relatively minor eruption is about 20 times the diameter of our planet.

Wx Fact #4 1/4/2013

2012: Amazing! A Welsh corgi dog walked at least 4mi through deep snow. It was found today outside the motel room in Cooke City, MT, where he and his owners had stayed. He was apparently able to dig himself out of the avalanche which killed his master on 12/31/2011.

THE SKY TONIGHT via Sky & Telescope
Jan. 4, 2013

*Last-quarter Moon tonight (exact at 1058 pm EST). The Moon, between Corvus and the head of Virgo, rises around 11 or midnight. By dawn Saturday morning, the Moon is high in the south with Spica and Saturn to its left.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

Like a ship plowing through cosmic seas, runaway star Zeta Ophiuchi produces the arcing interstellar bow wave or bow shock seen in this stunning infrared portrait. In the false-color view, bluish Zeta Oph, a star about 20 times more massive than the Sun, lies near the center of the frame, moving toward the left at 24 kilometers per second. Its strong stellar wind precedes it, compressing and heating the dusty interstellar material and shaping the curved shock front. Around it are clouds of relatively undisturbed material. What set this star in motion? Zeta Oph was likely once a member of a binary star system, its companion star was more massive and hence shorter lived. When the companion exploded as a supernova catastrophically losing mass, Zeta Oph was flung out of the system. About 460 light-years away, Zeta Oph is 65,000 times more luminous than the Sun and would be one of the brighter stars in the sky if it weren't surrounded by obscuring dust. The image spans about 1.5 degrees or 12 light-years at the estimated distance of Zeta Ophiuchi.

Wx Fact #3 1/3/2013

12/25/2010-1/3/2011: A lack of sea ice allowed high winds, blizzard conditions, and cold temperatures to coat power lines in Savoonga, AK (St. Lawrence Island), with thick, freezing spray. Half the town w/o power, thus many water pipes froze. Power finally restored today.

THE SKY TONIGHT via Sky & Telescope

Jan. 3, 2013
*In this coldest time of the year, the dim Little Dipper hangs straight down from Polaris after dinnertime.

*Algol should be at minimum light for a couple hours centered on 752 pm EST.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Einstein Cross

Most galaxies have a single nucleus -- does this galaxy have four? The strange answer leads astronomers to conclude that the nucleus of the surrounding galaxy is not even visible in this image. The central cloverleaf is rather light emitted from a background quasar. The gravitational field of the visible foreground galaxy breaks light from this distant quasar into four distinct images. The quasar must be properly aligned behind the center of a massive galaxy for a mirage like this to be evident. The general effect is known as gravitational lensing, and this specific case is known as the Einstein Cross. Stranger still, the images of the Einstein Cross vary in relative brightness, enhanced occasionally by the additional gravitational microlensing effect of specific stars in the foreground galaxy.

THE SKY TONIGHT via Sky & Telescope
Jan. 2, 2013
•By about 8 or 9 p.m., the Big Dipper is swinging upward in the north-northeast. It drags the end of its handle along the horizon, depending on your latitude, as its bowl rises upward.
•Earth is at perihelion, its closest to the Sun for the year (only 3% closer than at aphelion in July).

Wx Fact #2 1/2/2013

1974: A marked difference between an Arctic location (see 1/1 entry) and a tropical location. In the 30-yr period from 1971-2000, the coldest reported temperature Thailand was today's 29 degree in Sakon Nakhon. The normal date low is about 59 degrees.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Doomed Star Eta Carinae

Eta Carinae may be about to explode. But no one knows when - it may be next year, it may be one million years from now. Eta Carinae's mass - about 100 times greater than our Sun - makes it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova. Historical records do show that about 150 years ago Eta Carinae underwent an unusual outburst that made it one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Eta Carinae, in the Keyhole Nebula, is the only star currently thought to emit natural LASER light. This image, taken in 1996, brought out new details in the unusual nebula that surrounds this rogue star. Now clearly visible are two distinct lobes, a hot central region, and strange radial streaks. The lobes are filled with lanes of gas and dust which absorb the blue and ultraviolet light emitted near the center. The streaks remain unexplained.

New life for the blog? 1-1-2013 (Wx Fact #1)

Well its 2013, and I think its time I finally start using it for something. That something will be weather facts. From the calendar "WEATHER". Every day on the calendar has an event listed that occurred on that day in history. It is those events that I will hope to bring you throughout the year. Since I do work, I won't set a specific time during the day that I will post them. So they may be posted anytime during the day.

Also, I hope to include any other facts or interesting stuff along with it. These will mainly focus on astronomy. Sometimes the posted will be included in one big post, sometimes two separate ones.

So let's begin!

Wx Fact #1:
1886: The coldest start to a New Year ever (in Norway). Karasjok set Norway's all-time coldest temperature of -61 degrees. Karasjok also holds Norway's greatest range in temperature (comparing its coldest/hottest readings). The range: 151 degrees (90 its record highest reading).