Jamie Snow

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APOD: Perseid Meteors Over China (2013 Aug 21) Image Credit & Copyright: Xiang Zhan (Beijing Planetarium) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130821.html Explanation: Comet dust rained down on planet Earth earlier this month, streaking through dark skies in the annual Perseid meteor shower. While enjoying the anticipated space weather above Zhangbei Prairie, Hebei Province, China, astronomer Xiang Zhan recorded a series of 10 second long exposures spanning four hours on the night of August 12/13 using a wide angle lens. Combining frames which captured 68 meteor flashes, he produced the above composite view of the Perseids of summer. Although the sand-sized comet particles are traveling parallel to each other, the resulting shower meteors clearly seem to radiate from a single point on the sky in the eponymous constellation Perseus. The radiant effect is due to perspective, as the parallel tracks appear to converge at a distance. The next notable meteor shower may be the Orionids in late October. http://www.bjp.org.cn/en/? http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=31912 Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130821 #APOD

APOD: A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset (2013 Aug 28) Image Credit & Copyright: Alan Dyer (The Amazing Sky) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130828.html Explanation: What type of cloud is that? This retreating cumulonimbus cloud, more commonly called a thundercloud, is somewhat unusual as it contains the unusual bumpiness of a mammatus cloud on the near end, while simultaneously producing falling rain on the far end. Taken in mid-June in southern Alberta, Canada, the cloud is moving to the east, into the distance, as the sun sets in the west, behind the camera. In the above image, graphic sunset colors cross the sky to give the already photogenic cloud striking orange and pink hues. A darkening blue sky covers the background. Further in the distance, a rising, waxing, gibbous moon is visible on the far right. http://amazingsky.net/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130828 #APOD

APOD: Milky Way Over Spain's Bardenas Reales (2013 Sep 02) Image Credit & Copyright: Maria Rosa Vila http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130902.html Explanation: What's that below the Milky Way? First, across the top of the above image, lies the faint band that is our planet's sideways view of the central disk of our home Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way band can be seen most clear nights from just about anywhere on Earth with a dark sky. What lies beneath is, by comparison, is a much less common sight. It is the striking peak of Castildetierra, a rock formation located in Bardenas Reales, a natural badlands in northeast Spain. Standing 50 meters tall, the rock spire includes clay and sandstone left over from thousands of years of erosion by wind and water. The astrophotographer waited months for the sky to appear just right -- and then took the 14 exposures that compose the above image in a single night. http://plus.google.com/111173680726853615381/posts Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130902 #APOD

APOD: Fire on Earth (2013 Sep 01) Image Credit: (AFS, BLM) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130901.html Explanation: Sometimes, regions of planet Earth light up with fire. Since fire is the rapid acquisition of oxygen, and since oxygen is a key indicator of life, fire on any planet would be an indicator of life on that planet. Most of the Earth's land has been scorched by fire at some time in the past. Although causing many a tragedy, for many places on Earth fire is considered part of a natural ecosystem cycle. Large forest fires on Earth are usually caused by lightning and can be visible from orbit. Above, in the year 2000, stunned elk avoid a fire sweeping through Montana's Bitterroot Valley by standing in a river. http://fire.ak.blm.gov/ http://www.blm.gov/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130901 #APOD

APOD: IRAS 20324: Evaporating Protostar (2013 Sep 04) Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and IPHAS http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130904.html Explanation: Will this caterpillar-shaped interstellar cloud one day evolve into a butterfly-shaped nebula? No one is sure. What is sure is that IRAS 20324+4057, on the inside, is contracting to form a new star. On the outside, however, energetic winds are blowing and energetic light is eroding away much of the gas and dust that might have been used to form the star. Therefore, no one is sure what mass the resulting star will have, and, therefore, no one knows the fate of this star. Were the winds and light to whittle the protostar down near the mass of the Sun, the outer atmosphere of this new star may one day expand into a planetary nebula, possibly even one that looks like a butterfly. Alternatively, if the stellar cocoon retains enough mass, a massive star will form that will one day explode in a supernova. The eroding protostellar nebula IRAS 20324+4057 spans about one light year and lies about 4,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). The above image of IRAS 20324+4057 was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 but released last week. The battle between gravity and light will likely take over 100,000 years to play out, but clever observations and deductions may yet yield telling clues well before that. http://heritage.stsci.edu/2013/35/ http://hubblesite.org/news/2013/35 Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130904 #APOD

APOD: Roll Cloud Over Wisconsin (2013 Aug 08) Image Credit: Megan Hanrahan (Pierre cb), Wikipedia http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/fap/ap130908.html Explanation: What kind of cloud is this? A type of arcus cloud called a roll cloud. These rare long clouds may form near advancing cold fronts. In particular, a downdraft from an advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud. When this happens uniformly along an extended front, a roll cloud may form. Roll clouds may actually have air circulating along the long horizontal axis of the cloud. A roll cloud is not thought to be able to morph into a tornado. Unlike a similar shelf cloud, a roll cloud is completely detached from their parent cumulonimbus cloud. Pictured above, a roll cloud extends far into the distance as a storm approached in 2007 in Racine, Wisconsin, USA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roll-Cloud-Racine.jpg Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130908 #APOD

APOD: M2-9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula (2013 Sep 15) Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA - Processing: Judy Schmidt http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130915.html Explanation: Are stars better appreciated for their art after they die? Actually, stars usually create their most artistic displays as they die. In the case of low-mass stars like our Sun and M2-9 pictured above, the stars transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off their outer gaseous envelopes. The expended gas frequently forms an impressive display called a planetary nebula that fades gradually over thousand of years. M2-9, a butterfly planetary nebula 2100 light-years away shown in representative colors, has wings that tell a strange but incomplete tale. In the center, two stars orbit inside a gaseous disk 10 times the orbit of Pluto. The expelled envelope of the dying star breaks out from the disk creating the bipolar appearance. Much remains unknown about the physical processes that cause planetary nebulae. http://hla.stsci.edu/ http://www.nasa.gov/ http://www.esa.int/ http://www.geckzilla.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130915 #APOD

APOD: Apollo's Analemma (2013 Sep 22) Image Credit & Copyright: Anthony Ayiomamitis (TWAN) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130922.html Explanation: Today, the Sun crosses the celestial equator heading south at 20:44 Universal Time. An equinox (equal night), this astronomical event marks the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the south. With the Sun on the celestial equator, Earth dwellers will experience nearly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. To celebrate, consider this remarkable record of the Sun's yearly journey through planet Earth's sky, made with planned multiple exposures captured on a single piece of 35 millimeter film. Exposures were made at the same time of day (9:00am local time), capturing the Sun's position on dates from January 7 through December 20, 2003. The multiple suns trace an intersecting curve known as an analemma. A foreground base exposure of the Temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth, Greece, appropriate for an analemma, was digitally merged with the film image. Equinox dates correspond to the middle points (not the intersection point) of the analemma. The curve is oriented at the corresponding direction and altitude for the temple, so the Sun's position for the September equinox is at the upper midpoint near picture center. Summer and winter solstices are at analemma top and bottom. http://www.perseus.gr/ http://twanight.org/Ayiomamitis Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130922 #APOD

APOD: Antares Rocket Launch (2013 Sep 21) Image Credit: NASA, Bill Ingalls http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130921.html Explanation: The sky looks dark in this scene from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Captured on Wednesday, September 18, an Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is leaving launch pad-0A with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard. Though it looks like night, the photograph was taken at 10:58am EDT, under bright, clear morning skies, with a digital camera modified to record infrared images. The Sun itself is above and left of the picture frame, creating strong glare and internal reflections in the camera lens at near-infrared wavelengths. In the false-color presentation, the vegetation and watery reflections also take on an otherworldly pallor. Reaching orbit, the Cygnus spacecraft is now on its way to a Sunday rendezvous with the International Space Station. The spacecraft will deliver about 1,300 pounds (589 kilograms) of cargo to the Expedition 37 crew. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130921 #APOD

APOD: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula (2013 Sep 29) Image Credit: The Hubble Heritage Team, (STScI/AURA), ESA, NASA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130929.html Explanation: The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire. The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars. The above image in scientifically re-assigned colors was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. http://heritage.stsci.edu/2005/12b/ http://spacetelescope.org/images/heic0506b/ http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2005/12/image/b/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130929 #APOD

APOD: Hubble Remix: Active Galaxy NGC 1275 (2013 Oct 06) Image Credit: Data - Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA; Processing - Al Kelly http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131006.html Explanation: Active galaxy NGC 1275 is the central, dominant member of the large and relatively nearby Perseus Cluster of Galaxies. Wild-looking at visible wavelengths, the active galaxy is also a prodigious source of x-rays and radio emission. NGC 1275 accretes matter as entire galaxies fall into it, ultimately feeding a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's core. This color composite image, recreated from archival Hubble Space Telescope data, highlights the resulting galactic debris and filaments of glowing gas, some up to 20,000 light-years long. The filaments persist in NGC 1275, even though the turmoil of galactic collisions should destroy them. What keeps the filaments together? Observations indicate that the structures, pushed out from the galaxy's center by the black hole's activity, are held together by magnetic fields. Also known as Perseus A, NGC 1275 spans over 100,000 light years and lies about 230 million light years away. http://www.kellysky.net/ http://heritage.stsci.edu/2008/28/ http://hubblesite.org/news/2008/28 http://spacetelescope.org/news/heic0817/ http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/perseus/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature07169 http://arxiv.org/abs/0808.2712 Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131006 #APOD

APOD: The Bubble and M52 (2013 Oct 08) Image Credit & Copyright: Robert Colombari http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131008.html Explanation: To the eye, this cosmic composition nicely balances the Bubble Nebula at the lower left with open star cluster M52 above it and to the right. The pair would be lopsided on other scales, though. Embedded in a complex of interstellar dust and gas and blown by the winds from a single, massive O-type star, the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, is a mere 10 light-years wide. On the other hand, M52 is a rich open cluster of around a thousand stars. The cluster is about 25 light-years across. Seen toward the northern boundary of Cassiopeia, distance estimates for the Bubble Nebula and associated cloud complex are around 11,000 light-years, while star cluster M52 lies nearly 5,000 light-years away. The wide telescopic field of view spans about two degrees on the sky or four times the apparent size of the Full Moon. http://www.astrobin.com/users/rob77/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131008 #APOD

APOD: Comet ISON Approaches (2013 Oct 07) Image Credit & Copyright: Damian Peach http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131007.html Explanation: How impressive will Comet ISON become? No one is sure, but unfortunately, as the comet approaches the inner Solar System, it is brightening more slowly than many early predictions. Pictured above, Comet ISON is seen about two weeks ago as it continued to develop a tail. Last week the comet passed relatively close to Mars, and was directly imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. When Comet ISON dives to within a few solar radii of the Sun's surface in late November, it may become brighter than the Moon and sport a long and flowing tail -- or it may appear somewhat less spectacular. Either way, sky enthusiasts hope that whatever comet parts survive will put on quite an impressive show, as viewed from Earth, through at least the rest of the year. http://www.damianpeach.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131007 #APOD

APOD: M78: Stardust and Starlight (2013 Oct 10) Image Credit & Copyright: Tony Hallas http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131010.html Explanation: Interstellar dust clouds and bright nebulae abound in the fertile constellation of Orion. One of the brightest, M78, is just left of center in this colorful telescopic view, covering an area north of Orion's belt. At a distance of about 1,500 light-years, the bluish nebula itself is about 5 light-years across. Its blue tint is due to dust preferentially reflecting the blue light of hot, young stars in the region. Dark dust lanes and other nebulae can easily be traced through this gorgeous skyscape. The scene also includes the remarkable McNeil's Nebula -- a newly recognized nebula associated with the formation of a sun-like star, and the telltale reddish glow of many Herbig- Haro objects, energetic jets from stars in the process of formation. http://astrophoto.com/M78.htm Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131010 #APOD

APOD: NGC 891 Edge-on (2013 Oct 11) Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Univ. of Arizona http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131011.html Explanation: This sharp cosmic portrait features NGC 891. The spiral galaxy spans about 100 thousand light-years and is seen almost exactly edge-on from our perspective. In fact, about 30 million light-years distant in the constellation Andromeda, NGC 891 looks a lot like our Milky Way. At first glance, it has a flat, thin, galactic disk and a central bulge cut along the middle by regions of dark obscuring dust. The combined image data also reveal the galaxy's young blue star clusters and telltale pinkish star forming regions. And remarkably apparent in NGC 891's edge-on presentation are filaments of dust that extend hundreds of light-years above and below the center line. The dust has likely been blown out of the disk by supernova explosions or intense star formation activity. Faint neighboring galaxies can also be seen near this galaxy's disk. http://www.caelumobservatory.com/ http://skycenter.arizona.edu/ http://www.as.arizona.edu/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131011 #APOD

APOD: Hale-Bopp: The Great Comet of 1997 (2013 Oct 13) Image Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131013.html Explanation: Sixteen years ago, Comet Hale-Bopp rounded the Sun and offered a dazzling spectacle in planet Earth's night. This stunning view, recorded shortly after the comet's 1997 perihelion passage, features the memorable tails of Hale-Bopp -- a whitish dust tail and blue ion tail. Here, the ion tail extends well over ten degrees across the northern sky, fading near the double star clusters in Perseus, while the head of the comet lies near Almach, a bright star in the constellation Andromeda. Do you remember Hale-Bopp? The photographer's sons do, pictured in the foreground at ages 12 and 15. In all, Hale-Bopp was reported as visible to the naked eye from roughly late May 1996 through September 1997. Currently, sky enthusiasts await Comet ISON's continued brightening in the coming weeks, unsure how interesting its first journey to the inner Solar System will be. http://www.astropix.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131013 #APOD

APOD: The Great Carina Nebula (2013 Oct 15) Image Credit & Copyright: Lorand Fenyes http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131015.html Explanation: A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, also known as NGC 3372, spans over 300 light-years, one of our galaxy's largest star forming regions. Like the smaller, more northerly Great Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the unaided eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times farther away. This gorgeous telescopic portrait reveals remarkable details of the region's glowing filaments of interstellar gas and obscuring cosmic dust clouds. Wider than the Full Moon in angular size, the field of view stretches over 300 light-years across the nebula. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic variable Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Eta Carinae is the brightest star near the image center, just left of the dusty Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324). While Eta Carinae itself maybe on the verge of a supernova explosion, X-ray images indicate that the Great Carina Nebula has been a veritable supernova factory. http://www.pleiades.hu/en/index.php Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131015 #APOD

APOD: Venus, Zodiacal Light, and the Galactic Center (2013 Oct 18) Image Credit & Copyright: Juergen Schmoll (Durham University, CfAI) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131018.html Explanation: The bulging center of our Milky Way Galaxy rests on a pillar of light in this luminous skyscape. Recorded on September 22nd in dark South African skies, rivers of dust seem to flow downward from the galactic center towards Antares, yellowish alpha star of the constellation Scorpius, near the top of the scene. The brightest celestial beacon present is not a star at all though, but planet Venus, still dominant in the western sky after sunset. Of course, the pillar of light stretching upward from the horizon is Zodiacal light. Sunlight scattered by dust along the plane of the ecliptic creates the zodiacal glow, prominent in the evening after twilight during the southern hemisphere spring. http://www.dur.ac.uk/cfai/ http://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/staff/profiles/?username=dph1js Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131018 #APOD

APOD: Three Galaxies in Draco (2013 Oct 16) Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Leshin http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131016.html Explanation: This intriguing trio of galaxies is sometimes called the Draco Group, located in the northern constellation of (you guessed it) Draco. From left to right are edge-on spiral NGC 5981, elliptical galaxy NGC 5982, and face-on spiral NGC 5985 -- all within this single telescopic field of view spanning a little more than half the width of the full moon. While the group is far too small to be a galaxy cluster and has not been catalogued as a compact group, these galaxies all do lie roughly 100 million light-years from planet Earth. On close examination with spectrographs, the bright core of the striking face-on spiral NGC 5985 shows prominent emission in specific wavelengths of light, prompting astronomers to classify it as a Seyfert, a type of active galaxy. Not as well known as other tight groupings of galaxies, the contrast in visual appearance makes this triplet an attractive subject for astrophotographers. This impressively deep exposure hints at faint, sharp-edged shells surrounding elliptical NGC 5982, evidence of past galactic mergers. It also reveals many even more distant background galaxies. http://sleshin.startlogic.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131016 #APOD

APOD: Three Galaxies and a Comet (2013 Oct 20) Image Credit & Copyright: Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131020.html Explanation: Diffuse starlight and dark nebulae along the southern Milky Way arc over the horizon and sprawl diagonally through this gorgeous nightscape. The breath-taking mosaic spans a wide 100 degrees, with the rugged terrain of the Patagonia, Argentina region in the foreground. Along with the insider's view of our own galaxy, the image features our outside perspective on two irregular satellite galaxies - the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The scene also captures the broad tail and bright coma of Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007. Currently, many sky enthusiasts are following the development of Comet ISON, a comet which might become the Great Comet of 2013. http://www.zam.fme.vutbr.cz/~druck/ http://www.vutbr.cz/en/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131020 #APOD

APOD: A Massive Star in NGC 6357 (2013 Oct 22) Image Credit: NASA, ESA and J. M. Apellániz (IAA, Spain) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131022.html Explanation: For reasons unknown, NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever discovered. One such massive star, near the center of NGC 6357, is framed above carving out its own interstellar castle with its energetic light from surrounding gas and dust. In the greater nebula, the intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity. The overall glow of the nebula results from the emission of light from ionized hydrogen gas. Near the more obvious Cat's Paw nebula, NGC 6357 houses the open star cluster Pismis 24, home to many of these tremendously bright and blue stars. The central part of NGC 6357 shown spans about 10 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion. http://spacetelescope.org/news/heic0619/ http://hubblesite.org/news/2006/54 http://www.iaa.es/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131022 #APOD

APOD: NGC 7814: The Little Sombrero in Pegasus (2013 Oct 25) Image Credit & Copyright: Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Obs.) Collaboration: David Martinez-Delgado (ARI-ZAH, Univ. Heidelberg) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131025.html Explanation: Point your telescope toward the high flying constellation Pegasus and you can find this expanse of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies. Centered on NGC 7814, the pretty field of view would almost be covered by a full moon. NGC 7814 is sometimes called the Little Sombrero for its resemblance to the brighter more famous M104, the Sombrero Galaxy. Both Sombrero and Little Sombrero are spiral galaxies seen edge-on, and both have extensive central bulges cut by a thinner disk with dust lanes in silhouette. In fact, NGC 7814 is some 40 million light-years away and an estimated 60,000 light-years across. That actually makes the Little Sombrero about the same physical size as its better known namesake, appearing to be smaller and fainter only because it is farther away. A very faint dwarf galaxy, potentially a satellite of NGC 7814, is revealed in the deep exposure just below the Little Sombrero. http://www.imagingdeepsky.com/ http://www.ari.uni-heidelberg.de/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131025 #APOD

NGC 7789: Caroline's Rose Image Credit & Copyright: Albert Barr http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131026.html Explanation: Found among the rich starfields of the Milky Way toward the constellation Cassiopeia, star cluster NGC 7789 lies about 8,000 light-years away. A late 18th century deep sky discovery of astronomer Caroline Lucretia Herschel, the cluster is also known as Caroline's Rose. Its suggestive appearance is created by the cluster's nestled complex of stars and voids. Now estimated to be 1.6 billion years young, the galactic or open cluster of stars also shows its age. All the stars in the cluster were likely born at the same time, but the brighter and more massive ones have more rapidly exhausted the hydrogen fuel in their cores. These have evolved from main sequence stars like the Sun into the many red giant stars shown with a yellowish cast in this lovely color composite. Using measured color and brightness, astronomers can model the mass and hence the age of the cluster stars just starting to "turn off" the main sequence and become red giants. Over 50 light-years across, Caroline's Rose spans about half a degree (the angular size of the moon) near the center of the wide-field telescopic image. http://www.shutterstock.com/g/ajbarr Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=32353 #APOD

APOD: Horsehead and Orion Nebulas (2013 Oct 29) Image Credit & Copyright: Roberto Colombari & Federico Pelliccia http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131029.html Explanation: The dark Horsehead Nebula and the glowing Orion Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, they appear in opposite corners of the above stunning mosaic. The familiar Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow at the lower left. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion's belt and is seen as the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. The magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42), lies at the upper right. Immediately to its left is a prominent reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man. Pervasive tendrils of glowing hydrogen gas are easily traced throughout the region. http://www.astrobin.com/60227/ http://www.astrobin.com/users/rob77/ http://www.astrobin.com/users/pelly93/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131029 #APOD

APOD: Night on a Spooky Planet (2013 Oct 31) Image Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Vetter (Nuits sacrées) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131031.html Explanation: What spooky planet is this? Planet Earth of course, on the dark and stormy night of September 12 at Hverir, a geothermally active area along the volcanic landscape in northeastern Iceland. Geomagnetic storms produced the auroral display in the starry night sky while ghostly towers of steam and gas venting from fumaroles danced against the eerie greenish light. Tonight, there is still a chance for geomagnetic storms triggered by recent solar activity, so high-latitude skygazers should beware. And ghostly shapes may dance in your neighborhood, too. Have a safe and Happy Halloween! http://www.nuitsacrees.fr/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131031 #APOD

APOD: A Spectre in the Eastern Veil (2013 Oct 30) Image Credit & Copyright: Alfonso Carreño (Observatorio Zonalunar) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131030.html Explanation: Frightening forms and scary faces are a mark of the Halloween season. They also haunt this cosmic close-up of the eastern Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. While the Veil is roughly circular in shape covering nearly 3 degrees on the sky in the constellation Cygnus, this portion of the eastern Veil spans only 1/2 degree, about the apparent size of the Moon. That translates to 12 light-years at the Veil's reassuring estimated distance of 1,400 light-years from planet Earth. In the composite of image data recorded through narrow band filters, emission from hydrogen atoms in the remnant is shown in red with strong emission from oxygen atoms in blue-green hues. In the western part of the Veil lies another seasonal apparition, the Witch's Broom. http://www.zonalunar.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131030 #APOD

APOD: Creature Aurora Over Norway 2013 Nov 06) Image Credit & Copyright: Ole C. Salomonsen (Arctic Light Photo) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131106.html Explanation: It was Halloween and the sky looked like a creature. Exactly which creature, the astrophotographer was unsure (but possibly you can suggest one). Exactly what caused the eerie apparition was sure: one of the best auroral displays in recent memory. This spectacular aurora had an unusually high degree of detail. Pictured above, the vivid green and purple auroral colors are caused by high atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen reacting to a burst of incoming electrons. Birch trees in Tromsø, Norway formed an also eerie foreground. Many other photogenic auroras have been triggered by recent energetic flares on the Sun. http://www.arcticlightphoto.no/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131106 #APOD

APOD: Eclipse at 44,000 Feet (2013 Nov 07) Image Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper (Launch Photography) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131107.html Explanation: Timing was critical to catch this image of November 3rd's solar eclipse. But flying at 44,000 feet, intrepid eclipse chasers on a chartered jet traveling 500 miles per hour managed to intercept the the Moon's shadow. The remarkable flight made a perpendicular crossing of the central shadow track. Darkening the skies beyond the wing tip at that moment, the Moon's shadow was moving at some 8,000 miles per hour across the Atlantic Ocean, 600 miles southeast of Bermuda. After only an instant of totality, this snapshot captured the lunar disk in silhouette. Rays of sunlight shining past peaks and valleys along the lunar limb created the fleeting appearance of a glistening diamond ring. http://www.launchphotography.com/Total_Solar_Eclipse_2013.html Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131107 #APOD