Igor O

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Achernar is the End of the River

Achernar – aka Alpha Eridani – is the 9th brightest star in the sky and the flattest star known.<p>The 9th brightest star in all the heavens, Achernar …

Astronomy

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

First Cloudy Alien Planet Spotted From Earth

Call it cloudy with a low chance of meatballs. The alien world Kepler-7b — a very reflective world in big telescopes — has clouds in its upper atmosphere. And scientists have actually been able to map those out, despite the planet’s great distance from Earth (at least 1,000 light-years away.)<p>It’s …

APOD: Filaments of the Vela Supernova Remnant (2013 Oct 01) Image Credit & Copyright: Angus Lau, Y Van, SS Tong (Jade Scope Observatory) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131001.html Explanation: The explosion is over but the consequences continue. About eleven thousand years ago a star in the constellation of Vela could be seen to explode, creating a strange point of light briefly visible to humans living near the beginning of recorded history. The outer layers of the star crashed into the interstellar medium, driving a shock wave that is still visible today. A roughly spherical, expanding shock wave is visible in X-rays. The above image captures some of that filamentary and gigantic shock in visible light. As gas flies away from the detonated star, it decays and reacts with the interstellar medium, producing light in many different colors and energy bands. Remaining at the center of the Vela Supernova Remnant is a pulsar, a star as dense as nuclear matter that rotates completely around more than ten times in a single second. http://www.jadescope.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131001 #APOD

APOD: M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster (2013 Sep 18) Credit & Copyright: Roberto Colombari http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130918.html Explanation: Have you ever seen the Pleiades star cluster? Even if you have, you probably have never seen it as dusty as this. Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the bright stars of the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. With a long exposure from a dark location, though, the dust cloud surrounding the Pleiades star cluster becomes very evident. The above exposure took about 20 minutes and covers a sky area several times the size of the full moon. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the Pleiades lies about 400 light years away toward the constellation of the Bull (Taurus). A common legend with a modern twist is that one of the brighter stars faded since the cluster was named, leaving only six stars visible to the unaided eye. The actual number of Pleiades stars visible, however, may be more or less than seven, depending on the darkness of the surrounding sky and the clarity of the observer's eyesight. http://www.astrobin.com/users/rob77/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130918 #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