Latest Messier objects Stories

Image 1 - La Silla Observatory Eyes A Cluster Within A Cluster
2012-04-25 11:47:24

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favor of its more prominent neighbor, the Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier 16), that lies a mere wingspan away. But the framing of this picture, which places the star cluster in a landscape of surrounding gas and dust clouds, shows what a beautiful object NGC 6604 is in...

Image 1 - Sombrero Galaxy Found To Have A Split Personality
2012-04-25 05:03:49

The Spitzer Space Telescope has helped astronomers reveal that the Sombrero galaxy is both a rotund and a slender disk galaxy. Sombrero is a round elliptical galaxy with a thin disk embedded inside, and is one of the first known to exhibit characteristics of two different types of galaxies. "The Sombrero is more complex than previously thought," Dimitri Gadotti of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, said in a press release. "The only way to understand all we know about this...

New Nearby Dwarf Galaxy Discovered
2012-02-09 12:56:13

An astronomy team has captured images of a nearby dwarf galaxy, lying about 12.5 million light years from Earth. University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) research astronomer Michael Rich, leader of the team, said NGC 4449 may be "something of a living fossil", because it represents what most galaxies looked like shortly after the Big Bang. They found that the dwarf galaxy has a dense stream of stars in its outer regions, which could be the remains of an even smaller companion...

Image 1 - A New View Of The Iconic Eagle Nebula
2012-01-18 04:46:04

The Eagle Nebula as never seen before. In 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope's 'Pillars of Creation' image of the Eagle Nebula became one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. Now, two of ESA's orbiting observatories have shed new light on this enigmatic star-forming region. The Eagle Nebula is 6500 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens. It contains a young hot star cluster, NGC6611, visible with modest back-garden telescopes, that is sculpting and illuminating the...

Rare Ultra-Blue Stars Among Hubble Andromeda Finds
2012-01-12 05:49:30

[ Watch the Video ] Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed both a cluster of rare ultra-blue stars and a "double nucleus" of old, reddish stars orbiting a 100-million-solar-mass black hole at the nearby Andromeda spiral galaxy, NASA officials announced on Wednesday. The discoveries, detailed by the U.S. space agency in separate press releases, were also presented Wednesday at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Austin, Texas. A paper detailing the Hubble...

In A Star's Final Days, Astronomers Hunt 'Signal Of Impending Doom'
2011-12-01 04:40:55

An otherwise nondescript binary star system in the Whirlpool Galaxy has brought astronomers tantalizingly close to their goal of observing a star just before it goes supernova. The study, submitted in a paper to the Astrophysical Journal, provides the latest result from an Ohio State University galaxy survey underway with the Large Binocular Telescope, located in Arizona. In the first survey of its kind, the researchers have been scanning 25 nearby galaxies for stars that brighten and...

Image 1 - Fermi Census Highlights Cosmic Mysteries
2011-09-11 04:32:43

  Every three hours, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope scans the entire sky and deepens its portrait of the high-energy universe. Every year, the satellite's scientists reanalyze all of the data it has collected, exploiting updated analysis methods to tease out new sources. These relatively steady sources are in addition to the numerous transient events Fermi detects, such as gamma-ray bursts in the distant universe and flares from the sun. Earlier this year, the Fermi team...

2011-08-12 05:40:00

VV 340, also known as Arp 302, provides a textbook example of colliding galaxies seen in the early stages of their interaction. The edge-on galaxy near the top of the image is VV 340 North and the face-on galaxy at the bottom of the image is VV 340 South. Millions of years later these two spirals will merge -- much like the Milky Way and Andromeda will likely do billions of years from now. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) are shown here along with optical data from the...

2011-08-10 14:12:08

This new picture from ESO's Very Large Telescope shows NGC 3521, a spiral galaxy located about 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). Spanning about 50 000 light-years, this spectacular object has a bright and compact nucleus, surrounded by richly detailed spiral structure. The most distinctive features of the bright galaxy NGC 3521 are its long spiral arms that are dotted with star-forming regions and interspersed with veins of dust. The arms are rather irregular...

2011-05-26 14:33:32

Five billion years from now, our Milky Way galaxy will collide with the Andromeda galaxy. This will mark a moment of both destruction and creation. The galaxies will lose their separate identities as they merge into one. At the same time, cosmic clouds of gas and dust will smash together, triggering the birth of new stars. To understand our past and imagine our future, we must understand what happens when galaxies collide. But since galaxy collisions take place over millions to billions of...

Latest Messier objects Reference Libraries

2010-09-16 15:00:46

The NGC 5866, located in the Draco constellation, is named after the galaxy with the highest magnitude however some catalogs list NGC 5907 as the brightest member. The M51 Group and the M101 Group are NGC 5866 closest neighbor. The distances between these groups are similar which suggest the three groups are part of a single large, loose, elongated group. However, most identification methods consider them separate.

2010-09-13 17:13:25

The M101 Group, one of many in the Virgo Supercluster, is located in Ursa Major and named after the brightest galaxy in the group, the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101). The group is composed mostly of members that are companions of the Pinwheel Galaxy. The M51 Group and the NGC 5866 Group are M101's closest neighbor. The distances between these groups are similar which suggest the three groups are part of a single large, loose, elongated group. However, most identification methods consider them...

2010-09-13 17:07:12

The M51 Group, located in Canes Venatici, is named after the brightest galaxy in the group, the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51A). The few other notable members include the companion galaxy to the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51B) and the Sunflower Galaxy (M63).

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planetary Nebula -- A planetary nebula is an astronomical object that usually appears nebulous and disk-like in low-resolution observations. Because of this appearance, similar to the appearance of planets in early observations, the "planetary" adjective was attached and has since been retained for historical consistency. According to current observations and models, planetary nebulae in fact have little to do with planets. Instead, as a small star (less than a few times the mass...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Galaxy -- Stars are almost always found in collections called galaxies, together with gas, dust, and large amounts of dark matter detected by its gravitational effects. These are all held together by gravitational attraction and orbit a common centre. There is some evidence that black holes may exist at the centre of some or most galaxies. Galaxies come in three main types: ellipticals, spirals, and irregulars. A slightly more extensive description of galaxy types is given by the Hubble...

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Word of the Day
  • Nautical, the visiting and carousing of sailors in the Greenland ships.
This word is apparently from a confusion of two similar Dutch words: 'mallemerok,' a foolish woman, and 'mallemok,' a name for some persons among the crew of a whaling vessel.