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Space Pictures This Week: Pink Nebula, Moon Map, More

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Mercury
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« on: November 19, 2011, 07:17:29 pm »

Space Pictures This Week: Pink Nebula, Moon Map, More



Carina in the Pink

Photograph by Babak Tafreshi, TWAN

The Carina nebula glows hot pink above Chile's Chiliques volcano in a recent picture.

Carina sits about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of the same name. The nebula gets its red and purple hues from hot hydrogen gas interacting with ultraviolet radiation from the nebula's massive young stars.

The nebula is also home to the brightest star in the Carina galaxy, Eta Carinae, a tumultuous ball of gas roughly a hundred times more massive than our sun.

(Read more about Eta Carinae and its violent outbursts.)

Published November 18, 2011
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/11/pictures/111117-best-space-pictures-moon-comet-science-nebula-170-saturn/
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Mercury
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 07:19:36 pm »



Cool Clouds of Carina

Image courtesy T. Preibisch et al, ESO/APEX and N. Smith, UMN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Cold, dusty clouds swirl in the Carina Nebula, as captured in a picture released November 16 by the European Space Observatory-operated APEX telescope in the Chilean desert. APEX captures normally invisible submillimeter-wavelength light.

The submillimeter images, seen in orange, are combined with visible-light pictures from the Curtis Schmidt telescope at Chile's Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory.

"The result is a dramatic, wide-field picture that provides a spectacular view of Carina's star-formation sites," according to an ESO statement.

The nebula's total mass of gas and dust clouds is equal to that of about 140,000 suns.

Published November 18, 2011
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Mercury
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 07:20:27 pm »



Hercules! Hercules!

Photograph courtesy Rolando Ligustri

Comet Garradd (aka C/2009 P1), as seen from Italy's Cast Observatory on November 13, rockets through the region of the constellation Hercules. From the Northern Hemisphere, Garradd should be visible with binoculars through January, according to Sky & Telescope.

Comets are balls of rock and ice that grow tails as they approach the sun in the course of their highly elliptical orbits.

As comets heat up, gas and dust are expelled and trail behind them. The sun illuminates this trail, thereby making it sometimes visible in the night sky.

(See "New Comet Found; May Be Visible From Earth in 2013.")

Published November 18, 2011
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Mercury
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 07:22:07 pm »



Taking Out the Trash

Photograph courtesy NASA

The plasma trail of the Progress 42P disposable, unmanned supply vehicle is seen in an October 29 picture by an International Space Station astronaut.

Several times a year robotic spacecraft take food, water, fuel, medical supplies, and more to the space station.

After the vehicles are filled with trash from the station, they're sent back into space—"essentially using Earth's atmosphere as an incinerator for both the spent spacecraft and the refuse," according to NASA.

The picture, taken when the space station was over the southern Pacific Ocean, shows light from the rising sun illuminating the curve of Earth.

The thin strip of green above the curve is airglow, emissions of light from atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere when they are excited by ultraviolet radiation.

(See pictures of early U.S. spaceflight.)

Published November 18, 2011
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 07:22:55 pm »



Hourglass Nebula

Image courtesy IAC

The hourglass-shaped nebula Sharpless 2-106 glows in a picture released by NASA on November 7 and taken by the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS in Spain's Canary Islands.

Located about 2,000 light-years away, this star-forming region is illuminated by a very young star—about a hundred thousand years old—whose mass is equivalent to that of 15 suns.

("'Soccer Ball' Nebula Discovered by Amateur Astronomer.")

Published November 18, 2011
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Mercury
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 07:23:24 pm »



Moon Peekaboo

Image courtesy Caltech/SSI/NASA

NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped a portrait of Saturn's moon Enceladus (foreground)—joined by its sibling Epimetheus and the planet's rings—during an October 1 flyby.

Enceladus's famous south-polar jets project faintly at the bottom of the image.

The images of both moons have been contrast enhanced and brightened relative to Saturn's rings.

(See "Pictures: Saturn Moon Coated in Fresh Powder.")

Published November 18, 2011
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 07:24:04 pm »



"Amazing" Map of the Moon

Image courtesy ASU/NASA

The physical features of the moon are seen in the first version of an unprecedented topographical map created with images from the Lunar Renaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC).

The "amazing" map shows the varying elevations of the entire moon's surface, with reds, oranges, and whites revealing the highest features, and purples and greens indicating the lowest, according to the LROC website.

"Visualizations like these allow scientists to view the surface from very different perspectives, providing a powerful tool for interpreting the geologic processes that have shaped the moon," the website said.

Published November 18, 2011
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