Monday, 9 July 2012

Astrophysics stuff from the week 2-8/7/12

This picture of the Flame Nebula, illuminating a cloud of dust, comes from the second release of data from the WISE mission's sky survey.
"The new WISE view of the Flame nebula, in which colors are assigned to different channels of infrared light, looks like what appears to be a flaming candle sending off billows of smoke.
In fact, the wispy tendrils in the image are part of the larger Orion star-forming complex, a huge dust cloud churning out new stars. In the Flame nebula, massive stars are carving a cavity in this dust.
Intense ultraviolet light from a central massive star 20 times heavier than our sun, and buried in the blanketing dust, is causing the cloud to glow in infrared light. This star would be almost as bright to our eyes as the three stars in Orion's belt, but the dust makes the star appear 4 billion times fainter than it really is."

[video] A good reason to wake up at dawn, this July:
See Venus and Jupiter, both passing through the Hyades cluster - a group of stars 153 light years away - and then see them line up with Aldebaran. ANd on top of that - there'll be a crescent moon, with Earth-shien visible on its dark area.
I know it's all just arbitrary motion across the celestial sphere - but it makes cool photos, to see them all in the same photo!

Astrophysicists have taken sequential photographs of the sun, during a solar eruption, in different wavelengths, to effectively track the motion of material through the sun's atmosphere.
Each height in the sun's atmosphere radiates at different wavelengths, so taking pictures in different wavelengths develops images at different heights. This knowledge can then be used to reformulate a timed understanding of sun activity.
The image shows four separate images of the M5.3 class flare from the morning of July 4, 2012. In clockwise order starting at the top left, the wavelengths shown are: 131, 94, 193, and 171 Angstroms.

A filament of dark matter, stretching between two parts of the supercluster Abell 222/223, 2.7 billion light years away, has been positively identified for the first time.
Cosmologists already knew that dark matter exists somewhere, and expected it to exist in a sort of web, stretching out between galaxies, in these filaments, but it had not been positively identified before.
"The results from this study are doubly interesting; one because they strengthen all of the theories surrounding dark matter, and two, because the team has found a means of not just demonstrating an example of dark matter at work, but have done so in a way that is so precise that they were able to determine the actual shape of a dark matter filament."

UKIRT astronomers have discovered multiple binary star systems consisting of pairs of red dwarf stars, but orbiting each other in prediction-defyingly close orbits - they rotate each other with a period of just 5 hours!
The researchers have hypothesised that their orbital distances must have shrunk as they aged, and therefore magnetic interactions between the stars might have come into play.
Only further evidence will tell...

'Humble DNA could help decipher dark matter'
What is dark matter made of? WIMPs are hypothetical particles (like the Higgs Boson) that are thought to constitute the dark matter that we observe (but don't see!).
There are a variety of experiments, around the world, being conducted, to detect WIMPs moving through the Earth, and all are using different techniques.
In this one, it is hoped that an incoming WIMP would slice through the strands of RNA, leaving a trail of destruction which would inform not only of the presence of a WIMP, but also of its direction.
This, in turn, could inform of the direction of dark matter flow, relative to our solar system, to inform us of how we are moving through the universe, relative to the cosmic background occean that is dark matter!

The Milky Way Over Piton de l'Eau, on Reunion Island

Simeis 188 in Stars, Dust and Gas
This is what a star-forming region of space looks like.

Dark Clouds In Aquila

Sunspots And Silhouettes

No comments:

Post a Comment