Sunday, February 18, 2018

LL ORI AND THE ORION NEBULA Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team

Stars can make waves in the Orion Nebula's sea of gas and dust. This esthetic close-up of cosmic clouds and stellar winds features LL Orionis, interacting with the Orion Nebula flow. Adrift in Orion's stellar nursery and still in its formative years, variable star LL Orionis produces a wind more energetic than the wind from our own middle-aged Sun. As the fast stellar wind runs into slow moving gas a shock front is formed, analogous to the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed. The small, arcing, graceful structure just above and left of center is LL Ori's cosmic bow shock, measuring about half a light-year across. The slower gas is flowing away from the Orion Nebula's hot central star cluster, the Trapezium, located off the upper left corner of the picture. In three dimensions, LL Ori's wrap-around shock front is shaped like a bowl that appears brightest when viewed along the "bottom" edge. This beautiful painting-like photograph is part of a large mosaic view of the complex stellar nursery in Orion, filled with a myriad of fluid shapes associated with star formation.

CRESCENT MOON AND AIRPLANE Taken by Leo Caldas on February 17, 2018 @ Brasilia Brazil

Yesterday moon 3% illuminated with beautiful earth shine and an airplane landing in Brasilia.

ZODIACAL LIGHT Taken by Noel Keating on February 17, 2018 @ Rossnowlagh Beach , Co Donegal , Ireland

Its that time of year again to witness the Zodiacal Light and Yesterday I rushed down the beach to capture it. I was a little later than I planned to be but it was still very vivid and easily spotted to the west. I love watching this light and although it doesnt actually do everything spectacular compare to Auroras or Noctilucent clouds, it still a beautiful sight in the night sky and to think you are seeing a beam of sunlight shining through space, well that is awesome..







CRESCENT MOON ( MOON AGE 1 ) ABOVE MT. FUJI AND TOKYO GATE BRIDGE Taken by Yutaka Kagaya on February 17, 2018 @ Near Tokyo, Japan

Crescent Moon(Moon age 1) above Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Gate Bridge
Crescent Moon in evening twilight at Tokyo Bay in the capital city of Japan.
Photos taken by Kagaya
Date: February 17, 2018
Time: 10:18 U.T
Location: Near Tokyo, Japan
Equipment: Sony α7RIII, SIGMA APO MACRO180mm F2.8
Exposure: 1/4sec, F2.8, ISO3200


See swirling cloud formations in the northern area of Jupiter's north temperate belt in this new view taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

The color-enhanced image was taken on Feb. 7 at 5:42 a.m. PST (8:42 a.m. EST), as Juno performed its eleventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 5,086 miles (8,186 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of 39.9 degrees.

Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager.

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at:         

More information about Juno is at: and

Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

Image download options


Saturday, February 17, 2018


 ..13-02-2018 ..

.. 4am ( aprox. )

Fotografía tomada desde el centro de la ciudad de ROSARIO - ARGENTINA

Situada en la constelación de la Quilla y a unos 7500 años luz se encuentra Eta Carinae, un sistema  binario formado por dos estrellas muy masivas, Eta Carinae A con una masa comprendida entre 100  y 200 veces la de nuestro Sol y Eta Carinae B cuya masa supera a la de este último entre 30 y 80 veces ( ampliar imagen anterior y comparar con imagen telescópica que se presenta a continuación, traten de identificar las estrellas que rodean a Eta Carinae ).

Con una ampliación adecuada de la imagen superior puede llegar a distinguirse ( débilmente ) la zona obscura que corresponde a la nebulosa Ojo de la Cerradura.

Imagen perteneciente al National Optical Astronomy Observatory/Association of Universities for 
Research in Astronomy/National Science Foundation.

La nebulosa Ojo de la Cerradura es una nebulosa obscura superpuesta sobre la parte más brillante
de la nebulosa Carina.

El par gira alrededor de su centro común de masas en un período de unos 5 años 196 días.

Sistema binario de Eta Carinae.

Eta Carinae A emite energía a un ritmo 5 millones de veces superior al del Sol, en un segundo radia igual cantidad de energía que la que emite el Sol en aproximadamente 58 días.

Nebulosa del Homúnculo, nebulosa de emisión y reflexión que rodea al sistema Eta Carinae, el polvo y gas que la constituyen fue eyectado durante el proceso que se inicio en 1837 y se extendio por un período aproximado de 18 años que se conoce como la gran erupción, durante el mismo Eta Carinae alcanzó un brillo  ( * )  superior al de la estrella Rigel.

La nebulosa es el objeto más brillante en el cielo nocturno en las longitudes de onda correspondientes al infrarrojo medio ( en astronomía el infrarrojo medio se extiende desde los 2.5 a los 25 - 40 micrómetros de longitud de onda ).

Por las características que presenta Eta Carinae ( elevada masa y episodios eruptivos ), en cualquier momento puede dar origen a una explosión Supernova o Hipernova ( explosión estelar que alcanza una luminosidad ( ** ) 10  o más veces mayor que la de una Supernova típica ), dejando atrás como residuo un agujero negro.

Debido a la distancia que el sistema se encuentra de la Tierra, cuando esto suceda, el brillo que alcanzará puede llegar a superar el de cualquier estrella o planeta que se visualiza desde la superficie terrestre.

( * ) Brillo es la cantidad de energía que se recibe en la Tierra por unidad de tiempo ( segundos ) y por unidad de área ( metros cuadrados ).

( ** ) Luminosidad es la cantidad total de energía que emite una estrella por segundo. 

Info: Licenciado en Física José Luis Lomáscolo 
( Museo Experimental de Ciencias )

Compaginación & fotos a cielo abierto: Esmeralda Sosa 
( Técnica - Planetario Ciudad de Rosario )


Friday, February 16, 2018


.. de 7pm a 8.30pm ..




Hubble Sees Neptune's Mysterious Shrinking Storm

Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm – once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal – is shrinking out of existence as seen in pictures of Neptune taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Immense dark storms on Neptune were first discovered in the late 1980s by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft. Since then, only Hubble has had the sharpness in blue light to track these elusive features that have played a game of peek-a-boo over the years. Hubble found two dark storms that appeared in the mid-1990s and then vanished. This latest storm was first seen in 2015, but is now shrinking.

For the first time, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured time-lapse images of a large, dark storm on Neptune shrinking out of existence.
Credits: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

This video is public domain and can be downloaded from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.
Like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS), the storm swirls in an anti-cyclonic direction and is dredging up material from deep inside the ice giant planet’s atmosphere. The elusive feature gives astronomers a unique opportunity to study Neptune’s deep winds, which can’t be directly measured.

The dark spot material may be hydrogen sulfide, with the pungent smell of rotten eggs. Joshua Tollefson from the University of California at Berkeley explained, “The particles themselves are still highly reflective; they are just slightly darker than the particles in the surrounding atmosphere.”

Unlike Jupiter’s GRS, which has been visible for at least 200 years, Neptune’s dark vortices only last a few years. This is the first one that actually has been photographed as it is dying.

“We have no evidence of how these vortices are formed or how fast they rotate,” said Agustín Sánchez-Lavega from the University of the Basque Country in Spain. “It is most likely that they arise from an instability in the sheared eastward and westward winds.”

This series of Hubble Space Telescope images taken over 2 years tracks the demise of a giant dark vortex on the planet Neptune. The oval-shaped spot has shrunk from 3,100 miles across its long axis to 2,300 miles across, over the Hubble observation period.

Credits: NASA, ESA, and M.H. Wong and A.I. Hsu (UC Berkeley)

The dark vortex is behaving differently from what planet-watchers predicted. “It looks like we’re capturing the demise of this dark vortex, and it’s different from what well-known studies led us to expect,” said Michael H. Wong of the University of California at Berkeley, referring to work by Ray LeBeau (now at St. Louis University) and Tim Dowling’s team at the University of Louisville. “Their dynamical simulations said that anticyclones under Neptune’s wind shear would probably drift toward the equator. We thought that once the vortex got too close to the equator, it would break up and perhaps create a spectacular outburst of cloud activity.”

But the dark spot, which was first seen at mid-southern latitudes, has apparently faded away rather than going out with a bang. That may be related to the surprising direction of its measured drift: toward the south pole, instead of northward toward the equator. Unlike Jupiter’s GRS, the Neptune spot is not as tightly constrained by numerous alternating wind jets (seen as bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere). Neptune seems to only have three broad jets: a westward one at the equator, and eastward ones around the north and south poles. The vortex should be free to change traffic lanes and cruise anywhere in between the jets.

“No facilities other than Hubble and Voyager have observed these vortices. For now, only Hubble can provide the data we need to understand how common or rare these fascinating neptunian weather systems may be,” said Wong.

The first images of the dark vortex are from the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program, a long-term Hubble project that annually captures global maps of our solar system’s four outer planets. Only Hubble has the unique capability to probe these worlds in ultraviolet light, which yields important information not available to other present-day telescopes. Additional data, from a Hubble program targeting the dark vortex, are from an international team including Wong, Tollefson, Sánchez-Lavega, Andrew Hsu, Imke de Pater, Amy Simon, Ricardo Hueso, Lawrence Sromovsky, Patrick Fry, Statia Luszcz-Cook, Heidi Hammel, Marc Delcroix, Katherine de Kleer, Glenn Orton, and Christoph Baranec.

Wong’s paper appears online in the Astronomical Journal on Feb. 15, 2018.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

For additional imagery, visit:

For NASA’s Hubble web page, visit:

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland


As part of an engineering test, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and Moon using its NavCam1 imager on January 17 from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.6 million km). When the camera acquired the image, the spacecraft was moving away from home at a speed of 19,000 miles per hour (8.5 kilometers per second).

Earth is the largest, brightest spot in the center of the image, with the smaller, dimmer Moon appearing to the right. Several constellations are also visible in the surrounding space. The bright cluster of stars in the upper left corner is the Pleiades in the Taurus constellation. Hamal, the brightest star in Aries, is located in the upper right corner of the image. The Earth-Moon system is centered in the middle of five stars comprising the head of Cetus the Whale.

NavCam1, a grayscale imager, is part of the TAGCAMS (Touch-And-Go Camera System) navigation camera suite.  Malin Space Science Systems designed, built, and tested TAGCAMS; Lockheed Martin integrated TAGCAMS to the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and operates TAGCAMS.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

COMET PANSTARRS IS NEAR THE EDGE Image Credit & Copyright: JoAnn McDonald

The comet PanSTARRS, also known as the blue comet (C/2016 R2), really is near the lower left edge of this stunning, wide field view recorded on January 13. Spanning nearly 20 degrees on the sky, the cosmic landscape is explored by well-exposed and processed frames from a sensitive digital camera. It consists of colorful clouds and dusty dark nebulae otherwise too faint for your eye to see, though. At top right, the California Nebula (aka NGC 1499) does have a familiar shape. Its coastline is over 60 light-years long and lies some 1,500 light-years away. The nebula's pronounced reddish glow is from hydrogen atoms ionized by luminous blue star Xi Persei just below it. Near bottom center, the famous Pleiades star cluster is some 400 light-years distant and around 15 light-years across. Its spectacular blue color is due to the reflection of starlight by interstellar dust. In between are hot stars of the Perseus OB2 association and dusty, dark nebulae along the edge of the nearby, massive Taurus and Perseus molecular clouds. Emission from unusually abundant ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) molecules fluorescing in sunlight is largely responsible for the telltale blue tint of the remarkable comet's tail. The comet was about 17 light minutes from Earth.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018



In the first year after its thorough modernization and refurbishment, the Zeiss Large Planetarium in Prenzlauer Berg has registered a record number of visitors. As the Stiftung Planetarium Berlin announced yesterday, almost 224,500 guests wanted to see the starry sky there in 2017. The total number of visitors to all the planetariums in Berlin rose to more than 360,600 and has significantly exceeded the Foundation's target increase from around 200,000 to 300,000. More information in the Morgenpost newspaper (in German)

IN THE HEART OF THE HEART NEBULA Credit & Copyright: Alan Erickson

What's that inside the Heart Nebula? First, the large emission nebula dubbed IC 1805 looks, in whole, like a human heart. It's shape perhaps fitting of the Valentine's Day, this heart glows brightly in red light emitted by its most prominent element: hydrogen. The red glow and the larger shape are all created by a small group of stars near the nebula's center. In the heart of the Heart Nebula are young stars from the open star cluster Melotte 15 that are eroding away several picturesque dust pillars with their energetic light and winds. The open cluster of stars contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, many dim stars only a fraction of the mass of our Sun, and an absent microquasar that was expelled millions of years ago. The Heart Nebula is located about 7,500 light years away toward the constellation of the mythological Queen of Aethiopia (Cassiopeia).