The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messier's famous 18th century list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, debris from the death explosion of a massive star, witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054.
This sharp, ground-based telescopic view uses narrowband data to track emission from ionized oxygen and hydrogen atoms (in blue and red) and explore the tangled filaments within the still expanding cloud. One of t [...]
A trio of new Expedition 42 crew members is in its final preparations before Sunday’s launch and six-hour ride aboard a Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft to the International Space Station. The rocket with the Soyuz capsule attached will roll out to the launch pad Friday morning at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Aboard the orbital laboratory, the current crew members, Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, are working their scheduled task list of [...]
Hubble observations cast further doubt on how globular clusters formed.
Thanks to the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, some of the most mysterious cosmic residents have just become even more puzzling. New observations of globular clusters in a small galaxy show they are very similar to those found in the Milky Way, and so must have formed in a similar way. One of the leading theories on how these clusters form predicts that globular clusters should only be found nestled in among large quantit [...]
Obscuring the rich starfields of northern Cygnus, dark nebula LDN 988 lies near the center of this cosmic skyscape. Composed with telescope and camera, the scene is some 2 degrees across. That corresponds to 70 light-years at the estimated 2,000 light-year distance of LDN 988.
Stars are forming within LDN 988, part of a larger complex of dusty molecular clouds along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy sometimes called the Northern Coalsack. In fact, nebulosities associated with young stars abo [...]
With the Philae lander’s mission complete, Rosetta will now continue its own extraordinary exploration, orbiting Comet 67P/Churymov–Gerasimenko during the coming year as the enigmatic body arcs ever closer to our Sun.
Last week, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft delivered its Philae lander to the surface of the comet for a dramatic touchdown.
Since then, Rosetta has performed a series of manoeuvres, using its thrusters to begin optimising its orbit around the comet for the 11 scientific i [...]
Commander Barry Wilmore worked in the Japanese Kibo lab module on the Aniso Tubule botany experiment that studies how roots adapt to gravity. After lunch, Wilmore went back to more hardware replacement work on the Combustion Integrated Rack that he began Tuesday. At the end of the day he configured a maintenance work area for upcoming operations of another botany study, the Seedling Growth experiment.
Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev worked in the Russian segment venting gas from an air [...]
A supernova that signals the death of a massive star sends titanic shock waves rumbling through interstellar space. An ultra-dense neutron star is usually left behind, which is far from dead, as it spews out a blizzard of high-energy particles. Two new images from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory provide fascinating views – including an enigmatic lobster-like feature – of the complex aftermath of a supernova.
When a massive star runs out of fuel, the central regions usually collapse to [...]