The Milky Way -- Sep 2009 -- A view of the Milky Way Galaxy from the European Southern Observatory Paranal telescope. Our galaxy is thought to contain between 200-400 billion stars and is but one of billions or even trillions of galaxies in the universe -- Picture by Lightroom Photos / ESO
EARTH Antarctica -- 2009 -- The Milky Way - our own galaxy is shown in this image of the Antarctic night sky. Aside from various stars and constellations, this image also shows some meteor streaks across the sky -- Picture by Lightroom Photos | US NSF
UK SCOTLAND Outer Hebrides -- The relatively low light polluted view of the night sky and Milky Way in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland UK. The Western Isles and northwest Scotland are some of the darkest and - when clear - some of the best places to view the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere. Several constellations and the Milky Way are visible in this image -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell | Lightroom Photos
Milky Way galaxy NASA image Spitzer Space Telescope astronomy cosmos exploration explore science stars star outer centre center core spiral infrared infra-red deep
Infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope showing hundreds of thousands of stars crowded into the swirling core of our spiral Milky Way galaxy. In this false-colour image, released in January 2006, old and cool stars are blue and dust features, lit up by blazing hot, massive stars, are shown in a reddish hue. The brightest white spot in the middle is the very centre of the galaxy, which also marks the site of a supermassive black hole. The region pictured has a horizontal span of 890 light-years and a vertical span of 640 light-years and Earth is located 26,000 light-years away, out in one of the Milky Way's spiral arms. The image is a mosaic of thousands of short exposures taken by Spitzer's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC).
OUTER SPACE The Milky Way Galaxy -- Like early explorers mapping the continents of our globe, astronomers are busy charting the spiral structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Using infrared images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists have discovered that the Milky Way's elegant spiral structure is dominated by just two arms wrapping off the ends of a central bar of stars. Previously, our galaxy was thought to possess four major arms. This artist's concept illustrates the new view of the Milky Way, along with other findings presented at the 212th American Astronomical Society meeting in St. Louis, Mo. The galaxy's two major arms (Scutum-Centaurus and Perseus) can be seen attached to the ends of a thick central bar, while the two now-demoted minor arms (Norma and Sagittarius) are less distinct and located between the major arms. The major arms consist of the highest densities of both young and old stars; the minor arms are primarily filled with gas and pockets of star-forming activity. The artist's concept also includes a new spiral arm, called the "Far-3 kiloparsec arm," discovered via a radio-telescope survey of gas in the Milky Way. This arm is shorter than the two major arms and lies along the bar of the galaxy. Our sun lies near a small, partial arm called the Orion Arm, or Orion Spur, located between the Sagittarius and Perseus arms -- Picture by Lightroom Photos / NASA
Milky Way spiral galaxy NASA image ring rings astronomy cosmos exploration explore science stars star outer centre center core spiral artist's artistic artist art artwork impression arm arms structure central bar view viewed from above stream streams
Artist's impression of the Milky Way released by NASA in 2008 showing three newly-discovered streams arcing high over the spiral galaxy. The streams are remnants of cannibalized galaxies and star clusters, are between 13,000 and 130,000 light-years distant from Earth, and extend over much of the northern sky. Two of the newly discovered streams are almost certainly the remains of ancient star clusters known to astronomers as globular clusters and containing between tens of thousands and millions of stars. Over billions of years, the relentless gravitational stresses inflicted on them by our galaxy have slowly torn them apart, leaving behind long, thin streams of stars. The third stream is spread over a much larger region of the sky and is most likely the scattered remains of a dwarf galaxy.
Milky Way spiral galaxy NASA image Spitzer Space Telescope astronomy cosmos exploration explore science stars star outer centre center core spiral infrared infra-red arist's artistic artist art artwork impression arm arms structure central bar view viewed from above
Artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy released by NASA in 2008. The image, based on infrared images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, shows the galaxy's spiral structure is dominated by just two arms wrapping off the ends of a central bar of stars. Scientists had previously thought the Milky Way possessed four major arms. This rendering shows a view of the Milky Way and its central bar as it might appear if viewed from above.
MILKY WAY Galactic Core -- 2006 -- This dazzling infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows hundreds of thousands of stars crowded into the swirling core of our spiral Milky Way galaxy. In visible-light pictures, this region cannot be seen at all because dust lying between Earth and the galactic center blocks our view.In this false-color picture, old and cool stars are blue, while dust features lit up by blazing hot, massive stars are shown in a reddish hue. Both bright and dark filamentary clouds can be seen, many of which harbor stellar nurseries. The plane of the Milky Way's flat disk is apparent as the main, horizontal band of clouds. The brightest white spot in the middle is the very center of the galaxy, which also marks the site of a supermassive black hole.The region pictured here is immense, with a horizontal span of 890 light-years and a vertical span of 640 light-years. Earth is located 26,000 light-years away, out in one of the Milky Way's spiral arms. Though most of the objects seen in this image are located at the galactic center, the features above and below the galactic plane tend to lie closer to Earth.Scientists are intrigued by the giant lobes of dust extending away from the plane of the galaxy. They believe the lobes may have been formed by winds from massive stars. This image is a mosaic of thousands of short exposures taken by Spitzer's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC), showing emissions from wavelengths of 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 micr
Artist's impression of massive star cluster within our Milky Way Galaxy ablaze with glow of 14 rare red supergiant stars interspersed with young blue stars. The cluster contains perhaps 20,000 stars. Credit NASA. Science Astronomy
OUTER SPACE Arp 273 -- 12 Dec 2010 -- The group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger of the spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewels across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light. The smaller, nearly edge-on companion shows distinct signs of intense star formation at its nucleus, perhaps triggered by the encounter with the companion galaxy -- Picture by Lightroom Photos | NASA
OUTER SPACE Antennae Galaxies -- 2003-2005 -- Two colliding galaxies. The Antennae galaxies, located about 62 million light-years from Earth, are shown in this composite image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red). The Antennae galaxies take their name from the long antenna-like "arms," seen in wide-angle views of the system. These features were produced by tidal forces generated in the collision. The collision, which began more than 100 million years ago and is still occurring, has triggered the formation of millions of stars in clouds of dust and gas in the galaxies. The most massive of these young stars have already sped through their evolution in a few million years and exploded as supernovas. The X-ray image from Chandra shows huge clouds of hot, interstellar gas that have been injected with rich deposits of elements from supernova explosions. This enriched gas, which includes elements such as oxygen, iron, magnesium, and silicon, will be incorporated into new generations of stars and planets. The bright, point-like sources in the image are produced by material falling onto black holes and neutron stars that are remnants of the massive stars. Some of these black holes may have masses that are almost one hundred times that of the Sun. The Spitzer data show infrared light from warm dust clouds that have been heated by newborn stars, with the brightest clouds lying in the overlapping region between
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OUTER SPACE -- This image of NGC 6240 contains new X-ray data from Chandra (shown in red, orange, and yellow) that has been combined with an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope originally released in 2008. In 2002, Chandra data led to the discovery of two merging black holes, which are a mere 3,000 light years apart. They are seen as the bright point-like sources in the middle of the image. Scientists think these black holes are in such close proximity because they are in the midst of spiraling toward each other -- a process that began about 30 million years ago. It is estimated that they holes will eventually drift together and merge into a larger black hole some tens or hundreds of millions of years from now. Finding and studying merging black holes has become a very active field of research in astrophysics. Since 2002, there has been intense interest in follow-up observations of NGC 6240, as well as a search for similar systems. Understanding what happens when these exotic objects interact with one another remains an intriguing question for scientists. The formation of multiple systems of supermassive black holes should be common in the universe, since many galaxies undergo collisions and mergers with other galaxies, most of which contain supermassive black holes. It is thought that pairs of massive black holes can explain some of the unusual behavior seen by rapidly growing supermassive black holes, such as the distortion and bending seen in the powerful jets they produce.
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