MessageToEagle.com - Two new eye-catching views from the Herschel space observatory are fit for a princess. They
show the elegant spiral galaxy Andromeda, named after the mythical Greek princess known for her beauty.
The Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31, lies 2 million light-years away, and is the closest large galaxy to our
own Milky Way.
It is estimated to have up to one trillion stars, whereas the Milky Way contains hundreds of billions.
Recent evidence suggests Andromeda's overall mass may in fact be less than the mass of the Milky Way, when dark matter
Click on image to enlarge
Andromeda's Colorful Rings
The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.
The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbor. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimeter in size. Herschel's ability to detect the light allows astronomers to see clouds of dust at temperatures of only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. These clouds are dark and opaque at shorter wavelengths. The Herschel view also highlights spokes of dust between the concentric rings.
The colors in this image have been enhanced to make them easier to see, but they do reflect real variations in the data.
The very coldest clouds are brightest in the longest wavelengths, and colored red here, while the warmer ones take on a bluish tinge. Credits: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/NHSC
Herschel, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions, sees the longer-wavelength infrared light
from the galaxy, revealing its rings of cool dust. Some of this dust is the very coldest in the galaxy -- only a few
tens of degrees above absolute zero.
In both views, warmer dust is highlighted in the central regions by different colors. New stars are being born in this
central, crowded hub, and throughout the galaxy's rings in dusty knots. Spokes of dust can also be seen between the rings.
In this new view of the Andromeda galaxy from the Herschel space observatory, cool lanes of forming stars are revealed in the finest detail yet. Herschel
is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. Image credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS &
SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz
Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes
and with important participation by NASA. NASA's Herschel Project Office is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Calif. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments.
The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
The Wandering Stars
In ancient civilizations, people pondered the meanings of the stars, watching for clues to their survival: the beginning of planting and
harvesting times, the seasons, and even portents of danger.
They soon noticed that certain stars didn't stay in place, but wandered amongst the fixed star field.
"The Most Profound Mystery In All Of Science" -
Little is known about this force and its its repulsive gravity, which is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate.
The riddles of dark matter and cosmic inflation, along with dark energy, these are the three pillars of modern cosmological theory,"
and none of them can be explained with physics that we know," Michael Turner, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics says.
Doesn't Secret Dark Matter Exist?
The more scientists study dark matter they know lesser and are not particularly optimistic about their results.
After completing this study, we know less about dark matter than we did before," said Matt Walker, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
A mysterious and still unknown substance is totally invisible in the Universe and reveals its presence only through its gravitational pull.
Mysteries Of A Dark Universe
Cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole, has been turned on its head by a stunning discovery that the universe is flying apart in all directions at an ever-increasing rate. Is the universe really as we think it should be? Or is nature somehow fooling us?
The astronomers whose data revealed this accelerating universe have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Black Holes With No 'Table Manners' Eat Two Courses At Once!
It is still unknown how the supermassive black holes (SMBH) in galaxy centres accrete gas and grow.
Researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) and Monash University in Australia have investigated how some black holes got so big so fast that they are billions of times heavier than the sun.
Mercury Surprises Scientists
On March 17, MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space Environment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) completed its one-year primary mission, orbiting Mercury, capturing nearly 100,000 images, and recording data
that reveals new information about the planet's core, topography, and the mysterious radar bright material in the permanently shadowed areas near the poles.
Living Earth Simulator - Supercomputer Predicting The Future
In Douglas Adams book the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we encounter a machine called Deep Thought. It is the most powerful computer ever built. Deep Thought is capable of answering questions
concerning life, the Universe, and simply everything. Now scientists are planning to create a similar machine. It is called the Living Earth Simulator (LES).
Warp-Speed Planets Are Some Of The Fastest Objects In The Milky Way
Warped planets are some of the fastest objects in the Milky Way and they zoom through space near the speed of light.
Some years ago astronomers were astonished when they they found the first runaway star flying out of our Galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour.
The discovery intrigued theorists, who wondered: If a star can get tossed outward at such an extreme velocity, could the same thing happen to planets?
Though the universe is filled with billions upon billions of stars, the discovery of a single variable star in 1923 altered the
course of modern astronomy. And, at least one famous astronomer of the time lamented that the discovery had shattered his world view.
Kepler Will Find Goldilocks Planet Within The Next Two Years
NASA's Kepler spacecraft is discovering a veritable avalanche of alien worlds. Recent finds include planets with double suns, massive
"super-Earths" and "hot Jupiters," and a miniature solar system.
The variety of planets circling distant suns is as wonderful as it is surprising.