3C305: An Intriguing Glowing Galaxy  
Activity from a supermassive black hole is responsible for the intriguing appearance of this galaxy, 3C305, located about 600 million light years away from Earth.
The structures in red and light blue are X-ray and optical images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope respectively. The optical data is from oxygen emission only, and therefore the full extent of the galaxy is not seen. Radio data are shown in darker blue and are from the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array in New Mexico, as well as the Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interferometer Network in the United Kingdom…
(read more: Chandra X-ray Observatory)
image: X-ray (NASA/CXC/CfA/F.Massaro, et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI/C.P.O’Dea); Radio (NSF/VLA/CfA/F.Massaro, et al.)

3C305: An Intriguing Glowing Galaxy

Activity from a supermassive black hole is responsible for the intriguing appearance of this galaxy, 3C305, located about 600 million light years away from Earth.

The structures in red and light blue are X-ray and optical images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope respectively. The optical data is from oxygen emission only, and therefore the full extent of the galaxy is not seen. Radio data are shown in darker blue and are from the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array in New Mexico, as well as the Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interferometer Network in the United Kingdom…

(read more: Chandra X-ray Observatory)

image: X-ray (NASA/CXC/CfA/F.Massaro, et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI/C.P.O’Dea); Radio (NSF/VLA/CfA/F.Massaro, et al.)

NGC 1566- The 2nd Brightest Seyfert Type Galaxy Known
This new Hubble image shows NGC 1566, a beautiful galaxy located approximately 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish). NGC 1566 is an intermediate spiral galaxy, meaning that while it does not have a well defined bar-shaped region of stars at its centre — like barred spirals — it is not quite an unbarred spiral either (heic9902o).
The small but extremely bright nucleus of NGC 1566 is clearly visible in this image, a telltale sign of its membership of the Seyfert class of galaxies. The centres of such galaxies are very active and luminous, emitting strong bursts of radiation and potentially harbouring supermassive black holes that are many millions of times the mass of the Sun…
(read more: Hubble Space Telescope)
image: ESA/Hubble & NASA

NGC 1566- The 2nd Brightest Seyfert Type Galaxy Known

This new Hubble image shows NGC 1566, a beautiful galaxy located approximately 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish). NGC 1566 is an intermediate spiral galaxy, meaning that while it does not have a well defined bar-shaped region of stars at its centre — like barred spirals — it is not quite an unbarred spiral either (heic9902o).

The small but extremely bright nucleus of NGC 1566 is clearly visible in this image, a telltale sign of its membership of the Seyfert class of galaxies. The centres of such galaxies are very active and luminous, emitting strong bursts of radiation and potentially harbouring supermassive black holes that are many millions of times the mass of the Sun…

(read more: Hubble Space Telescope)

image: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Hubble Space Telescope:  Galactic Silhouettes
Through an extraordinary chance alignment, the Hubble telescope has captured a view of a face-on spiral galaxy lying precisely in front of another larger spiral. The unique pair is called NGC 3314. This line-up provides astronomers with the rare chance to see the dark material within the foreground galaxy, seen only because it is silhouetted against the light from the object behind it. NGC 3314 lies about 140 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the southern hemisphere constellation Hydra.
This picture is one of many produced by the Hubble Heritage Program, created 1-1/2 years ago to publicly release some of the best celestial views taken by the telescope’s visible-light camera. Now, the International Center of Photography in New York City has rewarded the program for its work with the annual Infinity Award for Applied Photography.
Credit: NASA/ESA & The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA

Hubble Space Telescope:  Galactic Silhouettes

Through an extraordinary chance alignment, the Hubble telescope has captured a view of a face-on spiral galaxy lying precisely in front of another larger spiral. The unique pair is called NGC 3314. This line-up provides astronomers with the rare chance to see the dark material within the foreground galaxy, seen only because it is silhouetted against the light from the object behind it. NGC 3314 lies about 140 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the southern hemisphere constellation Hydra.

This picture is one of many produced by the Hubble Heritage Program, created 1-1/2 years ago to publicly release some of the best celestial views taken by the telescope’s visible-light camera. Now, the International Center of Photography in New York City has rewarded the program for its work with the annual Infinity Award for Applied Photography.

Credit: NASA/ESA & The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA

Stunning Simulation of Universe’s 13-Billion-Year Evolution

Scientists at MIT have traced 13 billion years of galaxy evolution, from shortly after the Big Bang to the present day. Their simulation, named Illustris, captures both the massive scale of the Universe and the intriguing variety of galaxies — something previous modelers have struggled to do. It produces a Universe that looks remarkably similar to what we see through our telescopes, giving us greater confidence in our understanding of the Universe, from the laws of physics to our theories about galaxy formation.

Read the research paper: Nature

And the Nature News story: Nature News

An image of NGC 4449, highlighting its qualities as a starburst galaxy. NGC 4449, an irregular galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici located about 12 million light years from Earth, has a rate of star formation twice that of the Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Interactions with nearby galaxies are thought to have influenced this star formation.
 Photograph: NASA, ESA, A. Aloisi (STScI/ESA), and The Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

An image of NGC 4449, highlighting its qualities as a starburst galaxy. NGC 4449, an irregular galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici located about 12 million light years from Earth, has a rate of star formation twice that of the Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Interactions with nearby galaxies are thought to have influenced this star formation.

Photograph: NASA, ESA, A. Aloisi (STScI/ESA), and The Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Centarus A - a Bright Galaxy! 
Centaurus A is the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky — making it an ideal target for amateur astronomers — and is famous for the dust lane across its middle and a giant jet blasting away from the supermassive black hole at its center. Cen A is an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth. This image is part of a “quartet of galaxies” collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of our missions. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Rolf Olsen; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech
(via: NASA)

Centarus A - a Bright Galaxy!

Centaurus A is the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky — making it an ideal target for amateur astronomers — and is famous for the dust lane across its middle and a giant jet blasting away from the supermassive black hole at its center. Cen A is an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth. This image is part of a “quartet of galaxies” collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of our missions.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Rolf Olsen; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(via: NASA)

NGC 4565 (also known as the Needle Galaxy) is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. NGC 4565 is a giant spiral galaxy more luminous than the Andromeda Galaxy, and has a population of roughly 240 globular clusters, more than the Milky Way.
Photographer: Ken Crawford                                                     via: Wikipedia

NGC 4565 (also known as the Needle Galaxy) is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. NGC 4565 is a giant spiral galaxy more luminous than the Andromeda Galaxy, and has a population of roughly 240 globular clusters, more than the Milky Way.

Photographer: Ken Crawford                                                     via: Wikipedia

Centaurus A, a prominent galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus, in a colour composite of images obtained with three instruments. Discovered in 1826 by James Dunlop, Centaurus A is a highly visible starburst galaxy which is only visible from low northern latitudes and the southern hemisphere.
 Photograph: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)

Centaurus A, a prominent galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus, in a colour composite of images obtained with three instruments. Discovered in 1826 by James Dunlop, Centaurus A is a highly visible starburst galaxy which is only visible from low northern latitudes and the southern hemisphere.

Photograph: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)

Galaxy M33

One of our closest galactic neighbors shows its awesome beauty in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is a member of what’s known as our Local Group of galaxies. Along with our own Milky Way, this group travels together in the universe, as they are gravitationally bound. In fact, M33 is one of the few galaxies that is moving toward the Milky Way despite the fact that space itself is expanding, causing most galaxies in the universe to grow farther and farther apart.
When viewed with Spitzer’s infrared eyes, this elegant spiral galaxy sparkles with color and detail. Stars appear as glistening blue gems (several of which are actually foreground stars in our own galaxy), while dust rich in organic molecules glows green. The diffuse orange-red glowing areas indicate star-forming regions, while small red flecks outside the spiral disk of M33 are most likely distant background galaxies. But not only is this new image beautiful, it also shows M33 to be surprising large – bigger than its visible-light appearance would suggest…
(read more: Wired Science)
Caption: NASA; image; NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz.

Galaxy M33

One of our closest galactic neighbors shows its awesome beauty in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is a member of what’s known as our Local Group of galaxies. Along with our own Milky Way, this group travels together in the universe, as they are gravitationally bound. In fact, M33 is one of the few galaxies that is moving toward the Milky Way despite the fact that space itself is expanding, causing most galaxies in the universe to grow farther and farther apart.

When viewed with Spitzer’s infrared eyes, this elegant spiral galaxy sparkles with color and detail. Stars appear as glistening blue gems (several of which are actually foreground stars in our own galaxy), while dust rich in organic molecules glows green. The diffuse orange-red glowing areas indicate star-forming regions, while small red flecks outside the spiral disk of M33 are most likely distant background galaxies. But not only is this new image beautiful, it also shows M33 to be surprising large – bigger than its visible-light appearance would suggest…

(read more: Wired Science)

Caption: NASA; image; NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz.

Arp 273 is a group of interacting galaxies, lying 300 million light years away in the constellation Andromeda and first discovered in 1966. In this photograph from the Hubble Space Telescope, 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.
 Photograph: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team
(via: Wikipedia)

Arp 273 is a group of interacting galaxies, lying 300 million light years away in the constellation Andromeda and first discovered in 1966. In this photograph from the Hubble Space Telescope, 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.

Photograph: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

(via: Wikipedia)

Galaxies stash mass in clouds of gas
Galactic haloes may have 10 to 100 times as much matter as previously thought
by Stephen Ornes
Matter is the stuff in the universe. Astronomers say most of the matter in any galaxy — and in the universe — is dark matter, which is mysterious and invisible and difficult to study. The new research focuses on ordinary matter, which is visible and known to consist of particles. Ordinary matter makes up the stuff scientists can see and measure. Mass is a measure of how much matter something has.
Galaxies are enormous collections of stars. Typically, a galaxy has millions or billions of them. Each star, in turn, may hold planets in tow. A galaxy also may host very dense black holes. Together, all of these celestial bodies contain a lot of mass. But not enough: Galaxies should have about three times as much ordinary matter as astronomers see.
That’s where haloes come in. These are giant spheres of gas and dark matter that surround galaxies. And glow. That shouldn’t be too surprising: Much of a halo’s gas has a scorching temperature of a million degrees Celsius (1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit) or more. But haloes also contain much cooler gas that’s only about 10,000 ºC (or about 18,000 ºF). That cooler gas barely emits any light. Which means ordinary telescopes can’t see it…
(read more: Science News)
image: JPL-CALTECH/NASA AND S. WILLNER/HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CFA

Galaxies stash mass in clouds of gas

Galactic haloes may have 10 to 100 times as much matter as previously thought

by Stephen Ornes

Matter is the stuff in the universe. Astronomers say most of the matter in any galaxy — and in the universe — is dark matter, which is mysterious and invisible and difficult to study. The new research focuses on ordinary matter, which is visible and known to consist of particles. Ordinary matter makes up the stuff scientists can see and measure. Mass is a measure of how much matter something has.

Galaxies are enormous collections of stars. Typically, a galaxy has millions or billions of them. Each star, in turn, may hold planets in tow. A galaxy also may host very dense black holes. Together, all of these celestial bodies contain a lot of mass. But not enough: Galaxies should have about three times as much ordinary matter as astronomers see.

That’s where haloes come in. These are giant spheres of gas and dark matter that surround galaxies. And glow. That shouldn’t be too surprising: Much of a halo’s gas has a scorching temperature of a million degrees Celsius (1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit) or more. But haloes also contain much cooler gas that’s only about 10,000 ºC (or about 18,000 ºF). That cooler gas barely emits any light. Which means ordinary telescopes can’t see it…

(read more: Science News)

image: JPL-CALTECH/NASA AND S. WILLNER/HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CFA

Astronomers Get First Glimpse of Cosmic Web
by Andrew Fazekas
Astronomers have for the first time captured a glimpse of the vast, web-like network of diffuse gas that links all of the galaxies in the cosmos.
Leading cosmological theories suggest that galaxies are cocooned within gigantic, wispy filaments of gas. This “cosmic web” of gas-filled nebulas stretches between large, spacious voids that are tens of millions of light years wide.  Like spiders, galaxies mostly appear to lie within the intersections of the long-sought webs.
In observations spied through one of the most powerful telescopes in the world, the 33-foot (10-meter) Keck I Telescope in Hawaii, astronomers led by Sebastiano Cantalupo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, now report that they have detected a very large, luminous filament of gas extending about 2 million light-years across intergalactic space, exactly as predicted by theory.
Essentially, the filament reported in the January 19 Nature represents one of the strands of the cosmic web that holds together the galaxy-rich universe. Astronomers hope to understand both the structure of the universe and the development of galaxies such as our own Milky Way by unraveling the secrets of the cosmic web…
(read more: National Geo)
image: Anatoly Klypin and Joel Primack, S. Cantalupo

Astronomers Get First Glimpse of Cosmic Web

by Andrew Fazekas

Astronomers have for the first time captured a glimpse of the vast, web-like network of diffuse gas that links all of the galaxies in the cosmos.

Leading cosmological theories suggest that galaxies are cocooned within gigantic, wispy filaments of gas. This “cosmic web” of gas-filled nebulas stretches between large, spacious voids that are tens of millions of light years wide.  Like spiders, galaxies mostly appear to lie within the intersections of the long-sought webs.

In observations spied through one of the most powerful telescopes in the world, the 33-foot (10-meter) Keck I Telescope in Hawaii, astronomers led by Sebastiano Cantalupo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, now report that they have detected a very large, luminous filament of gas extending about 2 million light-years across intergalactic space, exactly as predicted by theory.

Essentially, the filament reported in the January 19 Nature represents one of the strands of the cosmic web that holds together the galaxy-rich universe. Astronomers hope to understand both the structure of the universe and the development of galaxies such as our own Milky Way by unraveling the secrets of the cosmic web…

(read more: National Geo)

image: Anatoly Klypin and Joel Primack, S. Cantalupo

This week, the light from a star that exploded 12 million years ago finally reached earth. 
Astronomers observed the supernova in galaxy M82. Shown here are two views of that galaxy: the first photo taken in December, and the second yesterday, showing the new giant ball of light. Despite being 12 million light-years away, M82 is considered to be practically a next-door neighbor of our own galaxy, and is easily viewable by backyard astronomers. 
Supernovas are caused by either the sudden gravitational collapse of the core of a massive star, or the accumulation of material in a dwarf star that raises the core temperature and triggers runaway nuclear fusion. They are short-lived, but not instant events - the light from the explosion can last for weeks or even months before fading out. This particular star was a white dwarf, and its supernova is expected to continue to brighten for the next two weeks as the explosion grows. The energy released in a single supernova event can often exceed what our Sun will emit over its entire lifespan. 
Across the thousands of galaxies in the entire universe supernovae are quite common - astronomers record a few hundred new ones every year. While none have been observed within the Milky Way since 1604, observed supernova remnants suggest our galaxy sees two to three per century. This is the nearest supernova to Earth in 21 years.Photo: UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)

This week, the light from a star that exploded 12 million years ago finally reached earth.

Astronomers observed the supernova in galaxy M82. Shown here are two views of that galaxy: the first photo taken in December, and the second yesterday, showing the new giant ball of light. Despite being 12 million light-years away, M82 is considered to be practically a next-door neighbor of our own galaxy, and is easily viewable by backyard astronomers.

Supernovas are caused by either the sudden gravitational collapse of the core of a massive star, or the accumulation of material in a dwarf star that raises the core temperature and triggers runaway nuclear fusion. They are short-lived, but not instant events - the light from the explosion can last for weeks or even months before fading out. This particular star was a white dwarf, and its supernova is expected to continue to brighten for the next two weeks as the explosion grows. The energy released in a single supernova event can often exceed what our Sun will emit over its entire lifespan.

Across the thousands of galaxies in the entire universe supernovae are quite common - astronomers record a few hundred new ones every year. While none have been observed within the Milky Way since 1604, observed supernova remnants suggest our galaxy sees two to three per century. This is the nearest supernova to Earth in 21 years.

Photo: UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)

Hubble’s first frontier field finds thousands of unseen, faraway galaxies (Phys.org) —The first of a set of unprecedented, super-deep views of the universe from an ambitious collaborative program called The Frontier Fields is being released today at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.
The long-exposure image taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is the deepest-ever picture taken of a cluster of galaxies, and also contains images of some of the intrinsically faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected.
The target is the massive cluster Abell 2744, which contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago. The immense gravity in this foreground cluster is being used as a “gravitational lens,” which warps space to brighten and magnify images of far more-distant background galaxies as they looked over 12 billion years ago, not long after the big bang…  (read more) (Image: NASA)

Hubble’s first frontier field finds thousands of unseen, faraway galaxies

(Phys.org) —The first of a set of unprecedented, super-deep views of the universe from an ambitious collaborative program called The Frontier Fields is being released today at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.

The long-exposure image taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is the deepest-ever picture taken of a cluster of galaxies, and also contains images of some of the intrinsically faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected.

The target is the massive cluster Abell 2744, which contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago. The immense gravity in this foreground cluster is being used as a “gravitational lens,” which warps space to brighten and magnify images of far more-distant background galaxies as they looked over 12 billion years ago, not long after the big bang…  (read more)

(Image: NASA)