Barred Spiral Galaxies Are Latecomers to the Universe

A frequent sign of the maturity of a spiral galaxy is the formation of a ribbon of stars and gas that slices across the nucleus, like the slash across a "no smoking" sign.

Barred Spiral Galaxies Are Latecomers to the Universe

In a landmark study of more than 2,000 spiral galaxies from the largest galaxy census conducted by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers found that so-called barred spiral galaxies were far less plentiful 7 billion years ago than they are today, in the local universe.

The study’s results confirm the idea that bars are a sign of galaxies reaching full maturity as the "formative years" end. The observations are part of the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS).

This new detailed look at the history of bar formation, made with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, provides clues to understanding when and how spiral galaxies formed and evolved over time.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Great views of jupiter!

Boston.com just posted a series of pictures of jupiter and its moons, awesome! Below you see Io with the volcano Tvashtar shooting out a 300 kilometer high plume. Hit the image for the rest of the pictures.

[SOURCE: boston.com]

Space Calendar August 28 – September 3 2008

Space related activities and anniversaries for August 28 – September 3 2008. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Three Red Spots Mix it Up on Jupiter

In what’s beginning to look like a case of planetary measles, a third red spot has appeared alongside its cousins — the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Jr. — in the turbulent Jovian atmosphere. This third red spot, which is a fraction of the size of the two other features, lies to the west of the Great Red Spot in the same latitude band of clouds. The visible-light images were taken on May 9 and 10 with Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar August 21 – August 27 2008

Space related activities and anniversaries for August 21 – August 27 2008. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Where in the world is Voyager 1

Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in 1977, and they were ment to explore Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there — such as active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and intricacies of Saturn’s rings — the mission was extended. Voyager 1 left our solar system in 2004, followed by Voyager 2 in 2007. The scale here is quite difficult to grasp, but imagine that you have the sun on the left side of your screen and the earth on the right side. Voyager 1 would be some 90 feet to the right of your monitor. And still going…

12 billion year old star factory

Telescopes looking back in time to more than 12 billion years ago have spotted a star factory — a galaxy producing so many new stars that they have nicknamed it the “baby boom” galaxy.

The remote galaxy is — or was — pumping out stars at a rate of up to 4,000 per year. In comparison, our own Milky Way galaxy gives birth to an average of just 10 stars per year, they reported on Wednesday.

The galaxy is 12.3 billion light-years away. The universe is 13.4 billion years old, so the galaxy was pumping out stars when the universe was 1.3 billion years old.

[SOURCE: reuters.com]

Another quiz!

People have been wondering if the resolution of Hubble is good enough to spot Armstrong’s footprints on the moon. Well, it’s definitively not. Hubble has a mirror size of “only” 8 feet, due to the limited space on board the space shuttle that lifted it into orbit. When viewing the moon, one pixel in a Hubble image covers roughly the size of a football field on the moon. Now, if the pixel was to cover just the size of a footprint…

How large would the Hubble mirror need to be to see Armstrong's footprint on the moon?

View Results

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Bit of help. If you in addition to the actual footprint also wanted to see the threadmarks of Armstrong’s sole, the mirror size would have to be 9 MILES wide…

What’s My Age? Mystery Star Cluster Has 3 Different Birthdays

Imagine having three clocks in your house, each chiming at a different time. Astronomers have found the equivalent of three out-of-sync "clocks" in the ancient open star cluster NGC 6791. The dilemma may fundamentally challenge the way astronomers estimate cluster ages, researchers said.

What's My Age? Mystery Star Cluster Has 3 Different Birthdays

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to study the dimmest stars in the cluster, astronomers uncovered three different age groups. Two of the populations are burned-out stars called white dwarfs. One group of these low-wattage stellar remnants appears to be 6 billion years old, another appears to be 4 billion years old. The ages are out of sync with those of the cluster’s normal stars, which are 8 billion years old.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar August 14 – August 20 2008

Space related activities and anniversaries for August 14 – August 20 2008. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.