Space Calendar February 3 – February 9 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for February 3 – February 9 2016. 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.

Monstrous Cloud Boomerangs Back to Our Galaxy

Monstrous Cloud Boomerangs Back to Our Galaxy

Hubble Space Telescope astronomers are finding that the old adage “what goes up must come down” even applies to an immense cloud of hydrogen gas outside our Milky Way galaxy. The invisible cloud is plummeting toward our galaxy at nearly 700,000 miles per hour.

Though hundreds of enormous, high-velocity gas clouds whiz around the outskirts of our galaxy, this so-called “Smith Cloud” is unique because its trajectory is well known. New Hubble observations suggest it was launched from the outer regions of the galactic disk, around 70 million years ago. The cloud was discovered in the early 1960s by doctoral astronomy student Gail Smith, who detected the radio waves emitted by its hydrogen.

The cloud is on a return collision course and is expected to plow into the Milky Way’s disk in about 30 million years. When it does, astronomers believe it will ignite a spectacular burst of star formation, perhaps providing enough gas to make 2 million suns.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar January 27 – February 2 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for January 27 – February 2 2016. 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.

Space Calendar January 20 – January 26 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for January 20 – January 26 2016. 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.

Space Calendar January 13 – January 19 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for January 13 – January 19 2016. 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.

NASA’s Great Observatories Weigh Massive Young Galaxy Cluster

NASA's Great Observatories Weigh Massive Young Galaxy Cluster

Astronomers have used data from three of NASA’s Great Observatories to make the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster. This rare galaxy cluster, which is located 10 billion light-years from Earth, is almost as massive as 500 trillion suns. This object has important implications for understanding how these megastructures formed and evolved early in the universe.

The galaxy cluster, called IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short), is so far away that the light detected is from when the universe was roughly a quarter of its current age. It is the most massive galaxy cluster detected at such an early age.

First discovered by the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2012, IDCS 1426 was then observed using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory to determine its distance. Observations from the Combined Array for Millimeter-wave Astronomy indicated it was extremely massive. New data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory confirm the galaxy cluster mass and show that about 90 percent of the mass of the cluster is in the form of dark matter, a mysterious substance detected so far only through its gravitational pull on normal matter composed of atoms.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

NASA’s Spitzer, Hubble Find ‘Twins’ of Superstar Eta Carinae in Other Galaxies

NASA's Spitzer, Hubble Find 'Twins' of Superstar Eta Carinae in Other Galaxies

Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years, is best known for an enormous eruption seen in the mid-19th century that hurled an amount of material at least 10 times the sun’s mass into space. This expanding veil of gas and dust, which still shrouds Eta Carinae, makes it the only object of its kind known in our galaxy. Now a study using archival data from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes has found five similar objects in other galaxies for the first time.

“The most massive stars are always rare, but they have tremendous impact on the chemical and physical evolution of their host galaxy,” said lead scientist Rubab Khan, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. These stars produce and distribute large amounts of the chemical elements vital to life and eventually explode as supernovae.

Located about 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina, Eta Carinae outshines our sun by 5 million times. The binary system consists of two massive stars in a tight 5.5-year orbit. Astronomers estimate that the more massive star has about 90 times the sun’s mass, while the smaller companion may exceed 30 solar masses.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar January 6 – January 12 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for January 6 – January 12 2016. 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.