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A Fingerprint in Space

Well that’s what this picture looks like to me.

Rotation of Large Cloud of Magellan

It comes from the European Space Agency (ESA) via Astronomy Picture of the Day for 16/5/18 using data from the Gaia satellite and shows the rotation of the Greater Magellanic Cloud or Large Cloud of Magellan.

The Observable Universe

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 8/5/18.

The observable Universe; from our Solar System out to the cosmic microwave background.

The caption says that “in light the farthest we can see comes from the cosmic microwave background.” That would be “in electromagnetic radiation the farthest we can see comes from the cosmic microwave background.”

The Observable Universe

Stickney Crater

Stickney Crater is almost half the diameter of the astronomical object of which it forms part of the surface, Mars’s largest moon, Phobos.

This view of it taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter appeared on Astronomy Picture of the Day, on 5/5/18.

It’s a bit weird-looking, possibly due to enhanced colouring, but what an impressive sight!

Stickney Crater, Phobos

Light Effects

What could this picture possibly be? Fingerprints? Abstract Art?

Martian light effects

It’s actually sand dunes on Mars catching low-angled sunlight.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 14/4/2018.

Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 13/4/2018.

NGC 3344

Spiral Galaxy NGC 3344 shown in near infrared to ultra-violet wavelengths. Beautiful.

The Crab Nebula

Okay, this is false colour. But it’s still stunning.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day, for 17/3/18 (and The Daily Galaxy, 18/3/18.)

The Crab Nebula in X-ray, infra-red and visible light:-

The Crab Nebula

Stephen Hawking

This is starting to feel like 2016 over again. Now it’s Stephen Hawking who has died.

He was one of the few people in the world who needed no introduction. Certainly the most famous scentist.

His A Brief History of Time brought cosmology to wide audience in accessible terms (though it was nothing like as difficult to follow as some have represented it. Or do I just think that as someone who trained in Science? I believe after I read it I characterised it as “Physics for Dingbats”. [I was perhaps less temperate in those days.])

A diagnosis of motor neurone disease would have devastated most but Hawking obviously had a fierce resolve and determination to make the best of what he had to deal with. That he managed to survive to the age of 76 is a testament to his indominability.

Plus he took Jeremy Hunt to task over the government’s treatment of the NHS and its selective attitude to evidence.

It is not just the scientific world that will miss him.

Stephen William Hawking: 8/1/1942 – 14/3/2018. So it goes.

Enceladus Backlit

From Astronomy Picture of the Day, for 15/2/18, another wonderful photograph from the Cassini mission to Saturn, this one showing the moon Enceladus outgassing plumes of ice.

At bottom right of middle just below the edge-on rings of Saturn can be seen the small moon Pandora.

Enceladus backlit

The Cartwheel Galaxy

From Astronomy Picture of the Day, for 25/1/2018.

Simply beautiful.

The Cartwheel Galaxy

Fly Through Orion

Courtesy of The Daily Galaxy (and the Hubble Telescope) plus some technological trickery here is a visual fly-through of the Orion Nebula in visible and infra-red light.

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