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The Moon’s Movements

Taken from You Tube via Astronomy Picture of the Day for 12/9/18.

All the ways the Moon moves in a year. Courtesy of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. For full explanation see the 12/9/18 link.

(The soundtrack they’ve used is Johann Strauss II’s An der schönen blauen Donau known in English as The Blue Danube, which of course brings to mind the docking sequence from the film of 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

Spiral in LL Pegasi

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 28/6/18.

Modern Astronomy provides some amazing sights. Why does the structure in this photo appear as such a perfect spiral?

LL Pegasi Spiral

Charon Then, and Then Again

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 6/7/2018, this is a picture of Pluto’s moon Charon (though which is primary and which satellite when one’s diameter is only twice the other’s is pushing it) taken by the New Horizons probe in its journey through Pluto’s system.

The inset shows the first ever indication of Charon’s existence – a grainy bump on an indistinct photograph from 40 years ago.


162173 Ryugu

I followed the link from today’s (25/6/18) Astronomy Picture of the Day to the Wiki page on asteroid 162173 Ryugu. It’s a near-Earth asteroid with the (outside) possibility of coming so close as to present a potential threat of impact.

It looks like a cube! An irregular cube, granted, but still a cube.

It has been approached by a Japanese space probe, Hyabusa2, with a view to studying it more closely, by landing on it and moving around.

I also found the video below made from photos taken from the probe on its approach.

When Galaxies Collide

“Two thousand million or so years ago two galaxies were colliding; or, rather, were passing through each other,” is the first sentence of E E ‘Doc’ Smith‘s Triplanetary, the first in his Lensman series. I read it at an impressionable young age and that sentence has stuck with me ever since, probably because the concept struck my young mind as awesome. (Awesome in the British sense and not as our USian cousins use the term, almost as a throwaway.)

Smith wasn’t the greatest stylist (he wasn’t a stylist at all) and his characterisation was rudimentary but he more or less invented space opera. About the only things I can remember about the Lensman series is that first sentence and the frequently repeated call sign (no doubt modelled on William Joyce as “Lord Haw-Haw“) “This is Helmuth, speaking for Boskone.”

Anyway, this, from Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) for 23/5/18, is a picture of two galaxies (NGC 4038 and NGC 4039) colliding; or, rather, passing through each other, not two thousand million years ago but for the last 100 million at least.

NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 Colliding

The two galaxies are known as the antennae. A wider angle (which was featured on APOD on 29/4/2011) shows why.

The Antennae

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.

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