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Another Cubic Asteroid

This one is 101955 Bennu as featured in Astronomy Picture of the Day for 13/11/2018 and photographed by the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer aka (OSIRIS-REx) on its mission to map the asteroid’s surface.

The video collapses Bernnu’s 4.25 hour day into 7 seconds:-

Space Jellyfish

It’s amazing what some of the images from Astronomy Picture of the Day resemble.

This one is from 20/10/18. The halo round the Cat’s Eye Nebula. I’ve not reproduced it here for copyright reasons but click on the link to see it.

To me it looks like a jellyfish.

The central nebula itself, NGC 6543, looks like this in X-ray and visible light:-

Cat's Eye Nebula

Solar Prominence

From the Solar Dynamic Observatory spacecraft via Astronomy Picture of the Day for 10/10/2018.

Filmed in ultraviolet light, a solar prominence almost looping the loop:-

NGC 1672

Another lovely picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day, this time from 9/10/18.

Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672:-

NGC 1672

A Piece of Rocketry History

What a piece of nostalgia this is. This is a what a space rocket ought to look like – and in all those 1950s SF story illustrations always did. (It’s a pity it’s based on a V-2, though.)

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 1/10/2018, the first ever rocket launch from Cape Canaveral.

First Launch from Cape Canaveral

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

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