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One of the Coolest Discoveries About Andromeda You Never Knew About

By on Mar 24, 2014 in For Your Information | 0 comments

One of the Coolest Discoveries About Andromeda You Never Knew About     You’ve may have heard of this famous galaxy called Andromeda or M31. It’s located 2.5 million light years away and it’s so large that it can even be seen with the naked eye! However, that’s not the astounding fact I want to talk about today. What’s really interesting is this research paper published in the new Nature issue (March 2014). What researchers discovered is that Andromeda is surrounded by numerous small satellite galaxies (that’s not even the new part!). Astronomers from the Niels Bhor Institute, and among others, detected a string of stars in one of Andromeda’s outer galaxies called Andromeda II. As these researchers follow the movement of the stars they uncovered that they were left over from a merger between two dwarf galaxies. Mergers of such low...

What is a Pulsar and Why are they Incredibly Deadly?

By on Mar 19, 2014 in For Your Information | 0 comments

What is a Pulsar and Why are they Incredibly Deadly?     Pulsars are one of the most energetic and deadly death rays that exist in the universe, and you know what makes them even worse? When they are pointed at Earth.  First things first is laying down the definition of a pulsar. A pulsar is basically the endpoint of a stellar evolution. Think of a star, at least 8 times bigger and no more than 50 times bigger than our Sun, that spends its happy life fusing atoms and burning up oxygen, helium, hydrogen and so on. Then near the end of its life it gets to a point where it exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit and the star collapses upon itself and exerting most of its energy and mass outward until it is halted by a neutron degeneracy and all that’s left is a dense neutron star. These neutron stars are only about 13 km in radius and spins 642 times per second! But then something...

The Gorgeous Butterfly Nebula NGC 6302 Emerges from a Dying Star

By on Mar 12, 2014 in For Your Information | 0 comments

The Gorgeous Butterfly Nebula NGC 6302 Emerges from a Dying Star     What a beautiful image of the Butterfly Nebula. This planetary nebula is a result of a dying star that was 5 times the mass of our own Sun and released a fury of hot gasses and a stream of ultraviolet radiation. For those of you who don’t know it’s called a planetary nebula because when viewed through a telescope it appears to look like a planet. In the 1780’s William Herschel coined the term planetary nebula even though it is a misnomer, astronomers still use the term today. The gas you see in the image is ripping through space at 965,606 km an hour (600,000 miles an hour), fast enough to travel from the Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes! If you wanted to take a trip to the Butterfly Nebula or also known as the Bug Nebula it would take you about 2,200 years travelling at the speed of light....

Space Station Mir: The Love and Loss of Earth’s First Space Station

By on Mar 2, 2014 in For Your Information | 0 comments

Space Station Mir: The Love and Loss of Earth’s First Space Station     When we think about space stations the first name that comes to mind to most of us is the International Space Station (ISS). However, a space station that is often forgotten but was important to us is a space station called Mir. Space Station Mir lasted 15 years, three times it’s expected lifespan, and even outlasted the Soviet Union who launched it into space. The Russian word “mir” literally translates to peace, world, or village.  It’s a fitting name as it was a host for many crewmembers and international visitors. What’s interesting about Mir that some may not know is that it was the first to raise a crop in outer space from a seed. Space Station Mir carried a lot of strong feelings such as joyous reunions, feats of courage, determination, moments of panic, and...

Reasons Why Triton, Neptune’s Moon, is One of the Coolest Moons!

By on Feb 17, 2014 in For Your Information | 0 comments

  When I think about moons in our solar system I usually go for the favorites like, Jupiter’s Europa because of its mysterious hidden ocean beneath the crust, or Saturn’s moon Titan being one of the only moons with a dense atmosphere. However, one planet and moon that never gets in the spotlight is Neptune’s moon Triton! It’s arguably one of the coolest hidden gems in our solar system, and I’ll tell you why.   Why Triton Rocks My Boat   1 ) Triton is one of Neptune’s largest moons and is the only large moon with a retrograde motion, which means it orbits in the opposite direction of the planets. Sure, it’s cool to know that this moon is a rebel and orbits the other direction but what’s really neat is astronomers believe because of its retrograde motion Triton may have come from the Kuiper belt. 2) The surface on Triton is...

What is a Dark Galaxy?

By on Feb 6, 2014 in For Your Information | 0 comments

  What is a dark galaxy? Well a dark galaxy is an early galaxy formation that is very inefficient at forming stars and is thought to be made up of dark matter. They are usually small low density gas-rich galaxies that have been thought to be the building blocks of today’s bright star filled galaxies. Since dark galaxies don’t hold any visible stars they are invisible to us making it very hard to detect. The theory of dark galaxies originated in 2000 when astronomers were studying a gas cloud called VIRGOHI21. Scientists were trying to figure out what it was and why it could cause a gravitational pull from the galaxy NGC 4254. After years of research they concluded that VIRGOHI21 was a dark galaxy due to the massive effect it had on NGC 4254. Well how does an astronomer detect a dark galaxy if they devoid light? Interestingly astronomers use quasars (which is an active...