This image, which shows NGC 4980, is composed of exposures taken in visible and infrared light by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The image is approximately 3.3 by 1.5 arcminutes in size.NGC 4980 is a spiral galaxy in the southern constellation of Hydra. The shape of NGC 4980 appears slightly deformed, something which is often a sign of recent tidal interactions with another galaxy. In this galaxy’s case, however, this appears not to be the case as there are no other galaxies in its immediate vicinity.
Astronomers have identified the star that may be responsible for a supernova discovered by skywatchers last week. The supernova popped up in the galaxy M95 about 33 million light-years from Earth. It was first reported last week by a several different observers and soon confirmed by major observatories. Now a team led by Nancy Elias-Rosa of Spain’s Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia has compared new photos of the exploded star with pictures taken before the supernova occurred to identify what could very well have been the culprit star.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed unexpected details on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. The new photos of Vesta from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft highlight odd, shiny spots that are nearly twice as bright as other parts of the asteroid, suggesting it is original material left over from the space rock’s birth 4 billion years ago, NASA officials said on March 21. With a width of about 330 miles (530 km), asteroid Vesta is one of the largest and brightest objects in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The NASA Visualization Explorer is now delivering new opportunities to explore NASA’s research of the sun, planetary bodies, Earth and the universe to your iPad. Since July 2011, the Visualization Explorer iPad app, NASA Viz for short, has delivered two stories each week with a strong focus on Earth science. That two story per week schedule will continue, but now with stories that cover the breadth of the agency’s science mission and continue to highlight NASA’s artful data visualization. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is organized into four disciplines: Heliophysics, Planetary, Astrophysics and Earth science.
The globular cluster, called Messier 9, shines in this new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope.The cluster Messier 9 contains hordes of stars swarming in a spherical cloud about 25,000 light-years from Earth. The object is too faint to be seen with the naked eye, and when it was discovered by French astronomer Charles Messier in 1764, the scientist could only resolve it as a faint smudge that he classified as a nebula. Hubble Space Telescope released a new picture of Messier 9 on March 16.
Astronomers by using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were able to find several examples of galaxies containing quasars, which act as gravitational lenses, amplifying and distorting images of galaxies aligned behind them. Quasars are among the brightest objects in the universe, far outshining the total starlight of their host galaxies. Quasars are powered by supermassive black holes. To find these rare cases of galaxy-quasar combinations acting as lenses, a team of astronomers led by Frederic Courbin at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) selected 23,000 quasar spectra in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).
Two teams of astronomers have used data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes to map the distribution of dark matter in a galaxy cluster known as Abell 383.Abell 383 is located about 2.3 billion light years from Earth. Researchers also able to determine how the dark matter is distributed along the line of sight. The recent work on Abell 383 provides one of the most detailed 3-D pictures yet taken of dark matter in a galaxy cluster. The X-ray data (purple) from Chandra in the composite image show the hot gas, which is by far the dominant type of normal matter in the cluster.
The myriad faint stars that comprise the Antlia Dwarf galaxy are more than four million light-years from Earth, but this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image offers such clarity that they could be mistaken for much closer stars in our own Milky Way. This very faint and sparsely populated small galaxy was only discovered in 1997. This image was created from observations in visible and infrared light taken with the Wide Field Channel of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Telescope have observed what appears to be a clump of dark matter left behind from a wreck between massive clusters of galaxies. The result could challenge current theories about dark matter that predict galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance even during the shock of a collision. Abell 520 is a gigantic merger of galaxy clusters located 2.4 billion light-years away.