Friday, November 26, 2010

Hubble Space Telescope - Best Images for Desktop Wallpaper (Part 2)

Part 2, Finally!  Eight new high-res images perfect for your desktop wallpaper collection.

Sorry for the delay, had to turn in a research paper for work, and then the holidays...you know how it is.  To make up for the delay, I have 8 new images - all of them perfect for desktop wallpaper.  5 are from Hubble, and the last 3 are just awesome "astrophotographs". 

I also have another post coming up on Thanksgiving.  You see my dinner was, well, less than optimal.  *cough* McDonalds *cough* *cough*  :(

Colliding Galaxies 
This Hubble image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. As the two galaxies smash together, billions of stars are born, mostly in groups and clusters of stars. The brightest and most compact of these are called super star clusters. The Antennae are undergoing a galactic collision. Located in the NGC 4038 group with five other galaxies, these two galaxies are known as the 'Antennae' because the two long tails of stars, gas and dust thrown out of the galaxies as a result of the collision resemble the antennae of an insect.

Butterfly Nebula
What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to nearly 20 000 degrees Celsius. The gas is tearing across space at more than 950 000 kilometres per hour — fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes!  A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the centre of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope.

Heart of the Whirlpool Galaxy
The Whirlpool galaxy, M51, has been one of the most photogenic galaxies in amateur and professional astronomy. Easily photographed and viewed by smaller telescopes, this celestial beauty is studied extensively in a range of wavelengths by large ground- and space-based observatories. This Hubble composite image shows visible starlight as well as light from the emission of glowing hydrogen, which is associated with the most luminous young stars in the spiral arms.

"Ultra Deep Field"
This view of nearly 10,000 galaxies is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The snapshot includes galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes, and colours. The smallest, reddest galaxies, about 100, may be among the most distant known, existing when the universe was just 800 million years old. The nearest galaxies - the larger, brighter, well-defined spirals and ellipticals - thrived about 1 billion years ago, when the cosmos was 13 billion years old.  The image required 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around Earth. The total amount of exposure time was 11.3 days, taken between Sept. 24, 2003 and Jan. 16, 2004.

R136 / RMC136
R136, formally known as RMC 136, is a super star cluster near the center of the 30 Doradus complex (also known as the Tarantula Nebula), in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is a young star cluster, age 1-2 million years, of giant and supergiant stars. The majority of its stars are of spectral type O3,with 39 confirmed O3-type stars.Additionally, there are several confirmed Wolf-Rayet stars.

Helix Nebula (from Spitzer telescope)
The Helix Nebula, also known as The Helix or NGC 7293, is a large planetary nebula (PN) located in the constellation of Aquarius. Discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding, probably before 1824, this object is one of the closest to the Earth of all the bright planetary nebulae.The estimated distance is about 215 parsecs or 700 light-years. It is similar in appearance to the Ring Nebula, whose size, age, and physical characteristics are similar to the Dumbbell Nebula, varying only in its relative proximity and the appearance from the equatorial viewing angle. The Helix has often been referred to as the Eye of God on the Internet, since about 2003.

NGC 2170 (Nighthawk Observatory)
When stars form, pandemonium reigns. A textbook case is the star forming region NGC 2170. Visible above are red glowing emission nebulas of hydrogen, blue reflection nebulas of dust, dark absorption nebulas of dust, and the stars that formed from them. The first massive stars formed from the dense gas will emit energetic light and winds that erode, fragment, and sculpt their birthplace. And then they explode. The resulting morass is often as beautiful as it is complex. After tens of millions of years, the dust boils away, the gas gets swept away, and all that is left is a naked open cluster of stars.

Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi
This stunning mosiac of the sky around bright stars Antares (Alpha Scorpii) and Rho Ophiuchi reveals spectacular colors in a cosmic starscape. Near the top, Rho Ophiuchi and nearby stars are immersed in blue reflection nebulae - dust clouds that shine primarily by reflected starlight. Cool supergiant star Antares (lower left) is itself shedding the material that reflects the evolved star's yellowish hue. Characteristic of star forming regions, the telltale red emission from hydrogen gas also permeates the view along with dark, obscuring dust clouds seen in silhouette against the background stars and brighter nebulosities. About 500 light-years away, the Rho Ophiuchi star clouds, are well in front of the nearby globular star cluster M4, visible just below and right of center. The wide view spans about 6 degrees on the sky.

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