Astronomy in Pictures: Unraveling Galaxies and Clyde’s Spot

Expanded View of the Milky Way’s Core

Our view of the galactic middle reveals a tapestry of life and loss of life. Stars are born and, with the fierce vitality of youth, push out particle winds. Stars die, and their explosive ends blow out bubbles of scorching gas. And in the center of all of it, our resident supermassive black hole (Sgr A*), a quiet 4 million-solar-mass behemoth, units off flashes and plasma bursts of its personal. How do all these sources weave collectively?

Galactic center
The galactic middle is a busy place.
X-ray: NASA / CXC / UMass / Q.D. Wang; Radio: NRF / SARAO / MeerKAT

To see into our galaxy’s coronary heart, scientists survey the area at shorter and longer wavelengths that may go by the mud that blocks seen gentle. The picture right here builds on previous panoramas with new observations that broaden the view vertically, and permits us to look at our galaxy’s core as we’d by no means see it with our personal eyes. Orange, green, blue and purple characterize X-rays of accelerating vitality, as seen by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, whereas lilac and gray characterize radio emission detected by the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa.

Among the extra fascinating contributors of the melee pictured listed below are oddly linear threads of scorching gas, such because the 20 light-year-long G0.17-0.41, which is held ramrod-straight by magnetic fields. Field traces from completely different sources could have gotten tousled right here earlier than they snapped in a course of referred to as magnetic reconnection. Daniel Wang (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), who performed the research, notes that threads like this one are inclined to lie close to the sides of plumes of gas powered by supernovae, stellar winds, or Sgr A*’s outbursts.

Read extra in the online preprint; the research will seem in the June Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. See a totally annotated picture in Chandra’s press release.

Unraveling Clyde’s Spot

Clyde's Spot evolution
The storm that was Clyde’s Spot has folded in on itself over the course of a year.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS; Image processing by Kevin M. Gill © CC BY­­

Clyde’s Spot, a particular white spot southeast of the Great Red Spot, acquired its nickname in honor of novice astronomer Clyde Foster of Centurion, South Africa. He found it utilizing his 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on May 31, 2020, two days earlier than NASA’s Juno mission was capable of swing by for a more in-depth look.

The preliminary white spot was a plume of methane-rich cloud materials erupting above the highest layers of the Jovian environment. Later, the white spot light and left behind a darkish spot nonetheless seen in novice scopes.

Now, a brand new picture from Juno taken on April 15, 2021, reveals that winds have stretched and pleated the spot right into a folded filamentary area. These options are sometimes short-lived, disappearing shortly into the cloud decks, however on account of its measurement this one may stick round for some time.

Read extra in regards to the newest picture in NASA’s press release.

Hubble Views Lopsided Galaxy

NGC 2276
Hubble’s view of the lopsided spiral, NGC 2276
NASA / ESA / STScI / Paul Sell (Univ. of Florida);
Acknowledgment: Leo Shatz

The spiral galaxy NGC 2276 appears to be like prefer it’s operating away from one thing — the yellow-ish bulge of stars that ought to take a seat squarely on the galactic middle as an alternative lies off to the aspect. In reality, it is not the bulge that is making the get-away. It’s the blue arms bursting with new child stars which might be being pulled towards one other galaxy passing close by: the getting old elliptical NGC 2300.

NGC 2276 wide-field view
In this wide-field view, the blue galaxy on the left, NGC 2276. is being pulled by the neighboring galaxy on the proper, NGC 2300.
NASA / ESA / STScI / Adam Block (Steward Observatory)

The galaxies’ colours are a research in contrasts: The spiral’s blue gentle comes from new child stars. Some of those burn quick and die younger; the galaxy has hosted six supernovae over the previous six many years. It can also be house to an intermediate-mass black hole that is 50,000 occasions the mass of the Sun. Meanwhile, the fuzzy elliptical has the yellow-white shade of older stars. The pair are 120 million light-years away in Cepheus. Both galaxies are seen in yard telescopes with floor brightness magnitudes of 13.5 (NGC 2276) and 12.8 (NGC 2300).

Read extra in NASA’s press release, and learn the way to see these galaxies and others close to the celestial north in the February 2016 issue of Sky & Telescope.

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