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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Weighing Black Hole In A Spiral Galaxy Confirms: We Are Tiny

ALMA's at it again. I'm blown away, yet again.
Crunching the numbers, ALMA has weighed the mass of the supermassive black hole at the center of this spiral barred galaxy called "NGC 1097."
It's pretty awesome progress.  This is a combo image of the galaxy using multiple real photos of different light freq. ranges, which is called a composite image, and very real.
Image Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ), K. Onishi; NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, E. Sturdivant; NRAO/AUI/NSF

Turns out this black hole has a mass of...  
over 140 million times that of our sun
 (which called Sol, btw.)
Woosah... Deep breaths... It'll be ok.  Don't worry, none of us can really, fully grasp this enormity.

Our sun is 99.8% the mass of OUR solar system.  Sol, our sun, is about 330,000 times the weight of the Earth.  
And we're pretty tiny, walking around on Earth trying to do stuff.
Remember as you go around doing oh so very important stuff, that this black hole in the center of the picture above is 
Earth's Mass times, oh, about 46,200,000,000,000

enjoy your latte.

EDIT:ALMA JAPAN just uploaded this fantastic youtube video featuring this galaxy, NGC 1097.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Quick Layman Explanation of New "Einstein Ring" and "Gravitational Lensing"

Circles like this are a product of a concept called Gravitational Lensing; and it's pretty easy to grasp.  
If you visualize the distorted reflection we see in a droplet of water, and then realize that something big and dark with a field of gravity acts like the droplet and curves the pathways of light just like the drop of water does, then you "get" Gravitational Lensing.  These "Einstein Rings" like the one below are really one basic light source where, instead of coming straight at us without anything in it's way (looking like dot), it encounters a gravitational field on it's way (looking like a circle instead).

ALMA has a new image they released recently of a pretty badass Einstein Ring!  
This is why I'm all excited!
Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ)/Y. Tamura (The University of Tokyo)

Here's a quick visual diagram showing how gravitational lensing works:

ALMA rocks.  Their work is fantastic; and their media releases are often outrageously beautiful.
Here's the Rundown of the new Einstein Ring release by ALMA:
ALMA’s Long Baseline Campaign has produced a spectacularly detailed image of a distant galaxy being gravitationally lensed, revealing star-forming regions — something that has never been seen before at this level of detail in a galaxy so remote. The gravitationally lensed galaxy SDP.81, which appears as an almost perfect Einstein Ring, is seen here. 

Want To Learn More About Einstein Rings? 

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New from ALMA: 3-Light-Year-Long Gas Arms

Absolutely stunning to see new images of such intense happenings in this kind of scale.  New today from ALMA, off of NRAO

"...a cluster of massive stars is forming.  ALMA revealed, in unprecedented detail, the fine structure of the molecular gas structures at the center of the region, where two surprisingly large molecular gas arms about 3 light-years across, appear to be spiraling around two massive molecular cores. 

These results show that the large molecular arms are indeed the cradles of dense cores, which are current or future birthplaces of massive stars. These results represent a crucial step forward in the understanding of how mass distributes to form both massive cores and massive stars."
Image Credit:ALMA(ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), H. B. Liu, J. Dale.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Orion's Fingers: New from Gemini Observatory

New from Gemini's newsletter, JUST came in my inbox. "The outflow of the 'Orion Fingers' is evident in this high-resolution image from Bally et al. (2015). The leading fingertips appear in [Fe II] (cyan), and the trailing fingers are evident in molecular hydrogen emission (orange). Comparison with earlier observations shows the motion and morphological changes of the emitting knots."
Image Credit: Gemini / arXiv

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fiery, Dusty Sky Map (Astronasty Pic o' the Day)

You know how a paper map of the Earth handles mapping the whole 3d sphere?  This shape shown below covers the whole of our view of the sky.
Max Planck puts out some amazing sky maps, like this that they released recently of
Polarized Dust
"Our Milky Way galaxy is ablaze with dust..."
Image Credit:ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Beautifully Processed Sunspot (Astronasty Pic o' the Day)

Awesome processing on this sunspot. "a speckle reconstruction based on 25 images selected from a burst of 50 at an exposure time of 20 ms. The filter is a Fabry-Perot with a bandpass of 0.08A and the camera is a PCOedge 2kx2k"

Credit:Big Bear Solar Observatory, NJ Institute of Technology, USA. Found via Spaceweather: Extra processing - Gabriel Corban

Want More Awesome Sunspot Images and Articles? Let Me Google That For You :)

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Colored Smoke? Nope. The Veil Nebula! (Astronasty Pic o' the Day)

GORGEOUS shot of this, the aftermath of a supernova released recently from NASA/Hubble:
Veil Nebula - Segment #3
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Want more of this Veil Nebula Stuffs?  Let Me Google That For You :)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015


A seriously emotionally moving short film with Carl Sagan narrating.  I absolutely love it!
By Erik Wernquist

Wanderers - a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Astronasty Pic o' the Day! TACIT BLUE

Astronasty Pic o' the Day!
Stealth tech, developed by Northrop.  Screenshotted from DARPA's in a pdf on stealth, website is: "50 Years of Bridging the Gap

Want to find more on Tacit Blue?  Let Me Google That For You :)

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