24
Aug 11

WISE mission discovers coolest class of stars

Source: NASA News


Artist's conception of a "Y dwarf".
Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body.

Astronomers hunted these dark orbs, termed Y dwarfs, for more than a decade without success. When viewed with a visible-light telescope, they are nearly impossible to see. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of six Y dwarfs relatively close to our sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years. (read more)

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24
Aug 11

VLT Looks into The Eyes of the Virgin

Source: ESO Photo Release eso1131


VLT Looks into The Eyes of the Virgin.
Image credits: ESO/Gems project.

ESO’s Very Large Telescope has taken a striking image of a beautiful yet peculiar pair of galaxies nicknamed The Eyes. The larger of these, NGC 4438, was once a spiral galaxy but has become badly deformed by collisions with other galaxies in the last few hundred million years. This picture is the first to come out of ESO’s Cosmic Gems programme, an initiative in which ESO has granted dedicated observing time for outreach purposes.(read more)

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24
Aug 11

A Spiral in Leo

Source: ESO Photo Release eso1129


Picture of the nearby galaxy NGC 3521.
Image credits: ESO/O. Maliy.

This new picture from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows NGC 3521, a spiral galaxy located about 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). Spanning about 50 000 light-years, this spectacular object has a bright and compact nucleus, surrounded by richly detailed spiral structure.(Read more)

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