galaxy

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Messier Monday: Bode’s Galaxy, M81

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.” -Kalpana Chawla Welcome to this week’s Messier Monday, where I pick a new object out of the original catalogue of 110 “faint fuzzies” designed to help comet-hunters avoid…

“When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.” -Mark Twain Welcome to yet another installment of Messier Monday, where each week, I’ll pick one of the 110 Messier Objects — deep-sky objects catalogued to avoid confusion for comet hunters — to highlight for you. So far,…

“It’s a brilliant surface in that sunlight.” – Neil Armstrong Indeed, all that glitters so brilliantly in the cosmos does so because of the stars that have formed throughout it. Over the 14 billion-or-so years that our Universe has been around, we’ve formed hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone. Given that our…

Where will we all be in 100 billion years?

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.” -Winston Churchill We’ve come a long way in this Universe. Over the past 13.7 billion years, we’ve formed the light elements out of a sea of protons and neutrons, cooled and expanded to form neutral atoms for the first…

Get Your Galaxy in Gear!

“We don’t understand how a single star forms, yet we want to understand how 10 billion stars form.” -Carlos Frenk The Universe has been around for a long time: nearly 14 billion years, to the best of our knowledge. When it was very young, there were absolutely zero stars in it, while today, there are hundreds…

“Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order.” -Robert Coover Our Milky Way,…

The one and only true “Space Needle”

“If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove.” -Timothy Leary Up in the night sky, shortly after sunset, the night sky holds some spectacular sights. Some are permanent, some are transient, some have been known for thousands of years, and some are still being…

“This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.” -Frances Willard As spring gives way to summer here in…

Hole in the Universe? What Hole?

Some of you who’ve been following astronomy for awhile might remember this report, where a group of astronomers reported finding a giant “void” in the Universe. What is a void? Well, galaxies are distributed pretty randomly, but because of gravity, they cluster together. A small example is our local group which looks like this, and…

Black Hole Kicked Out of Galaxy

No, not because it was too young to drink! Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics were looking at some X-ray objects, and discovered something really weird: a very bright X-ray source moving out of a galaxy at nearly 3,000 kilometers/second! This thing is a goner. If our Sun were moving at even…