On the Origin of Gold

Where did the gold in your jewelry originate? No one is completely sure. The relative average abundance in our Solar System appears higher than can be made in the early universe, in stars, and even in typical supernova explosions. Some astronomers have suggested, and many believe, that neutron-rich heavy elements such as gold might be most easily made in rare neutron-rich explosions such as the collision of neutron stars. Pictured … Read More →

All Sky Steve

Familiar green and red tinted auroral emission floods the sky along the northern (top) horizon in this fish-eye panorama projection from September 27. On the mild, clear evening the Milky Way tracks through the zenith of a southern Alberta sky and ends where the six-day-old Moon sets in the southwest. The odd, isolated, pink and whitish arc across the south has come to be known as Steve. The name was … Read More →

[NASA] Glorious Sunrise at the Start of a Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei exits the International Space Station on Oct. 10, 2017, for a spacewalk in this photograph taken by fellow spacewalker Randy Bresnik. Bresnik wrote, “A glorious sunrise greeted @Astro_Sabot and I at the start of our 2nd #spacewalk. His visor reflection shows the airlock hatch we came out.” via NASA http://ift.tt/2hExaE6

[NASA] Dream Chaser at Dawn

Dawn bring the sight of Dream Chaser, Sierra Nevada’s reusable spaceplane, as it sits on the runway at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kJGA6h

NGC 1365: Majestic Island Universe

Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This impressively sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy’s bright … Read More →

Star Cluster NGC 362 from Hubble

If our Sun were near the center of NGC 362, the night sky would glow like a jewel box of bright stars. Hundreds of stars would glow brighter than Sirius, and in many different colors. Although these stars could become part of breathtaking constellations and intricate folklore, it would be difficult for planetary inhabitants there to see — and hence understand — the greater universe beyond. NGC 362 is one … Read More →

Milky Way and Zodiacal Light over Australian Pinnacles

What strange world is this? Earth. In the foreground of the featured image are the Pinnacles, unusual rock spires in Nambung National Park in Western Australia. Made of ancient sea shells (limestone), how these human-sized picturesque spires formed remains a topic of research. The panorama was taken last month. A ray of zodiacal light, sunlight reflected by dust grains orbiting between the planets in the Solar System, rises from the … Read More →