A Cosmic Easter Egg
In this composite image, visible-light observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are combined with infrared data from the ground-based Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona to assemble a dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula.
Called a planetary nebula, the Ring Nebula is the glowing remains of a Sun-like star. It is about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra and measures roughly one light-year across.
Most Sun-like stars become planetary nebulae at the end of their lives. Once a star consumes all of its hydrogen, the nuclear fuel that makes it shine, it expands to a red giant. The bloated star then expels its outer layers, exposing its hot core. Ultraviolet radiation from the core illuminates the discarded material, making it glow. The smoldering core, called a white dwarf, is the tiny white dot in the center of the Ring Nebula.
(Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University)

A Cosmic Easter Egg

In this composite image, visible-light observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are combined with infrared data from the ground-based Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona to assemble a dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula.

Called a planetary nebula, the Ring Nebula is the glowing remains of a Sun-like star. It is about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra and measures roughly one light-year across.

Most Sun-like stars become planetary nebulae at the end of their lives. Once a star consumes all of its hydrogen, the nuclear fuel that makes it shine, it expands to a red giant. The bloated star then expels its outer layers, exposing its hot core. Ultraviolet radiation from the core illuminates the discarded material, making it glow. The smoldering core, called a white dwarf, is the tiny white dot in the center of the Ring Nebula.

(Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University)

This is IC 1396 or as it’s more commonly known, the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula. Energetic light from this star is eating away the dust of the dark cometary globule near the top of the above image. Jets and winds of particles emitted from this star are also pushing away ambient gas and dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a much larger region on the sky than shown here, with an apparent width of more than 10 full moons.

Credit: T. Rector (U. Alaska Anchorage) & H. Schweiker (WIYN, NOAO, AURA, NSF)

This is IC 1396 or as it’s more commonly known, the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula. Energetic light from this star is eating away the dust of the dark cometary globule near the top of the above image. Jets and winds of particles emitted from this star are also pushing away ambient gas and dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a much larger region on the sky than shown here, with an apparent width of more than 10 full moons.

Credit: T. Rector (U. Alaska Anchorage) & H. Schweiker (WIYN, NOAO, AURA, NSF)

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in ‘Habitable Zone’
Kepler-186f is 1.1 times the size of Earth.
Due to its size and location, it’s likely to be rocky. It’s (probably) not some gaseous ball.
It’s 500 lightyears away from Earth.
Scientists hypothesize it is at least several billion years old.
Its years are 130 days long and it gets one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun. So it’s chilly. On the chilliest end of the habitable zone.
At noon on Kepler-186f, its sun would be about as bright as ours is an hour before sunset.
It has four brother planets, though none of them are habitable. They fly around their sun once every four, seven, 13 and 22 days, so they are way too close and too hot for life.

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in ‘Habitable Zone’

  • Kepler-186f is 1.1 times the size of Earth.
  • Due to its size and location, it’s likely to be rocky. It’s (probably) not some gaseous ball.
  • It’s 500 lightyears away from Earth.
  • Scientists hypothesize it is at least several billion years old.
  • Its years are 130 days long and it gets one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun. So it’s chilly. On the chilliest end of the habitable zone.
  • At noon on Kepler-186f, its sun would be about as bright as ours is an hour before sunset.
  • It has four brother planets, though none of them are habitable. They fly around their sun once every four, seven, 13 and 22 days, so they are way too close and too hot for life.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot 
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) is an atmospheric storm that has been raging in Jupiter’s southern Hemisphere for at least 400 years.
About 100 years ago, the storm covered over 40,000 km of the surface. It is currently about one half of that size and seems to be shrinking. 
At the present rate that it is shrinking it could become circular by 2040. The GRS rotates counter-clockwise(anti-cyclonic) and makes a full rotation every six Earth days. 
It is not known exactly what causes the Great Red Spot’s reddish color. The most popular theory, which is supported by laboratory experiments, holds that the color may be caused by complex organic molecules, red phosphorus, or other sulfur compounds. 
The GRS is about two to three times larger than Earth. Winds at its oval edges can reach up to 425 mph (680 km/h) 
Infrared data has indicated that the Great Red Spot is colder (and thus, higher in altitude) than most of the other clouds on the planet
Sources: http://www.universetoday.com/15163/jupiters-great-red-spot/ http://www.space.com/23708-jupiter-great-red-spot-longevity.html

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

  • Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) is an atmospheric storm that has been raging in Jupiter’s southern Hemisphere for at least 400 years.
  • About 100 years ago, the storm covered over 40,000 km of the surface. It is currently about one half of that size and seems to be shrinking. 
  • At the present rate that it is shrinking it could become circular by 2040. The GRS rotates counter-clockwise(anti-cyclonic) and makes a full rotation every six Earth days. 
  • It is not known exactly what causes the Great Red Spot’s reddish color. The most popular theory, which is supported by laboratory experiments, holds that the color may be caused by complex organic molecules, red phosphorus, or other sulfur compounds. 
  • The GRS is about two to three times larger than Earth. Winds at its oval edges can reach up to 425 mph (680 km/h) 
  • Infrared data has indicated that the Great Red Spot is colder (and thus, higher in altitude) than most of the other clouds on the planet

Sources:
http://www.universetoday.com/15163/jupiters-great-red-spot/ http://www.space.com/23708-jupiter-great-red-spot-longevity.html

I’m working on a new sleeve inspired by the Voyager missions and finished phase 1 this weekend. To me, the Voyager spacecrafts go beyond just their scientific purposes but truly represent an extension of humanity as they venture into interstellar space. They act as a kind of time capsule on behalf of our planet. In this portion of the design, Mother Earth gazes in wonder at the outer solar system and greater cosmic unknown. 
Artist: Megan Jean Morrishttp://instagram.com/meganjeanmorrishttp://www.paintedsoultattoo.com/

I’m working on a new sleeve inspired by the Voyager missions and finished phase 1 this weekend. To me, the Voyager spacecrafts go beyond just their scientific purposes but truly represent an extension of humanity as they venture into interstellar space. They act as a kind of time capsule on behalf of our planet. In this portion of the design, Mother Earth gazes in wonder at the outer solar system and greater cosmic unknown. 

Artist: Megan Jean Morris
http://instagram.com/meganjeanmorris
http://www.paintedsoultattoo.com/

Our Milky Way galaxy gleams in all its splendor above the desert observatory at La Silla in Chile.

The Milky Way spans more than 100,000 light-years across, putting Earth in the cosmic suburbs, some 27,000 light-years away from the brightly glowing center of the galaxy, seen at the center of this image.

(PHOTO BY BABAK TAFRESHI)

Our Milky Way galaxy gleams in all its splendor above the desert observatory at La Silla in Chile.

The Milky Way spans more than 100,000 light-years across, putting Earth in the cosmic suburbs, some 27,000 light-years away from the brightly glowing center of the galaxy, seen at the center of this image.

(PHOTO BY BABAK TAFRESHI)

Telescopes as Time Machines | Richard Dawkins

Telescopes awaken a cosmic perspective on life and our place in the cosmos like nothing else can. Astronomers are time travelers allowing us to see closer and closer to the origins of the universe, which is ultimately our origin.

This particular quote was borrowed from Richard Dawkins’ fantastic documentary, “Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life.” Watch it all HERE.

There are not many sights more beautiful on Earth than the aurora but our planet is not the only place where they occur. In this image, scientists combined ultraviolet images of the aurora on Saturn, taken by Hubble, with visible-light images of the ringed planet from the Cassini Spacecraft. Streams of charged particles blasted from the sun collide with Saturn’s magnetic field, creating an aurora on the planet’s south pole. Unlike Earth’s relatively short-lived auroras, Saturn’s can last for days.
While blue due to the UV light, Saturn’s northern and southern lights actually glow red on the bottom and purple on top in visible light. Earth’s auroras on the other hand are green on the bottom and red on top. The difference in color is due to variation in the dominant molecules of each planet’s atmospheres. Nitrogen and oxygen are prevalent in Earth’s auroras, while Saturn’s are composed of hydrogen.
(Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Clarke (Boston University), and Z. Levay (STScI) 

There are not many sights more beautiful on Earth than the aurora but our planet is not the only place where they occur. In this image, scientists combined ultraviolet images of the aurora on Saturn, taken by Hubble, with visible-light images of the ringed planet from the Cassini Spacecraft.

Streams of charged particles blasted from the sun collide with Saturn’s magnetic field, creating an aurora on the planet’s south pole. Unlike Earth’s relatively short-lived auroras, Saturn’s can last for days.

While blue due to the UV light, Saturn’s northern and southern lights actually glow red on the bottom and purple on top in visible light. Earth’s auroras on the other hand are green on the bottom and red on top. The difference in color is due to variation in the dominant molecules of each planet’s atmospheres. Nitrogen and oxygen are prevalent in Earth’s auroras, while Saturn’s are composed of hydrogen.

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Clarke (Boston University), and Z. Levay (STScI) 

Get your scopes out! Mars aligns with the sun and Earth today in a cosmic event that occurs just once every 26 months. Tonight’s alignment between Mars, the Earth and the sun is called “opposition” because Mars and the sun are opposite to each other in our sky. During opposition, Mars will shine nearly 10 times more brightly than a 1st-magnitude star, and some of the planet’s surface features will show up through backyard telescopes. 
(Image credit: NASA) 

Get your scopes out! Mars aligns with the sun and Earth today in a cosmic event that occurs just once every 26 months. Tonight’s alignment between Mars, the Earth and the sun is called “opposition” because Mars and the sun are opposite to each other in our sky. During opposition, Mars will shine nearly 10 times more brightly than a 1st-magnitude star, and some of the planet’s surface features will show up through backyard telescopes. 

(Image credit: NASA) 

How do we know we are “Made of Star Stuff”?
This is a gorgeous image of a stellar jet in the Carina Nebula. The Carina Nebula is mostly made from hydrogen along with other elements such as oxygen and sulphur. Life on earth is made up of some of these very same elements. We are star stuff. But how do astronomers know without physically testing the gas and dust clouds?
Through astronomical spectrospocy, signatures of all the elements in the gas and dust in the Universe can be identified. Each atomic element has a distinct pattern of “spectral lines” when observed through light. A spectral line is an actual dark or bright line that is revealed out of an otherwise continuous spectrum of light. They result from a deficiency or excess of photons compared with the nearby frequency. No element has the same pattern so in a way they are like atomic fingerprints. These patterns of lines can be observed here on Earth enabling astronomers to compare the patterns to objects observed in outer space. If there is a match between specific patterns, then the elements being observed can be identified.
Tonight on ‪Cosmos‬, spectral lines are highlighted demonstrating how the entire cosmos, the planets, the stars, nebulae, galaxies and all of life is all made of the same stuff.
(Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

How do we know we are “Made of Star Stuff”?

This is a gorgeous image of a stellar jet in the Carina Nebula. The Carina Nebula is mostly made from hydrogen along with other elements such as oxygen and sulphur. Life on earth is made up of some of these very same elements. We are star stuff. But how do astronomers know without physically testing the gas and dust clouds?

Through astronomical spectrospocy, signatures of all the elements in the gas and dust in the Universe can be identified. Each atomic element has a distinct pattern of “spectral lines” when observed through light. A spectral line is an actual dark or bright line that is revealed out of an otherwise continuous spectrum of light. They result from a deficiency or excess of photons compared with the nearby frequency. No element has the same pattern so in a way they are like atomic fingerprints. These patterns of lines can be observed here on Earth enabling astronomers to compare the patterns to objects observed in outer space. If there is a match between specific patterns, then the elements being observed can be identified.

Tonight on ‪Cosmos‬, spectral lines are highlighted demonstrating how the entire cosmos, the planets, the stars, nebulae, galaxies and all of life is all made of the same stuff.

(Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

"We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts." - Ray Bradbury

Footage credit: “Elemental Iceland” by Stain Redkal, National Geographic http://youtu.be/_vhf0RZg0fg
Music credit: “On Yr Side” by Slow Magic