Sunday, September 19, 2010

Old Data Recombined, Making New Hubble Photo

"Cosmic Pillars of Carina Nebula Dominate New Hubble View" (September 17, 2010)

"A new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows huge pillars of hydrogen gas and dust in the Carina Nebula about 7,500 light-years from Earth.

"The pillars are about 1 light-year tall, scientists say. That's nearly 6 trillion miles (9.7 trillion km), more than 60,000 times greater than the distance from the Earth to the sun. And the structures aren't giants by Carina standards: some of the nebula's pillars are three times as big. [Photo of Carina Nebula pillars.]

"The columns, and the other odd shapes in the photo, are sculpted by violent stellar winds and radiation from the nebula's massive stars. The dense structures in the image may be nurseries, regions birthing new stars.

"The Hubble telescope's new image is a composite of observations taken in 2005 of the region's hydrogen light and new observations of the area's atomic oxygen content...."

So it's not exactly a "new" image - it's what researchers got by combining data from 2005.

It's still - impressive.

One thing that caught the Lemming's attention is that the gasses of the Carina Nebula act like fluids, at the titanic scale we're looking at. That's impressive, considering that nebulae like that are at pressures that would be a really good vacuum here at Earth's surface.

Finally, there's that 'happy face' in the photo, just to the left of center.

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