Space Gallery Of The Week


Each week https://www.space.com/32252-amazing-images.html?utm_source=sp-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=icymi posts “The Most Amazing Space Photos This Week”. Below, a gallery of personal favorites from this week  –

Brilliant Southern Lights and Milky Way Shine at South Pole

“Astrophotographer Hunter Davis captured two images of our galaxy’s band of neighboring stars sharing the sky with the southern lights. They were taken in Antarctica, just over a relay station at the South Pole before the winter solstice, Davis said. The snow that blankets the base of the photos accentuates the brightness of the lights in the sky.”

Friday, June 30, 2017: In this view from the night side of Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured a sliver of sunlight peering over the horizon. Cassini arrived at the ringed planet 13 years ago today. — Hanneke Weitering

“The red giant star Betelgeuse is younger than the sun, but it’s living fast: The star has reached a life stage that the sun won’t hit for billions of years. New photos of the young star may help reveal the upheaval behind its mature appearance.

Stretched along the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Telescope, known as ALMA, captured its first image of the surface of this star. In doing so, it has provided astronomers and enthusiasts alike with the highest-resolution image ever captured of the red supergiant, European Southern Observatory (ESO) officials said in a statement.”

Jupiter’s Swirling Cloud Bands, NASA’s Juno spacecraft

Thursday, June 29, 2017: Jupiter’s intricate light and dark bands of cloud formations mesmerize in this enhanced image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created the image using data Juno collected on May 19, when it was about 20,800 miles (33,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops. — Hanneke Weitering
The California Nebula
Tuesday, June 27, 2017: This long, faint cloud of interstellar gas and dust is the emission nebula NGC 1499. Because of its shape, astronomers nicknamed it the California Nebula. It lies about 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Perseus. — Hanneke Weitering

 

What Is It About Orion?


With the exception of our moon, and perhaps the Big Dipper, I would bet that more people could locate Orion’s belt over any other feature in the night sky.  Bright and distinctive, Orion jumps out of the night; familiar and instantly recognizable,  a mystery despite its shining prominence.

In Greek mythology Orion was known as The Hunter. A giant, who hunted with an immense bronze club. His father was Poseidon,  who is said to have taught Orion to walk on water. Several accounts of Orion’s demise exist – in one he was slain by the sting of a scorpion, in another Artemis the Goddess of the moon and hunting fell in love with him. Her twin brother Apollo, enraged because love made her forget to light up the night sky, convinced her to shoot an arrow at what appeared to be a wave in the sea. Not knowing it was Orion out for a swim, the grief stricken Artemis put Orion’s body in the night sky to gaze at for all eternity.

Ancient Egyptians believed their Gods, Isis and Osiris came from the belt stars of Orion. They also believed that it was the place their pharaohs would travel to upon their deaths.

There isn’t a corner of the ancient world untouched by Orion; an integral part of creation myth from Africa, Europe, China, South America, to the American south west.

I’m pondering the universal fixation on a single nebula. The great pyramids of the Giza Plateau, Teotihuacan in Mexico, Karnak, Nabta Playa, Thornborough Henges, Hopi villages – all aligned with the constellation Orion. Ancient civilizations, worlds apart, yet united in a single belief that life originated within Orion.

Betelgeuse


Betelgeuse is a massive red giant star located in the Orion constellation. The three stars forming Orion’s belt make it one of the most distinguishable landmarks in the night sky. Find Orion’s belt, look up and slightly to the left; you are now pondering Betelgeuse, a dying star which could go “supernova” at any time. Betelgeuse is 640 light years from our planet, in cosmic terms just around the corner. Realistically far enough away to spare Earth when the inevitable happens.

A red giant is a star that has fused all its hydrogen supply, the core becomes compact and heats up enough to fuse helium into oxygen and carbon. The action of the core compacting is off set by an expansion of the outer regions which take on a red glow. Betelgeuse is huge; if you sat it on top of Earth it would cover an area all the way to Jupiter.

Science has no way to determine when Betelgeuse will run out of elements. The moment iron is produced it will collapse in a millisecond, splattering the universe with the building blocks to form new worlds. The universe has a circle of life, the seasons just happen to be millions of years long.

http://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/betelgeuse-will-explode-someday

Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse