Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Pillars of Eagle Castle

Eagle Nebula

For your entertainment and edification, this recent image from Astronomy Picture of the Day: The Eagle Nebula star forming region. What a great sight this would be from the viewport! (Though, as with objects seen through a telescope eyepiece, the real thing is doubtless less vivid but more magical than this composite image.)

In the astronomy news, Sky and Telescope reports on possible evidence of 'midsized' black holes, one of which may be in globular cluster M54. Which, as it turns out, may be not just one more of our own galaxy's globular clusters, but perhaps the nucleus of a dwarf galaxy in the process of being torn apart by its overly close relationship with the Milky Way.

And don't forget this week's Star of the Week, Rho Aquilae.


Brian York said...

*Much* less vivid, sadly. You'll notice the visible stars in the image are pretty much all saturated, which means that all of these lovely colours were produced by doing a long time exposure.

It's one of the saddest revelations I had as I learned astronomy, and started to be able to pick out saturation. Every picture of a beautiful spiral galaxy had a saturated core, because the core is just so much brighter that, with the naked eye, all you'll see is the core (try looking at M31 through a telescope some time, for example). And, sadly, nebulae are pretty much the same.


Rick said...

I've looked at M31 through my brother in law's 14 inch scope, and yes it is vastly more subdued.

On the other hand, the human eye seems to be sensitive across a broader range of light levels. I never realized that M31 had a bright compact nucleus till I saw it through the eyepiece. In photographs the whole central region is saturated. Globular clusters also look better to the eye, though modern CCD imagery may be improved in this respect.

Tamora Pierce said...

I'm using this one as my current desktop backdrop. It makes me happy.

Rick said...

It is rather gorgeous, no? AND rather awesome!