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Daily Archives: December 3, 2008

ESA Images Venus in UltraViolet and InfraRed

While Venus recently made headlines with its appearance near Jupiter and the crescent Moon, it is now making headlines with images from the European Space Agency (ESA) Venus Express spacecraft. In the visible portion of the spectrum, that is, just looking through a typical optical telescope, Venus does not betray any structure at all. The only thing discernible in a telescope about Venus is the bright light reflected by the cloud tops in the atmosphere. Utilizing ultraviolet light, invisible to creatures like you and I but discernible to creatures like bees, scientists can make out definite structures in the atmosphere of Venus, as well as how these structures (especially clouds) change in time. InfraRed (IR) radiation tells scientists about the temperature of the clouds in the atmosphere. Learn more about the latest imaging of Venus in UV and IR from ESA at http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMT954Z2OF_index_0.html

Modeling Galaxy Merger Formation – The Movie

In a paper submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Academy of Sciences, an international group of astronomers have announced the simulation of the merger-formation of a galaxy. You can see the movie developed from the modeling effort at http://www.astro.washington.edu/fabio/movies/Merger.mpg and read about the effort required to produce this movie and the group’s conclusions about galaxies and their formation at http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0812/0812.0379v1.pdf

An X-ray View of a Famous Quintet

Stephan’s Quintet is a grouping of five galaxies in the constellation Pegasus. Amateur and professional astronomers know the galaxies as NGC7317, NGC7318A, NGC7318B, NGC7319, and NGC7320. Actually, most consider NGC7320 not to be part of the same cluster as the others. Most in the cluster are estimated to be over 300 million light years distant, while NGC7320 is estimated to be over 40 million light years distant. Anyhow, to view Stephan’s Quintet in x-ray using the Chandra observatory, see the fascinating images online now at http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0812/0812.0383v1.pdf

Primordial Black Holes in the Early Universe

An international team of astronomers released today a pre-print of a paper which addresses the possibility that the early universe produced primordial black holes, and that these primordial black holes were a major contributor to the cosmological dark matter. The group hypothesizes that such primordial black holes would have had a major impact on the early formation of galaxies and help explain the formation of massive and supermassive black holes now found in all non-irregular galaxies. To read more about primordial black holes and how they may explain early star formation and the seeding of today’s supermassive black holes see the pre-print at http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0812/0812.0585v1.pdf

December 2008
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