La información llega sobredimensionada y tergiversada, filtrada por el color del cristal de las gafas que llevamos sin saberlo, o sabiéndolo. Sólo si rompemos los vidrios (con el riesgo de cegarnos definitivamente) seremos capaces de ver la verdad. ¿Elegiremos el analgésico tinte o el riesgo de la aterradora oscuridad?
Supergiant star Gamma Cygni lies at the center of the Northern Cross, famous asterism in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Known by its proper name, Sadr, the bright star also lies at the center of this gorgeous skyscape, featuring a complex of stars, dust clouds, and glowing nebulae along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. The field of view spans almost 4 degrees (eight Full Moons) on the sky and includes emission nebula IC 1318 and open star cluster NGC 6910. Left of Gamma Cygni and shaped like two glowing cosmic wings divided by a long dark dust lane, IC 1318’s popular name is understandably the Butterfly Nebula. Above and left of Gamma Cygni, are the young, still tightly grouped stars of NGC 6910. Some distance estimates for Gamma Cygni place it at around 1,800 light-years while estimates for IC 1318 and NGC 6910 range from 2,000 to 5,000 light-years. [via NASA] https://ift.tt/2vgpcsn
Reddened by scattered sunlight, the Moon in the center is passing through the center of Earth’s dark umbral shadow in this July 27 lunar eclipse sequence. Left to right the three images are from the start, maximum, and end to 103 minutes of totality from the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The longest path the Moon can follow through Earth’s shadow does cross the shadow’s center, that’s what makes such central lunar eclipses long ones. But July 27 was also the date of lunar apogee, and at the most distant part of its elliptical orbit the Moon moves slowest. For the previous lunar eclipse, last January 31, the Moon was near its orbital perigee. Passing just south of the Earth shadow central axis, totality lasted only 76 minutes. Coming up on January 21, 2019, a third consecutive total lunar eclipse will also be off center and find the Moon near perigee. Then totality will be a mere 62 minutes long. [via NASA] https://ift.tt/2AClkXW
The total phase of the July 27 lunar eclipse lasted for an impressive 103 minutes. That makes it the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The Moon passed through the center of Earth’s shadow while the Moon was near apogee, the most distant point in its elliptical orbit. From start to finish, the entire duration of totality is covered in this composite view. A dreamlike scene, it includes a sequence of digital camera exposures made every three minutes. The exposures track the totally eclipsed lunar disk, accompanied on that night by bright planet Mars, as it climbs above the seaside village of Tellaro, Italy. In the foreground lies the calm mediteranean Gulf of La Spezia, known to some as the Gulf of Poets. In the 3rd century BCE, heliocentric astronomer Aristarchus also tracked the duration of lunar eclipses, though without the benefit of digital clocks and cameras. Using geometry he devised a way to calculate the Moon’s distance from the eclipse duration, in terms of the radius of planet Earth. [via NASA] https://ift.tt/2LTwGLC
What blue flower grows in this field of dark interstellar dust? The Iris Nebula. The striking blue color of the Iris Nebula is created by light from the bright star SAO 19158 reflecting off of a dense patch of normally dark dust. Not only is the star itself mostly blue, but blue light from the star is preferentially reflected by the dust — the same affect that makes Earth’s sky blue. The brown tint of the pervasive dust comes partly from photoluminescence — dust converting ultraviolet radiation to red light. Cataloged as NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula is studied frequently because of the unusual prevalence there of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), complex molecules that are also released on Earth during the incomplete combustion of wood fires. The bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula spans about six light years. The Iris Nebula, pictured here, lies about 1300 light years distant and can be found with a small telescope toward the constellation of Cepheus. [via NASA] https://ift.tt/2OwUoM8
What lies beneath the layered south pole of Mars? A recent measurement with ground-penetrating radar from ESA’s Mars Express satellite has detected a bright reflection layer consistent with an underground lake of salty water. The reflection comes from about 1.5-km down but covers an area 200-km across. Liquid water evaporates quickly from the surface of Mars, but a briny confined lake, such as implied by the radar reflection, could last much longer and be a candidate to host life such as microbes. Pictured, an infrared, green, and blue image of the south pole of Mars taken by Mars Express in 2012 shows a complex mixture of layers of dirt, frozen carbon dioxide, and frozen water. [via NASA] https://ift.tt/2Assi1K