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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: wildespace
Something I've wondered about:
If we were fortunate enough to be at a close (but far) enough distance from such a structure, would it be visible in that sort of glory?
Andromeda (M31) is big. It covers a reasonably good piece of sky. But it's pretty dim so at best it looks like a...nebula...a cloud, with the naked eye.
If we were close enough to NGC 7635, would it look anything like the images to our eye?
With an 8 or 10-inch (250 mm) telescope, the nebula is visible as an extremely faint and large shell around the star. The nearby 7th magnitude star on the west hinders observation, but one can view the nebula using averted vision. Using a 16 to 18-inch (460 mm) scope, one can see that the faint nebula is irregular, being elongated in the north south direction.
"Never have I viewed such bright and overwhelming detail in this object. My brain interpreted the stars as being in the foreground, bright billows and wisps of nebulosity being in the middle-ground and the fainter parts of the nebula as being in the background."
"The wide-angle eyepieces, plus the illusion of depth made me feel like I was inside the nebula. As I looked, the whole thing had an almost windswept feel as if I was standing on a hill with fog billowing and blowing around me. But the image was still, so that gave it a peaceful, calm and serene tone, rather than stormy and violent."
"The color was that unearthly fluorescent blue-green typical of all the bright emission nebulae, but instead of being present only in the brightest central area, it was suffused throughout the whole nebula, with varying intensity, giving rise to a sense of varying density and thickness."
"It was an incredible view that I will never forget."
Astronomers study a lot of gorgeous things, but nebulae might be the most breathtakingly beautiful of them all. Nebulae are clouds of gas and dust in space. They can glow on their own or reflect light from nearby stars. When they glow it’s usually predominantly red from hydrogen and green from oxygen, and when they reflect and scatter light it’s from massive hot stars, so they look blue. Stars are born in some nebulae, and create new ones as they die. Some nebulae are small and dense, others can be dozens or hundreds of light years across.
The star HD 44179 is surrounded by an extraordinary structure known as the Red Rectangle. It acquired its moniker because of its shape and its apparent color when seen in early images from Earth. This strikingly detailed Hubble image reveals how, when seen from space, the nebula, rather than being rectangular, is shaped like an X with additional complex structures of spaced lines of glowing gas, a little like the rungs of a ladder. Read more at: phys.org...
The star at the center is similar to the sun, but at the end of its lifetime, pumping out gas and other material to make the nebula, and giving it the distinctive shape. It also appears that the star is a close binary that is surrounded by a dense area of dust—both of which may help to explain the very curious shape. Read more at: phys.org...
Diffuse nebulae appear as light or dark clouds (called bright and dark nebulae), are irregular in shape, and range up to 100 light-years in diameter. Some bright nebulae, composed primarily of hydrogen gas ionized by nearby hot blue-white stars, radiate their own light; they are called emission nebulae and are characterized by narrow spectral emission lines. Other bright nebulae, existing near cooler stars and not receiving the radiation necessary to make them self-luminous, reflect the starlight and are called reflection nebulae. Over 300 bright nebulae have been cataloged; prime examples are the Orion Nebula , visible to the unaided eye, the Eta Carinae Nebula, and the smaller North America Nebula. Dark nebulae are detected as empty patches in a field of stars or as dark clouds obscuring part of a bright nebula in the background, as in the case of the Horsehead Nebula. Smaller bodies of dark nebulous matter having unusually high densities have been observed in some bright nebulous regions. Many astronomers believe that these bodies, called globules, are in the process of condensation and are the initial stages in the birth of stars.
A nebula known as "the Spider" glows fluorescent green in an infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). The Spider, officially named IC 417, lies near a much smaller object called NGC 1931, not pictured in the image. Together, the two are called "The Spider and the Fly" nebulae. Nebulae are clouds of interstellar gas and dust where stars can form. Read more at: phys.org...
This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to celebrate Hubble's 26th year in orbit, captures in stunning clarity what looks like a gigantic cosmic soap bubble. The object, known as the Bubble Nebula, is in fact a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it. The vivid new portrait of this dramatic scene wins the Bubble Nebula a place in the exclusive Hubble hall of fame, following an impressive lineage of Hubble anniversary images. Twenty six years ago, on 24 April 1990, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery as the first space telescope of its kind. Every year, to commemorate this momentous day in space history, Hubble spends a modest portion of its observing time capturing a spectacular view of a specially chosen astronomical object.
ESA's Herschel space observatory mission released today a series of unprecedented maps of star-forming hubs in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. This is accompanied by a set of cataloges of hundreds of thousands of compact sources that span all phases leading to the birth of stars in our Galaxy. These maps and cataloges will be very valuable resources for astronomers, to exploit scientifically and for planning follow-up studies of particularly interesting regions in the Galactic Plane. Above is Herschel's view of the center of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, about 25 000 light-years away. Clouds of gas and dust appear distributed along a giant, twisted ring, over 600 light-years wide, which encompasses the supermassive black hole sitting at the Galaxy's core. Shaped as a disc, our Galaxy has a diameter of about 100 000 light-years and the Solar System is embedded in it, about half way between centre and periphery. The images provide an unprecedented view of the Galactic Plane, ranging from diffuse interstellar material to denser filamentary structures of gas and dust that fragment into clumps where star formation sets in. They include pre-stellar clumps, protostars in various evolutionary stages and compact cores on the verge of turning into stars, as well as fully-fledged stars and the bubbles carved by their highly energetic radiation.
Astronomers have discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles called a wind nebula around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star, or magnetar, for the first time. The find offers a unique window into the properties, environment and outburst history of magnetars, which are the strongest magnets in the universe. A neutron star is the crushed core of a massive star that ran out of fuel, collapsed under its own weight, and exploded as a supernova. Each one compresses the equivalent mass of half a million Earths into a ball just 12 miles (20 kilometers) across, or about the length of New York's Manhattan Island. Neutron stars are most commonly found as pulsars, which produce radio, visible light, X-rays and gamma rays at various locations in their surrounding magnetic fields. When a pulsar spins these regions in our direction, astronomers detect pulses of emission, hence the name. Typical pulsar magnetic fields can be 100 billion to 10 trillion times stronger than Earth's. Magnetar fields reach strengths a thousand times stronger still, and scientists don't know the details of how they are created. Of about 2,600 neutron stars known, to date only 29 are classified as magnetars. Read more at: phys.org...