Astro-Images | Centaurus-A

Centaurus-A is located in the southern hemisphere skies.  I have never seen it from my location 42˚ north latitude. It rises only 5˚ above my southern horizon in early December. I’m certain it is very familiar to my blogger friend Roger in Australia.  It is the 5th brightest galaxy and easily viewed by amateurs. It contains a black hole of 55 million solar masses ejecting jets of x-ray and radio wavelengths. Models suggest the galaxy collided with another smaller galaxy in the past leading to areas of star formation in the resulting complex structure. I enjoyed combining 3 greyscale Hubble images into this composite. In the center are several newly formed bluish stars. The dark areas are dust blocking the passage of light.

Centaurus-A | Hubble Legacy Archive | My Version

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Gravity Lenses | Einstein Cross | Rings | Arcs

Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity in 1916. One aspect of the theory predicted that light passing near a massive object would be deflected slightly in direction. Light originating from a distant bright source such as a quasar could travel by a massive object such as a galactic center and change direction. The observer would see the image of the distant source in slightly different places.

Not to scale.

Of course, such a prediction deserved to be tested. In 1919, astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington headed a team to observe a star closely aligned with the Sun that would be visible only during a total eclipse. The star’s known position should be shifted according to the theory. Their observations confirmed that Einstein was correct.

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Astro-Images | Arp 220

What is an Arp? Good question. Arp is the last name of Halton Arp. He compiled the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies containing 338 entries published in 1966 by the California Institute of Technology. A goal was to show images of the peculiar structures found among some galaxies.

Among the billions of galaxies known, a few are in some stage of collision with another. Such a rare event disrupts the original shapes of the colliding galaxies. Collisions take a long time to occur. This image of atlas entry number 220 shows the result of two galaxies in collision. The brown dust lanes hide much of the detail behind the dust. It is a chaotic scene.

Hubble Legacy Archive | My version

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Astro-Images | Doing Cartwheels

Like many people these days, I have a lot of spare time. One project I enjoy is taking three grey-scale images from the Hubble Telescope archive and combining them to produce color versions. The Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA) collects the vast array of images from the telescope into a searchable site available to the public. Knowing the name of the object or keywords, one can search for images made by a variety of instruments and filters.

The oval object below is an unusual galaxy called the Cartwheel. It was imaged with a grey-scale sensor as the light passed through a green wavelength filter. Imaging was also done with red and blue wavelength filters not show here. But, they look similar.

Hubble Legacy Archive

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