Hubble Watches Star Clusters on a Collision Course
Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope caught two clusters full of massive stars that may be in the early stages of merging. The 30 Doradus Nebula is 170,000 light-years from Earth. What at first was thought to be only one cluster in the core of the massive star-forming region 30 Doradus has been found to be a composite of two clusters that differ in age by about one million years.
The entire 30 Doradus complex has been an active star-forming region for 25 million years, and it is currently unknown how much longer this region can continue creating new stars. Smaller systems that merge into larger ones could help to explain the origin of some of the largest known star clusters. The Hubble observations, made with the Wide Field Camera 3, were taken Oct. 20-27, 2009. The blue color is light from the hottest, most massive stars; the green from the glow of oxygen; and the red from fluorescing hydrogen.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI)
The Outer Shells of Centaurus A
Image Credit: E. Peng and H. Ford (JHU), K. Freeman (ANU), R. White (STScI), CTIO, NOAO, NSF
Explanation: What causes the surrounding shells in peculiar galaxy Cen A? In 2002 a fascinating image of peculiar galaxy Centaurus A was released, processed to highlight a faint blue arc indicating an ongoing collision with a smaller galaxy. Another interesting feature of Cen A, however, is the surrounding system of shells, better visible here in this recently released wider pan from the four meter Blanco telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Faint shells around galaxies are not unusual and considered by themselves as evidence of a previous galaxy merger, analogous to water ripples on a pond. An unexpected attribute of these shells is the abundance of gas, which should become separated from existing stars during the collision.
wowww this image is stunning
Anniversary of the Progress spacecraft / Mir Spektr module collision
On June 25, 1997, the Progress M-34 spacecraft crashed into Spektr while doing experimental maneuver for a docking with the Kvant-1 module. The collision damaged one of Spektr’s solar arrays and punctured the hull, depressurizing the module. The module was sealed off from the rest of the station to prevent depressurization of the entire Mir station, but required cutting off the power cables from Spektr’s solar panels, which had to be disconnected manually.
An internal spacewalk in the Spektr module in August 1997 by cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov, from Soyuz TM-26, succeeded in restoring those power connections by modifying the hatch to allow them to pass through in the closed position. In a second internal spacewalk in October they connected two of the panels to a computer system to allow them to be controlled remotely and align with the Sun. These modifications allowed power generation to return to approximately 70% of the pre-collision generation capability.
Spektr was left depressurized and isolated from the remainder of the Mir complex.
The above image is of the damaged Spektr module.