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ALMA and the centre of the Milky Way


This view shows several of the ALMA antennas and the central regions of the Milky Way above. In this wide field view, the zodiacal light is seen upper right and at lower left Mars is seen. Saturn is a bit higher in the sky towards the centre of the image. The image was taken during the ESO Ultra HD (UHD) Expedition.

Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafresh
Explanation from: http://www.eso.org/public/images/ann14045a/

A smiling lens



In the centre of this image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 — and it seems to be smiling.

You can make out its two orange eyes and white button nose. In the case of this “happy face”, the two eyes are very bright galaxies and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

Galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe and exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they warp the spacetime around them and act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them. This phenomenon, crucial to many of Hubble’s discoveries, can be explained byEinstein’s theory of general relativity.

In this special case of gravitational lensing, a ring — known as an Einstein Ring — is produced from this bending of light, a consequence of the exact and symmetrical alignment of the source, lens and observer and resulting in the ring-like structure we see here.

Hubble has provided astronomers with the tools to probe these massive galaxies and model their lensing effects, allowing us to peer further into the early Universe than ever before. This object was studied by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) as part of a survey of strong lenses.

Image Credit: NASA & ESA
Explanation from: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1506a/

Three moons and their shadows parade across Jupiter

Three moons and their shadows parade across Jupiter Three moons and their shadows parade across Jupiter   These new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture a rare occurrence as three of Jupiter’s largest moons parade across the giant gas planet’s banded face.  The image on the left shows the Hubble observation at the beginning of the event. On the left is the moon Callisto and on the right, Io. The shadows from Europa, which cannot be seen in the image, Callisto, and Io are strung out from left to right.  The image on the right shows the end of the event, approximately 42 minutes later. Europa has entered the frame at lower left with slower moving Callisto above and to the right of it. Meanwhile Io — which orbits significantly closer to Jupiter and so appears to move much more quickly — is approaching the eastern limb of the planet. Whilst Callisto’s shadow seems hardly to have moved Io’s has set over the planet’s eastern edge and Europa’s has risen further in the west.  Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team Explanation from: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1504a/

These new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture a rare occurrence as three of Jupiter’s largest moons parade across the giant gas planet’s banded face.

The image on the left shows the Hubble observation at the beginning of the event. On the left is the moon Callisto and on the right, Io. The shadows from Europa, which cannot be seen in the image, Callisto, and Io are strung out from left to right.

The image on the right shows the end of the event, approximately 42 minutes later. Europa has entered the frame at lower left with slower moving Callisto above and to the right of it. Meanwhile Io — which orbits significantly closer to Jupiter and so appears to move much more quickly — is approaching the eastern limb of the planet. Whilst Callisto’s shadow seems hardly to have moved Io’s has set over the planet’s eastern edge and Europa’s has risen further in the west.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team
Explanation from: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1504a/
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