Astronomy Photo of the Day — MS0735.6+7421

Meet MS0735.6+7421: a galaxy cluster located at a distance of 2.6 billion light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Camelopardalis. Like all clusters, MS0735.6+7421 (we’ll call it MS0735 for short) is a loose collection of galaxies that are held together by the force of gravity.

via Astronomy Photo of the Day — MS0735.6+7421.

The Whirlpool Galaxy

I thought I would share this, as I am quite pleased with the results. Below are three images that I have taken (last night) using the Bradford Robotic Telescope. The First image is  in standard visual wavelengths. The second has been taken through a Hydrogen Alpha filter. The third is a stacked image of the two. This is my first proper attempt at stacking, and I am very happy with the results.


W Pool Normal Named


W Pool H Alpha Named


W Pool Stacked copy Named

Astrophysics: A glimpse inside a magnetar.

A neutron star resembles a giant atomic nucleus, with 1–2 times the Sun’s mass packed into a ball about 20 kilometres across. Its gravity is so strong that a projectile would need to be launched at about half the speed of light to escape from its surface. Extreme density, pressure, temperature, magnetism and relativistic gravity make these objects fascinating but challenging to study. Surprising observations of spin-down irregularities in one intensely magnetized neutron star, reported by Archibald et al.1 on page 591 of this issue, offer clues about exotic processes occurring deep inside these objects.

The basic structure of a neutron star is generally agreed on. It has a crust about 1 km thick, in which nuclei are arranged in a crystal lattice immersed in a ‘sea’ of electrons. Near the surface, the nuclei are plain iron, but the pressure and density increase rapidly with depth, so that the nuclei become increasingly bloated and neutron-rich. At moderate depth, neutrons ‘drip’ out of the nuclei, forming a neutral liquid between the lattice nuclei. At the base of the crust, the bloated nuclei merge. Below this lies pure nuclear fluid, more than 200 trillion times denser than liquid water.

via Astrophysics: A glimpse inside a magnetar : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.