Compiled By Dee Finney

DREAM - 4-11-07 - I spent the evening with my young daughter alone. We ate a large home-cooked meal and had a glass of wine with it.

The men, my husband, his friend and our sons had gone to a basketball game for the evening.

Around 2 - 3 a.m. they all came home. There were some women with them, they seemed to be relatives of mine, like my cousin, my sister, and another woman, plus my daughter, so there were 5 men and 5 women.

I offered to put a meal on the table for the men - some were hungry and some were not.

I put all the food on the table anyway, a large cooked turkey still in the rectangular pan, a lemon meringue pie, a chocolate cake, - everything they could want.

I could barely stay awake, having waited for them, but they were all excited from the basketball game. I mentioned to the other man that we seemed to be on different time schedules, which he agreed with.

In the pantry, there was a lunch box with a thermos of hot coffee, which I thought about drinking myself, but I didn't want to be awake all night, and nobody else wanted any, so I left the coffee in the thermos.

I sat down in the kitchen with the men and my husband's friend sat next to me with the food because he was hungry. I noticed how handsome he was.  His shirt was sleeveless, and I could see a large patterned tattoo on his arms and back like the character 'Spiderman' though it was subtle, and I could see his skin too. I wondered if he was the real 'Spiderman'.

Two of the women came over to me. One was tall and blonde, my cousin - she had a long neck like a swan and she tilted her head from side to side, swaying it, while the other woman, who was shorter and darker, kissed me on both sides of my face and on my neck, leaving lipstick prints. She kissed me 5 times. Someone said, "It looks like you've been initiated.!"

My daughter then came into the kitchen with a big bag of sugar and dumped it all into a big white bucket. I asked her why she was doing that. She said that each of my 5 sons had had their own container of sugar, each with their names on it and that didn't seem right to do.

I then walked into the next room, which was dark, except for the reflected light from the kitchen. My sister Bernice was standing there - stark naked.

I told her to go into her room and go to bed, because there were 5 men in the house. I reached out to grab her arm and she said that if I touched her she was going to call the police.

I told her that if she didn't go into her room and go to bed, I was going to call the mental hospital.

So she went into her room and crawled under a huge pile of blankets which had a big bear fur coat laying on top of the pile.

I made sure she was well covered, then when I went to leave the room, the door was closed and the bed was too far over so I couldn't leave the room without moving the bed.

So, I was virtually trapped in the room with a woman who could be crazy out of her mind and I became afraid.

I leaned against the bed frame and fortunately the bed shifted over enough so I could open the door and leave.

I awoke as I opened the door.



Hi Dee,

That dream made me daze out for a few moments...and next thing I knew 30 Minutes past. I think your dream refers to the returning of a comet that maybe the end of life as we know it. The reunion...of the Father, Quetzalcoatl or Buffalo Calf Woman...or a comet coming from ComA Bereneices...or that star cluster. You had a last supper for when the men arrived...and were trying to supress the "exposure" of your sister or allow others to see her nakedness. Maybe deep within you know what is coming but can't allow it to come out due to the fear and panick it would bring.

The great bear, the swan were constellations...maybe timing and direction of 2am. (like a thief in the night)..

The synchonistic a lover returning to shower you with kisses... Maybe the kisses were like the meteor storm dream I had.Showering the earth with kisses may not be so romantic as what we usually think of.. Look at all of it as metaphors...numbers 5 + 5 could be a time frame.

I understand your quest to find the meaning...but Dee, I think that meaning won't be found on is buried inside of you.

luv ya...Cassie

see:  Comet coming dream:


NOTE: The earth was hit by several meteors, and Hale Bopp Comet came by and we ... This fits in with my own dreams and visions and David Booth's visions ...


page recently where I received a message from IESOUS OF NAZARETH in a dream: THE BLEEDING ... A mighty comet will fall to earth and great destruction will ...

Incoming Comet - 2006

At present, it is too dim for the naked eye, but "the comet is a spectacular ... fits in with my own dreams and visions and David Booth's visions about an ...


When I got up, wrote down my dream and walked into the computer room to research the symbolism of the dream,
my radio had turned itself on and was playing this song:

Artist/Band: Montgomery John Michael
Lyrics for Song: Cover You In Kisses
Lyrics for Album: Leave A Mark

You say it's cold back there in Denver
A foot of new snow on the ground
You're all bundled up in blankets
I'd give anything to be there with you now

I'd cover you in kisses
Hold you in my arms
That's all that I can think of
Every minute we're apart
Darlin' I've been livin'
For the moment that we touch
So I can cover you in kisses
And wrap you in my love

Baby keep that fire burnin'
Pour a glass of that sweet wine
Let your hair down on your shoulders
And I'll be there just in time

To cover you in kisses
Hold you in my arms
That's all that I can think of
Every minute we're apart
Darlin' I've been livin'
For the moment that we touch
So I can cover you in kisses
And wrap you in my love

Darlin' I've been livin'
For the moment that we touch
So I can cover you in kisses
And wrap you in my love
I wanna cover you in kisses
And wrap you in my love



Coma Berenices (abbr. Com, gen. Comae Berenices)

April 9th

A very faint northern constellation considered to be part of Leo by the Greeks but made separate by Gerardus Mercator in 1551. It lies between Canes Venatici to the north, Virgo to the south, Leo to the west, and Bootes to the east, and contains the north galactic pole. Although devoid of bright stars, Coma Berenices abounds in galaxies and other deep sky objects.

Coma Berenices

Objects of Interest
Name Type of Object Notes
Coma Star Cluster open cluster See separate entry
M53 (NGC 2287) globular cluster Appears as a misty patch in small telescopes, close to Alpha Com. Magnitude 7.7; diameter 12.6'; R.A. 13h 12.9m, Dec. +18° 10'
Black Eye Galaxy galaxy M64 (NGC 4826). See separate entry
M88 (NGC 4501) galaxy SBb galaxy. Magnitude 9.5; diameter 6.9' × 3.9'; R.A. 12h 32.0m, Dec. +14° 25'
M98 (NGC 4192) galaxy Sb galaxy. Magnitude 10.1; diameter 9.5' × 3.2'; R.A. 12h 13.8m, Dec. +14° 45'
M99 (NGC 4254) galaxy Sc galaxy. Magnitude 9.8; diameter 5.4' × 4.8'; R.A. 12h 18.8m, Dec. +14° 25'
M100 (NGC 4321) galaxy Sc galaxy. Magnitude 9.4; diameter 6.9' × 6.2'; R.A. 12h 22.9m, Dec. +15° 49'
Coma Cluster cluster of galaxies See separate entry



Name Abbreviation Pronunciation
Coma Berenices COM CO muh BER uh NI ceez
Size (Degrees ²) Meaning Classification
386 hair of Berenice object

About 243 B.C. Ptolemy Euergetes set out on a military expedition against the Assyrians, who had murdered his sister. Berenice, who was proud if her beautiful long golden hair, vowed to sacrifice her "amber tresses" if he returned victorious. When he did, Berenice, cut off her hair, and placed it in the temple of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty. That night the hair disappeared, enraging the king and the queen. To save the situation, and the lives of the temple priests, Conon the court astronomer, announced that Berenice’s gift had received such favor that Aphrodite had taken the hair and placed it in the sky for all to admire.

Messier Objects in Coma Berenices: M-53  M-64  M-85  M-88  M-91  M-98  M-99  M-100  

History: This dim Northern constellation lies between Ursa Major and Leo. It was introduced in 1687 by the Polish astronomer Johannes Havelius. The French Petit Lion, the German Kleine Lowe, and the Italian Leoncino. Proctor gave it the title Leaena, the Lioness. Formed from eighteen stars between the greater Lion and Bear. 

Aratos is supposed to have alluded to these "ungrouped, unnamed" stars under the hind paws of Ursa Major (saying "Each after each, ungrouped, unnamed, revolve." - Brown's Aratos.). 

Ideler (translator of Kazwini, an Arabian book) surmised that they were the Arabs' Al Thiba’ wa-Auladuha, the Gazelle with her Young, shown in this location on the Borgian globe. [The gazelle left tracks in the sky as they ran, they are the three pairs in Ursa Major, the 3 sets of "leaps," closely-spaced pairs of stars on the feet of the bear.]

Lach (Frederick W., German scholar), that the stars of Leo Minor were Al Haud, the Pond, into which the Gazelle sprang, as noted under Coma Berenices.  Allen says this on p.168 under Coma Berenice. "In early Arabia Coma Berenice was Al Haud, the Pond, into which the Gazelle, our Leo Minor, sprang when frightened at the lashing of the Lion's tail (Coma Berenice is the tuft of the Lion's tail in their figure of Leo.); although some of the Desert observers (Arabian astronomers) claimed that this Pond lay among the stars of the neck, breast, and knees of the Greater Bear; and Lach substituted it for the Gazelle in our location of Leo Minor. The Gazelle being imagined from the unformed stars since gathered up as Leo Minor, and the springing of the animal being due to its fear of the greater Lion's tail. Ideler adopted this from Al Tizini and the Cufic globe at Dresden; while the Borgian globe shows a Gazelle and her Young in the same location. Kazwini (an Arabian book), however, described this group as extending over the eyes, eyebrows, ears, and muzzle of the figure of our Ursa Major". - Allen p.168. (under the constellation Coma Berenice)

The Denderah planisphere located here the zodiacal Crab, but whether by design, or in error, is unknown; although some see in the Lesser Lion's stars, with others from the Bear's feet, a well-marked Scarab (the Nile dung beetle) that was Egypt's idea of Cancer. This was in a part of the sky thought to have been sacred to the great god Ptah.

Coma Berenices, Berenice's Hair

You can find Coma Berenices -- and the Coma Berenices star cluster -- between these tail stars, too. The cluster stands about one-third the way from Denebola to Alkaid. (See star chart). A casualty of light pollution, Coma Berenice's beautiful star cluster once enraptured people in the ancient world. Nowadays, stargazers must seek out the inky darkness of night to recover its lost glory. A relatively modern constellation, stargazers of olden times saw the cluster's wispy luminescence as the tufted tail of Leo, the Lion, or a sheaf of wheat waved by Virgo, Goddess of the Harvest.

The diffuse star cluster -- described as "a curious twinkling, as if gossamers spangled with dewdrops"* -- has provided much yarn for sky lore. Of the many tales handed down, the story of "Berenice's Hair" wins modern acclaim. When, in the third century B.C., Berenice's husband safely returned home to Egypt after battle, Queen Berenice (who never had a bad hair day) cut off her gorgeous locks, to offer thanksgiving to the gods. According to legend, Venus became so pleased that she placed Berenice's golden tresses amidst the stars.

Coma Berenices


Transit Date of principal star:
9 April

The constellation Coma Berenices refers to a classical story concerning the hair of Berenice, the wife of Ptolemy III of Egypt. While the story is an old one, the constellation is relatively new, being introduced by Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

According to the story, Ptolemy had waged a long war on the Assyrians, since it was they who had killed his sister. As Ptolemy returned successfully from the war, his wife Berenice had her beautiful tresses ceremoniously clipped and given to Aphrodite, laid out on the temple altar.

As the evening's festivities continued, the shorn hair was discovered to be missing. The priests might be sacrificed, if the queen's hair couldn't be found. It was the astronomer Conon of Samos who came to their rescue - proclaiming that Aphrodite had accepted the gift of Berenice's hair, which now shown brightly in the heavens next to Leo.

The stars that form the constellation really aren't that remarkable to look at, only a handful of fourth-magnitude stars, including three Bayer stars. Yet there are several fine binaries, eight Messier objects and the Coma Star cluster, not included in Messier's list.

From Denebola (beta Leonis) draw a line to the bright star to the southeast, Arcturus (alpha Bootis). Alpha Comae is found on this line at about the midpoint.

Now proceed north from alpha Comae to beta Comae and then west about the same distance to gamma Comae. These three stars form half of a nearly perfect square. They aren't very prominent, and you will have to have a nice dark night in order to study them.

Alpha Comae, sometimes called Diadem, has the same diameter as our Sun, and is 62 light years away with a luminosity of nearly three. It's a rapid motion binary (see below) and in the same field is the globular cluster M53 (see below).

Beta Comae is actually the brightest star in the constellation, and certainly the closest at 27 light years. It too has a diameter equal to the Sun.

Gamma Comae is an orange star about 260 light years away. It is in the same region as the well-known Coma Star Cluster, but isn't a member of that group.

Double stars in Coma Berenices:

Alpha Comae is a rapid binary of two equal stars (5.05, 5.08). The companion orbits every 25.87 years and is presently decreasing; the current (2000) separation is less than 0.05". The orbit is an unusual one, seen perfectly edge-on.

Zeta Comae is a fixed binary: (6.0, 7.5; PA 237º, separation 3.6").

17 Comae and 24 Comae are two binaries with contrasting companions.

17 Comae is one of the members of the Coma Star Cluster. The primary is white, the companion a soft blue: 5.3, 6.6; PA 251º, separation 145.3".
     From gamma Comae follow the slight arc of stars south that bend to the east. First comes 14 Comae, then 15, and finally 17.

24 Comae is even more spectacular: a fixed binary with an orange primary and emerald component. (5.2, 6.5; PA 271º, separation 20.3").

This binary is located eight degrees west of alpha Comae and one degree north.
35 Comae is a slow double with an orbit of over 300 years. However, unlike most long period binaries, this one is presently quite close. The companion is beginning to emerge from its close pass with the primary, gradually lengthening its separation, recently having achieved one arc second of separation. The present values are: 5.2, 7.2; PA 185º and separation 1.04".
35 Comae is in a fairly barren part of the sky, found five degrees northwest of alpha Comae.
Struve 1633 is a very pleasant fixed binary: 7.1, 7.2; PA 245º, separation 9.0". To find it start from gamma Comae, then drop down exactly one degree south where you'll find 14 Comae. Struve 1633 is one degree to the west.

Struve 1639 is a closer binary: 6.8, 7.8; PA 327º, 1.6". This is a slow moving binary with an orbit of 678 years.

This double star makes a small triangle with 12 Comae and 13 Comae. Start at 14 Comae and look south. The bright star to the east is 15 Comae, while below this and to the west is 13 Comae. Nearby, immediately southwest, is 12 Comae. Now look between these two stars to the southeast, where you'll find the third point in the triangle. This is Struve 1639. (Not shown on the chart due to crowding.)

Variable stars in Coma Berenices:

The constellation doesn't have a wealth of variable stars. We list the two variables that might be of some interest.

13 Comae is an alpha-CV type variable with very small range (5.15-5.18).

R Comae is a long-period variable with period of 362.82 days, and range of 7.1 to 14.6. Thus the maximums are nearly a year apart. In the year 2000 the maximum should occur in the first week of December.

Deep Sky Objects in Coma Berenices:

There are eight Messier objects (M53, M64, M85, M88, M91, M98, M99, and M100), as well as a number of other fine galaxies, with NGC 4565 being the best of the bunch.

However the best object is the unrivalled open cluster known as ‘The Coma Star Cluster’.

The Coma Star Cluster

Best seen in binoculars, the cluster fills the entire field of view: about 40 stars spread out over a five degree area.

The cluster was once known as the tuft of hair at the end of Leo's tail. It now constitutes Berenice's golden tresses.

The cluster extends south from gamma Com (which is not, however, a member). At about 270 light years away, the cluster is one of the closest to our solar system.

The brightest member of the cluster is 12 Comae. Other fourth-magnitude members are 13 and 14 Comae, and another thirty or so fainter stars go to make this one of the loveliest sight in the heavens.

The Messier Objects in Coma Berenices

M53 is a globular star cluster one degree northeast of alpha Comae. The brightest Messier in the constellation (7.7), it tends to be most impressive with larger telescopes, which are needed to resolve the individual stars. The cluster is thought to be 65,000 light years away.

M64, the Black Eye Galaxy, is a bright (8.5) compact spiral one degree east-northeast of 35 Comae. The "black eye" can only be seen under ideal conditions with large telescopes. The galaxy is over 20 million light years away.

M85 is a bright spiral galaxy and member of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, most of which is found about five degrees further south. All the remaining deep sky objects discussed also belong to this cluster.

M88 is a many-armed spiral galaxy some forty million light years away. Quite bright (9.5), it's a favourite with many Messier observers.

M91 (NGC 4548) is another spiral galaxy, but is a rather confusing object, sometimes being labelled M58. It is a rather faint galaxy (10.2) and one wonders why, with so many galaxies in the region, spreading down through Virgo, that this one was chosen by Messier.

M98 is a faint (10.1) spiral seen practically edge-on, lying just half a degree west of 6 Comae.

M99 is roughly one and a half degrees east-southeast of M98. An open spiral seen face on, its several arms are visible in large scopes. It has a brightness of 9.8.

M100 is the largest of these spiral galaxies, although difficult to appreciate in small telescopes. It's seen face-on, and has a brightness of 9.4.

NGC 4565 is a well-known edge-on spiral with highly visible dust lane from end to end. It's the largest galaxy of its type and has a visual magnitude of 9.6. The galaxy is found one degree due east of 17 Comae.

Coma Berenices has many more deep sky objects, particularly the southern regions, where it borders Virgo. This is a fertile part of the sky to investigate, as the evenings grow a little warmer and more inviting.


Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2006 April 13
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Star Cluster Dreams
Montage Credit & Copyright: Jose Suro

Explanation: Located some 7,000 light-years away toward the constellation Perseus, this pair of open or galactic star clusters really is visible to the unaided eye and was cataloged in 130 BC by Greek astronomer Hipparchus. Now known as h and chi Persei (NGC 869/884), the clusters themselves are separated by a few hundred light-years and contain stars much younger, and hotter than the Sun. But what if this famous double star cluster were closer, say only 700 light-years distant from our fair solar system, crowding our sky with stars? Astrophotographer Jose Suro also imagines a clear, moonless, dark night sky on a warm evening near tranquil waters. The foreground is illuminated by starlight in his composited dreamlike image of the cluster pair. He notes that while the solar system is not in the vicinity of such rich clusters of stars, dark night skies and warm evenings can still be inspiring on planet Earth.

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2006 October 27
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The Spider and The Fly
Credit & Copyright: Steve Cannistra (StarryWonders)

Explanation: Star clusters and nebulae abound in the ancient northern constellation Auriga - a region that includes the interesting pair NGC 1931 (lower left) and IC 417. In this gorgeous color image, an imaginative eye toward the expansive IC 417 and diminutive NGC 1931 suggests a cosmic spider and fly. About 10,000 light-years distant, both are young open star clusters formed in interstellar clouds and still embedded in glowing hydrogen gas. The more compact NGC 1931 is about 10 light-years across with contrasting blue hues characteristic of dust reflected starlight.

The Spider and the Fly (poem)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Spider and the Fly is a poem by Mary Howitt (1799-1888), published in 1829.

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly,
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there."
"Oh no, no," said the Fly, "to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."
"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, "Dear friend, what can I do
To prove that warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"
"Sweet creature," said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say;
And bidding good morning now, I'll call another day."
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again;
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the Fly.
then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple, there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are as dull as lead."
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, -
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head - poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den
Within his little parlor - but she ne'er came out again!
And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne'er heed;
Unto an evil counsellor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.


The Hopi creation myth depicts three chambers underground, where animals develop into humans, and progress upward, with the help of Spider Grandmother. ...


The ten vortices of the third chakra may have been indicated in the Spider Web formation that appeared next to Avebury in 1994. This can be a way that a clairvoyant sees the third chakra from the front, with the sub-elements forming the shape. In the middle is the Hara-Line centering the whole crop circle.


The Interrelated 2005 Crop Circle Formations - Part Four

My findings about spider symbolism show the type of spider with a cross on its back, ... Examples in crop circles include the spider web formation next to ...


Spiders and weaving, are related symbols. The Nordic, Yggdrasil Tree has ... Arachne was changed into a spider, and her skill in weaving was left to her. ...

The Crop Circle Music Wheel

10 Fold Spider Web, 11 August 1994, Avebury, Wiltshire ... (The Spider Web formation appeared next to Avebury Stone circle. ...


Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2006 October 28
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Comet SWAN Outburst
Credit & Copyright: Paolo Candy

Explanation: Near its closest approach to planet Earth, comet SWAN (C/2006 M4) brightened unexpectedly earlier this week, becoming visible to naked-eye observers under dark night skies. Telescopic observers also noticed dramatic changes in the comet's colorful coma and tail, seen in this view recorded on October 25th. To make the picture, images totaling eight minutes in exposure time were stacked and centered on the comet as it moved relatively quickly against the background star field. The picture covers about 1 degree on the sky. Northern hemisphere observers should still find the comet an easy binocular target in the early evening, even though moonlight will increase the overall sky brightness in the next few days. Look toward the northwestern horizon and the constellation Hercules.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2007 January 4
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Central Cygnus
Credit & Copyright: Processing - Noel Carboni, Imaging - Greg Parker

Explanation: Supergiant star Gamma Cygni lies at the center of the Northern Cross, famous asterism in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Known by the proper name Sadr, the bright star also lies at the center of this gorgeous skyscape, featuring a complex of stars, dust clouds, and glowing nebulae along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. The field of view spans over 3 degrees (six Full Moons) on the sky and includes emission nebula IC 1318 and open star cluster NGC 6910. Left of Gamma Cyg and shaped like two glowing cosmic wings divided by a long dark dust lane, IC 1318's popular name is understandably the Butterfly Nebula. Above and left of Gamma Cyg, are the young, still tightly grouped stars of NGC 6910. Some distance estimates for Gamma Cyg place it at around 750 light-years while estimates for IC 1318 and NGC 6910 range from 2,000 to 5,000 light-years.

Leda and the Swan - A Mythological Dream - Da Vinci - Michelangelo ...

Then a huge swan came up to her and she bent to kiss it on the beak. Suddenly, the swan dipped his whole head into her mouth and pulled out her heart and ...


Nemesis, pitied by the escaping swan, gave him protection by taking him on her ... When Nemesis changed into a goose, Zeus assumed the features of a swan, ...


COMET SWAN: There's a new comet in the night sky, Comet Swan. At present, it is too dim for the naked eye, but "the comet is a spectacular sight through . ...

Incoming Comet - 2006

COMET SWAN: There's a new comet in the night sky, Comet Swan. ... COMET OUTBURST: Astronomers report that Comet Swan has suddenly increased in brightness ...


Deneb is the tail of the swan, which is flying south for the winter along the Milky ... Brahma ' s vehicle is the swan or goose, the symbol of knowledge. ...

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2004 October 3
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Comet Hale-Bopp and the North America Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado

Explanation: Comet Hale-Bopp's 1997 encounter with the inner Solar System allowed many breath-taking pictures. Above, Comet Hale-Bopp was photographed crossing the constellation of Cygnus, sporting spectacular yellow dust and blue ion tails. Visible on the right in red is the North America Nebula, a bright emission nebula observable from a dark location with binoculars. The North America Nebula is about 1500 light-years away, much farther than the comet, which was only about 8 light minutes away. Several bright blue stars from the open cluster M39 are visible just above the comet's blue ion tail.


Farsight Professional 1: Hale-Bopp. NOTE: All SRV sessions are conducted blind. ... The target cue for this session was "Anomalous object near Hale-Bopp ...


Goro reports that the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp, first discovered in July 1995, was clearly predicted in the GWN material. One of the subjects in the ...


A controversy developed after the announcement of the object near Hale-Bopp. Some experts claimed that Chuck Shramek had misinterpreted his observations, ...


Comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp intersected the star on the same date (APR-11) on two adjacent years (Hyakutake in 1996 and Hale-Bopp in 1997). ...


There are some indications that the comet Hale-Bopp may be related. ... NOTE: The earth was hit by several meteors, and Hale Bopp Comet came by and we went ...


Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2004 July 28
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A Cygnus Starfield
Credit & Copyright: Steve Cannistra (StarryWonders)

Explanation: In the constellation of the swan near the nebula of the pelican lies the gas cloud of the butterfly surrounding a star known as the hen. That star, given the proper name Sadr, is visible to the unaided eye but found here as the brightest object on the upper left. Sadr, at 1500 light years distant, is near the center of the Butterfly Nebula (IC 1318) in a bright region given the comparatively staid label of IC 1318B. The fantastic starfield that surrounds Sadr contains stars old and young, an open cluster of stars (NGC 6910 visible on the image left), vast clouds of hydrogen gas that glow red, and picturesque pockets and filaments of dark dust. The above image is a digital fusion of several different color images of the gamma Cygni (Sadr) region

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

September 21, 1999
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Quintuplet Star Cluster
Credit: Don Figer (STScI) et al., NASA

Explanation: Bright clusters of stars form and disperse near the center of our Galaxy. Four million years ago the Quintuplet Cluster, pictured above, formed and is now slowly dispersing. The Quintuplet Cluster is located within 100 light-years of the Galactic center, and is home to the brightest star yet cataloged in our Galaxy: the Pistol Star. Objects near our Galactic center are usually hidden from view by opaque dust. This recently-released picture was able to capture the cluster in infrared light, though, with the NICMOS camera onboard the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The young Quintuplet Cluster is one of the most massive open clusters yet discovered, but still much less massive than the ancient globular clusters that orbit in the distant halo. Some of the bright white stars visible above may be on the verge of blowing themselves up in a spectacular supernova.


We get our life force from nature and the earth through the first chakra. It consists of four vortices, with the Hara-Line in the middle. This may be the meaning of the famous "quincunx" (or "quintuplet set") type crop formation. Jens did not show an illustration, but we found these including another possibility in the flower-like formation below:

August 14th, 1997
Upham, Bishop`s
Waltham, Hampshire
Quintuplet with rings

July 14th, 1996
Near Luton
Quintuplet with a
thin ring joining the

Italy - 2006

2006-06-24 Marche Montegranaro (AP) Wheat


The quintuplet set also hints at a pyramid from above (N). ... The "quintuplet pyramid" pair suggest a sequence of triplets, starting with . ...


Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured,
along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 12, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Sher 25: A Pending Supernova?
Credit & Copyright: W. Brandner (UIUC), E.K. Grebel (U. Wuerzburg), et al., ESO, 1.54-m Telescope, Chile

Explanation: No supernova has ever been predicted - yet. These dramatic stellar explosions that destroy stars, that create and disperse the elements that compose people and planets, that light up the night sky, are not so well understood that astronomers can accurately predict when a star will explode - yet. Perhaps Sher 25 will be the first. Sher 25, designated by the arrow, is a blue supergiant star located just outside the open star cluster and ionized region named NGC 3603. Sher 25 lies in the center of an hourglass shaped nebula much like the one that surrounds the last bright supernova visible from Earth: SN1987a. Now the hourglass shaped rings around SN1987a were emitted before that blue supergiant exploded. Maybe Sher 25 has expelled these bipolar rings in a step that closely precedes a supernova. Maybe not. If so, Sher 25 may be within a few thousand years of its spectacular finale.


The team has released the first image taken by Swift, of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. This object is the relic of a gigantic stellar explosion that ...


The 1987 supernova is now brightening again from a collision of gases in space, ... Note the hourglass shape of this gas bubble around the supernova may ...


You can walk through a super nova unscathed if your Knowing is unshakable in that Wisdom. You are going to be tested much. ...


[Blue] ... when you know and own yourself, this occurs naturally ... but we will let you all in on a tiny secret .... you supernova's play a major role in ...

URL: Date: 11 Jul 2006 as retrieved on Feb 21, 2007 06:20:56 GMT

The official blog for the Mushroom Astronomy Club! Enjoy :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Crew Exploration Vehicle Named Orion

NASA officially announced today that the crew exploration vehicle will be named Orion. This is the new capsule that will first take astronauts to the International Space Station by 2014, and fly to the Moon by 2020. The agency also recently renamed the crew launch rocket Ares, and the larger cargo rocket Ares V. Orion will be capable of carrying 6 astronauts to the space station, or 4 astronauts to the Moon.

NASA announced Tuesday that its new crew exploration vehicle will be named Orion.

Orion is the vehicle NASA’s Constellation Program is developing to carry a new generation of explorers back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA’s primary vehicle for human space exploration.

Orion’s first flight with astronauts onboard is planned for no later than 2014 to the International Space Station. Its first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020.

Orion is named for one of the brightest, most familiar and easily identifiable

“Many of its stars have been used for navigation and guided explorers to new worlds for centuries,” said Orion Project Manager Skip Hatfield. “Our team, and all of NASA - and, I believe, our country - grows more excited with every step forward this program takes. The future for space exploration is coming quickly.”

In June, NASA announced the launch vehicles under development by the Constellation Program have been named Ares, a synonym for Mars. The booster that will launch Orion will be called Ares I, and a larger heavy-lift launch vehicle will be known as Ares V.

Orion will be capable of transporting cargo and up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station. It can carry four crewmembers for lunar missions. Later, it can support crew transfers for Mars missions.

Orion borrows its shape from space capsules of the past, but takes advantage of the latest technology in computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems. The capsule’s conical shape is the safest and most reliable for re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, especially at the velocities required for a direct return form the moon.

Orion will be 16.5 feet in diameter and have a mass of about 25 tons. Inside, it will have more than 2.5 times the volume of an Apollo capsule. The spacecraft will return humans to the moon to stay for long periods as a testing ground for the longer journey to Mars.

NASA\’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, manages the Constellation Program and the agency\’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Exploration Launch Projects’ office for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Washington.

Original Source: NASA News Release

Star Formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud

This photograph is of an active star formation region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. This region is referred to as N 180B, and contains some of the brightest star clusters ever discovered. Some of the hottest stars here can be a million times brighter than our own Sun. These stars vent out powerful stellar winds that clear out nearby material and cause interstellar gas to ionize and glow.

This active region of star formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), as photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, unveils wispy clouds of hydrogen and oxygen that swirl and mix with dust on a canvas of astronomical size. The LMC is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

This particular region within the LMC, referred to as N 180B, contains some of the brightest known star clusters. The hottest blue stars can be brighter than a million of our Suns. Their intense energy output generates not only harsh ultraviolet radiation but also incredibly strong stellar “winds” of high-speed, charged particles that blow into space. The ultraviolet radiation ionizes the interstellar gas and makes it glow, while the winds can disperse the interstellar gas across tens or hundreds of light-years. Both actions are evident in N 180B.

Also visible etched against the glowing hydrogen and oxygen gases are 100 light-year-long dust streamers that run the length of the nebula, intersecting the core of the cluster near the center of the image. Perpendicular to the direction of the dark streamers, bright orange rims of compact dust clouds appear near the bottom right of and top left corners of the image. These dark concentrations are on the order of a few light-years in size. Also visible among the dust clouds are so-called “elephant trunk” stalks of dust. If the pressure from the nearby stellar winds is great enough to compress this material and cause it to gravitationally contract, star formation might be triggered in these small dust clouds. These dust clouds are evidence that this is still a young star-formation region.

This image was taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in 1998 using filters that isolate light emitted by hydrogen and oxygen gas. To create a color composite, the data from the hydrogen filter were colorized red, the oxygen filter were colorized blue, and a combination of the two filters averaged together was colorized green. The amalgamation yields pink and orange hydrogen clouds set amid a field of soft blue oxygen gas. Dense dust clouds block starlight and glowing gas from our view point.

Original Source: Hubble News Release

Sea Launch Lofts Koreasat 5

A Zenit-3SL vehicle blasted off Tuesday morning from the Sea Launch facility, carrying a Koreasat 5 telecommunications satellite into orbit. The launch occurred at 0327 GMT (11:27pm EDT, Aug 21), and the spacecraft was placed successfully into a geosynchronous transfer orbit about an hour later. The satellite will operate at 113 degrees east, and provide both commercial and military communications services.

Sea Launch Company today successfully delivered the Koreasat 5 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). Early data indicate the spacecraft is accurately positioned and in excellent condition.

A Zenit-3SL vehicle lifted off at 8:27 pm PDT (03:27 GMT, Aug. 22) from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude in the equatorial Pacific. All systems performed nominally throughout flight. The Block DM upper stage inserted the 4,448 kg (9,806 lb) Spacebus 4000 C1 platform to GTO, on its way to a final orbital position of 113 degrees East Longitude. A ground station at Fucino, Italy, acquired the first signal from the satellite shortly after spacecraft separation.

Built by Alcatel Alenia Space for the KT Corporation and Korea’s Agency for Defense Development, the hybrid multi-band satellite will be part of South Korea’s new high-capacity Spacecom System over the Asia-Pacific. This is Sea Launch’s fourth successful mission of 2006 – two additional missions are planned for this year.

Following the completion of the Koreasat 5 mission, Rob Peckham, president and general manager of Sea Launch, congratulated the Agency for Defense Development, KT Corporation and Alcatel Alenia Space. “We take great pride in successfully delivering South Korea’s first dual-use spacecraft,” he said. “At Sea Launch, we strive to exceed our customers’ expectations and build collaborative relationships built on honesty and trust.”

“I want to extend our thanks to everyone involved in achieving this milestone event. In particular, I want to thank our partners and contractors and the entire Sea Launch team for continuing to build our legacy, one successful launch, one satisfied customer at a time.”

Sea Launch Company, LLC, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., is the world’s most reliable heavy-lift commercial launch service. This international partnership offers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit. With the advantage of a launch site on the Equator, the robust Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft mass or provide longer life on orbit, offering best value plus schedule assurance. For additional information and images of this successfully completed mission, please visit the Sea Launch website at:

Original Source: Sea Launch News Release

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

China, Russia plan joint Mars mission
Scientist: Unmanned exploration of Red Planet and Phobos in 2009

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 12:05 a.m. ET Aug 23, 2006
BEIJING - China and Russia plan to launch a joint mission to Mars in 2009 to scoop up samples from the Red Planet and one of its moons, a Chinese scientist was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Russia will launch the spacecraft, while China will provide the survey equipment to carry out the unmanned exploration, Ye Peijian, a senior scientist at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, told a meeting in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Other Chinese news reports identified the joint mission as Russia's Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Soil) expedition. That mission calls for an unmanned probe to be sent to the Martian moon Phobos to collect samples for return to Earth. The probe also would monitor Martian climate and the radiation environment — but earlier mission plans had not called for samples to be taken from the Martian surface itself.

The mission would be another step in China's ambitious program to jump to the forefront of space exploration.

Last month, Sun Laiyan, head of the China National Space Administration, said China would seek international cooperation as it prepares to explore Earth's moon and beyond.

China expects to launch its first lunar probe next year, state media has said. It will spend a year orbiting the moon to collect images and data on the moon's surface and environment.

In 2003, China became only the third country — after the United States and Soviet Union — to launch a man into space aboard its own rocket.

In October 2005, it sent two men into orbit, and another manned orbit is slated for 2007.
Galaxy Collision Separates Out the Dark Matter

There’s more dark matter than regular matter in the Universe, and they’re normally all mixed up together in galaxies. But astronomers using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have found a situation where dark matter and normal matter can be wrenched apart. In a collision between giant galaxy clusters, normal matter, like stars and planets, encounters friction as it passes through hot gas and slows down. But the dark matter isn’t affected by this friction, so it’s able to separate from the regular matter.

Dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies. The discovery, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, gives direct evidence for the existence of dark matter.

“This is the most energetic cosmic event, besides the Big Bang, which we know about,” said team member Maxim Markevitch of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

These observations provide the strongest evidence yet that most of the matter in the universe is dark. Despite considerable evidence for dark matter, some scientists have proposed alternative theories for gravity where it is stronger on intergalactic scales than predicted by Newton and Einstein, removing the need for dark matter. However, such theories cannot explain the observed effects of this collision.

“A universe that’s dominated by dark stuff seems preposterous, so we wanted to test whether there were any basic flaws in our thinking,” said Doug Clowe of the University of Arizona at Tucson, and leader of the study. “These results are direct proof that dark matter exists.”

In galaxy clusters, the normal matter, like the atoms that make up the stars, planets, and everything on Earth, is primarily in the form of hot gas and stars. The mass of the hot gas between the galaxies is far greater than the mass of the stars in all of the galaxies. This normal matter is bound in the cluster by the gravity of an even greater mass of dark matter. Without dark matter, which is invisible and can only be detected through its gravity, the fast-moving galaxies and the hot gas would quickly fly apart.

The team was granted more than 100 hours on the Chandra telescope to observe the galaxy cluster 1E0657-56. The cluster is also known as the bullet cluster, because it contains a spectacular bullet-shaped cloud of hundred-million-degree gas. The X-ray image shows the bullet shape is due to a wind produced by the high-speed collision of a smaller cluster with a larger one.

In addition to the Chandra observation, the Hubble Space Telescope, the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and the Magellan optical telescopes were used to determine the location of the mass in the clusters. This was done by measuring the effect of gravitational lensing, where gravity from the clusters distorts light from background galaxies as predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The hot gas in this collision was slowed by a drag force, similar to air resistance. In contrast, the dark matter was not slowed by the impact, because it does not interact directly with itself or the gas except through gravity. This produced the separation of the dark and normal matter seen in the data. If hot gas was the most massive component in the clusters, as proposed by alternative gravity theories, such a separation would not have been seen. Instead, dark matter is required.

“This is the type of result that future theories will have to take into account,” said Sean Carroll, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, who was not involved with the study. \”As we move forward to understand the true nature of dark matter, this new result will be impossible to ignore.”

This result also gives scientists more confidence that the Newtonian gravity familiar on Earth and in the solar system also works on the huge scales of galaxy clusters.

“We’ve closed this loophole about gravity, and we’ve come closer than ever to seeing this invisible matter,” Clowe said.

These results are being published in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, Mass.

Original Source: Chandra News Release

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Universe Has Used Up a Fifth of Its Gas Tank

Since the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe has converted 20% of its original matter into stars. This is according to a new survey by an international team of astronomers. Other than stars, a tiny fraction of non-primordial material is dust expelled from massive stars and supermassive black holes. The survey was made using the Millennium Galaxy Catalogue, which contains more than 10,000 large galaxies. It looks like the Universe will need another 70 billion years to use up all its original fuel.

The Universe has guzzled its way through about 20 per cent of its normal matter, or original fuel reserves, according to findings from a survey of the nearby Universe by an international team of astronomers involving researchers at The Australian National University.

The survey, to be released at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Prague today, revealed that about 20 per cent of the normal matter or fuel that was produced by the Big Bang 14 billion years ago is now in stars, a further 0.1 per cent lies in dust expelled from massive stars (and from which solid structures like the Earth and humans are made), and about 0.01 per cent is in super-massive black holes.

The survey data, which forms a 21st century database called the Millennium Galaxy Catalogue, was gathered from over 100 nights of telescope time in Australia, the Canary Islands and Chile, and contains over ten thousand giant galaxies, each of these containing 10 million to 10 billion stars.

According to the survey leader Dr Simon Driver of St Andrews University, Scotland, the remaining material is almost completely in gaseous form lying both within and between the galaxies, forming a reservoir from which future generations of stars may develop.

“I guess the simplest prognosis is that the Universe will be able to form stars for a further 70 billion years or so after which it will start to go dark,” said Dr Driver. “However, unlike our stewardship of the Earth the Universe is definitely tightening its belt with a steady decline in the rate at which new stars are forming.”

Dr Alister Graham, an astronomer at The Australian National University who worked on the survey, said that the team of researchers were able determine how much of matter is in the stars through a ‘cosmic stocktake.’

“We needed to measure the stellar mass within a representative volume of the local Universe. This required accurate and complete distance information for all the galaxies of stars that we imaged. This is where the Australian telescopes played a key role,” Dr Graham said.

One of the unique aspects of this program was the careful separation of a galaxy’s stars into its central bulge component and surrounding disc-like structure. This allowed the researchers to determine that, on average, roughly half of the stars in galaxies reside in discs and the other half in bulges.

“Measuring the concentration of stars in each galaxy’s bulge is what enabled us to determine their central super-massive black hole masses,” said Dr Graham. “Some of these are up to one million billion times more massive than the Earth. Once we had these masses it was a simple task of summing them up to determine how much of the Universe’s matter is locked away in black holes at the centres of galaxies.”

Dr Graham said next-generation telescopes such as the Giant Magellan Telescope, currently in production, will enable astronomers to directly measure black hole masses in galaxies ten times further away and thus ten times further back in time. “In effect, we’ll soon be able to observe how galaxies and their black holes evolved into what we see around us today.”

Other members of the research team include Paul Allen and Ewan Cameron of The Australian National University, Jochen Liske of the European Southern Observatory, and Roberto De Propris of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

The Millennium Galaxy Catalogue consists of data from the Anglo-Australian Telescope, The Australian National University’s 2.3 m telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, the Isaac Newton Telescope and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo at the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, and also from the Gemini and ESO New Technology Telescopes in Chile.

Original Source: ANU News Release
Hidden Stores of Deuterium Discovered in the Milky Way

A six year study by NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE, satellite has turned up previously hidden quantities of deuterium - a heavier isotope of hydrogen. Astronomers have wondered for years why the levels of deuterium in the Milky Way vary across the galaxy. FUSE has found that deuterium tends to bind to interstellar grains of dust, hiding it from view. Extreme events, like supernovae shockwaves, can vapourize the grains of dust, freeing the deuterium, and making it visible.

A heavy form of hydrogen created just moments after the Big Bang has been found to exist in larger quantities than expected in the Milky Way, a finding that could radically alter theories about star and galaxy formation, says a new international study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

CU-Boulder astrophysicist Jeffrey Linsky said new data gathered by NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE, satellite, shows why deuterium appears to be distributed unevenly in the Milky Way Galaxy. It apparently has been binding to interstellar dust grains, changing from an easily detectable gaseous form to an unobservable solid form, said Linsky, a fellow of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The FUSE deuterium study, six years in the making, solves a 35-year-old mystery concerning the distribution of deuterium in the Milky Way while posing new questions about how stars and galaxies are made, according to the research team. A paper on the subject by a team of international researchers led by Linsky is being published in the Aug. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

“Since the 1970s, we have been unable to explain why deuterium levels vary all over the place,” said Linsky. “The answer we found is as unsettling as it is exciting.”

Since deuterium — a hydrogen isotope containing a proton and a neutron — is believed burned and lost forever during star formation, scientists think the amount of deuterium present in the universe is “pure” and serves as a tracer for star creation and galaxy building over billions of years, said Linsky. While primordial deuterium in the distant, early universe has been measured at concentrations of about 27 parts per million parts hydrogen atoms, measurements by FUSE and NASA’s Copernicus satellite have shown a “patchy” distribution of the element in the Milky Way galaxy, often at far lower levels.

In 2003, Princeton University’s Bruce Draine, a co-author on the new study, developed a model showing that deuterium, when compared to hydrogen, might preferentially bind to interstellar dust grains. The observations by FUSE — which can detect the telltale spectral fingerprints of deuterium in the ultraviolet energy range — strongly support the theory, according to The Astrophysical Journal paper authors.

“Where there are high concentrations of interstellar dust in the galaxy, we see lower concentrations of deuterium gas with FUSE,” said Linsky. “And where there is less interstellar dust, we are measuring higher levels of deuterium gas.”

In relatively undisturbed areas of the universe — like regions around Earth’s sun, for example — deuterium atoms systematically “leave” the gas phase and replace normal hydrogen atoms in dust grains, said Linsky. When a pocket of the universe is disturbed by events like a supernova shock wave or violent activity triggered by nearby hot stars, the dust grains are vaporized, releasing deuterium atoms back into a gas, which has been measured by FUSE, the researchers said.

Scientists assumed from astrophysical theories that at least one-third of the primordial deuterium present in the Milky Way was destroyed over time as it cycled through the stars, said Linsky. But according to the new FUSE findings, the present-day deuterium abundance is less than 15 percent below the primordial values.

“This implies that either significantly less material has been converted to helium and heavier elements in stars or that much more primordial gas has rained down onto the galaxy over its lifetime than had been thought,” said Linsky. “In either case, our models of the chemical evolution of the Milky Way will have to be revised significantly to explain this important new result.”

Launched in 1999, FUSE is a NASA Explorer mission developed in cooperation with the French and Canadian Space Agencies and by Johns Hopkins University, CU-Boulder and the University of California, Berkeley. CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy designed and built the mission’s $9 million spectrograph, which collects and funnels UV light from the satellite’s four telescopes.

The paper was co-authored by scientists from Princeton, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities, the Space Telescope Science Institute, CU-Boulder, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Texas-Austin, NASA-Goddard, the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique in Marseille, France, and the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon in Meudon, France. Other CU-Boulder co-authors include JILA’s Brian Wood, CASA’s Michael Shull and CASA doctoral graduate Seth Redfield.

Original Source: UCB News Release
Linking the Formation of the Earth and Moon

Did the Earth capture the Moon with its gravity, did they form together in the early Solar System, or did the Moon form when a Mars-sized object smashed into the Earth. New data from ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft has turned up deposits of calcium on the lunar surface. By measuring these minerals, as well as aluminium, magnesium and silicon, scientists can better map out the composition of the Moon, and predict what kind of impact might have happened.

The D-CIXS instrument on ESA’s Moon mission SMART-1 has produced the first detection from orbit of calcium on the lunar surface. By doing this, the instrument has taken a step towards answering the old question: did the Moon form from part of the Earth?

Scientists responsible for the D-CIXS instrument on SMART-1 are also announcing that they have detected aluminium, magnesium and silicon. “We have good maps of iron across the lunar surface. Now we can look forward to making maps of the other elements,” says Manuel Grande of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth UK, and D-CIXS’ Principal Investigator.

Knowing how to translate the D-CIXS orbital data into ‘ground truth’ has been helped by a cosmic coincidence. On 9 August 1976, the Russian spacecraft Luna 24 was launched. On 18 August it touched down in a region of the Moon known as Mare Crisium and returned a sample of the lunar soil to Earth.

In January 2005, SMART-1 was high above Mare Crisium when a giant explosion took place on the Sun. Scientists often dread these storms because they can damage spacecraft but, for the scientists responsible for D-CIXS, it was just what they needed.

The D-CIXS instrument depends on X-ray emission from the Sun to excite elements on the lunar surface, which then emit X-rays at characteristic wavelengths. D-CIXS collects these X-ray fingerprints and translates them into the abundance of each chemical element found on the surface of the Moon. Grande and his colleagues could relate the D-CIXS Mare Crisium results to the laboratory analysis of the Russian lunar samples.

They found that the calcium detected from orbit was in agreement with that found by Luna 24 on the surface of Mare Crisium. As SMART-1 flew on, it swept D-CIXS over the nearby highland regions. Calcium showed up here too, which was a surprise until the scientists looked at the data from another Russian moon mission, Luna 20. That lander had also found calcium back in the 1970s. This boosted the scientists’ confidence in the D-CIXS results.

Ever since American astronauts brought back samples of moonrock during the Apollo Moon landings of the late 1960s/early 1970s, planetary scientists have been struck by the broad similarity of the moonrocks and the rocks found deep in the Earth, in a region known as the mantle. This boosted the theory that the Moon formed from debris left over after the Earth was struck a glancing blow by a Mars-sized planet.

However, the more scientists looked at the details of the moonrock, the more discrepancies they found between them and the earthrocks. Most importantly, the isotopes found in the moonrocks did not agree with those found on Earth.

“The get-out clause is that the rocks returned by the Apollo missions represent only highly specific areas on the lunar surface and so may not be representative of the lunar surface in its entirety,” says Grande; hence the need for D-CIXS and its data.

By measuring the abundance of several elements across the lunar surface, scientists can better constrain the contribution of material from the young Earth and its possible impactor to condense and form the Moon. Current models suggest that more came from the impactor than from Earth. Models of the Moon’s evolution and interior structure are necessary to translate the surface measurements into the Moon’s bulk composition.

D-CIXS was a small experimental device, only about the size of a toaster. ESA is now collaborating with India to fly an upgraded version on the Indian lunar probe Chandrayaan, due for launch in 2007–2008. It will map the chemistry of the lunar surface, including the other landing sites from where samples have been brought back to Earth. In this way it will show whether the Apollo and Russian landing sites were typical or special.

“From SMART-1 observations of previous landing sites we can compare orbital observations to the ground truth and expand from the local to global views of the Moon,” says Bernard Foing, Project Scientist for SMART-1.

Then, perhaps planetary scientists can decide whether the Moon was indeed once part of the Earth.

Original Source: ESA News Release
Seasonal Jets Darken the Surface of Mars

Scientists now have an answer for the strange dark spots near the south polar ice caps on Mars. As the ice cap warms in spring, jets of carbon dioxide erupt, spraying dark material onto the surface. The discovery was made using the cameras on board NASA’s Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. They provided detailed images of the fan-shaped dark markings, which are typically 15 to 46 metres (50 to 100 feet) across, and can appear within a week.

Every spring brings violent eruptions to the south polar ice cap of Mars, according to researchers interpreting new observations by NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Jets of carbon dioxide gas erupting from the ice cap as it warms in the spring carry dark sand and dust high aloft. The dark material falls back to the surface, creating dark patches on the ice cap which have long puzzled scientists. Deducing the eruptions of carbon dioxide gas from under the warming ice cap solves the riddle of the spots. It also reveals that this part of Mars is much more dynamically active than had been expected for any part of the planet.

“If you were there, you’d be standing on a slab of carbon-dioxide ice,” said Phil Christensen of Arizona State University, Tempe, principal investigator for Odyssey’s camera. “All around you, roaring jets of carbon dioxide gas are throwing sand and dust a couple hundred feet into the air.”

You’d also feel vibration through your spacesuit boots, he said. “The ice slab you’re standing on is levitated above the ground by the pressure of gas at the base of the ice.”

The team began its research in an attempt to explain mysterious dark spots, fan-like markings, and
spider-shaped features seen in images that cameras on Odyssey and on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor have observed on the ice cap at the Martian south pole.

The dark spots, typically 15 to 46 meters (50 to 150 feet) wide and spaced several hundred feet apart, appear every southern spring as the sun rises over the ice cap. They last for several months and then vanish — only to reappear the next year, after winter’s cold has deposited a fresh layer of ice on the cap. Most spots even seem to recur at the same locations.

An earlier theory proposed that the spots were patches of warm, bare ground exposed as the ice disappeared. However, the camera on Odyssey, which sees in both infrared and visible-light wavelengths, discovered that the spots are nearly as cold as the carbon dioxide ice, suggesting they were just a thin layer of dark material lying on top of the ice and kept chilled by it. To understand how that layer is produced, Christensen’s team used the camera — the Thermal Emission Imaging System — to collect more than 200 images of one area of the ice cap from the end of winter through midsummer.

Some places remained spot-free for more than 100 days, then developed many spots in a week. Fan-shaped dark markings didn’t form until days or weeks after the spots appeared, yet some fans grew to half a mile in length. Even more puzzling was the origin of the “spiders,” grooves eroded into the surface under the ice. The grooves converge at points directly beneath a spot.

The key to figuring out the spiders and the spots was thinking through a physical model for what was happening,” said Christensen. The process begins in the sunless polar winter when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere freezes into a layer about three feet thick on top of a permanent ice cap of water ice, with a thin layer of dark sand and dust in between. In spring, sunlight passing through the slab of carbon dioxide ice reaches the dark material and warms it enough that the ice touching the ground sublimates — turns into gas.

Before long, the swelling reservoir of trapped gas lifts the slab and eventually breaks through at weak spots that become vents. High-pressure gas roars through at speeds of 161 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour) or more. Under the slab, the gas erodes ground as it rushes toward the vents, snatching up loose particles of sand and carving the spidery network of grooves.

Christensen, Hugh Kieffer (U.S. Geological Survey, retired) and Timothy Titus (USGS) report the new interpretation in the Aug. 17, 2006, issue of the journal “Nature.”

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor missions for the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Odyssey’s Thermal Emission Imaging System is operated by Arizona State University.

For additional information about Odyssey and the new findings, visit: and .

Original Source: NASA/JPL News Release
STEREO Spacecraft Set for Launch

Get set to see the Sun… in thrilling 3-D! At the end of August, NASA will launch its twin STEREO spacecraft into orbit around the Sun, to provide the first stereoscopic views of coronal mass ejections. The spacecraft will be lofted into space on Thursday, August 31, to begin a 2-year mission; one spacecraft will fly ahead of the Earth in its orbit, and the other will tail back. With this 3-D view, scientists will be able to accurately track the direction and speed of coronal mass ejections, providing much better space weather forecast.

At the end of this month, NASA is scheduled to put two eyeballs in orbit around the sun to provide the first stereoscopic views of the immense magnetic explosions on the sun’s surface that fling particles at Earth and create storms in space.

The twin spacecraft, called the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO), will explore these massive explosions, or coronal mass ejections, which erupt as billowing magnetic storms that can dwarf the sun. Often more than 6 million miles across - the sun is 860,000 miles in diameter - they can throw out a cloud of gas equivalent to the mass of Mount Everest at speeds of 5 million miles per hour.

This gas reaches Earth and clashes with the planet’s own magnetic field, disrupting radio communications and threatening satellites and astronauts while producing beautiful, Kodachrome auroras - the Northern and Southern lights.

The spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 31, for a two-year mission. One STEREO craft will precede and one will follow Earth in its orbit around the sun to find out what the solar shock wave looks like elsewhere when Earth experiences an onslaught of charged particles.

“With STEREO, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make simultaneous measurements at several points along Earth’s orbit, to find out what coronal mass ejections look like at different locations and different times. We have never had that before,” said Janet Luhmann, a research physicist at the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory and a co-principal investigator on the mission.

Luhmann led a team that built a suite of instruments for STEREO that measures the energy of electrons and ions from the sun and the intensity of the sun’s magnetic fields. Called the In-situ Measurements of Particles And CME Transients (IMPACT), it is one of four instrument packages aboard the nearly identical spacecraft. Together, they provide data that will help pin down how and where the electrons and ions are accelerated in the sun’s corona and atmosphere and how coronal mass ejections propagate through and interact with the steady solar wind.

“By taking a multipoint perspective, imaging as well as in situ measurements with IMPACT of coronal mass ejections, STEREO is supposed to give a definitive answer to the questions: What are these coronal mass ejections? How are they shaped? How do they evolve? Where do they come from?” Luhmann said.

As an experiment, UC Berkeley scientists also will turn the data sent back by IMPACT into stereophonic sound.

“It will provide a sound track to any movies that come out of STEREO images,” said Luhmann. “The sound is not just a gee whiz thing, but it conveys a sense of the physical processes in space, which are invisible.”

The “sonification” project is both a test to see whether researchers’ ears can detect patterns in the measurements not obvious from visual or other analyses, and a way to engage the public in experiments that don’t produce pretty pictures. Space Sciences Laboratory scientists have produced an educational and public Web site about the sonification project and IMPACT measurements.

IMPACT incorporates seven instruments that will measure the energies of the solar wind “plasma” electrons, ranging from the slower ones produced by flares to the high-speed electrons produced by coronal mass ejections; the most energetic of the ions - protons, helium and iron nuclei; and the local magnetic field. Electron and magnetic field detectors are mounted on a 15-foot boom that points away from the sun.

“We might find, for example, that the Earth would experience a huge storm if it had been at the position of the head STEREO spacecraft, but there is nothing there at the position of the Earth,” Luhmann said. “We don’t really have a good feeling for how broad these disturbances are. I think that with current modeling capabilities for space weather, combined with these multipoint measurements, we will finally sort this out and at the end be better able to forecast space weather.”

“In terms of space-weather forecasting, we’re where weather forecasters were in the 1950s,” said Michael Kaiser, STEREO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “They didn’t see hurricanes until the rain clouds were right above them. In our case, we can see storms leaving the sun, but we have to make guesses and use models to figure out if and when they will impact Earth.”

The twin STEREO spacecraft will be launched aboard a Delta II rocket and immediately slip into slightly different orbits near Earth. Then, two months after launch, a close flyby of the moon will sling one of them into a 388-day orbit that causes it to lag behind the Earth by 22.5 degrees. A month later, the second spacecraft will fly near the moon and be sling-shotted into a 346-day orbit at a position 22.5 degrees ahead of the Earth. Each year, these differing orbital periods will cause the spacecraft to drift farther apart - by 45 degrees each year - and farther from the Earth, until they eventually reach a point behind the sun from Earth’s perspective.

Each STEREO observatory, which is about the size of a golf cart, carries 16 instruments in all, including imaging telescopes for optical photos, equipment to measure solar wind and more energetic particles, magnetometers and radio antennas, which also were built at the Space Sciences Laboratory under the direction of Stuart Bale, assistant professor of physics.

The United States, the United Kingdom and several European countries provided the various STEREO instruments. The instruments were integrated with the observatories by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for the project management. The NASA Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center and Boeing are responsible for the launch. The total U.S. cost of the mission is $478 million, with an additional $60 million coming from European contributions.

Original Source: UC Berkeley News Release
Hubble Reveals Dimmest Stars in a Nearby Cluster

New photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope show some of the faintest stars ever seen in a globular cluster. The cluster is NGC 6397, which formed almost right at the beginning of the Universe, nearly 12 billion years ago. This means the stars in the formation are made of the primordial material that formed shortly after the Bang Bang. These dim stars are white dwarfs that were once more massive versions of our own Sun. They cool at a very predictable rate, giving astronomers another way to calculate the age of the Universe.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered what astronomers are reporting as the dimmest stars ever seen in any globular star cluster. Globular clusters are spherical concentrations of hundreds of thousands of stars.

These clusters formed early in the 13.7-billion-year-old universe. The cluster NGC 6397 is one of the closest globular star clusters to Earth. Seeing the whole range of stars in this area will yield insights into the age, origin, and evolution of the cluster.

Although astronomers have conducted similar observations since Hubble was launched, a team led by Harvey Richer of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, is reporting that they have at last unequivocally reached the faintest stars. Richer’s team announced their findings today at the 2006 International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Prague, Czech Republic, and in the August 18 edition of Science.

“We have run out of hydrogen-burning stars in this cluster. There are no fainter such stars waiting to be discovered. We have discovered the lowest-mass stars capable of supporting stable nuclear reactions in this cluster. Any less massive ones faded early in the cluster’s history and by now are too faint to be observed,” said Richer.

Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys completed a census of two distinct stellar populations in NGC 6397. Hubble surveyed the faintest red dwarf stars, which fuse hydrogen in their cores like our sun, and the dimmest white dwarfs, which are the burned-out relics of normal stars.

The light from these faint stars is as dim as the light produced by a birthday candle on the Moon seen from Earth. NGC 6397 is 8,500 light-years away from Earth. Analyzing the burned-out remnants of stars that died long ago, Hubble showed that the dimmest white dwarfs have such low temperatures that they are undergoing a chemical change in their atmospheres that makes them appear bluer rather than redder as they cool. This phenomenon had been predicted, but never observed.

These white dwarfs are the relics of stars up to eight times as massive as the sun, which have exhausted the fuel capable of supporting nuclear reactions in their cores. Stars that were initially even more massive died as supernovae very early in the cluster’s life, leaving behind neutron stars, black holes or no debris at all.

Astronomers have used white dwarfs in globular clusters as a measure of the universe’s age. The universe must be at least as old as the oldest stars. White dwarfs cool down at a predictable rate — the older the dwarf, the cooler it is, making it a perfect “clock” that has been ticking for almost as long as the universe has existed. Richer and his team are using the same age-dating technique to calculate the cluster’s age. NGC 6397 is currently estimated to be nearly 12 billion years old.

A globular cluster’s dimmest stars have eluded astronomers because their light is too feeble. Richer’s team used Hubble’s Advanced Camera to probe deep within the cluster for nearly five days to capture the faint stars. The camera’s resolution is so sharp that it is capable of isolating cluster stars in this crowded cluster field, enabling cluster members to be distinguished from foreground and background stars. The cluster stars move together as the cluster orbits the Milky Way Galaxy, and Hubble was able to pinpoint which stars were moving with the cluster. The Hubble team used this technique together with archival Hubble images taken as much as a decade earlier to make sure they had a pure sample of cluster stars.

Original Source: Hubble News Release
Planck Telescope Tested in Vacuum

ESA’s Planck space telescope recently spent two weeks in a chamber that simulates the vacuum and temperature of space. When it finally launches in 2008, the European spacecraft will explore the cosmic background radiation; the afterglow of the Big Bang. Engineers needed to make sure that its instruments will perform well under the harsh conditions of space, and so far, everything checks out. The various components of the mission will continue to be tested separately, and then tested together in the coming months.

ESA’s Planck space telescope was removed last week from the Large Space Simulator (LSS) at ESTEC, ESA’s research and technology centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, after a thorough two-week test in temperatures down to -178 degrees Celsius. The test is an important milestone towards launch in 2008.

Once in space, Planck will investigate cosmic background radiation: the remnants of the Big Bang over fourteen billion years ago. The telescope will make observations in the far-infrared spectrum; this can only be achieved using super-cooled instruments. It is essential to test the telescope at very low temperatures – a task highly suited to ESA’s Large Space Simulator.

Cold vacuum
“Central to this test is exposure of the mirrors and their structural frame to a very cold vacuum”, explains ESA scientist Philippe Kletzkine. “The telescope is built at room temperature and then cooled to way below the freezing point. Even though the materials were chosen carefully, this makes each individual component of the telescope shrink to some small but not negligible extent. We need to know whether the resulting changes in shape match our predictions. We have to be spot on, so the mirrors line up properly.”

Videogrammetry is used to get a clearer picture of the changes in shape. Thousands of photographs, taken from many different angles, are used to build up a three-dimensional image of the mirrors, their structural frame and the place where the telescope’s cameras will be mounted. This process is repeated at several temperatures.

The telescope has been returned to a cleanroom at ESTEC. This completes the hands-on part of the measurement – now it is time for some arithmetic. Kletzkine: “Over the next few weeks we will be busy interpreting the test results. According to our first impressions the telescope has behaved well.”

Earlier this year, Planck’s mirrors were tested individually without the telescope structural frame at Alcatel, in Cannes, France. The results of their videogrammetry tests met expectations. Alcatel Alenia Space France is Prime Contractor to ESA for the Planck spacecraft.

Preparations for the mission continue at ESTEC. All the components needed to complete the spacecraft will be delivered and tested together in the coming months. Eventually the flight model will undergo vibration testing, acoustic testing, high and low temperature testing, as well as various tests of the computers and communications equipment on board.

When the satellite is nearly completed, it will once again be placed in the Large Space Simulator. Planck is a so-called ’spinner’, a satellite that rotates around its axis. New test runs in the LSS, again under vacuum but this time at normal room temperature, will check that the complete spacecraft is well balanced.

If everything goes to plan, at the end of 2007 Planck will pass its ‘flight readiness review’: a last step before proceeding with launch activities in 2008. Planck will be launched together with ESA’s Herschel spacecraft, itself an infra-red space telescope of a different kind, by ESA’s own Ariane-5 ECA heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Original Source: ESA News Release
Swirling Pinwheels Near the Heart of the Milky Way

Astronomers have gathered new data on a formation of stars called the Quintuplet cluster. These are a group of stars near the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. The new data comes from the W.M. Keck telescope, which gathered high resolution images of the stars. They appear to be massive binary stars near the end of their short lives, which are giving off huge amounts of gas and dust. These dust plumes are creating pinwheel-shaped spirals around the stars as they orbit each other.

For the first time, scientists have identified the cluster of Quintuplet stars in the Milky Way’s galactic center, next to the super massive black hole, as massive binary stars nearing the end of their life cycle, solving a mystery that had dogged astronomers for more than 15 years.

The nature of the stars was not entirely clear until now. In a paper published in the Aug. 18 issue of Science, co-authors Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney and Donald Figer of Rochester Institute of Technology show that the Quintuplet cluster consists of young massive binary stars that produce large amounts of dust. Their data reveal that five bright red stars are nearing the end of their “short” lives of approximately 5 million years. These quickly evolving stars burn fast and bright, but die younger than fainter stars, which live for billions of years. The study captures the Quintuplet stars just before disintegrating in supernovae explosions.

Using advanced imaging techniques on the world’s biggest telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the scientists captured the stars at the highest attainable resolution for the instrument, far exceeding the capability of the Hubble Space Telescope, which imaged the cluster a decade ago. The extra-resolution gives scientists a new glimpse of the dust plumes surrounding the stars and the swirling spirals Tuthill likened to pinwheels when he identified the first one in 1999 elsewhere in the galaxy.

“Only a few pinwheels are known in the galaxy,” Figer says. “The point is, we’ve found five all next to each other in the same cluster. No one has seen anything like this before.”

According to Figer, the swirling dust in pinwheel stars is key to the presence of the most evolved massive stars and points to the presence of pairs of stars. The geometry of the plume allows scientists to measure the properties of the binary stars, including the orbital period and distance.

“The only way that pinwheels can form is if they have two stars, swirling around each other. The stars are so close that their winds collide, forming dust in a spiral shape, just like water sprayed from a garden hose of a twirling sprinkler,” Figer says. “A single star wouldn’t be able to produce the dust and wouldn’t have the spiral outflow.”

An earlier study by Figer in 1996 claimed the Quintuplet cluster consists of evolved massive stars that produce dust. Figer’s research could not be confirmed until now with the use of the Keck telescope.

“If you want to understand star formation, you have to understand if they are forming alone or if they have partners,” Figer says. “The answer gives us a clue as to whether stars form alone or with companions.”

Other scientists involved with the study include John Monnier of University of Michigan, Angelle Tanner of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Andrea Ghez of University of California and William Danchi of NASA Goddard Space Center.

Grants from the Australian Research Council, the National Science Foundation Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics Program, and the NASA Long-term Space Astrophysics Program supported this project.

Original Source: RIT News Release
Orion Revealed by Spitzer

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured this image of the Orion Nebula using its Infrared Array Camera. In this infrared view, intricate structures made up of gas and dust in the nebula are revealed. Spitzer’s camera took 10,000 exposures of the region, which were combined on computer to make up the full image. The telescope has already uncovered nearly 2,300 planet-forming disks in the region, which would be hidden to visible light telescopes like Hubble.

The Orion nebula is one of the most famous and easily viewed deep-sky sights. Located in the sword of Orion the Hunter, this distant cloud of gas and dust holds hundreds of young stars. At its center, a cluster of four bright, massive stars known as the Trapezium bathes the entire 30 light-year-wide nebula with powerful radiation, lighting the surrounding gas. Even a modest telescope reveals billowing ripples of matter gleaming eerily across the vastness of space.

A new image taken by the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) aboard NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Orion nebula in a new light. The striking color-coded picture reveals pinkish swirls of dust speckled with stars-some of which are orbited by disks of planet-forming dust.

“When I first got a look at the image, I was immediately struck by the intricate structure in the nebulosity, and in particular, the billowing clouds of the gigantic ring extending from the Orion Nebula,” said Tom Megeath of the University of Toledo, Ohio, who spearheaded the research while on the staff of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Located about 1,450 light-years from Earth, the Orion nebula holds special significance for researchers as the nearest region of massive star formation and the nearest populous cluster of very young stars.

“Most stars form in crowded environments like Orion, so if we want to understand how stars form, we need to understand the Orion nebula star cluster,” explained Lori Allen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Allen is working with Megeath on a long-term, multiwavelength study of Orion using a variety of ground- and space-based observatories.

Approximately 10,000 IRAC exposures were combined to create the full image of the Orion cloud complex-the collection of interstellar gas clouds that includes the Orion nebula.

Spitzer unearthed nearly 2,300 planet-forming disks in the Orion cloud complex. The disks are too small and distant to be resolved by most visible-light telescopes; however, Spitzer easily detects the infrared glow of their warm dust. Each disk has the potential to form planets and its own solar system.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Spitzer’s infrared array camera was built by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The instrument’s principal investigator is Giovanni Fazio of CfA.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

Original Source: CfA News Release