Shiny NGC 253 is one of the brightest spiral galaxies visible, and also one of the dustiest. Some call it the Silver Dollar Galaxy for its appearance in small telescopes, or just the Sculptor Galaxy for its location within the boundaries of the southern constellation Sculptor. First swept up in 1783 by mathematician and astronomer Caroline Herschel, the dusty island universe lies a mere 10 million light-years away. About 70 thousand light-years across, NGC 253 is the largest member of the Sculptor Group of Galaxies, the nearest to our own Local Group of Galaxies. In addition to its spiral dust lanes, tendrils of dust seem to be rising from a galactic disk laced with young star clusters and star forming regions in this sharp color image. The high dust content accompanies frantic star formation, earning NGC 253 the designation of a starburst galaxy. NGC 253 is also known to be a strong source of high-energy x-rays and gamma rays, likely due to massives black hole near the galaxy’s center.
The Doppler effect explains why objects moving towards us or away from us at high speed appear to have their colors shifted either towards blue or red respectively.
When an object moves towards us, the crests of the light waves we see from it are compressed together, making the wavelength of the light shorter (and hence bluer), while for an object moving away the separation between crests is stretched, making the light’s wavelength longer (and hence redder). In the simulation above, the monochromatic source of light, as it moves right, would appear blue to an observer on the right-hand side, and red to an observer on the left.
Scientists use spectroscopy — a technique that breaks light up into its component wavelengths — to study the vicinity of supermassive black holes. As matter spins around the black hole, the Doppler effect kicks in, this means that one side appears slightly redder, and the other slightly bluer than it really is. Note that the effect is exaggerated in this computer simulation, which depicts the vicinity of the black hole in the galaxy Messier 87 — one of the first to be studied by Hubble.
Credit: ESA/Hubble (L. Calçada)
Solar energy that doesn’t block the view
A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface. And, according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the key word is “transparent.”
Metric vs. Imperial
"Let’s say that I am, through my actions, doomed, and that I will go to hell. Even if I am going to hell, that still doesn’t mean the Earth is 6,000 years old. The facts just don’t reconcile.”
We are SO sorry that this blog has been pretty empty for a while. Lucie and I had our big A Level exams and then we both went backpacking around Europe for the summer, so it’s been pretty hectic!
But alas, we are back, and we have some GREAT NEWS!
Lucie and I both got the grades we needed to get into our top choice Universities. So yes, come September, we will both be studying Physics with Astrophysics at degree level, and we will officially be freshers! Exciting right?!
We are SO excited to start uni studies! If any of our followers are in the same position, or you are starting in a new education establishment or work, come drop us an ask and we’ll be happy to talk yay!
Hopefully we’ll manage to keep this blog a little more lively now!
Scenes from the Gemini 4 mission, June 3-7, 1965.