Now Playing Tracks


The Flame and Horse Head Nebulae

This image shows the spectacular star-forming region known as the Flame Nebula, or NGC 2024, in the constellation of Orion (the Hunter) and its surroundings. It is the first to be released publicly from VISTA, the world’s largest survey telescope, and reveals the cluster of very young stars at the object’s heart. The wide-field VISTA view also includes the glow of the reflection nebula NGC 2023, and the ghostly outline of the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) towards the lower right. The bright blue star (right) is one of the three bright stars forming the Belt of Orion. The image was created from VISTA images taken through J, H and Ks filters in the near-infrared part of the spectrum.

Credit: ESO/


Theorem of a Supernova - The NuSTAR Mission

NuSTAR has provided the first observational evidence in support of a theory that says exploding stars slosh around before detonating. That theory, referred to as mild asymmetries, is shown here in a simulation by Christian Ott of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

In this simulation, a supernova explosion is already underway. The small circle in the center represents the material that will form the dense star at the center of a supernova remnant, called a neutron star. The bright ring surrounding it is the shock wave created in the explosion. The colors represent temperature fluctuations. When the movie starts, the explosion has “stalled out,” because the material falling back onto the neutron star has backed up, like too many cars on the freeway, blocking the shock wave from progressing.

As the explosion continues, material starts to slosh around, reenergized by particles called neutrinos. The neutrinos heat up the material more and more, causing the hot regions to rise into the cooler regions and form large bubbles in the material. Once the bubbles break through the surrounding material, it’s as if the top of a pressure cooker blows off. There’s nothing holding back the shock wave any more and the star explodes.

Credit: NASA/Christian Ott/Caltech

We make Tumblr themes