Different views of The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest astronomical project in existence. It’s an international partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, composing initially of 66 high precision antennas located in northern Chile.
From Earth to Observable Universe
“Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring—not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive… If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.”
― Carl Sagan (Astrophysicist, Astronomer & Cosmologist)
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The cosmic brush of star formation composed this alluring mix of dust and dark nebulae. Cataloged as Sh2-239 and LDN 1551, the region lies near the southern end of the Taurus molecular cloud complex some 450 light-years distant. Stretching for nearly 3 light-years, the canvas abounds with signs of embedded young stellar objects driving dynamic outflows into the surrounding medium. Included near the center of the frame, a compact, tell-tale red jet of shocked hydrogen gas is near the position of infrared source IRS5, known to be a system of protostars surrounded by dust disks. Just below it are the broader, brighter wings of HH 102, one of the region’s many Herbig-Haro objects, nebulosities associated with newly born stars. Estimates indicate that the star forming LDN 1551 region contains a total amount of material equivalent to about 50 times the mass of the Sun.
Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)
This is roughly the view of our neighbouring brightest galaxies if you were 20 million light years away from ‘home’ (red dot). A closer view reveals the closest neighbours as well. In a very small distance there are two galaxies surrounding the Milky Way, the Large and the Small Mangelanic Clouds.
SDO’s Ultra-high Definition View of 2012 Venus Transit Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun.
During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate.
SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day. On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event—the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.
Planetary nebula NGC 5189 captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on July 6, 2012
• Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA)
NASA Space Shuttle Launch.
Journey into a Schwarzschild black hole.
The simplest kind of black hole is a Schwarzschild black hole, which has mass yet no electric charge or spin. This black hole geometry was discovered by Karl Schwarzschild in 1915, shortly after Einstein presented his final theory of General Relativity. The gifs above are created from a simulation depicting what you would theoretically see if you traveled towards a black hole, against a panorama of our Milky Way.
First of all, as you approach, you clearly see gravitational lensing taking place, with the black hole bending light around it. It appears to ‘repel’ the Milky Way radially, which then stretches the image transversely. The sections closer to the black hole experience greater ‘repulsion’, so the image appears to be compressed radially.
You then take note of the Einstein Ring seen around the black hole, occurring because of the bright objects lying directly behind it. Due to the aforementioned gravitational lensing, the light from these bright objects is bent around the black hole and forms this ring.
Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), as you get closer, the trajectory of your journey does not have enough angular momentum to go into an unstable circular orbit. If you had slightly more, you would find yourself orbiting this black hole, which would, in fact, make for a fairly nice view. However, you carry on travelling towards the center.
Next, you swiftly pass through the photon sphere,where light rays can orbit the black hole in unstable circular orbits. However, you do not see anything of particular interest, but are more concerned with your forthcoming fall through the horizon.
As you travel, you would not know at what point you fell through the black hole’s horizon. However, as you do pass through it unaware, it apparently splits in two, explained nicely by these Penrose diagrams (if you have the chance to give them a quick glance over whilst you’re hurtling towards your inevitable death). Here, space is falling faster than light, meaning you are carried inexorably inward.
Anyone who happens to be watching your spectacular journey would see you as fairly dim and red. This effect is due to red shift, with anything falling past the black hole’s horizon appearing this way to an observer outside of this point.
As you get closer and closer to the center, the black hole’s tidal forces begin to wear on you. Presuming you are travelling feet first, you feel a greater force of gravity in your lower half than up by your head. Due to these forces, you are stretched vertically and crushed horizontally; this is known asspaghettification. These forces also mean that your view of the Universe beyond is blue shifted and bright around your waist, but red shifted and dim above that; a strange sight.
Despite having been utterly torn apart from the tidal forces, a tenth of a second later you reach the black hole’s singularity, the center point of infinite curvature. Here, space and time as you know them come to an end, and so does your exciting journey.
It must be remembered that real black holes are probably much more complicated than Schwarzschild black holes; they likely spin and are not isolated, so a journey into a normal black hole could be slightly different adventure.