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Topic: NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer

NASA solves 16 Year Old Cosmic Mystery of the Blue Ring Nebula

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In 2004, scientists with NASA’s space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spotted an object unlike any they’d seen before in our Milky Way galaxy: a large, faint blob of gas with a star at its center.

In the GALEX images, the blob appeared blue – though it doesn’t actually emit light visible to the human eye – and subsequent observations revealed a thick ring structure within it. So the team nicknamed it the Blue Ring Nebula. Over the next 16 years, they studied it with multiple Earth- and space-based telescopes, but the more they learned, the more mysterious it seemed.

The Blue Ring Nebula consists of two expanding cones of gas ejected into space by a stellar merger. As the gas cools, it forms hydrogen molecules that collide with particles in interstellar space, causing them to radiate far-ultraviolet light. Invisible to the human eye, it is shown here as blue. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Seibert (Carnegie Institution for Science)/K. Hoadley (Caltech)/GALEX Team)

The Blue Ring Nebula consists of two expanding cones of gas ejected into space by a stellar merger. As the gas cools, it forms hydrogen molecules that collide with particles in interstellar space, causing them to radiate far-ultraviolet light. Invisible to the human eye, it is shown here as blue. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Seibert (Carnegie Institution for Science)/K. Hoadley (Caltech)/GALEX Team)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope used to create High-Resolution Ultraviolet-Light survey of nearby Galaxies

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Capitalizing on the unparalleled sharpness and spectral range of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers is releasing the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of nearby star-forming galaxies.

The researchers combined new Hubble observations with archival Hubble images for 50 star-forming spiral and dwarf galaxies in the local universe, offering a large and extensive resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution.

The project, called the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), has amassed star catalogs for each of the LEGUS galaxies and cluster catalogs for 30 of the galaxies, as well as images of the galaxies themselves.

These six images represent the variety of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies. The galaxies are part of the Hubble Space Telescope's Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. (NASA/ESA/LEGUS team)

These six images represent the variety of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies. The galaxies are part of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. (NASA/ESA/LEGUS team)

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NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer examines how Red Dwarf Flares effect Orbiting Planets

 

Written by Christine Pulliam
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Cool dwarf stars are hot targets for exoplanet hunting right now. The discoveries of planets in the habitable zones of the TRAPPIST-1 and LHS 1140 systems, for example, suggest that Earth-sized worlds might circle billions of red dwarf stars, the most common type of star in our galaxy.

But, like our own sun, many of these stars erupt with intense flares. Are red dwarfs really as friendly to life as they appear, or do these flares make the surfaces of any orbiting planets inhospitable?

To address this question, a team of scientists has combed 10 years of ultraviolet observations by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft looking for rapid increases in the brightness of stars due to flares.

This illustration shows a red dwarf star orbited by a hypothetical exoplanet. (NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI))

This illustration shows a red dwarf star orbited by a hypothetical exoplanet. (NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI))

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NASA Telescopes uncover an enormous, bizarre, ‘Frankenstein’ Galaxy

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – About 250 million light-years away, there’s a neighborhood of our universe that astronomers had considered quiet and unremarkable. But now, scientists have uncovered an enormous, bizarre galaxy possibly formed from the parts of other galaxies.

A new study to be published in the Astrophysical Journal reveals the secret of UGC 1382, a galaxy that had originally been thought to be old, small and typical. Instead, scientists using data from NASA telescopes and other observatories have discovered that the galaxy is 10 times bigger than previously thought and, unlike most galaxies, its insides are younger than its outsides, almost as if it had been built using spare parts.

At left, in optical light, UGC 1382 appears to be a simple elliptical galaxy. But spiral arms emerged when astronomers incorporated ultraviolet and deep optical data (middle). Combining that with a view of low-density hydrogen gas (shown in green at right), scientists discovered that UGC 1382 is gigantic.

At left, in optical light, UGC 1382 appears to be a simple elliptical galaxy. But spiral arms emerged when astronomers incorporated ultraviolet and deep optical data (middle). Combining that with a view of low-density hydrogen gas (shown in green at right), scientists discovered that UGC 1382 is gigantic.

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NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope discover pair of merging Black Holes

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Entangled by gravity and destined to merge, two candidate black holes in a distant galaxy appear to be locked in an intricate dance.

Researchers using data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have come up with the most compelling confirmation yet for the existence of these merging black holes and have found new details about their odd, cyclical light signal.

The candidate black hole duo, called PG 1302-102, was first identified earlier this year using ground-based telescopes.

This simulation helps explain an odd light signal thought to be coming from a close-knit pair of merging black holes, PG 1302-102, located 3.5 billion light-years away. (Columbia University)

This simulation helps explain an odd light signal thought to be coming from a close-knit pair of merging black holes, PG 1302-102, located 3.5 billion light-years away. (Columbia University)

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NASA Explorer Spacecrafts reveal Galaxy Growth starts in the Middle like Rings of a Tree

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Watching a tree grow might be more frustrating than waiting for a pot to boil, but luckily for biologists, there are tree rings. Beginning at a tree trunk’s dense core and moving out to the soft bark, the passage of time is marked by concentric rings, revealing chapters of the tree’s history.

Galaxies outlive trees by billions of years, making their growth impossible to see. But like biologists, astronomers can read the rings in a galaxy’s disk to unravel its past.

New evidence from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) missions provide support for the "inside-out" theory of galaxy evolution, which holds that star formation starts at the core of the galaxy and spreads outward. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

New evidence from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) missions provide support for the “inside-out” theory of galaxy evolution, which holds that star formation starts at the core of the galaxy and spreads outward. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA turns off it’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has decommissioned its Galaxy Evolution Explorer after a decade of operations in which the venerable space telescope used its ultraviolet vision to study hundreds of millions of galaxies across 10 billion years of cosmic time.

“GALEX is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Jeff Hayes, NASA’s GALEX program executive in Washington. “This small Explorer mission has mapped and studied galaxies in the ultraviolet, light we cannot see with our own eyes, across most of the sky.”

A speeding star can be seen leaving an enormous trail in this image from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A speeding star can be seen leaving an enormous trail in this image from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovers White Dwarf bending light of nearby Star

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Kepler space telescope has witnessed the effects of a dead star bending the light of its companion star. The findings are among the first detections of this phenomenon — a result of Einstein’s general theory of relativity — in binary, or double, star systems.

The dead star, called a white dwarf, is the burnt-out core of what used to be a star like our sun. It is locked in an orbiting dance with its partner, a small “red dwarf” star. While the tiny white dwarf is physically smaller than the red dwarf, it is more massive.

This artist's concept depicts a dense, dead star called a white dwarf crossing in front of a small, red star. The white dwarf's gravity is so great it bends and magnifies light from the red star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept depicts a dense, dead star called a white dwarf crossing in front of a small, red star. The white dwarf’s gravity is so great it bends and magnifies light from the red star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer data confirms Spiral Galaxy as Largest ever discovered

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 has ranked among the biggest stellar systems for decades. Now a team of astronomers from the United States, Chile and Brazil has crowned it the largest known spiral, based on archival data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) mission, which has since been loaned to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Measuring tip-to-tip across its two outsized spiral arms, NGC 6872 spans more than 522,000 light-years, making it more than five times the size of our Milky Way galaxy.

This composite of the giant barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 combines visible light images from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope with far-ultraviolet (1,528 angstroms) data from NASA's GALEX and 3.6-micron infrared data acquired by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ESO/JPL-Caltech/DSS)

This composite of the giant barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 combines visible light images from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope with far-ultraviolet (1,528 angstroms) data from NASA’s GALEX and 3.6-micron infrared data acquired by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ESO/JPL-Caltech/DSS)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Galaxy Evolution Explorer combine to capture image of Helix nebula in the constellation Aquarius

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A dying star is refusing to go quietly into the night, as seen in this combined infrared and ultraviolet view from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which NASA has lent to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

In death, the star’s dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core.

A dying star is throwing a cosmic tantrum in this combined image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which NASA has lent to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In death, the star's dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A dying star is throwing a cosmic tantrum in this combined image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which NASA has lent to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In death, the star’s dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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