A Wanderer Dances the Dance of Stars and Space

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame. This face-on galaxy, lying 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), is particularly attractive for astronomers. NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. Lurking at the very center of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in. The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

Click here to visit Original posting

2012 in numbers: Arianespace continues to lead the industry for commercial launch services

Arianespace achieved an impressive and record-breaking year of activity during 2012, employing its complete launcher family to perform 10 total flights from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega; along with a Soyuz mission from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Click here to visit Original posting

2012 in numbers: Arianespace continues to lead the industry for commercial launch services

Arianespace achieved an impressive and record-breaking year of activity during 2012, employing its complete launcher family to perform 10 total flights from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega; along with a Soyuz mission from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Click here to visit Original posting

2012 in numbers: Arianespace continues to lead the industry for commercial launch services

Arianespace achieved an impressive and record-breaking year of activity during 2012, employing its complete launcher family to perform 10 total flights from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega; along with a Soyuz mission from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Click here to visit Original posting

2012 in numbers: Arianespace continues to lead the industry for commercial launch services

Arianespace achieved an impressive and record-breaking year of activity during 2012, employing its complete launcher family to perform 10 total flights from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega; along with a Soyuz mission from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Click here to visit Original posting

2012 in numbers: Arianespace continues to lead the industry for commercial launch services

Arianespace achieved an impressive and record-breaking year of activity during 2012, employing its complete launcher family to perform 10 total flights from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega; along with a Soyuz mission from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Click here to visit Original posting

Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627

The spiral galaxy NGC 3627 is located about 30 million light years from Earth. This composite image includes X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope (red), and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope (yellow). The inset shows the central region, which contains a bright X-ray source that is likely powered by material falling onto a supermassive black hole. A search using archival data from previous Chandra observations of a sample of 62 nearby galaxies has shown that 37 of the galaxies, including NGC 3627, contain X-ray sources in their centers. Most of these sources are likely powered by central supermassive black holes. The survey, which also used data from the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxy Survey, found that seven of the 37 sources are new supermassive black hole candidates. Confirming previous Chandra results, this study finds the fraction of galaxies found to be hosting supermassive black holes is much higher than found with optical searches. This shows the ability of X-ray observations to find black holes in galaxies where relatively low-level black hole activity has either been hidden by obscuring material or washed out by the bright optical light of the galaxy. Credits: NASA/CXC/Ohio State Univ./C.Grier et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI, ESO/WFI; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Click here to visit Original posting

Tau Ceti: A Tale of Five New Planets?

When it comes to extra-solar planet discoveries, perhaps “all that jitters is not gold.” New discoveries have been announced at an almost weekly rate, with the records for the “fastest, hottest, most bizarre, etc” being routinely broken. And of course, the Holy Grail in the fledgling field of exoplanet science is the discovery of a potentially Earth-like world.

Click here to visit Original posting