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   Undertoad  Wednesday Oct 8 01:11 PM

10/8/2003: Picturesque galaxy

This is today's Astronomy Pic of the Day. It's the Sombrero Galaxy in a new Hubble image. Or you could refer to it by its original name, "M104" or "Messier Object 104", named for the dude who first noticed it and catalogued it.

It's notable because it's considered the most picturesque of the galaxies. This is important, because you really don't want to live in one of the run-down galaxies - so gauche. Some of the galaxies out there are literally breaking apart! Does nobody care about their surroundings?

The interesting part of this beast is the "diffuse glow of the extended central bulge". My own extended central bulge has no such glow, and so I am envious.

It turns out that the diffuse glow is actually "globular clusters", and a few minutes of clicking around suggests that this means that white glow is actually millions of little stars.

And then there's the rim of foam around the edge of it, framing it nicely and considerately. That turns out to be interstellar dust grains of some sort.

So, to sum up, wrap your mind around this: the glow of white is millions of stars - so large that we can't fathom it. The brown part is made of grains of dust so small that we couldn't see an individual one with the human eye.


daniwong  Wednesday Oct 8 01:45 PM

That is a truly amazing photo toad.

SteveDallas  Wednesday Oct 8 06:55 PM

It sure is. For comparison check this out. By any standard this image

(credit: T. Boroson using the 0.9m telescope at Kitt Peak) is a fabulous view of the Sombrero. But just look at the difference in detail in the dust lanes of the HST image, and ESPECIALLY the disk of the galaxy. I've seen dozens of photos of this over the years (the Messier objects are very popular because they're relatively bright and therefore easy to find), but none that even came close to this detail. Truly a first-class example of what the Hubble can do.

(Although I have to say I'm not sure about the "most photogenic". It's hard to beat the Andromeda Galaxy.)

Griff  Wednesday Oct 8 08:09 PM

Thats a nice looking neighborhood. Are the land prices reasonable?

SteveDallas  Wednesday Oct 8 08:34 PM

The real estate is reasonably priced, but the commute is a bitch!!!

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Oct 8 09:34 PM

The real estate value is set by the owner for tax purposes. You can buy it for the owner set value.

JeepNGeorge  Wednesday Oct 8 09:35 PM

Is that a starbucks sign I see? DAMNIT THOSE BASTARDS ARE EVERYWHERE.

wolf  Wednesday Oct 8 10:55 PM

No, but I DO see a Krispy Kreme over there, AND the red light is on, so the damn things are being served HOT.

Those places are everyfuckingwhere but HERE.

Whit  Wednesday Oct 8 10:59 PM

      Hey... Wait a minute... That's not a galaxy... That's the exploding Death Star special effect from the Star Wars revamp!
      (Ok, I admit it. Deep down inside, I'm a geek)

Elspode  Wednesday Oct 8 11:01 PM

Far be it from me to argue with UT, but since hair splitting is as hobby of mine...

The diffuse glow is billions of individual stars. The globular clusters are those glowing blobs you see surrounding M-104, which are made up of, as luck would have it, many thousands of individual stars.

We have a number of globular clusters in our own night sky which are quite impressive to view in a telescope. My personal favorite is M-13 located in the constellation Hercules. Awesome sight in a 10" scope with a nice eyepiece. You can practically fall into it...

Tobiasly  Thursday Oct 9 08:49 AM

Originally posted by Whit
Hey... Wait a minute... That's not a galaxy... That's the exploding Death Star special effect from the Star Wars revamp!
      (Ok, I admit it. Deep down inside, I'm a geek)
That's the very first thing I thought of when I saw it too, Whit. Of course, I'm a geek as well.

OnyxCougar  Thursday Oct 9 10:18 AM

Death Star? What's that?

dave  Thursday Oct 9 12:47 PM

Nerds, enlighten her.

SteveDallas  Thursday Oct 9 01:05 PM

Naaah, no need, she's joking.


isn't she??

juju  Thursday Oct 9 01:18 PM

From here:
<blockquote><i>Designed and constructed in secret, the Death Star is the brainchild of the sinister Grand Moff Tarkin, governor of the Imperial Outland Regions. On board the Death Star, there are hundreds of prison levels capable of detaining entire populations. Metal cells line the prison levels like dark hives, encasing prisoners inside small black rooms of thick armor plate. Soundproof and escape-proof, the cells grip their prisoners with hopelessness and hide grim scenes of illegal interrogation and torture.


The completed Death Star is powered by a hypermatter reactor and is capable of destroying an entire planet with its prime weapon, a horrific superlaser. This abomination is the galaxy's ultimate weapon, and the greatest symbol of the Emperor's absolute power. Thousands of turbolaser battery emplacements speckle the rugged surface of the battle station, designed to defend it against capital ship assaults. Countless hangar bays house TIE fighters, shuttles, and other combat and transport craft.</i></blockquote>

OnyxCougar  Thursday Oct 9 01:49 PM

Originally posted by SteveDallas
Naaah, no need, she's joking.


isn't she??
Of course I am. I'm a broadband internet help desk rep. You think I'm not a complete nerd? I'm way more of a trekkie than a star wars fan, though. I can even recite Data's "Ode to Spot." Pretty sad, huh??

I have seen all 5 of the movies, but I don't own any of them. The last Anakin (Ep 2) was waaay too whiney for my taste. But then, that's a thread for entertainment....

SteveDallas  Thursday Oct 9 01:53 PM

I always did wonder why they had all those prison cells on it though. I mean, I thought the point was to fly around blowing up planets. Who needs to take prisoners??

juju  Thursday Oct 9 01:58 PM

To extract information, of course.

BryanD  Thursday Oct 9 02:21 PM

Originally posted by SteveDallas
Who needs to take prisoners??

Sometimes, you need to find the next planet to blow up.. you might have to ask someone who is reluctant to tell you.

Your reply here?

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