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Old 05-12-2003, 12:27 PM   #1
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5/12/2003: Helix nebula

This is the coil-shaped Helix Nebula, and astronomers say this shot is one of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made. To do it, they wove multiple Hubble shots together with shots from a ground-based telescope in Arizona.

Huh! I guess if something is 650 light years away, the distance from the earth to the Hubble in space is not really enough to throw off the shot. The unimaginable math involved frightens me enough to want to stop this entry right now.

The Helix Nebula, they say, is the closest planetary nebula to us. Which starts to boggle the mind harder; this thing is 650 light years away and there are 10,000 of them in our galaxy. So there are 9,999 more of them in our galaxy that are even further away. The scope is really hard to imagine. Suddenly the math is relatively comfortable, compared to the awe of distance and all the stuff we will NEVER understand.

It turns out that, despite the name, a planetary nebula has nothing to do with planets. They think it's the last step for a star like our own Sun, as it dies. It's made of different gasses, blowing out from where the center of the star would be, superheated so hot that they glow. This phase only lasts a little while -- like a few thousand years. Add time to the growing list of mind-boggling aspects.
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Old 05-12-2003, 12:38 PM   #2
Look who thinks he's clever Dan.
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More info on how they did it:
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Old 05-12-2003, 03:27 PM   #3
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Old 05-13-2003, 01:20 AM   #4
Umm ... yeah.
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     Nebula??? Damn, and here I thought somebody finally got Sauron some visine...
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Old 05-13-2003, 11:41 AM   #5
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so where's the mote?
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Old 05-13-2003, 01:32 PM   #6
Yeah sez you
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