August 14, 2008

Celestial Beauty and Quantum Weirdness

 100Th Hubble

This picture released on the occasion of the 100,000 orbit of the Hubble telescope shows us a dazzling image of celestial beauty and renewal,

Hubble peered into a small portion of the Tarantula nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074. The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away and is one of the most active star-forming regions in our local group of galaxies.

The image reveals dramatic ridges and valleys of dust, serpent-head "pillars of creation," and gaseous filaments glowing fiercely under torrential ultraviolet radiation. The region is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud that is an incubator for the birth of new stars.

The high-energy radiation blazing out from clusters of hot young stars is sculpting the wall of the nebula by slowly eroding it away. Another young cluster may be hidden beneath a circle of brilliant blue gas.

In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower, right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

The region is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a fascinating laboratory for observing star-formation regions and their evolution. Dwarf galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud are considered to be the primitive building blocks of larger galaxies.

Quantum Weirdness is even stranger than they thought and physicists are spooked by faster-than-light information transfer.

The revelations of these scientific discoveries leave me in awe.

Posted by Jill Fallon at August 14, 2008 8:07 PM | Permalink