A fascinating video about how the Earth and our solar system move through the galaxy. Our solar system takes 225 million years to orbit the galaxy. The first dinosaurs on Earth evolved the last time it was in the current positon during the the late Triassic.


    Reports that the JWST killed the reigning cosmological model have been exaggerated. But there’s still much to learn from the distant galaxies it glimpses. The galaxies’ apparent distances from Earth suggested that they formed much earlier in the history of the universe than anyone anticipated. (The farther away something is, the longer ago its light flared forth.)

    No, the James Webb Space Telescope Hasn’t Broken Cosmology | WIRED

    When Carl Sagan said that we are made of star stuff, well, here's what that looks like on the periodic table of elements and it's fascinating:

    Image Credit & License: Wikipedia: Cmglee; Data: Jennifer Johnson (OSU)

    Astronomy Picture of the Day, 2023 January 8

    Working through my blog archive to simplify categories and came across this post from almost 10 years ago. There’s nothing quite like a long night under the stars. Weeping to the Cosmos // Beardy Star Stuff

    three pillars of blue, gray and black gas, form a nebula against a background of red gas and stars

    NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s mid-infrared view of the Pillars of Creation strikes a chilling tone.

    Pillars of Creation (MIRI Image)

    The Pillars of Creation are set off in a kaleidoscope of color in NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared-light view.

    A star field with a pillar or column of orange gas and dust in the center

    Pillars of Creation (NIRCam Image)

    A dark sky, full of stars with the milky white patches of the Milky Way galaxy

    Looking south towards the center of the Milky Way (constellation Sagittarius), 10 second exposure with the iPhone 13 Pro. Amongst the stars are several cloudy patches that are either nebula or concentrated stars clusters.

    Judy Schmidt | Flickr processes astronomical images from NASA and other space agencies. Lately she’s been working on images from JWST. Fantastic. You can also follow her work on her website.

    JWST MIRI NGC1365 JWST MIRI, Barred spiral galaxy NGC1365

    2-Color Widefield Jupiter Jupiter Widefield, NASA / ESA / CSA / Ricardo Hueso Alonso / Judy Schmidt

    Under the Milky Way

    Under the Milky Way Looking south (from North America) at this time of year is looking towards the center of our galaxy. The milky clouds are the dense stars, gas and dust in the disk of the galaxy. Photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro.

    Milky Way

    Dark sky with the faint clouds of stars of the disk of the Milky Way galaxy stretch from the top down. Stars fill the image.
    Looking south (from North America) at this time of year is looking towards the center of our galaxy. The milky clouds are the dense stars, gas and dust in the disk of the galaxy. Photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro.

    Conjunction 2022

    A blue sky taken at sunrise with several small white dots each of which is a planet and the moon is centered in the image. Trees are below at the horizon line.
    A rare conjunction of all the planets has been taking place the past few mornings. Visible in the photo, from left,  Mars, Jupiter, our Moon and Saturn. The other planets are there but not visible. Venus was up but out of view.

    First ever black hole image released

    This is a fantastic achievement. It measures 40 billion km across - three million times the size of the Earth - and has been described by scientists as "a monster". The black hole is 500 million trillion km away and was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world.

    Back to the night sky

    I started observing the night sky in late 2012 and kept up a pretty steady pace until about 12 months ago when my observing time shrank drastically. Partly due to weather, also due to a lack of effort on my part. I’m hoping to turn that around. I doubt I’ll be logging the 6 hour observing sessions I was doing in the first couple of years but I’d at least like to get in a couple hours when the skies are clear.

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    Like many, I spent my Monday afternoon observing the moon cross between the Earth and the sun. My cabin is located in the path of the totality. I had 1:40 of totality and was lucky enough to share it with a handful of friends under clear skies. To put it simply, it was absolutely glorious.

    Understanding the eclipse by creating a to-scale demonstration of orbits and moon phases

    I was recently asked to do a presentation about the upcoming solar eclipse at our library as I am one of a small local group of amateur astronomers. I happily accepted. I always enjoy putting together Keynote presentations for such events. I spent several days last week assembling the 38 slide presentation and did the presentation last night. It seemed to go well. For one part of the presentation I used three volunteers to serve as the sun, moon, and Earth.

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    Just Breath

    The world is all upside down these days. It’s a good time for deep breaths and time under the stars. Last night I spent a good long while looking at Saturn and a few of it’s moons. Then I spent some time looking at the Lagoon Nebula.

    Jupiter in an amazing fly-by video

    Wired has a great post about the project. Jupiter is immense. The fifth planet from the sun has a diameter of 89,000 miles, and could easily envelop every other planet (and Pluto). The gas giant also has 2.5 times the mass of all those planets combined. Even its enormous storms boggle the mind: the Great Red Spot is big enough to contain the Earth. Photos provide glimpses of Jupiter’s grandeur, but you can’t appreciate its stunning scale without some perspective.

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    Painting the Horsehead Nebula

    This is one I have attempted to view through the telescope but which is fairly difficult to view. Through the telescope and in any image taken in the visual spectrum the Horsehead nebula is a dark patch of dust and gas against the glowing background nebula. This painting is based on an image taken by Hubble in the infrared, a wavelength in which the gas of the nebula can be observed.

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    Sharing Orion

    Had an opportunity to share a view of the Orion Nebula through the telescope last night. Sharing astronomy is always great fun.
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