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A legally blind photographer/astronomer on disability so I use this site to contribute to society.


Last Updated: added graphics for the 88 constellations under Observation/The Night Sky.

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APOD:Star Clusters M35 and NGC 2158
Image Credit & Copyright: CFHT, Coelum, MegaCam, J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT) & G. A. Anselmi (Coelum)

Explanation: Clusters of stars can be near or far, young or old, diffuse or compact. The featured image shows two quite contrasting open star clusters in the same field. M35, on the lower left, is relatively nearby at 2800 light years distant, relatively young at 150 million years old, and relatively diffuse, with about 2500 stars spread out over a volume 30 light years across. Bright blue stars frequently distinguish younger open clusters like M35. Contrastingly, NGC 2158, on the upper right, is four times more distant than M35, over 10 times older, and much more compact. NGC 2158's bright blue stars have self-destructed, leaving cluster light to be dominated by older and yellower stars. In general, open star clusters are found in the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, and contain anywhere from 100 to 10,000 stars -- all of which formed at nearly the same time. Both open clusters M35 and NGC 2158 can be found together with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Twins (Gemini)


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APOD:Horsehead and Orion Nebulas
Image Credit & Copyright: Roberto Colombari & Federico Pelliccia

Explanation: The dark Horsehead Nebula and the glowing Orion Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, they appear in opposite corners of the above stunning mosaic. The familiar Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow at the lower left. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion's belt and is seen as the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. The magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42), lies at the upper right. Immediately to its left is a prominent reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man. Pervasive tendrils of glowing hydrogen gas are easily traced throughout the region.


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APOD:The Southern Cliff in the Lagoon
Image Credit: Julia I. Arias and Rodolfo H. Barba' (Dept. Fisica, Univ. de La Serena), ICATE-CONICET, Gemini Observatory/AURA

Explanation: Undulating bright ridges and dusty clouds cross this close-up of the nearby star forming region M8, also known as the Lagoon Nebula. A sharp, false-color composite of narrow band visible and broad band near-infrared data from the 8-meter Gemini South Telescope, the entire view spans about 20 light-years through a region of the nebula sometimes called the Southern Cliff. The highly detailed image explores the association of many newborn stars imbedded in the tips of the bright-rimmed clouds and Herbig-Haro objects. Abundant in star-forming regions, Herbig-Haro objects are produced as powerful jets emitted by young stars in the process of formation heat the surrounding clouds of gas and dust. The cosmic Lagoon is found some 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation Sagittarius and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. (For location and scale, check out this image superimposing the close-up of the Southern Cliff within the larger Lagoon Nebula. The scale image is courtesy R. Barba'.)


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Iris Nebula
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How the Website is Organized:

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Observation - This section includes information on coordinate systems, constellations, objects visible in the night sky, and some images of the night sky of the northern and southern hemispheres.

Science - This section includes information on some of the basic science used in astronomy. There is information on the variety of tools used (like telescopes) as well as methods of using them. There is a mathematics primer, introduction to some physical processes, formulas used in astronomy, and information on computer use in Astronomy.

Solar System - As indicated, this section covers our Solar System (See Solar System App, Solar System Scope App) and everything in it. It covers the Sun, planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and exotic objects like TNO's and Kuiper Belt Objects.

Stars - This section covers stars in our own galaxy. It covers the variety of stellar evolution paths. It also covers supernova, black holes, and some of the radiative processes in the interstellar medium.

Our Galaxy - This section covers our galaxy as well as some of the nearby galaxies in our own Local Group. It also covers galaxy evolution.

Cosmology - This section covers other galaxies and galaxies clusters. It also covers the big bang, relativity and dark matter.

Astrobiology - This section covers the relatively new field in astronomy - the possibility of life in our Solar System and the Universe. There is also information on some of the projects dealing with this - like SETI.

Exoplanets - This section covers the study of planets known to exist around other stars. It covers both amateur and professional involvement and shows you how you can get involved with the search as well.

Astrophotography - This section covers the fastest growing hobby of astrophotography. This section offers information and tips on photography and also features and Image Gallery.

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