Saturday, December 15, 2007

Astronomy Picture of the Day

2007, December 15

Mountains of Creation
Credit: Lori Allen (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) et al., JPL-Caltech, NASA

Explanation: This fantastic skyscape lies at the eastern edge of giant stellar nursery W5, about 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. An infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope, it features interstellar clouds of cold gas and dust sculpted by winds and radiation from a hot, massive star outside the picture (just above and to the right). Still swaddled within the cosmic clouds, newborn stars are revealed by Spitzer's penetrating gaze, their formation also triggered by the massive star. Fittingly dubbed "Mountains of Creation", these interstellar clouds are about 10 times the size of the analogous Pillars of Creation in M16, made famous in a 1995 Hubble Space Telescope view. W5 is also known as IC 1848 and together with IC 1805 it is part of a complex region popularly dubbed the Heart and Soul Nebulae. The Spitzer image spans about 70 light-years at the distance of W5.


2007, December 14

Click above pic to enlarge

Apollo 17: Shorty Crater Panorama
Credit: Apollo 17 Crew, NASA; Panorama Assembly: Mike Constantine

Explanation: In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. This sharp panorama is digitally stitched together from pictures taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed the valley floor. Starting with a view of the imposing South Massif, scrolling the panorama to the right will reveal Schmitt and the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than was returned from any of the other lunar landing sites. Now thirty five years later, Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.



Unknown said...

Welcome to St Blogs, Vincenzo.

I love those Astronomy pictures also.

Merry Christmas, Buon Natal, or whatever.

Unknown said...

Have you got a big fan club in Dallas? Sitemeter might be giving away your location.

Vincenzo said...

The Apollo pic is amazing. LOL yes it's such a burden fighting off all the fans *not*.