Friday, September 30, 2011

One of the universe's weirdest galaxies lets off some steam - 29th Sept 2011

Halton Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies sounds like a book that one might find in the library at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books - but it's real, a book which catalogues the strangest astronomical objects found so far by man.

This galaxy, Holmberg II, is one of its star attractions - among the oddest places in the universe.

Here, it's captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in the act of 'blowing bubbles' - actually intricate glowing shells of gas created by the lifecycles of generations of stars.

High-mass stars form in dense regions of gas, and later in life expel strong stellar winds that blow away the surrounding material.

At the very end of their lives, they explode in as a supernova.

Shock waves rip through the less dense regions around the stars, heating the gas and forming the delicate shells we see today. Read More