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Whats in the sky?

The cold, dark night skies of February are starting to show us the first hints of spring…

Northern hemisphere

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

Viewable time: All through the hours of darkness

Otherwise known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51 is possibly one of the most famous galaxies after the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies. The reason for this is the beautiful photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. As you can see in the picture, the larger galaxy is pulling material from the smaller in an act of celestial vandalism.

The Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

Viewable time: Mid-evening until the early hours

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The power of quasars.

The brightest known objects in the universe, quasars blast light and other radiation across billions of light years of space, Illuminating some of the remotest corners of the cosmos.

Scan a small or medium-sized telescope across the constellation of Virgo (the Virgin), to the north-east of the moderate star Eta Virginis, and you’ll trace scattered chains of apparently nondescript stars.

There’s little to suggest that one particular star-like point of light is any different from the rest. But, in fact, one faint object — a ‘star’ of magnitude 12.9, listed in catalogues under the designation 3C 273 — is extraordinary.

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The Antennae Galaxies.

How these colliding galaxies could reveal the fate of our Milky Way.

The Antennae Galaxies, also known as NGC 4038 (left) and NGC 4039 (right), are a pair of interacting galaxies 45 million light years away that were first discovered by William Herschel in 1785. Located in the NGC 4038 group along with five other galaxies, they are currently in the process of colliding. This particular image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows how the collision is affecting the two galaxies.

They began colliding a few hundred million years ago, making them one of the youngest and

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Is the space between planetary systems the same as the space between galaxies?

Amanda Ellis

That depends on where it is. Contrary to popular belief, space is not a true vacuum. It’s filled with gases and dust, elements and molecules of all kinds. In our Solar System the space between planets contains a smattering of dust left over from the birth of the planets. On rare occasions, from very dark sites, you can actually see this dust as it reflects sunlight – we call it the zodiacal light.

There is more gas in the space between the stars. Measurements show that the Sun is currently passing through a small tuft of hydrogen gas,

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Huge LQG


Our giant is one of many super-structures that make up the known, observable universe. These galactic superclusters are made up of smaller clusters and groups relatively near to each other that, gravitationally, move in harmony.

A single supercluster typically contains thousands of individual galaxies: our own Milky Way galaxy, for example, is part of the Local Group of over 50 galaxies that is part of the much larger Virgo Supercluster. This contains more than 100 galaxy groups and clusters for a total number of galaxies that number in the tens of thousands. The Virgo Supercluster spans a

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Galaxy classification

Edwin Hubble’s monumental discoveries revealed that the universe consists of a variety of vast galaxies that exist far beyond our Milky Way galaxy.

Edwin Hubble can be ranked as one of the great astronomers, whose discoveries are as important as those of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei.

In 1919, he began working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. A few years later, he used the newly built 2.5-metre (100-inch) Hooker Telescope to study Cepheid variable stars located in spiral nebulas. From these observations, he found that they must exist far beyond the Milky Way. In 1925, he presented his

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Boötes void


One of the biggest things we know of in the universe, weirdly, is nothing. Between galaxies there is intergalactic space, filled with gas, dust and ionised particles. Most of the time, there’s relatively little distance between them: we’re talking hundreds of thousands of light years that, in the grand scale of the cosmos isn’t so much to make a big deal of. But there are a few big places in our universe that are practically a vacuum, huge expanses of space with near to nothing in them. These are the supervoids and the biggest of them is the

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The largest galaxies in the universe are giant ellipticals – huge clouds containing trillions of stars whose overlapping individual orbits create an enormous, fuzzy-edged ball. These monsters can grow to be ten times the size of the Milky Way, but even by these standards, IC 1101 stands out: it has a diameter more than 50 times that of the Milky Way, and is roughly 2,000 times heavier.

IC 1101 lies at the heart of a galaxy cluster called Abell 2029, over a billion light years from Earth. The cluster has an overall mass of around 100 trillion Suns, though most

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Gamma-ray bursts shed light on the composition of early galaxies

Gamma-ray bursts shed light on the composition of the early galaxies Scientists prove

A team of astronomers studied the light from the gamma-ray bursts GRB 090323, to understand the chemical composition of the two galaxies, young universe. Observations made with the ESO VLT European Southern Observatory experts found that these galaxies are rich in heavier chemical elements than the sun.

The light from the flash GRB 090323 was a parent and a neighboring galaxy. Some colors are usually absorbed by the cold gas around galaxies, leaving a characteristic dark lines in the spectrum. Thanks to gamma-ray bursts GRB 090323, the

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The study of dwarf galaxies deepens the mystery of dark matter

The study of dwarf galaxies deepens the mystery of dark matter Facts

The study of the two neighbors the Milky Way dwarf galaxy in the constellation Sculptor oven and shows a smooth distribution of dark matter. According to scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics familiar cosmological model in which clumps of dark matter at the center of galaxies, may be incorrect.

Like all of the galaxy, the Milky Way contains dark matter. It is invisible, but finds itself due to gravitational effects on other objects. So, without dark matter velocity stars would be shattered in all directions.

According to

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