Archive

Archive for January 19, 2013

A Hidden Treasure In The Large Magellanic Cloud

January 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Credit: NASA, ESA. Acknowledgement: Josh Lake

Credit: NASA, ESA. Acknowledgement: Josh Lake

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is ablaze with star-forming regions. From the Tarantula Nebula, the brightest stellar nursery in our cosmic neighbourhood, to LHA 120-N 11, part of which is featured in this Hubble image, the small and irregular galaxy is scattered with glowing nebulae, the most noticeable sign that new stars are being born.

The LMC is in an ideal position for astronomers to study the phenomena surrounding star formation. It lies in a fortuitous location in the sky, far enough from the plane of the Milky Way that it is neither outshone by too many nearby stars, nor obscured by the dust in the Milky Way’s centre. It is also close enough to study in detail (less than a tenth of the distance of the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest spiral galaxy), and lies almost face-on to us, giving us a bird’s eye view.

LHA 120-N 11 (known as N11 for short) is a particularly bright region of the LMC, consisting of several adjacent pockets of gas and star formation. NGC 1769 (in the centre of this image) and NGC 1763 (to the right) are among the brightest parts.

Full Story and Photos: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1301/

Advertisements

ChemCam Follows The ‘Yellowknife Road’ To Martian Wet Area: Instrument Confirms Presence Of Gypsum And Related Minerals

January 19, 2013 1 comment

Credit: NASA Photo

Credit: NASA Photo

Researchers from the Mars Science Laboratory’s ChemCam team described how the laser instrument aboard the Curiosity Rover—an SUV-sized vehicle studying the surface of the Red Planet—has detected veins of gypsum running through an area known as Yellowknife Bay, located some 700 meters away from where the Curiosity Rover landed five months ago.

“These veins are composed mainly of hydrated calcium sulfate, such as bassinite or gypsum,” said ChemCam team member Nicolas Mangold, of the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique de Nantes, in Nantes, France. “On Earth, forming veins like these requires water circulating in fractures.”

Gypsum and some related minerals can be formed when water reacts with other rocks and minerals. The presence of gypsum and its cousin, bassinite, along with physical evidence of alluvial flow patterns previously seen during the Mars Science Laboratory mission, could indicate that the Yellowknife Bay area once was home to ponds created by runoff or subsurface water that had percolated to the surface, said ChemCam team member Sam Clegg of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Full Story: http://www.lanl.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2013/January/01.15-chemcam-follows-yellowknife-road.php