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Planets of Our Solar System

Our solar system officially has eight planets and one star: the Sun. The discovery of an object larger than Pluto in 2005 rekindled the debate over whether such objects, belonging to the Kuiper Belt – a collection of icy bodies located beyond Neptune – should be called planets. Pluto and other large members of the Kuiper Belt are now considered “dwarf planets.”

Planet facts:

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The Orion’s Sword is an astronomical asterism in the constellation Orion. It comprises three stars (cTheta, and Iota Orionis) under the prominent asterism, Orion’s Belt. M42, the Orion Nebula is located in the center. 

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These two photos were taken before and after a supernova explosion. The first image (a) shows the location of the star before the explosion, and the second images shows (b) the flash of light emitted by the supernova explosion. This explosion was photographed in 1987, but actually took place about 170,000 years earlier (it took 170,000 years for the flash of light to reach Earth). Supernova explosions occur in large stars. The energy released by these explosions can synthesize elements with up to 92 protons. (via Physical Geology Today – Origin of the Chemical Elements)

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Sprawling Island Universe, IC 342

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I Zwicky 18

I Zwicky 18 is a dwarf galaxy located about 59 million light years away and spans about 3,000 light years. It was once thought to be an unusually young galaxy, only about 500 million years old, and much closer. However, recent studies have observed older, redder stars, indicating that the galaxy began star formation at least 1 billion years ago and as much as 10 billion years ago. Additional studies of Cepheid variable stars, which pulse relative to their brightness, clarified the distance of the galaxy.

Still, it appears the rate of star formation in I Zwicky 18 has been much slower than most galaxies, with higher amounts of hydrogen and helium- meaning that stars have not created as much of the heavier elements yet. The galaxy is currently forming many newer stars. The reasons behind this lag, and this new burst of star formation, remain unknown.

Image from NASA, information from ESA.

Posted 15 hours ago


The most remarkable things happen when you push the laws of physics to their extremes. Such a place where this happens is space:

Far away in the Gliese star system is a Neptune-sized planet called Gliese 436 b. This world is covered in ice that burns constantly at 822.2˚ Fahrenheit (439˚ C).

The reason why the water doesn’t liquify and then turn into steam is due to the massive gravity of the planet - it exerts so much force on the water that the atoms are bound tightly together as a solid.

Posted 17 hours ago


Whirlpool Galaxy
also known as M51a or NGC 5194

Location: Canes Venatici constellation
Author: Adam Block y César Cantú
Source: Astronomía Y Astrofotografía

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A day of fun at the Griffith Observatory