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News Article
Site: http://phys.org/space-news/

"As Hubble makes its 26th revolution around our home star, the sun, we celebrate the event with a spectacular image of a dynamic and exciting interaction of a young star with its environment. The view of the Bubble Nebula, crafted from WFC-3 images, reminds us that Hubble gives us a front row seat to the awe inspiring Universe we live in," said John Grunsfeld, Hubble astronaut and associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, in Washington, D.C. The Bubble Nebula is 7 light-years across—about one-and-a-half times the distance from our sun to its nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, and resides 7,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia. The seething star forming this nebula is 45 times more massive than our sun. Gas on the star gets so hot that it escapes away into space as a "stellar wind" moving at over 4 million miles per hour. This outflow sweeps up the cold, interstellar gas in front of it, forming the outer edge of the bubble much like a snowplow piles up snow in front of it as it moves forward. As the surface of the bubble's shell expands outward, it slams into dense regions of cold gas on one side of the bubble. This asymmetry makes the star appear dramatically off-center from the bubble, with its location in the 10 o'clock position in the Hubble view. Dense pillars of cool hydrogen gas laced with dust appear at the upper left of the picture, and more "fingers" can be seen nearly face-on, behind the translucent bubble. The gases heated to varying temperatures emit different colors: oxygen is hot enough to emit blue light in the bubble near the star, while the cooler pillars are yellow from the combined light of hydrogen and nitrogen. The pillars are similar to the iconic columns in the "Pillars of Creation" Eagle Nebula. As seen with the structures in the Eagle Nebula, the Bubble Nebula pillars are being illuminated by the strong ultraviolet radiation from the brilliant star inside the bubble. The Bubble Nebula was discovered in 1787 by William Herschel, a prominent British astronomer. It is being formed by a proto-typical Wolf-Rayet star, BD +60º2522, an extremely bright, massive, and short-lived star that has lost most of its outer hydrogen and is now fusing helium into heavier elements. The star is about 4 million years old, and in 10 million to 20 million years, it will likely detonate as a supernova. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 imaged the nebula in visible light with unprecedented clarity in February 2016. The colors correspond to blue for oxygen, green for hydrogen, and red for nitrogen. This information will help astronomers understand the geometry and dynamics of this complex system. The Bubble Nebula is one of only a handful of astronomical objects that have been observed with several different instruments onboard Hubble. Hubble also imaged it with the Wide Field Planetary Camera (WFPC) in September of 1992, and with Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in April of 1999. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.


News Article | February 1, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/science.xml

To form new stars, galaxies depend on a hydrogen gas supply. When the galactic food supply runs out, galaxies can't form new stars but survive using its own gas reservoir. At this point, galaxies are believed to be on a downhill slope towards its imminent death. Along with several scientists, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich professor Kevin Schawinski conducted an investigation to determine the current shape of galaxies. They found that our Milky Way is nearing its end. In fact, it may have actually died billions of years ago already. This means, the Earth is living in the so-called "zombie galaxy." But a new food supply is on its way. The Hubble space telescope detected a giant cloud of fiery gas hurling towards the Milky Way at breakneck speed. The gas cloud was dubbed the "Smith Cloud" and named after PhD astronomy student Gail Smith who first discovered it in the 1960s. Ironically, the Smith Cloud has been rotating around the Milky Way's outskirts in the past 70 million years. It was once part of our own galaxy but was booted out in millions of years ago. Like the prodigal son, it's coming back home. The Smith Cloud is currently traveling towards the Milky Way at approximately 700,000 miles per hour. If the Smith Cloud will become visible from Earth, it would have the diameter of 30 times bigger than the size of a full moon. What comes up must come down. The old saying is true even in space. Experts said the Smith Cloud will probably reach the outskirts of the Milky Way in about 30 million years. Its entrance location is light years away from Earth but it doesn't mean that the Smith Cloud collision won't affect our solar system. The collision will give birth to new stars and will provide enough gas to generate 2 million suns. "It's telling us that the Milky Way is a bubbling, very active place where gas can be thrown out of one part of the disk and then return back down into another," said Andrew Fox from the Space Telescope Science Institute, stressing that the Smith Cloud shows the galaxy is evolving with time.


News Article | January 30, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/science.xml

Experts say the Milky Way is dying or have actually already died, implying that we are already living in a zombie galaxy. There is a way to bring it back from the undead though, as a giant cloud of fiery gas is on its way to save the day. Kevin Schawinski, a professor from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich collaborated with citizen scientists to help him classify galaxies, particularly its shape. Schawinski gets a consensus about the shape of the galaxies and delve into how this classification influences the lifespan of galaxies. As he goes through with his investigation, he realized that the Milky Way may be slowly shutting down or may have completely died many years ago. "It's entirely possible that the Milky Way galaxy is a zombie, having died a billion years ago," he writes. Galaxies thrive through a supply of hydrogen gas so it can form new stars. When this food supply runs out and star formation stops, then it is a signal that the galaxy is about to reach its end. Gas conversion continues just like in factories, but imagine the day when the supply of raw materials, or in the case of galaxies, fresh outside gas, runs out. What is there left to process? Such possibility leaves just the remaining gas and its reservoir. Since the reservoir is massive and the gas formation is slow, just like in the Milky Way, it continues to look alive with new stars. The truth is, the rate of star formation plummets over several billion years. There are two types of galaxies in terms of star formation. The first one is the blue star-forming galaxies and the red passively-evolving galaxies. There is another one and it is represented by the green color. Galaxies living in the so-called "green valley" have star formations in the brink of turning off. Star formation still continues, indicating that the process has just stopped, probably a hundred million years ago. The Milky Way may possibly belong to this category. Help On The Way A new capture of the Hubble space telescope implies that help is on the way for our dear, dying galaxy. The telescope was able to detect a giant cloud of fiery gas that can help the galaxy continue its star formation and survive. Called the "Smith Cloud," this giant gas is hurtling towards the Milky Way at 700,000 miles per hour. Experts say it may be a part of the Milky Way 70 million years ago and is now boomeranging home with a large bag of goodies: sufficient hydrogen and helium gas supply that is enough to form 2 million suns. "The cloud is an example of how the galaxy is changing with time," says Andrew Fox from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Whether there is truth to the Milky Way being at the edge of the green valley or not, people may find peace in the fact that the Hubble was able to detect the Smith Cloud, which will hit the galaxy about 30 million years from now.


News Article | January 15, 2013
Site: thenextweb.com

Apple has announced that the WiFi + Cellular models of its iPad mini and 4th-gen iPad will arrive in China this Friday, January 18th. In its release, Apple also said that these iPad models are now available in 100 countries worldwide, making it one of the company’s fastest international rollouts ever. The models will be available through Apple retail stores, the online store and select Apple retailers. The carriers supporting the cellular functions of the iPad mini and 4th generation iPad include China Telecom and China Unicom. Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the iPads were coming to China just a few days ago in an interview with reporters on a visit to the country. At the time, Cook admitted that a longer approval time for the cellular versions of the products did put them behind schedule. Cook said at the time that China would eventually become Apple’s largest market, eventually hosting 25 stores. Currently, Apple has 8 stores in four cities. China accounted for 15% of Apple’s revenue in its last fiscal year. The non-cellular editions of the iPad mini and 4th-generation iPad arrived in China on December 7th. If the prices remain consistent, then they should retail for the following:


News Article | January 29, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/science.xml

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope records a giant cloud of fiery gas taking a trajectory path as it goes back to the Earth's galaxy at a staggering speed of 700,000 mph. Normally, hundreds of high-velocity clouds pass through the borders of the galaxy. They move at constant speed and paths so they are kept out of the galactic plane. However, the fiery gas, dubbed the Smith Cloud, is considered unique since its route is well-studied. A doctoral astronomy student, Gail Smith, discovered the Smith Cloud in the '60s. It is much more distant and moves towards the Milky Way at an incredibly rapid speed. Astronomers suggest that this cloud was hurled from the external areas of the galactic plane by about 70 million years ago. Data shows that the giant cloud is likely to collide with the galaxy's disk in 30 million years, a long time for humans but a very short time for the galaxy. "Our galaxy is recycling its gas through clouds, the Smith Cloud being one example, and will form stars in different places than before. Hubble's measurements of the Smith Cloud are helping us to visualize how active the disks of galaxies are," Andrew Fox of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, said. Since its discovery, astronomers have assumed that the cloud may be a starless galaxy. For the first time, thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, they were able to observe and determine the amount of heavier elements relative to helium and hydrogen. They also identified sulfur in the cloud, which is known to absorb ultraviolet light. As expected, they found that the cloud is copious in sulfur, which means it was supplemented by compounds from stars. This somehow sheds light on the mystery of the Smith Cloud and its origin. Many other issues, however, arise. It is yet to be explained how it reached where it is today and what event happened that propelled it from the Milky Way's galactic disk. Future research will further elaborate on the Smith Cloud as to where it came from.

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