Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Symphony of colours in the Tarantula

16.12.2004


The Tarantula Nebula is the most vigorous star forming region known in the local Universe. Using the power of the freely available ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator package a young amateur astronomer has created this amazing panorama of the centre of the Tarantula. The original image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and subsequently retrieved from the ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive in Munich, Germany.



The Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, is situated 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the Southern sky and is clearly visible to the naked eye as a large milky patch. Astronomers believe that this smallish, irregular galaxy is currently going through a violent period in its life cycle. It is orbiting the Milky Way and has had several close encounters with it. It is believed that the interaction with the Milky Way has caused an episode of energetic star formation – part of which is visible as the Tarantula Nebula. The Tarantula is the largest stellar nursery we know in the local Universe. In fact if this enormous complex of stars, gas and dust were at the distance of the Orion Nebula it would be visible during the day and cover a quarter of the sky.

Over the years the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has returned again and again to observe this interesting region of the sky and in this way Hubble has built up an archival treasure of more than a thousand images and spectra of the Tarantula. A few weeks ago 23 year old amateur astronomer Danny LaCrue sifted through the data and found that 15 of the exposures made with Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 could be combined to create a beautiful mosaic of the central parts of the unique Tarantula.


Danny submitted his image to the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre in the hope that the image could be shared with a wider audience. "I always wondered what it would be like to create the pictures from Hubble, but I never imagined that I would one day actually get to make one myself".

Driven by his interest in astronomy and graphical design and excited at the prospect of processing real images taken by Hubble, Danny recently downloaded the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator from the Spacetelescope.org website. The FITS Liberator is a software tool released 6 months ago that enables laypeople to work with the somewhat special format of astronomical images (called the FITS format, short for Flexible Image Transport System).

"Once I became familiar with all the steps of creating colour images from raw astronomical data, I was able to have fun with the details of the process. Desperately wanting more objects to process, I realized I needed to learn how to navigate and use the somewhat intimidating ESO/ST-ECF Hubble archive. However after trying a few object queries and requests for data, the whole process became much less daunting", says Danny LaCrue.

"The Liberator is an invaluable tool and does a splendid job at giving normal people access to the wonderful resource that Hubble has been for the scientific community for almost 15 years. Converted to a colour image those inaccessible 1’s and 0’s in the original data appeal to our visual sense, and connect us, on a very personal level, to the universe around us," he adds.

Lars Lindberg Christensen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.eso.org
http://www.Spacetelescope.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary
21.09.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht First users at European XFEL
21.09.2017 | European XFEL GmbH

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>