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November 5, 2012 - Toss Another Star on the Barbie

Toss Another Star on the Barbie The green mist in this Spitzer Space Telescope / Two Micron All Sky Survey image is a fog comprised of hydrogen and carbon compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. PAHs are known carcinogens and can occur on Earth in sooty vehicle exhaust, in smoked fish, and in meat that has been grilled at high temperatures on a barbeque. In space, PAHs form in the dark clouds that give rise to stars, and their presence allows astronomers to visualize the peripheries of gas clouds and study their structures in great detail. PAHs are not actually green; they glow in the infrared light that Spitzer sees and which is represented by green in this false-color image. Strange streaks—likely dust grains that lined up with magnetic fields—distort the star in the top left.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / 2MASS / B. Whitney (SSI/University of Wisconsin)

 

Weekly Calendar

November 5-11, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 5

Moon phase Tuesday 6

Election Day

Last Quarter Moon 7:36 PM ET
Mercury appears stationary

1572: Tycho Brahe records bright new star (supernova SN 1572) in Cassiopeia
1966: Lunar Orbiter II launched

Moon phase Wednesday 7

1963: First flight test of Apollo Launch Escape System
1967: Surveyor 6 launched
1996: Mars Global Surveyor launched

Moon phase Thursday 8

1656: Edmund Halley born
1984: STS-51A Discovery launched
1995: STS-74 Atlantis launched
2005: ESA’s Venus Express launched

Moon phase Friday 9

1934: Carl Sagan born
1967: Surveyor 6 lands on Moon
1967: Apollo 4 launched, first Saturn V launch

Moon phase Saturday 10

1970: Luna 17 launched

Moon phase Sunday 11

Remembrance Day (Canada)
Veteran’s Day

Venus 5° north of Moon
Spica 0.8° north of Moon

1875: Vesto Slipher born
1966: Gemini XII launched
1982: STS-5 Columbia launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.