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February 16, 2015 - Running Rings Around the Nebula

Running Rings Around the Nebula  The familiar Ring Nebula, 2,000 light-years away, takes on a new, more complicated appearance in this image combining visible-light data from Hubble with infrared data from the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. The blue gas in the nebula’s center is actually a football-shaped structure that pierces the surrounding red doughnut-shaped material. Dark, irregular knots of dense gas embedded along the inner rim of the ring resemble spokes in a bicycle. Researchers matched up the knots with the spikes of light around the bright, main ring, which are a shadow effect. The faint, scallop-shaped material surrounding the ring was expelled by the star during the early stages of the planetary nebula formation. This outer material was imaged by the Large Binocular Telescope.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, C.R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University), and D. Thompson (Large Binocular Telescope Observatory)

Weekly Calendar

February 16-22, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 16

Presidents' Day

1948: Gerard Kuiper discovers Miranda, moon of Uranus
1965: Saturn SA-9 launched

Moon phase Tuesday 17

Mercury 3° south of Moon

1959: Vanguard 2 launched
1965: Ranger 8 launched
1996: NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft launched
2007: THEMIS spacecraft launched
2009Dawn spacecraft flies by Mars

Moon phase Wednesday 18

Ash Wednesday

New Moon 6:47 PM ET

1930: Pluto discovered by Clyde Tombaugh
1970: HL-10 sets lifting body speed record
1977: First captive flight of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Thursday 19

Chinese New Year

Moon at perigee

1473: Nicholas Copernicus born
1986: Mir space station launched

Moon phase Friday 20

Mars 1.5° south of Moon
Venus 2° south of Moon

1962: Friendship 7 launched; John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth
1965: Ranger 8 impacts the Moon, returns photographs
1994: Clementine enters lunar orbit

Moon phase Saturday 21

Venus 0.5° south of Mars
Uranus 0.3° south of Moon

1931: Germany's first liquid-fuel rocket launched by VfR flies 10 feet

Moon phase Sunday 22

1966: Cosmos 110 launched, sets record for dogs in space (22 days)
1978: First Navstar GPS satellite launched
1996: STS-75 Columbia launched

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