The Iris Nebula

The Iris Nebula is a reflection nebula 1,300 light years away, illuminated by a partially embedded star (SAO 19158) which is 10X the size of our Sun. The region is 6 light years across in total. Iris Nebula / Caldwell 4 You can really see how the light from the central cluster illuminates the dust... Continue Reading →

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

Elephant's Trunk Nebula SHO 20 light years long, and 2,400 light years away, this dark, dense nebula is part of a star-forming region (IC 1396). The Elephant’s Trunk itself is thought to contain several very young protostars. At the very top of the trunk you can see a tiny star that has ignited fusion and... Continue Reading →

The North America Nebula & Pelican Nebula

The North America Nebula (NGC 7000) and neighbouring Pelican Nebula (IC5070 and IC5067) in Cygnus, near Deneb. A bright emission nebula, partially obscured by dust along the line-of-sight. These combine to create the distinctive shapes, which resemble the Southeastern coastline of the USA, and Gulf of Mexico; and Pelican - hence the names. This LRGB... Continue Reading →

UK Eclipse 2015 Photos

Today's partial Solar eclipse is off to a great start here in Witney, where the cloud cover is working as a perfect solar filter. The eclipse culminated here as a smiling, Cheshire cat-style grin 🙂

A New Paper All About #yellowballs

Another paper for the Milky Way Project. The Yellowballs began on the very first day of the Milky Way Project when a user asked me ‘what is this?’ and I wasn’t sure so jokingly called it a ‘#yellowball’, since that’s what is looked like. We use hashtags on talk.milkywayprojct.org, and that user, and a few others, went off and tagged hundreds of the things over the next few months. Before we knew it there was a catalogue of them. However, we still didn’t know what they really were, and so Grace Wolf-Chase, Charles Kerton, and other MWP collaborators have put a lot of effort into figuring it out. The result is this new paper.

The Milky Way Project Blog

PIA18909_fig1

There is a new Milky Way Project paper in the news today, concerning the #yellowballs that were found by Milky Way Project volunteers.

The Yellowballs appeared on the very first day of the Milky Way Project when user kirbyfood asked ‘what is this?’ and I wasn’t sure so jokingly called it a ‘#yellowball’, since that’s what is looked like. We use hashtags on talk.milkywayprojct.org, and that user, and many others, went off and tagged hundreds of the things over the next few months. Before we knew it there was a catalogue of nearly 1,000 of them. However, we still didn’t know what they really were, and so Grace Wolf-Chase, Charles Kerton, and other MWP collaborators have put a lot of effort into figuring it out. From the JPL press release:

So far, the volunteers have identified more than 900 of these compact yellow features. The next step for the researchers…

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An Open Chatbot for Astronomy: @botastro

Hubot is an open source chatbot created by GitHub. It's used by various companies, groups, and other techie types, to control systems, gather information, and put moustaches on things - all via chat interfaces. Hubot can be adapted to work via IM, GTalk, Twitter, IRC, and other platforms. 'Chat Ops' is a growing trends, and because... Continue Reading →

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