Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Galaxy Within Centaurus A

Explanation: Peering deep inside Centaurus A, the closest active galaxy to Earth, the Spitzer Space Telescope's penetrating infrared cameras recorded this startling vista in February 2004. About 1,000 light-years across, the twisted cosmic dust cloud apparently shaped like a parallelogram is likely the result of a smaller spiral galaxy falling into the giant Centaurus A. The parallelogram lies along the active galaxy's central band of dust and stars visible in more familiar optical images. Astronomers believe that the striking geometric shape represents an approximately edge-on view of the infalling spiral galaxy's disk in the process of being twisted and warped by the interaction. Ultimately, debris from the ill-fated spiral galaxy should provide fuel for the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of Centaurus

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Excellent blog-site. I found it linked at 'vjack'. I've been lurking on Christian / Evangelical blog-sites for a while, and am relieved to find that there are an equal number of atheist sites holding the flag for good sense and science!

By your blog-identity (Stardust), I suspect that you are fully aware of the process known as nucleo-synthesis in stars, the fusion reactions that forged every atom in your body and on our planet.

I have found this process is little known to the public, which amazes me because it explains the origin of life within our entire universe. We are stardust, quite literally recycled throughout cosmic history in the hearts of stars. I've used this evidence against Christian bloggers to great effect, and recently managed to ween one or two of them off the concept of ID (Intelligent Design) on the ARC Apologetics blog-site. No doubt this upset the moderators there no end...

Keep up the good blogging - I'll be hanging around from now on.

DC (from the United Kingdom)

MichaelBains said...

THAT is beautiful SD. Thanks for the new wallpaper.

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Stardust said...

DC - Thanks for "lurking" and now commenting. I did that for awhile before starting my own blog. I know blogland can be a cruel place, and I wanted to be sure there were like minds out there before venturing into it. (I am guilty of being much more aggressive in blogland than I would be in the real world.) Once I saw there were people to connect with I decided to start my own. (I have 4 total actually...as you can see in my profile...I have many, many interests.) I don't claim to be a scientific expert, but studying astronomy is fascinating to me. (It all started with an astronomy course in college.) I had never found anything in religion that was inspiring to me, except maybe some good proverbs, and some pretty psalms, and a few passages in the bible. However, When one starts studying the things of the universe our eyes begin to open. The vastness of possibilities is overwhelming. Life is eternally questioning things from one generation to another and not just making up answers for what we do not yet know. We, of course won't be around to see what happens even 100 years from now, but we will indeed once again return to stardust, particles in the universe. When I first learned that we are made of the same stuff stars are, I was fascinated. I am glad there are so many atheists/agnostic people out there who realize this also.

My handle "stardust" is for several things:
Stardust-my favorite song since I was a child. My mother had a music box that played it and I wound that thing up over and over till it wore out.
NASA Stardust Comet Mission...which is now in Hibernation.
We are made of stardust and will return to stardust after we pass away. I like that idea.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Stardust said...

Michael

I am amazed that scientists have been able to see so far into our universe. It is indeed a beautiful photo. I have one of Pleiades for my wallpaper. I might post that one soon.