The Prawn Nebula (Picture of the Day)

Prawn nebula
The Prawn nebula (or IC 4628) is an emission nebula located in the south of Antares in the constellation of Scorpius. It's about 6,000 light years away from Earth and it spans about 250 light years across. The dominance of red in the image is due to high amounts of hydrogen. This region is filled with gas and dark dust. These are star forming regions with lots of new-born stars. This image was taken using the VLT Survey telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile.

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Important Dates in Astronomy: A Timeline (November)

November

Nov 1
1585 - Jan Brozek, Polish astronomer, was born
1953 - Jan Davis, American astronaut, was born
1963 - The Arecibo Observatory (in Puerto Rico), with the largest radio telescope ever constructed, was officially launched

Nov 2
1885 - Harlow Shapley, American astronomer, was born
2000 - The first resident crew to the ISS docked with their Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft

Sputnik rocket (Image credit: Wikipedia)
Nov 3
1643 - John Bainbridge, English astronomer, died this day
1643 - Paul Guldin, Swiss astronomer, died this day
1930 - Bill Dana, American astronaut, was born
1930 - Tsutomu Seki, Japanese astronomer, was born
1957 - The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2 with the first animal, a dog named Laika, on board to orbit the Earth.
1973 - NASA launches Mariner 10 to Mercury. It became the first space probe to reach Mercury.

Nov 5
1906 - Fred Lawrence Whipple, American astronomer, was born
1961 - Alan G. Poindexter, American astronaut, was born
2007 - China's first lunar satellite, Chang'e 1, goes into orbit around the Moon
2013 - India launches the Mars Orbiter Mission, its first interplanetary probe

Nov 6
1656 - Jean-Baptiste Morin, French astronomer, died this day
1771 - John Bevis, English astronomer, died this day

Nov 7
1492 - The Ensisheim meteorite strikes Earth outside the village of Ensisheim near Alsace in France. It's the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact
1915 - Philip Morrison, American astrophysicist, was born

Nov 8
1656 - Edmond Halley, English astronomer, was born
1947 - Margaret Rhea Seddon, American astronaut, was born
1948 - Dale Gardner, American astronaut, was born
2009 - Vitaly Ginzburg, Russian astrophysicist and Nobel Prize laureate, died this day
2011 - The asteroid, 2005 YU55, passes 0.85 lunar distances from Earth, the closest known approach by an asteroid since 1976.

Nov 9
1934 - Carl Sagan, American astronomer, astrophysicist and cosmologist was born
1967 - NASA launches the unmanned Apollo 4 test spacecraft atop the first Saturn V rocket
2005 - The Venus Express mission of the European Space Agency is launched

Nov 10
1565 - Laurentius Paulinus Gothus, Swedish astronomer, was born
1695 - John Bevis, English astronomer, was born
1933 - Ronald Evans, American astronaut, was born
1935 - Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov, Russian astronomer and cosmologist, was born
1970 - Soviet lunar probe Lunokhod 1 was launched

Nov 11
1914 - James Gilbert Baker, American astronomer, was born

Nov 12
1793 - Jean Sylvain Bailly, French astronomer and the 1st mayor of Paris, died this day
1916 - Percival Lowell, American astronomer, died this day
1937 - Richard H. Truly, american astronaut, was born
1981 - This was the first time a manned spacecraft, Space Shuttle Columbia, was launched into space for the second time.
2013 - Konrad Rudnicki, Polish astronomer, died this day
2013 - Aleksandr Serebrov, Russian astronaut, died this day
2014 - The Philae Lander lands on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Nov 13
2010 - Allan Sandage, American astronomer, died this day

Nov 14
1930 - Edward Higgins White, American astronaut, was born
1933 - Fred Haise, American astronaut, was born
1969 - Apollo 12, the second manned spacecraft to moon, was launched from Kennedy Space Center
2003 - 90377 Sedna, a Trans-Neptunian object, was discovered

Nov 15
1630 - Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, died this day
1738 - William Herschel, German-English astronomer, was born
1967 - Michael J. Adams, American astronaut, died this day
1988 - The unmanned Shuttle Buran makes its only space flight
1990 - Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its 7th flight

Nov 16
1852 - Asteroid 22 Kalliope was discovered by John Russell Hind.
1965 - The Soviet Union launches Venera 3 space probe to Venus, which would have become the first spacecraft to land on the surface of another planet.
1973 - NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of 3 astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Nov 17
1776 - James Ferguson, English astronomer, died this day
1790 - August Ferdinand Mobius, German astronomer, was born
1970 - The Soviet Union lands Lunokhod 1 on the moon. This is the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world.

Nov 18
1923 - Alan Shepard, American astronaut, was born
2010 - Brian G. Marsden, English astronomer, died this day
2013 - NASA launches the MAVEN probe to Mars

Nov 19
1711 - Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian astronomer, was born
1881 - A meteorite lands near the village Grossliebenthal in Ukraine
1956 - Eileen Collins, American astronaut, was born
1969 - Apollo 12 landed on moon. This was the second manned spacecraft to land on moon.

Nov 20
1889 - Edwin Hubble, American astronomer and cosmologist, was born
1934 - Willem de Sitter, Dutch astronomer, died this day
1998 - The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, is launched

Nov 21
1652 - Jan Brozek, Polish astronomer, died this day
1933 - Henry Hartsfield, American astronaut, was born

Nov 22
1897 - Paul Oswald Ahnert, German astronomer, was born
1942 - Guion Bluford, American astronaut, was born

Nov 23
1715 - Pierre Charles Le Monnier, French astronomer, was born
1924 - Edwin Hubble shows that Andromeda is actually a galaxy and not a nebula in the galaxy. He also shows that Milky Way Galaxy is one of many such galaxies in the universe. This was published in a newspaper.

Nov 24
1969 - Apollo 12 had a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to land on moon

Nov 25
1694 - Ismael Bullialdus, French astronomer, died this day
1703 - Jean-Francois Seguier, French astronomer, was born
1940 - Reinhard Furrer, Austrian astronaut, was born

Nov 26
1678 - Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, French astronomer, was born
1937 - Boris Yegorov, Russian astronaut, was born

Nov 27
1701 - Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer, was born
1875 - Richard Christopher Carrington, English astronomer, died this day
1952 - Jim Wetherbee, American astronaut, was born
1971 - The Soviet's space program's Mars 2 orbiter releases a descent module but it malfunctions and carshes. However, it became the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.

Nov 28
1700 - Nathaniel Bliss, English astronomer, was born
1872 - Mary Somerville, Scottish-Italian astronomer, died this day
1950 - Russell Alan Hulse, American astronomer, was born
1951 - Barbara Morgan, American astronaut, was born
1964 - NASA launches Mariner 4 probe towards Mars.

Nov 29
1646 - Laurentius Paulinus Gothus, Swedish astronomer, died this day
1961 - A chimpanzee was launched into space in Enos spacecraft. It orbited the Earth twice before splashing down off the coast of Puerto Rico.
1965 - The Canadian Space Agency launches the satellite Alouette 2

Nov 30
3340 BC - Earliest believed record of an eclipse
1761 - John Dollond, English astronomer, died this day

If you guys feel that I have missed something then please comment below or send me a mail using the Contact button above.

Updated: 16 November 2014

Philae: Spacecraft that landed on a Comet

Illustration of Philae on the Comet (Image credit: ESA)
In the past 24 hours, Philae has been making headlines all over the world. So, just to give you guys a brief input on what is Philae and its main mission. Philae is a spacecraft designed by the European Space Agency (ESA). It is carried by a 100 kg weighing Rosetta space probe. It's about the size of a washing machine while the comet it landed is about 4 km wide.

Rosetta and Philae were launched ten years back on March 2, 2004. It finally made the landing on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12, 2014. While the landing was not smooth, the spacecraft was stable and started sending images the next day on November 13, 2014.

The main goal of Philae is to study the comet's surface by taking pictures and by doing in-situ analysis to determine the composition of the comet. Those details will provide the much needed information to the scientists to better understand the birth and evolution of our Solar System.

Achievements:
On 12 November 2014, Philae became the first lander to achieve controlled touchdown on the surface of a comet.

Source: ESA

First image of planet formation captured

Protoplanetary disc around star HL Tau
The Alma Radio telescope is located in Atacama desert in northern Chile. The telescope has taken the first very clear image of the planet formation happening around a young star (HL Tau). HL Tau is a very young star which is less than a million years old. It is located 450 light years away from the Earth in the constellation of Taurus.

The planet formation process cannot be seen using visible dust due to the huge cloud of dust. Hence, they used longer wavelengths to capture this image. The rings seen the image above will form to be planets, comets, asteroids and other objects similar to what we see in the Solar System now.

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Water on Earth older than Sun

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A new research, conducted by the astronomers in the University of Michigan, has suggested that around 30% - 50% of the water in our Solar system (including water on Earth) has been around since the birth of the Sun. It also includes water in other planets in the Solar system, ice in comets, meteorites and in the discs of Saturn.

The research suggests that water originated in the molecular cloud. While Sun is born from nebula, and molecular cloud was present even before that time period, they are certain that it existed millions of years before the formation of the Sun.

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Gigantic Space Weather Explosions in Venus

Space weather explosions shown in Venus
Recently, researchers have found a weird space weather phenomenon called "Hot flow anomalies", which happens in the outskirts of Earth in the magnetosphere. The same phenomenon happens in Venus, except in gigantic proportions. It is so huge that its actually bigger than the size of the planet and it happen multiple times a day.

Earth has a magnetic field which protects us from these kind of weather phenomenons. However, Venus doesn't have the magnetic shield. Hence, the hot flow anomalies happen right on top of the planet. Venus has an outer layer called Ionospere. A pressure balance between the ionosphere and hot flow anomalies create planet-scale disruptions, thus, sucking up the ionosphere away from the surface of the planet (which is shown in the image above).

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