[The planetary nebula M 2-9, winds from a dying star. Credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble Legacy Archive / Judy Schmidt]
Something I think you’ll like
Since you are reading the free version of this newsletter, you are a person a) of discerning taste, and 2) who likes a lot of value for free.
Also you probably like astronomy. So how would you like a FREE e-book full of HUBBLE IMAGES for FREE?
Yup. Seriously. Go here and download “Hubble Focus: The Lives of Stars”.
[Cover photo of the Hubble book. Credit: NASA]
I looked through it and it’s cleanly written with lots of descriptions of how astronomers study stars and what they tell us about the Universe. And, of course, lots of cool Hubble pix of said stars.
And if you like it, there are other free Hubble e-books, too! If you’re an American or in a European country your taxes already paid for all this, so grab the books and enjoy.
About this newsletter
Hey y’all, I have a small ask: My subscription rate has been plateauing a bit lately, despite my shamelessly promoting this newsletter on Twitter twice a week. So please, if you see something you like in an issue feel free to send it to a friend, or tweet about, or repost it on other social media (as long as it links back to the newsletter!). Word of mouth is a great way to grow an audience, but my own mouth is only so big.
If you do, this is for you. Thanks!
What I’ve recently written on the blog, ICYMI
[Intense image of the galaxy cluster Abell S0295, a vast structure containing dozens if not hundreds of galaxies. From Monday’s article. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, F. Pacaud, D. Coe]
Monday 17 May, 2021: A moment of the Universe
Tuesday 18 May, 2021: Radioactive plutonium from a nearby supernova found on Earth
Wednesday 19 May, 2021: Landslides on the Moon? Get a Klute.
Thursday 20 May, 2021: Explaining Saturn's ravioli moons
Friday 21 May, 2021: Incredible image: Gorgeous magnetic chaos in the galactic center
Pic o’ the Letter
A cool or lovely or mind-bending astronomical image/video with a short description so you can grok it
Writing a newsletter is a tricky thing sometimes.
For example, I love just showing you gorgeous deep-sky images with a brief explanation. But that’s hard, because I’m limited both in width (Substack pages are 1000 pixels wide) and filesize (I email these issues, so I try to keep the size down so as not to choke any mailers).
And that’s an issue, especially when I want to show you Lupus 3:
[Lupus 3, a long streamer of thick dark dust. Credit: ESO/R. Colombari]
Isn’t that spectacular? The Lupus Clouds are a complex of cold molecular gas — mostly hydrogen in the form of diatomic H2 — and dust, dense and opaque to visible light. The bulk of these clouds are in the constellation of Lupus, the wolf, but Lupus 3 is in Scorpius.
Lupus 3 is a long, filament of material about 500 light years from Earth, dense enough that stars are forming inside it. The two blue stars (V856 and V1027 Scorpii) are young, massive stars recently born from this same material.
Honestly, you can read more about this at the ESO site where they talk about this incredible Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope image if you want more information. And that brings me back to my original lament.
I’d love to show you the high-res version of this region, but it’s 18,000 x 11,360 pixels and even highly compressed is over 6 Mb (the uncompressed one is 1.1 Gb). So yeah, feel free to download it from there. It ain’t gonna fit in an email.
They also have a pretty lovely wide-field view, too.
There will come a day, I have no doubt, that we’ll laugh at filesizes as small as a gigabyte. When I was in grad school I had the fastest computer in the astronomy department, and manipulating Hubble Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 images was a nightmare. They were 10 megabytes.
But until then I’ll do what I can to bring the glory of the heavens to you in smaller chunks. Enjoy.
You can email me at email@example.com (though replies can take a while), and all my social media outlets are gathered together at about.me. Also, if you don’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter! And feel free to tell a friend or nine, too. Thanks!