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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our Universe

OMG. When I saw this picture and read the caption, my jaw literally dropped. I am in awe of our universe!

Photo courtesy of Cat...okie, I didn't take it, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope took this pic and here is AP's caption: This image provided by NASA this July 23, 2009 is a photo made by the Spitzer Space Telescope of the galaxy, called NGC-1097, is located 50 million light-years away. It is spiral-shaped like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The 'eye' at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars. In this color-coded infrared view from Spitzer, the area around the invisible black hole is blue and the ring of stars, white. The black hole is huge, about 100 million times the mass of our sun, and is feeding off gas and dust along with the occasional unlucky star. The galaxy's red spiral arms and the swirling spokes seen between the arms show dust heated by newborn stars. Older populations of stars scattered through the galaxy are blue. The fuzzy blue dot to the left, which appears to fit snuggly between the arms, is a companion galaxy. This image was taken during Spitzer's cold mission, before it ran out of liquid coolant.

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