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The massive galaxy cluster MACS J0717 Featured Space Print

The massive galaxy cluster MACS J0717

This composite image shows the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0717.5+3745 (MACS J0717, for short), where four separate galaxy clusters have been involved in a collision, the first time such a phenomenon has been documented. Hot gas is shown in an image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and galaxies are shown in an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. The hot gas is color-coded to show temperature, where the coolest gas is reddish purple, the hottest gas is blue, and the temperatures in between are purple. MACS J0717 is located about 5.4 billion light-years from Earth. It is one of the most complex galaxy clusters ever seen.
The repeated collisions in MACS J0717 are caused by a 13-million-light-year-long stream of galaxies, gas, and dark matter, known as a filament, pouring into a region already full of matter. A collision between the gas in two or more clusters causes the hot gas to slow down. However, the massive and compact galaxies do not slow down as much as the gas does, and so move ahead of it. Therefore, the speed and direction of each cluster's motion, perpendicular to the line of sight, can be estimated by studying the offset between the average position of the galaxies and the peak in the hot gas

© Stocktrek Images

Diagram showing the spectral class and luminosity of stars Featured Space Print

Diagram showing the spectral class and luminosity of stars

Diagram showing the spectral class and luminosity of stars. The diagram was named The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, or the H-R diagram for short. At the beginning of the 20th century two astronomers found that if stars were plotted on a diagram with their luminosity (brightness) on one axis, and their spectral class on the other, that stars formed three distinct groups. The largest group, the Main Sequence Stars, is where 90% of the stars are found. These stars are fusing hydrogen into helium in their cores. This group propagates diagonally from the upper left corner, down to the right corner. The group below the main sequence is the White Dwarfs, which is a group of small, earth-sized stellar remnants. The third group, which is found above the main sequence is that of the giants.
Stars appear on a specific place on the main sequence depending on their mass and age. The mass determines when it will leave the main sequence.The H-R diagram is a significant tool for astronomers, when it comes to understanding stellar evolution

© Fahad Sulehria/Stocktrek Images

New Horizons spacecraft approaches dwarf planet Pluto and its moon Charon Featured Space Print

New Horizons spacecraft approaches dwarf planet Pluto and its moon Charon

NASA's New Horizons unmanned spacecraft approaches dwarf planet Pluto and its moon Charon. New Horizons has been en route to Pluto since its launch from Earth in 2006 and is scheduled to make its closest approach on July 14, 2015.
New Horizons is about the size and shape of a grand piano and weighed 1, 054 pounds at launch. The high-gain dish antenna is about 7 feet in diameter and is employed for communication with the Earth.
In this image the New Horizons spacecraft is about 15, 000 miles from Pluto (upper right), 27, 000 miles from its largest moon Charon (lower left) and 2.97 billion miles from the Earth. This side of the spacecraft on the left can be seen the Visible/Near Infrared Multi-Spectral Imager and the Short Wavelength Infrared Spectral Imager (aka Ralph), and the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (aka Alice). On the right extending about four feet from the main body of the spacecraft is the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) which provides constant electric power for the 10 year mission from heat produced by 24 pounds of plutonium-238.
While little is known about Pluto's appearance, here this Kuiper belt dwarf planet is realized as a frozen world covered with various ices, hosting a thin atmosphere of nitrogen, methane and other hydrocarbons too possibly, with a significantly weathered surface as Pluto's 248-year orbit alternately brings it closer then further from the warmth of the sun

© Walter Myers/Stocktrek Images