Category Archives: Space

Cat’s Eye Nebula

Cat’s Eye NebulaWhat a beautiful picture!

The Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Draco. Structurally, it is one of the most complex nebulae known, with high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope observations revealing remarkable structures such as knots, jets and sinewy arc-like features.

It was discovered by William Herschel on February 15, 1786, and was the first planetary nebula whose spectrum was investigated by the English amateur astronomer William Huggins in 1864.

Modern studies reveal several mysteries. The intricacy of the structure may be caused in part by material ejected from a binary central star, but as yet, there is no direct evidence that the central star has a companion. Also, measurements of chemical abundances reveal a large discrepancy between measurements done by two different methods, the cause of which is uncertain.

Dark Sky over Death Valley, CA

I found this picture on NASA’s website. This is a picture over Death Valley in California. Warning, the image is GIGANTIC.

Explanation: This eerie glow over Death Valley is in danger. Scrolling right will show a spectacular view from one of the darkest places left in the continental USA: Death Valley, California. The above 360-degree full-sky panorama is a composite of 30 images taken two years ago in Racetrack Playa. The image has been digitally processed and increasingly stretched at high altitudes to make it rectangular.

In the foreground on the image right is an unusually placed rock that was pushed by high winds onto Racetrack Playa after a slick rain. In the background is a majestic night sky, featuring thousands of stars and many constellations.

The arch across the middle is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. Light pollution is threatening dark skies like this all across the US, and therefore the International Dark-Sky Association and the US National Parks Service are suggesting methods that can protect them.