Love Advent Calendars

December 2, 2011 at 11:06 AM Leave a comment

One of the traditions my husband and I enjoy this time of year is opening an Advent calendar.  We’ve had one every year for years and years.  Some of the calendars out there are silly, but some — particularly those made in Germany — are magical.

That said, Alan Taylor over at the Atlantic is posting an online Advent calendar featuring a new photo from the Hubble space telescope every day until December 25 (can’t wait to see that one!).  Follow it here.

This is the (gorgeous!) picture he posted yesterday:

Photo: NASA

A “Rose” of a Galaxy. In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment into space, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute pointed Hubble’s eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. Pictured here is the larger of the two galaxies, known as UGC 1810. It has a disk that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewels across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light. A possible mini-spiral may be visible in the spiral arms of UGC 1810 to the upper right. It is noticeable how the outermost spiral arm changes character as it passes this third galaxy, from smooth with lots of old stars (reddish in color) on one side to clumpy and extremely blue on the other. UGC 1810 lies in the constellation Andromeda and is roughly 300 million light-years away from Earth.

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Entry filed under: Nature, Science. Tags: .

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