APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Re:

Post by wonderboy » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:13 pm

aunt maggie wrote:It surely dies look like Kermit! That was my first thought when I first glanced at today's picture!! Yup! Kirmit dancing in space - how cool is that?!
Kinda looks like he's running. Just out of shot is another vorwerp that looks like miss piggy!

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by Beyond » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:17 pm

If you click on bystander's last referrence -- Hanny's Voorwerp I Hanny van Arkel -- you will find two blue pictures of it. No wonder Kermit said it wasn't easy being green! He's really Blue and allmost no one knew it until Hanny came along and let the "frog" out of the bag :!:

Bystander's referrence's are listed second from the bottom on page-1.
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:30 pm

Hanny and the Voorwerp: Cool Band Name, or Web Comic?
Discovery News | 08 July 2010

What an inventive article title. :wink:
Everyone loves this story because a young schoolteacher got to make a significant discovery -- something that is much harder to accomplish in the 21st century than it was in William Herschel's time. Projects like Galaxy Zoo are a great way of bringing amateurs back into the astronomy fold. In fact, there may be lots of other galaxies with active black holes, giving rise to numerous "voorwerpje's" (junior voorwerps).

And now it seems as if Hanny's wonderful tale is going to become the stuff of Web comics. I spent last weekend at CONvergence in Minneapolis, where I finally had the chance to meet astronomy educator/blogger Pamela Gay (StarStryder) in person. And she told me about a nifty new project underway to create a digitized Webcomic telling Hanny's amazing story -- except rather than just one person writing it, the comic is a collective effort.

Gay and sci-fi author Kelly McCullough ran a two-part workshop at CONvergence -- dubbed "the writer's sandbox" -- to map out the narrative and illustrations, and collaborate in the writing, with oversight provided by the kind folks at Galaxy Zoo (because scientific accuracy is as important as the creative storytelling). The full comic will be released at Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Georgia, this fall, no doubt to great fanfare among astronomy buffs.

"By telling Hanny's story we are showing how everyday people can sometimes rewrite science," proclaims the new Zooniverse blog tied to the project. And all because one young woman dared to ask, "Hey -- what's that stuff?"

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UA: Comic Book to Share True Tale of Strange Space Object

Post by bystander » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:36 pm

Comic Book to Share True Tale of Strange Space Object
University of Alabama | 25 Aug 2010
Swing on this news, Spider-Man. Dick Tracy, your wristwatch has a message for you. Superman, return to your phone booth at once.

The world’s best known comic book characters should take note. There’s a crop of new faces coming soon to colorized panels and speech bubbles near you. A cast of real-life astronomers and a Dutch schoolteacher who collaborated in the discovery and analysis of an unusual object in space are featured in a comic book to be unveiled Sept. 3 in Atlanta.

The unveiling at DragonCon, an annual event dubbed as the world’s largest fantasy/science fiction convention, will showcase, in comic book form, the winding, unlikely tale of an object that came to be known as Hanny’s Voorwerp.
...
Edited by Kelly McCullough and Gay and written by Mike Beatini, Keel, Mike Schoenberg and Jason and Jodi Thibeault, the comic book’s line art is by Elea Braasch, and its colorist and letterer is Chris Spangler.

About 500 copies of the comic book are being printed with others available for order. Anyone interested will be able to read the comic book online at http://hannysvoorwerp.zooniverse.org beginning at 10 p.m. Sept. 3.

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Hanny's Vorwerp is a light echo!

Post by JohnD » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:26 pm

All,
Previous explanations for Hanny's Vorwerp posted here have suggested that it is due to gas excited by radiation from core of the neighboring galaxy. Small difference, but in tonight's "Sky at Night" Sir Patrick the Good Astronomer and his trusty sidekick Chris Lintott describe the Verworp as just a light echo. A very special and powerful one. Indeed, the whole programme is about light echoes.
If you can, you can watch it at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... ht_Echoes/ and the Verworp item is at 14 minutes.

NB. In March next year, the gods willing, Sir Patrick will celebrate his seven hundredth edition of SoN. Yes, that is SEVEN HUNDRED editions of this programme, an easy world record for a continuous series of TV programmes with the same presenter.
A cast of the great and the good in astronomy will attend, for as any fule no, Sir Patrick can call up anyone in astronomy and ask a favour. He is asking us for questions for that cast of stars to discuss, and while Sir Patrick might favour UK questions he will also pick the best Qs. So tell him what you think will really interest the constellation of astronomers he is to assemble.
See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/features/skyatn ... form.shtml

JOhn

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by neufer » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:24 pm

http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2008/11/26/hannys-voorwerp-explained/ wrote: <<Hanny’s voorwerp, a mysterious giant green astronomical object found over a year ago now has a partial explanation, according to a press release from Astron, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. It seems that a jet of energetic particles from a nearby black hole has cleared a path in the interstellar medium so that visible and ultraviolet light associated with the black hole can heat the cloud, ionizing the particles, and causing it to glow green. The black hole resides at the center of the galaxy IC 2497, which is about 60,000 light years away from Hanny’s voorwerp.

In the press release, Dr. Tom Oosterloo says he thinks he has seen such a phenomenon before: “It has all the hallmarks of an interacting system–the gas probably arises from a tidal interaction between IC 2497 and another galaxy, several hundred million years ago”. Oosterloo also thinks he can identify the culprits, “the stream of gas ends three hundred thousand light years westwards of IC2497–all the evidence points towards a group of galaxies at the tip of the stream being responsible for this freak cosmic accident”.>>
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Yale: Cosmic Curiosity Reveals Ghostly Glow of Dead Quasar

Post by bystander » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:14 am

Cosmic Curiosity Reveals Ghostly Glow of Dead Quasar
Yale University | 2010 Nov 03
While sorting through hundreds of galaxy images as part of the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project two years ago, Dutch schoolteacher and volunteer astronomer Hanny van Arkel stumbled upon a strange-looking object that baffled professional astronomers. Two years later, a team led by Yale University researchers has discovered that the unique object represents a snapshot in time that reveals surprising clues about the life cycle of black holes.

In a new study, the team has confirmed that the unusual object, known as Hanny’s Voorwerp (Hanny’s “object” in Dutch), is a large cloud of glowing gas illuminated by the light from a quasar—an extremely energetic galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center. The twist, described online in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, is that the quasar lighting up the gas has since burned out almost entirely, even though the light it emitted in the past continues to travel through space, illuminating the gas cloud and producing a sort of “light echo” of the dead quasar.

“This system really is like the Rosetta Stone of quasars,” said Yale astronomer Kevin Schawinski, a co-founder of Galaxy Zoo and lead author of the study. “The amazing thing is that if it wasn’t for the Voorwerp being illuminated nearby, the galaxy never would have piqued anyone’s interest.”

The team calculated that the light from the dead quasar, which is the nearest known galaxy to have hosted a quasar, took up to 70,000 years to travel through space and illuminate the Voorwerp—meaning the quasar must have shut down sometime within the past 70,000 years.
The Sudden Death of the Nearest Quasar - K Schawinski et al APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by NGC3314 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:00 pm

Not to be too much of a tease - but the Hubble images of Hanny's Voorwerp will be released in one week. There are interesting new details in both the Voorwerp and IC 2497 (like that would be a big surprise!)

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by bystander » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:02 pm

Hubble Zooms in on a Space Oddity
Space Telescope Science Institute | 2011 Jan 10
One of the strangest space objects ever seen is being scrutinized by the penetrating vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. A mysterious, glowing green blob of gas is floating in space near a spiral galaxy. Hubble uncovered delicate filaments of gas and a pocket of young star clusters in the giant object, which is the size of our Milky Way galaxy.

The Hubble revelations are the latest finds in an ongoing probe of Hanny's Voorwerp (Hanny's Object in Dutch), named for Hanny van Arkel, the Dutch teacher who discovered the ghostly structure in 2007 while participating in the online Galaxy Zoo project. Galaxy Zoo enlists the public to help classify more than a million galaxies catalogued in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The project has expanded to include the Hubble Zoo, in which the public is asked to assess tens of thousands of galaxies in deep imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope.

In the sharpest view yet of Hanny's Voorwerp, Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys have uncovered star birth in a region of the green object that faces the spiral galaxy IC 2497, located about 650 million light-years from Earth. Radio observations have shown an outflow of gas arising from the galaxy's core. The new Hubble images reveal that the galaxy's gas is interacting with a small region of Hanny's Voorwerp, which is collapsing and forming stars. The youngest stars are a couple of million years old.

"The star clusters are localized, confined to an area that is over a few thousand light-years wide," explains astronomer William Keel of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, leader of the Hubble study. "The region may have been churning out stars for several million years. They are so dim that they have previously been lost in the brilliant light of the surrounding gas."

Recent X-ray observations have revealed why Hanny's Voorwerp caught the eye of astronomers. The galaxy's rambunctious core produced a quasar, a powerful light beacon powered by a black hole. The quasar shot a broad beam of light in Hanny's Voorwerp's direction, illuminating the gas cloud and making it a space oddity. Its bright green color is from glowing oxygen.

"We just missed catching the quasar, because it turned off no more than 200,000 years ago, so what we're seeing is the afterglow from the quasar," Keel says. "This implies that it might flicker on and off, which is typical of quasars, but we've never seen such a dramatic change happen so rapidly."

The quasar's outburst also may have cast a shadow on the blob. This feature gives the illusion of a gaping hole about 20,000 light-years wide in Hanny's Voorwerp. Hubble reveals sharp edges around the apparent opening, suggesting that an object close to the quasar may have blocked some of the light and projected a shadow on Hanny's Voorwerp. This phenomenon is similar to a fly on a movie projector lens casting a shadow on a movie screen.

Radio studies have revealed that Hanny's Voorwerp is not just an island gas cloud floating in space. The glowing blob is part of a long, twisting rope of gas, or tidal tail, about 300,000 light-years long that wraps around the galaxy. The only optically visible part of the rope is Hanny's Voorwerp. The illuminated object is so huge that it stretches from 44,000 light-years to 136,000 light-years from the galaxy's core.

The quasar, the outflow of gas that instigated the star birth, and the long, gaseous tidal tail point to a rough life for IC 2497.

"The evidence suggests that IC 2497 may have merged with another galaxy about a billion years ago," Keel explains. "The Hubble images show in exquisite detail that the spiral arms are twisted, so the galaxy hasn't completely settled down."

In Keel's scenario, the merger expelled the long streamer of gas from the galaxy and funneled gas and stars into the center, which fed the black hole. The engorged black hole then powered the quasar, which launched two cones of light. One light beam illuminated part of the tidal tail, now called Hanny's Voorwerp.

About a million years ago, shock waves produced glowing gas near the galaxy's core and blasted it outward. The glowing gas is seen only in Hubble images and spectra, Keel says. The outburst may have triggered star formation in Hanny's Voorwerp. Less than 200,000 years ago, the quasar dropped in brightness by 100 times or more, leaving an ordinary-looking core.

New images of the galaxy's dusty core from Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph show an expanding bubble of gas blown out of one side of the core, perhaps evidence of the sputtering quasar's final gasps. The expanding ring of gas is still too small for ground-based telescopes to detect.

"This quasar may have been active for a few million years, which perhaps indicates that quasars blink on and off on timescales of millions of years, not the 100 million years that theory had suggested," Keel says. He added that the quasar could light up again if more material is dumped around the black hole.
Hubble Eyes Hanny’s Voorwerp
Universe Today | Tammy Plotner | 2011 Jan 10
Almost four years ago a group of astronomers known as the Galaxy Zoo made a very exciting discovery – one they named “Hanny’s Voorwerp”. Although the action occurred a hundred thousand years ago and somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 million light years away, a once upon a time quasar burned brighter than its neighboring galaxy. While the tidal pull of massive spiral IC 2497 shredded a gas rich dwarf galaxy, the incredible outpouring of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation combined with the quasar ignited the gases to light… but what exactly is it? The Hubble Space Telescope turned its eye in the direction of Leo Minor to find out…

According to the American Astronomical Society press release: “One of the strangest space objects ever seen is being scrutinized by the penetrating vision of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. A mysterious, glowing green blob of gas is floating in space near a spiral galaxy. Hubble uncovered delicate filaments of gas and a pocket of young star clusters in the giant object, which is the size of the Milky Way. The Hubble revelations are the latest finds in an ongoing probe of Hanny\rquote s Voorwerp (Hanny’s Object in Dutch). It is named after Hanny van Arkel, the Dutch schoolteacher who discovered the ghostly structure in 2007 while participating in the online Galaxy Zoo project. Galaxy Zoo enlists the public to help classify more than a million galaxies catalogued in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The project has expanded to include Galaxy Zoo: Hubble, in which the public is asked to assess tens of thousands of galaxies in deep imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope.” In the sharpest view yet of Hanny’s Voorwerp, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys have uncovered star birth in a region of the green object that faces the spiral galaxy IC 2497 — a bright, energetic object that is powered by a black hole.

This Hubble view reveals new details in colorful clarity – such as a area of star clusters whose members are only a couple of million years old… and the chemically charged yellowish-orange area at the tip of Milky Way sized Hanny’s Voorwerp. The image was made by combining data from the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) onboard Hubble, with data from the WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA. The ACS exposures were taken 12 April 2010; the WFC3 data, 4 April 2010.

“The star clusters are localized, confined to an area that is over a few thousand light-years wide,” explains astronomer William Keel of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, leader of the Hubble study. “The region may have been churning out stars for several million years. They are so dim that they have previously been lost in the brilliant light of the surrounding gas.”

The press release goes on to state that recent X-ray observations have revealed why Hanny’s Voorwerp caught the proverbial eye of astronomers. The galaxy’s rambunctious core produced a quasar, a powerful light beacon powered by a black hole. The quasar shot a broad beam of light in Hanny’s Voorwerp’s direction, illuminating the gas cloud and making it a space oddity. Its bright green color is from glowing oxygen. “We just missed catching the quasar, because it turned off no more than 200,000 years ago, so what we’re seeing is the afterglow from the quasar,” Keel says. “This implies that it might flicker on and off, which is typical of quasars, but we’ve never seen such a dramatic change happen so rapidly.”

The quasar’s outburst also may have cast a shadow on the blob. This feature gives the illusion of a gaping hole about 20,000 light-years wide in Hanny’s Voorwerp. Hubble reveals sharp edges around the apparent opening, suggesting that an object close to the quasar may have blocked some of the light and projected a shadow on Hanny’s Voorwerp. This phenomenon is similar to a fly on a movie projector lens casting a shadow on a movie screen. (Or your little brother Tom making a duck face with his hand while your Mom isn’t looking.) Radio studies have revealed that Hanny’s Voorwerp is not just an island gas cloud floating in space awaiting a three-hour tour. The glowing blob is part of a long, twisting rope of gas, or tidal tail, about 300,000 light-years long that wraps around the galaxy. The only optically visible part of the rope is Hanny’s Voorwerp. The illuminated object is so huge that it stretches from 44,000 light-years to 136,000 light-years from the galaxy’s core. The quasar, the outflow of gas that instigated the star birth, and the long, gaseous tidal tail point to a rough life for IC 2497.

“The evidence suggests that IC 2497 may have merged with another galaxy about a billion years ago,” Keel explains. “The Hubble images show in exquisite detail that the spiral arms are twisted, so the galaxy hasn’t completely settled down.” In Keel’s scenario, the merger expelled the long streamer of gas from the galaxy and funneled gas and stars into the center, which fed the black hole. The engorged black hole then powered the quasar, which launched two cones of light. One light beam illuminated part of the tidal tail, now called Hanny’s Voorwerp.” says Keel. “About a million years ago, shock waves produced glowing gas near the galaxy’s core and blasted it outward. The glowing gas is seen only in Hubble images and spectra. The outburst may have triggered star formation in Hanny’s Voorwerp. Less than 200,000 years ago, the quasar dropped in brightness by 100 times or more, leaving an ordinary-looking core.

New images of the galaxy’s dusty core from Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph show an expanding bubble of gas blown out of one side of the core, perhaps evidence of the sputtering quasar’s final gasps. The expanding ring of gas is still too small for ground-based telescopes to detect. “This quasar may have been active for a few million years, which perhaps indicates that quasars blink on and off on timescales of millions of years, not the 100 million years that theory had suggested,” Keel says. He added that the quasar could light up again if more material is dumped around the black hole.

Fascinating evidence which confirms the team’s original explanation… Go Zoo!

Credits: NASA, ESA, William Keel -University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, the Galaxy Zoo team and STScI Press releases.
Hubble snaps image of space oddity
ESA/HEIC | 2011 Jan 10
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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by NoelC » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:51 pm

This has to be an APOD itself soon!

When I started reading the theory of what it is, I started out kind of skeptical, but I saw that quite a number of different facilities were used for observation. It seems convincing.

My one remaining question is this: If the green color is coming from glowing Oxygen, why does it look more yellow-green than the typical teal (blue-green) color we see in visual imagery of OIII emissions? Red shift? High frequencies attenuated by intergalactic dust? Yellow starlight mixing?

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by zloq » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:09 pm

On the "Fast Facts" page for the image at the HST site, fortunately they have info on the filters and exposures. The image is very much false color, based on five different filters in the IR and vis - including OIII and Ha. The main information is in the raw data and this picture may have had colors combined for maximum visual impact - to punch up the yellow region, etc. Apparently the gas is very hot and has many emission lines, plus continuum, but the corresponding visual color mapping would be basically greenish, though not pure OIII. The yellow in the image is just from the chosen false color mapping and how the channels were mixed.

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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by bystander » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:43 pm

zloq wrote:On the "Fast Facts" page for the image at the HST site, fortunately they have info on the filters and exposures. The image is very much false color, based on five different filters in the IR and vis - including OIII and Ha. The main information is in the raw data and this picture may have had colors combined for maximum visual impact - to punch up the yellow region, etc. Apparently the gas is very hot and has many emission lines, plus continuum, but the corresponding visual color mapping would be basically greenish, though not pure OIII. The yellow in the image is just from the chosen false color mapping and how the channels were mixed.

zloq
Fast Facts wrote:This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the WFC3 and ACS instruments on HST. Several filters were used to sample broad and narrow wavelength ranges. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:

Code: Select all

WFC3/IR     F160W (H)                     dark green
WFC3/UVIS   F814W (I)                     dark red
ACS/WFC     FR716N (Redshifted H-alpha)   red
ACS/WFC     FR505N ([O III])              green
WIYN        (B)                           blue
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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by orin stepanek » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:30 pm

I think since they found one voorwerp; that there probably are more. Maybe it would be worth while to look for them. :wink:
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Re: APOD: What is Hanny's Voorwerp? (2008 Jun 25)

Post by NGC3314 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:46 am

The Voorwerp itself is very green (at least on my monitor), since that band is dominated very strongly by [O III] except for a few small regions with enough H-alpha to make it orange - elsewhere in the Voorwerp, the [O III] lines are about 5 times as strong as H-alpha and correspondingly stronger than any other lines in the optical band. The galaxy is indeed redder than I originally mixed it, but our filters were chosen to isolate continuum and emission lines; getting a realistic color rendition at the same time as showing a wide dynamic range in the galaxy never worked out as well as I'd have liked.

And yes, the Zooites really gave us a jump start on finding more related objects!

If I may, there is a lot more detail on these observations on the Galaxy Zoo blog.