APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar 02)

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APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar 02)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:53 am

Image M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion

Explanation: An eerie blue glow and ominous columns of dark dust highlight M78 and other bright reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion. The dark filamentary dust not only absorbs light, but also reflects the light of several bright blue stars that formed recently in the nebula. Of the two reflection nebulas pictured above, the more famous nebula is M78, in the image center, while NGC 2071 can be seen to its lower left. The same type of scattering that colors the daytime sky further enhances the blue color. M78 is about five light-years across and visible through a small telescope. M78 appears above only as it was 1600 years ago, however, because that is how long it takes light to go from there to here. M78 belongs to the larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex that contains the Great Nebula in Orion and the Horsehead Nebula.

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by ta152h0 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:17 pm

Hello, an hypothetical question ignoring reality. If i was sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of this thing, having a beer and looking up, what would this world look like ?
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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by emc » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:36 pm

Hi Wolf,

It is very difficult not to imagine other life bearing planets out there. I think the world you are imagining would probably look somewhat similar to our own. In order for you to survive there, the environment would need to have evolved similar to Earth.

Indigenous life would probably be easily recognizable. There are patterns in nature that are repeated likely because the blueprint works. Take organs for example, fundamental and marvelous biomechanisms that repeat throughout earthly creaturedom.

So I suspect your surroundings would at least be somewhat relatable. You’ve already related a mountain. And I imagine the view would be spectacular and I guess you would see a starry night similar to our own… just a different vantage point.

If you’re wondering if you would see the dust clouds, I wonder that too. But I suspect you wouldn’t notice it. We (meaning the Solar System) are currently traveling through the Local Interstellar dust cloud. Not sure how that compares though. Go to the Asterisk link below from bystander to learn more...

http://asterisk.apod.com/vie ... 39#p115339

... there is a link to info on the LI dust cloud.
Ed
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Sometimes the best path is a new one.

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:11 am

ta152h0 wrote:Hello, an hypothetical question ignoring reality. If i was sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of this thing, having a beer and looking up, what would this world look like ?
It wouldn't look all that different from our own night sky. These big, well lit dust clouds would look like a faint gray glow, similar to the Milky Way. Depending on where they and you were located with respect to each other, you might see a little structure (again, like you see in the Milky Way at a dark location), or you might just see a diffuse glow in parts of the sky. You'd see nothing like what the images show, because these clouds are not bright enough to trigger your eyes color receptors at all. Getting closer doesn't make them any brighter, any more than using a telescope makes things brighter. They just get bigger.
Chris

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by morris » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:48 pm

I want to just point out, that there are faces in the middle of the Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion. Which I just find amazing! :D

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by BMAONE23 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:53 pm

The human mind is a wonderous thing, constantly trying to bring visual Chaos into order. We often see the familier in these types of images, most common of which are Faces.

Leena

Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by Leena » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:09 am

I love looking at the Orion constellation. It is so prominent, even my 4 year old son can figure it out in the sky. The horsehead nebula is one of the most breathtaking nebula silhoutted against the reddish backdrop.
I would do anything to spend some months in an observatory and peer through the cosmos and the heavenly bodies. its Amazing.
Hats off to the APOD team too!
:D

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by NoelC » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:41 pm

ta152h0 wrote:Hello, an hypothetical question ignoring reality. If i was sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of this thing, having a beer and looking up, what would this world look like ?
That's easy. Because our Sun is an unremarkable yellow star, something like this:

Image

-Noel

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by neufer » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:57 pm

NoelC wrote:
ta152h0 wrote:
If i was sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of this thing, having a beer and looking up, what would this world look like ?
That's easy. Because our Sun is an unremarkable yellow star,...
Well... in a telescope, perhaps.

At 1600 light years the sun would only be a magnitude 13 star.
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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by ta152h0 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:17 pm

I was musing about being in the midst of Orion and i would look up and see all these mega giants up close. Forever light
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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by neufer » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:23 pm

Leena wrote:
I love looking at the Orion constellation. It is so prominent, even my 4 year old son can figure it out in the sky.
The horsehead nebula is one of the most breathtaking nebula silhoutted against the reddish backdrop.

I would do anything to spend some months in an observatory and peer through the cosmos and the heavenly bodies. its Amazing.
Pre-20th century astronomers working at the biggest observatories would have done anything
to spend some months just looking at the APOD images on your computer screen.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrophotography wrote: <<Astronomical photography did not become a serious research tool until the late 19th century, with the introduction of dry plate photography. It was first used by Sir William Huggins and his wife Margaret Lindsay Huggins, in 1876, in their work to record the spectra of astronomical objects. In 1880 Henry Draper used the new dry plate process with an 11-inch (28 cm) refracting telescope to make a 51-minute exposure of the Orion Nebula, the first photograph of a nebula ever made. A breakthrough in astronomical photography came in 1883, when amateur astronomer Andrew Ainslie Common used the dry plate process to record several images of the same nebula in exposures up to 60 minutes with a 36-inch (91 cm) reflecting telescope that he constructed in the backyard of his home in Ealing, outside London. These images for the first time showed stars too faint to be seen by the human eye.

1887 saw the Astrographic Catalogue and Carte du Ciel, the first all-sky photographic astrometry project. It was conducted by 20 observatories all using special photographic telescopes with a uniform design called normal astrographs, all with an aperture of around 13 inches (330 mm) and a focal length of 11 feet (3.4 m), designed to create images with a uniform scale on the photographic plate of approximately 60 arcsecs/mm while covering a 2° × 2° field of view. The attempt was to accurately map the sky down to the 14th magnitude but it was never completed.

The beginning of the 20th century saw the worldwide construction of refracting telescopes and sophisticated large reflecting telescopes specifically designed for photographic imaging. Towards the middle of the century, giant telescopes such as the 200-inch (5 meter) Hale Telescope and the 48-inch Samuel Oschin telescope at Palomar Observatory were pushing the limits of film photography.

Some progress was made in the field of photographic emulsions and in the techniques of forming gas hypersensitization, cryogenic cooling, and light amplification, but starting in the 1970s after the invention of the CCD, photographic plates have given way to electronic imaging in professional observatories. CCD's are far more light sensitive, do not drop off in sensitivity to light over long exposures the way film does (reciprocity failure), have the ability to record in a much wider spectral range, and simplify storage of information. Telescopes now use many configurations of CCD sensors including linear arrays and large mosaics of CCD elements equivalent to 100 million pixels, designed to cover the focal plane of telescopes that formerly used 10-to-14-inch photographic plates.

The late 20th century saw advances in astronomical imaging take place in the form of new hardware, with the construction of giant multi-mirror and segmented mirror telescopes. It would also see the introduction of space based telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Operating outside the atmosphere’s turbulence, scattered ambient light and the vagaries of weather allows the Hubble Space Telescope, with a mirror diameter of 2.4 m, to record stars down to the 30th magnitude, some 100 times dimmer than what the 5-meter Mount Palomar Hale telescope could record in 1949.>>
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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by mexhunter » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:39 pm

This photo of Ignacio de la Cueva has had many distinctions.
In addition to the APOD, was the wallpaper of the official photograph of the ISS expedition 24/25.
http://icueva.files.wordpress.com/2010/ ... =640&h=512

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by NoelC » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:17 am

neufer wrote:Well... in a telescope, perhaps.

At 1600 light years the sun would only be a magnitude 13 star.
Yes, I was trying to illustrate that it's incredibly small and insignificant. Thanks for the number; I don't know how to calculate that. Magnitude 13 is what, 6+ magnitudes fainter than can be seen by the unaided eye in even the darkest locations.

Regarding viewing nebulae up close... Aren't we in the vicinity of the IFN (Integrated Flux Nebula) ourselves?

-Noel

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Re: APOD: M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds in Orion (2010 Mar

Post by NoelC » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:29 am

neufer wrote:Image
...In 1880 Henry Draper used the new dry plate process with an 11-inch (28 cm) refracting telescope to make a 51-minute exposure of the Orion Nebula, the first photograph of a nebula ever made.
Compare that to what an amateur can make in a few hours today in the back yard with a 10-inch telescope...

Image

Ah, but to have the dark skies Draper must have had in 1876. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to give up indoor plumbing for those dark skies...

-Noel