APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

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APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by APOD Robot » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:06 am

Image NGC 1579: Trifid of the North

Explanation: Colorful NGC 1579 resembles the better known Trifid Nebula, but lies much farther north in planet Earth's sky, in the heroic constellation Perseus. About 2,100 light-years away and 3 light-years across, NGC 1579 is, like the Trifid, a study in contrasting blue and red colors, with dark dust lanes prominent in the nebula's central regions. In both, dust reflects starlight to produce beautiful blue reflection nebulae. But unlike the Trifid, in NGC 1579 the reddish glow is not emission from clouds of glowing hydrogen gas excited by ultraviolet light from a nearby hot star. Instead, the dust in NGC 1579 drastically diminishes, reddens, and scatters the light from an embedded, extremely young, massive star, itself a strong emitter of the characteristic red hydrogen alpha light.

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Ann » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:04 am

Congratulations, Adam, a lovely picture as always! :D

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by orin stepanek » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:28 pm

It does have an uncanny similarity to the Trifid Nebula! 8-)
Orin

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by lordcat darkstar » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:21 pm

The dark cloud blocking the blue reflection nebula looks like a rat and the red emission nebula looks like a cat looking down at him. I guess the cat is still determined to become a part of the zodiac ^v^

Robinegg

Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Robinegg » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:09 pm

Don't young stars emit blue light? What is alpha light?

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:30 pm

Robinegg wrote:Don't young stars emit blue light? What is alpha light?
Hot stars produce a black body spectrum that makes them appear blue to our eyes. They also produce a lot of UV, which ionizes any surrounding hydrogen, producing the red light of the Balmer alpha line. Stars which are fusing hydrogen also produce a strong peak for this hydrogen alpha wavelength. We don't see it visually, because the shorter wavelength light swamps it out, but it's still there, and in a dusty nebula like this, the dust can absorb the bluer light, and scatter the red, acting as a sort of filter to let us see it.
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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Ann » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:38 pm

Isn't it more correct to say that we are indeed seeing a red emission nebula, where hydrogen has been ionized by the ultraviolet light of a hot star so that the hydrogen emits red light?

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Boomer12k » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:07 pm

Great picture....looks like a Dinosaur head to me....


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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by neufer » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:08 pm

Stars which are fusing hydrogen also produce
a strong peak for this hydrogen alpha wavelength... :arrow:
We don't see it visually, because it is a strong
absorption peak, but it's still there.
Chris Peterson wrote:
Hot stars produce a black body spectrum that makes them appear blue to our eyes. They also produce a lot of UV, which ionizes any surrounding hydrogen, producing the red light of the Balmer alpha line. Stars which are fusing hydrogen also produce a strong peak for this hydrogen alpha wavelength. We don't see it visually, because the shorter wavelength light swamps it out, but it's still there, and in a dusty nebula like this, the dust can absorb the bluer light, and scatter the red, acting as a sort of filter to let us see it.
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by saturn2 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:24 am

What is hidrogen alpha?

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:01 am

neufer wrote:We don't see it visually, because it is a strong absorption peak, but it's still there.
That is NOT why we don't see H-alpha visually. The reason is the same that we don't see any narrow emission lines: because they simply contain too little energy compared with the broad thermal spectrum. In other words, the continuum light washes out the emission lines. The strong H-alpha output of stars is readily apparent when you make an image through a narrow Ha filter, or view our own star with one.
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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by Ann » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:22 am

saturn2 wrote:What is hidrogen alpha?
Hydrogen alpha is red light whose wavelength is 656 nanometers. The interesting thing is how it is produced. It takes hydrogen being hit by ultraviolet photons to produce it.

It works like this. A hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron. The electron is in orbit around the proton, although it must be said that "orbit" doesn't mean the same thing when we talk about subatomic particles as when we talk about planets orbiting a sun. The electron is moving around in a much more unpredictable way than a planet orbiting a sun.

Anyway, the electron is moving around in an "electron shell". Inside this shell, the electron has a certain energy. There are several electron shells, but the electron tries to stay in the lowest shell, where its energy is the lowest.

But if the electron is hit by an ultraviolet photon, it will be "kicked" into a higher electron shell. In the case of the so-called Balmer series" (and you don't have to worry about what exactly that is) the second shell represents an "extra energy" comparable to a photon of the wavelength of 656 nanometers.

When the electron has been "kicked" into this second shell by an ultraviolet photon, it will want to "fall down" again. As it does so, the electron emits a photon of the wavelength of 656 nanometers.

656 nanometers represent red light. In other words, if a photon has been kicked into the second shell of the Balmer series, it will release its extra energy as a photon of 656 nm red light, so that it can fall down into its lowest electron shell again.
Image
Here you can see the Balmer series. The lowest shell is shell number 2 (and no, I can't explain why it's called 2 and not 1). If the electron is kicked into shell number 3, it will emit red light as it falls down. If it is kicked into shell number 4 it will emit blue-green light as it falls down. (This picture says that the electron will emit pure green light, but that is not true.) If the electron is kicked into shell number 5, it will emit blue light as it falls down, and if it is kicked into shells number 6 and 7 it will emit violet light. Electrons are often kicked "one shell up", but it is a rare event indeed that they are kicked more than "two shells up". Therefore electrons often emit red light, but extremely rarely violet light.
Image
Here you can see the colors of the Balmer series. These are the colors that can be emitted by an electron as it is falling down from a higher shell into shell number 2.






Image
This is the Rosette Nebula. It is glowing red because huge numbers of electrons are emitting red light. These electrons have been kicked into shell number 3 by ultraviolet photons from the hot stars at the center of the Rosette nebula. As the electrons fall down into shell number 2 again, they emit red light of 656 nanometers. As long as the stars stay hot and bright, and as long as there is a large cloud of hydrogen surrounding the hot stars, electrons will keep being kicked into shell number 3, and they will keep emitting red light as they fall down into shell number 2.

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by DavidLeodis » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:56 am

What is the name of the obvious blue nebula to the bottom left (assuming that it has a name). :?:

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Re: APOD: NGC 1579: Trifid of the North (2012 Mar 09)

Post by neufer » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:44 pm

Ann wrote:
saturn2 wrote:What is hidrogen alpha?
In the case of the so-called Balmer series" (and you don't have to worry about what exactly that is) the second shell represents an "extra energy" comparable to a photon of the wavelength of 656 nanometers.

When the electron has been "kicked" into this second shell by an ultraviolet photon, it will want to "fall down" again. As it does so, the electron emits a photon of the wavelength of 656 nanometers.

656 nanometers represent red light. In other words, if a photon has been kicked into the second shell of the Balmer series, it will release its extra energy as a photon of 656 nm red light, so that it can fall down into its lowest electron shell again.
Image
Here you can see the Balmer series. The lowest shell is shell number 2 (and no, I can't explain why it's called 2 and not 1). If the electron is kicked into shell number 3, it will emit red light as it falls down. If it is kicked into shell number 4 it will emit blue-green light as it falls down. (This picture says that the electron will emit pure green light, but that is not true.) If the electron is kicked into shell number 5, it will emit blue light as it falls down, and if it is kicked into shells number 6 and 7 it will emit violet light. Electrons are often kicked "one shell up", but it is a rare event indeed that they are kicked more than "two shells up". Therefore electrons often emit red light, but extremely rarely violet light.

This is the Rosette Nebula. It is glowing red because huge numbers of electrons are emitting red light. These electrons have been kicked into shell number 3 by ultraviolet photons from the hot stars at the center of the Rosette nebula. As the electrons fall down into shell number 2 again, they emit red light of 656 nanometers. As long as the stars stay hot and bright, and as long as there is a large cloud of hydrogen surrounding the hot stars, electrons will keep being kicked into shell number 3, and they will keep emitting red light as they fall down into shell number 2.
. [size=140]<<Polar and equatorial views of Earth, the aurora, the equatorial airglow bands, and the geocorona. Two 30° x 120° nadir-centered images show Earth and its faint lights at vacuum-ultraviolet wavelengths. Features of Earth's disk (dayglow from the sunlit atmosphere, auroral oval, and equatorial airglow) appear primarily in the emissions of atomic oxygen at about 130.4 and 135.6 nanometers and of the LBH bands of molecular nitrogen, while beyond the limb the instrument responses are entirely due to 121.6 nanometer solar [b][color=#FF00FF]Lyman-alpha[/color][/b] radiation resonantly scattered by Earth's extended hydrogen atmosphere, the geocorona. :arrow: The image in the left panel shows an active auroral oval on 14 October 1981 at 2017 UT following the onset of a substorm at local midnight. Spacecraft altitude is 16,500 km at 67° N latitude. The image in the right panel provides a view of Earth's dark hemisphere at 0222 UT on 16 February 1982 while the sun is behind Earth. Spacecraft altitude and latitude are 19,700 km and 13° N, respectively. The northern auroral oval forms a halo of light above the limb of Earth, while the equatorial airglow bands in the premidnight sector straddle the magnetic equator. Isolated points of light in both images are VUV bright stars.>>[/size]

The lowest shell in the visible Balmer series is shell number 2 because when the electron finally
drops into the actual lowest shell (number 1) it emits an ultraviolet photon of the Lyman series.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman-alpha_blob wrote: <<In astronomy, a Lyman-alpha blob (LAB) is a huge concentration of a gas emitting the Lyman-alpha emission line. LABs are some of the largest known individual objects in the Universe. Some of these gaseous structures are more than 400,000 light years across. So far they have only been found in the high-redshift universe because of the ultraviolet nature of the Lyman-alpha emission line. Since the Earth's atmosphere is very effective at filtering out UV photons, the 121.6 nanometer Lyman-alpha photons must be redshifted in order to be transmitted through the atmosphere.

The most famous Lyman-alpha Blobs were discovered in 2000 by Steidel et al. Matsuda et al., using the Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan extended the search for LABs and found over 30 new LABs in the original field of Steidel et al., although they were all smaller than the originals. These LABs form a structure which is more than 200 million light-years in extent. It is currently unknown whether LABs trace overdensities of galaxies in the high-redshift universe (as high redshift radio galaxies — which also have extended Lyman-alpha halos — do, for example), nor which mechanism produces the Lyman-alpha emission line, or how the LABs are connected to the surrounding galaxies. Lyman-alpha Blobs may hold valuable clues for scientists to determine how galaxies are formed.>>
Art Neuendorffer