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March 7, 2011 - Looks Can Be Deceiving

Looks Can Be Deceiving What appears to be a peaceful scene of cosmic tranquility is in fact a massive, chaotic star-forming region known as R136. This stellar nursery is part of the 30 Doradus Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy about 170,000 light-years away. R136 is larger and more prolific than any known star-forming region in our own Milky Way Galaxy. Many of the diamond-like icy blue stars seen here are among the most massive stars known. Several of them are over 100 times more massive than our Sun. These hefty stars are destined to pop off, like a string of firecrackers, as supernovas in a few million years. In this image, the blue color is light from the hottest, most massive stars; the green is from the glow of oxygen; and the red is from fluorescing hydrogen.

Image credit: NASA / ESA / F. Paresce (INAF-IASF, Bologna, Italy) / R. O’Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville) / WFC-3 SOC

Weekly Calendar

March 7-13, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Monday 7

Jupiter 7° south of Moon

1792: John Herschel born
1837: Henry Draper born
1962: OSO-1 launched
1969: Apollo 9 astronauts complete first solo flight of lunar module

Tuesday 8

1979: Active volcanoes found on Io
2001: STS-102 Discovery launched
2007: Orbital Express launched
2008: First Automated Transfer Vehicle launched

Moon phase Wednesday 9

Ash Wednesday

1564: David Fabricius born
1961: Sputnik 9 launched
1986: Vega 2 flies by Halley’s Comet

Moon phase Thursday 10

1977: Rings discovered around Uranus
2006: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars

Moon phase Friday 11

1811: Urbain Le Verrier born
1965: Pioneer 5 launched
2008: STS-123 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 12

First Quarter Moon 6:45 PM ET
Juno at opposition

1835: Simon Newcomb born
1981: Victor Savinykh becomes 100th person to travel in space, Soyuz T-4 mission

Moon phase Sunday 13

Daylight Savings Time begins 2:00am

1781: William Herschel discovers Uranus
1855: Percival Lowell born
1989: STS-29 Discovery launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.