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June 29, 2015 - Galactic Pyrotechnics

Galactic Pyrotechnics  A spiral galaxy 23 million light-years away displays an ongoing fireworks show powered by a giant black hole, shock waves, and vast reservoirs of gas. M106 (also known as NGC 4258) is famous for its two extra spiral arms that glow in X-ray, optical, and radio light. These “anomalous arms,” seen here in blue and purple, are not aligned with the plane of the galaxy, but instead intersect with it. The supermassive black hole at the center of M106 produces powerful jets of high-energy particles that strike the disk of the galaxy and create shock waves that are heating large amounts of gas—equivalent to 10 million suns. In this composite image from four different telescopes, X-ray and radio data appear as blue and purple; optical and infrared data appear as yellow, red, and blue.

Image credit: NASA / CXC / JPL-Caltech / STScI / NSF / NRAO / VLA

Weekly Calendar

June 29 - July 5, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 29

1868: George Ellery Hale born
1961: Transit 4A launched, first nuclear-powered satellite
1971: Soyuz 11 crew dies during reentry

Moon phase Tuesday 30

Venus and Jupiter less than 0.4° apart

1908: Tunguska impact levels hundreds of miles of Siberian forest
2001: WMAP spacecraft launched

Moon phase Wednesday 1

Canada Day (Canada)

Venus 0.4° south of Jupiter
Full Moon 10:20 PM ET

1917: 100” mirror arrives at Mt. Wilson Observatory
1972: Wernher von Braun retires from NASA
1997: STS-94 Columbia launched

Moon phase Thursday 2

1985: European Space Agency launches Giotto probe to study Halley’s Comet

Moon phase Friday 3

1935: Harrison Schmitt born

Moon phase Saturday 4

Independence Day

1054: Crab Nebula supernova observed
1997: Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars
2005: Deep Impact probe collides with comet Tempel 1
: STS-121 Discovery launched

Moon phase Sunday 5

Moon at perigee

1966: Apollo-Saturn 203 launched
1982: Space Shuttle Challenger arrives at Kennedy Space Center for first time

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