Going into space with 64k
I’ve more or less grown up with the demo scene on Atari and Amiga. The magicians: coders, graphic artists and musicians made stuff happen on the screen that was simply jaw dropping. Not the least considering the 8-bit computers with all the limitations that implied.
The scene is still alive and limitations is still a factor. This demo Fermi Paradox by Mercury runs on Windows and only requires 64k. And yes, Jaw dropping is still a factor.
Getting our bearings straight
It almost a century ago since the Great Debate where Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis discussed the size of the universe. With the aid of Hubble we got to know a lot more about our place in space. And now, we know even more.
It turns out we are part of a supercluster of galaxies called Laniakea and it’s of course massive beyond comprehension. It spans more than 500 million light-years and contains more than 100,000 galaxies.
This is HL Tau, an orange dwarf star 450 light-years away. What’s absolutely amazing about this picture, taken by ALMA, is the stunning detail of the star and several planets in the making. Read more on Bad Astronomy.
Meet Peggy – the baby moon
Most likely Peggy was just born. She is tiny and cute, just about half a mile in diameter. Mom and dad, the rings of Saturn, are very excited since it was millions of years ago their last child left home.
What will happen with Peggy is not really known, but the researchers in the Cassini project are working around the clock right now collecting data on this moon birth.
Nothing like this has been seen before and sheds new light on how moons are born and also helps us understand how the planets where formed in the solar system.
More on this at NASA.
A galaxy far far away
Now, we can look 13.1 billion years back in time. What we look at is the newly found, but very old, galaxy z8_GND_5296 which formed only 700 million years after the big bang. The oldest found, yet.
Once again we credit the Hubble Space Telescope, with help from the Keck Observatory and more specifically their new infrared light-splitting spectrograph, which confirmed this near invisible object.
Awesome is to small a word.
Image source: NASA, ESA, V. Tilvi (Texas A&M University), S. Finkelstein (University of Texas, Austin), and C. Papovich (Texas A&M University)