By Dawn StoverPosted 12.21.2007 at 1:21 pm 0 Comments
Astronomers have spotted a rarity in space: two previously known galaxies merging with a newly discovered third galaxy of roughly the same size. Together they form what the astronomers have dubbed "The Bird." (Some also see a resemblance to Tinker Bell.)
The astronomers photographed the galaxies using the ESO's Very Large Telescope. One of the telescope's instruments is able to peer through dust clouds surrounding the colliding galaxies, using adaptive optics to get a clear look.
Two of the galaxies met a couple of hundred million years ago, astronomers estimate. But the third galaxy, which forms the bird's "head," is a new arrival and is already moving away from the others at about 850,000 miles per hour.—Dawn Stover
Image: European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO)
By Gregory MonePosted 07.06.2007 at 12:04 pm 1 Comment
Space.com is reporting that Martian dust storms could be a bigger problem for the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, than NASA previously believed. One storm covers nearly the entire southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, and is blocking 99 percent of the sunlight from getting through. This is a problem for the long-lasting robots because they're powered by solar panels. The rovers are operating in low-power mode, but if the surface stays dusty long enough, they could run out of juice completely and shut down for good. Even if that does happen, though, they will have long outlasted their original life expectancy.—Gregory Mone