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NGC 7009

NGC 7009, the Saturn Nebula, is a planetary nebula located about 1,400 light years away towards the constellation Aquarius. It formed from a dying low mass star, which expelled its outer layers once nuclear fusion in its core ceased. These layers of gas formed an envelope around the star, now a white dwarf.

There is some evidence that the first layers of gas to be ejected formed the outer, oval ring around the star. Now, this layer channels stellar winds from the central star into jets that create the ansae, or handles, of lower density gas on either end of the nebula. Much remains unknown about the formation of structures like NGC 7009. This image shows the object in X-ray, showing how stellar winds from the relatively young white dwarf star collide with the surrounding gas shells, causing strong X-ray emissions.

Image from National Geographic, information from NASA, ESA, and HubbleSite.


A slice of stars

The thin, glowing streak slicing across this image cuts a lonely figure, with only a few foreground stars and galaxies in the distant background for company.

However, this is all a case of perspective; lying out of frame is another nearby spiral. Together, these two galaxies make up a pair, moving through space together and keeping one another company.

The subject of this Hubble image is called NGC 3501, with NGC 3507 as its out-of-frame companion. The two galaxies look very different — another example of the importance of perspective. NGC 3501 appears edge-on, giving it an elongated and very narrow appearance. Its partner, however, looks very different indeed, appearing face-on and giving us a fantastic view of its barred swirling arms.

While similar arms may not be visible in this image of NGC 3501, this galaxy is also a spiral — although it is somewhat different from its companion. While NGC 3507 has bars cutting through its centre, NGC 3501 does not. Instead, its loosely wound spiral arms all originate from its centre. The bright gas and stars that make up these arms can be seen here glowing brightly, mottled by the dark dust lanes that trace across the galaxy.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Nick Rose


Small Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)

…a species of Saturniid moth which occurs throughout most of the Palearctic region, and its the only member of its family to be found in the British Isles. Adult small emperor moths are chiefly nocturnal and will fly from mid-April to late June Like other saturniid moths adult S. pavonia have no mouthparts and cannot feed, their caterpillars however have a wide variety of recorded food plants. 


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Image: Jean-pierre Hamon


Axia margarita

…is a species of Gold Moth (Cimeliidae) which occurs in Morocco, Spain, southern France, Istria, and southern Carniola. Adult A. margarita typically are on the wing during the day. Two generations generally hatch each year, with adults flying from April to October. Axia margarita larvae are typically associated with Euphorbium spp. 


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Image: Dumi


Gabriela Mistral Nebula by Astro-Tanja on Flickr.

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NGC 3324 is a star forming region at the northwest corner of the Carina Nebula. It is called the Gabriela Mistral nebula, because of the resemblance with the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet. It’s shown in the center of this image, with Eta Carina Nebula to the left and NGC 3293 upper right.


The Venus Flower Basket Euplectella aspergillum is a type of sponge that engineers its own fibre glass tube. Each tube usually homes a mating pair of bioluminescent shrimp, the pair enter when the are young and once they are large enough they are never able to leave, however their offspring are small enough to leave to seek a new tube and a mate.

These shrimp feed on the left overs of the filtering by the sponge and in return the sponge has its own cleaning service trapped within its walls- the light produced by the shrimp also attract and supply a rich food source for both. 

In japan these symbolise ”to death do us part” and are traditional as a wedding gift.


Small Eggar (Eriogaster lanestris)

…a species of Lappet Moth (Lasiocampidae) which occurs in most of Eurasia, ranging as far as the Amur River. Small eggar caterpillars will feed on Birch, Prunus spp, and Crateagus spp. Like other members of the family Lasiocampidae small eggar caterpillars will construct elaborate communal “tents” made out of silk. Adult small eggars will fly from March to April.


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Images: Didier Descouens and Markus Hagenlocher

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