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Space Science

Herschel's First Science Results, Eagle Nebula 91

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-demand-new-wallpapers dept.
davecl writes "Over the next three days, many new science results will come out from Herschel. The first of these, a view deep inside the stellar nursery of the Eagle Nebula, finds a huge amount of activity, revealing new stars and filaments of dust that could not have been detected by previous telescopes. Also open today is OSHI, the online showcase of Herschel images where all the new science images will be found. Herschel news also available on the Herschel Mission Blog."
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Herschel's First Science Results, Eagle Nebula

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  • by master_p (608214) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:31AM (#30458122)

    If Herschel can can find matter previously unseen with other telescopes, can this be used to avoid the dark matter theory?

  • Re:Dark matter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qinjuehang (1195139) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:45AM (#30458366) Homepage
    Problem is, not enough dark nebulae has been detected to accound for dark matter. However, there are a class of dark matter candidates, "Massive Compact Halo Objects", that are made of "normal matter", just harder to detect than most.
  • For a small telescope - say 1.5 to 2 inches and 10 to 100x magnification. The double cluster in Perseus - its below Cassiopeia the W thing and looks like two balls of stars, very pretty at low magnification. The Orion nebula - often called the Sword of Orion, its below the three stars of his belt and is a ghostly greenish mist that you need to zoom a bit more in to see. Dont forget to look at the moon, especially when you can see less than the full moon because the mountains and craters along the line of the shadow look really three dimensional, you can crank the magnification up as far as you like on these, bearing in mind that you have to follow the thing across the sky. Take a look at the website of magazines like Sky and Telescope or Astronomy for more info on what to look at and what it is you are seeing. The Orion Nebula for example is the nearest stellar nursery where new stars are being born. If you want to see pictures of the quality that Herschel produces then download the APOD or Astronomy Picture Of the Day application for a new one each day on your desk top - or go staight to the APOD website which google will find for you.

  • Re:Dark matter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris mazuc (8017) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:15PM (#30459856)

    No offense, but we'd probably already know if he were horribly, horribly wrong.

    I'm confused by this. Are you saying we already know everything about physics? Please elaborate.

    And we already know that if we go a few billion years in the future, the Sun won't be there any more

    I'm not saying it is pointless to leave, and I sincerely hope we make it out of our solar system without killing ourselves first. It just saddens me that all those colonies of humanity (or whatever we are at that point) will never be able to communicate with each other on a reasonable time scale. Who cares if there is life out there besides our own if we can never see it, or if we do see it, we wouldn't have anyone like us to tell about it by the time we got back.

  • Conventional images (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:22PM (#30460012)

    I wish the web site would show conventional images and contrast that with what Hershel see's. Being a laymen, it's hard to gauge exactly how exciting this type of news is when you don't have a basis to compare with.

  • by radtea (464814) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:47PM (#30460400)

    If Herschel can can find matter previously unseen with other telescopes, can this be used to avoid the dark matter theory?

    Short answer: no.

    Long answer: there are multiple dark matter problems on multiple scales. Galactic dark matter, which is the only kind Hershel might be able to see, may be baryonic (made up of the same sorts of elementary particles as everything else we know about.) Even that is doubtful, based on dynamical analysis of galactic collisions, which strongly favour a non-baryonic component even on galactic scales. And the thing about non-baryonic dark matter is that whatever it is, it doesn't interact electro-magnetically, at least not to a significant degree. If it did, it would be scattered off ordinary matter and be detectable and visible and have pretty much the same spacial distribution as ordinary matter, which it observably does not in the case of galactic collisions.

    On larger scales, we know with as much certainty as we know anything that dark matter must be non-baryonic, and therefore almost certainly won't be visible. The reason we know it must be non-baryonic is because the ratio of hydrogen to helium in the early universe, which we can calculate quite precisely based on the universe we see today, puts a strict limit on the amount of baryonic matter, and the extra-galactic dark matter exceeds that limit by a factor of ten or more.

    Finally, "avoiding the dark matter theory" is a funny way of putting things, as if somehow dark matter was bad and it would be a good thing to avoid it. Dark matter is a perfectly sensible explanation some peculiar phenomena, and although it is not the only one, it has proven consistent with the experimental and observational tests that have been used to investigate it, particularly the galactic collision analysis mentioned above.

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