Infinity Imagined
Multicellular Organic
Neural Network
Lives in Nitrogen-Oxygen Atmosphere
270 K - 300 K
Eats, Breathes, Thinks, Creates

Herschel’s Andromeda Image Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz
Explanation: This infrared view from the Herschel Space Observatory explores the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. Only 2.5 million light-years distant, the famous island universe is also known to astronomers as M31. Andromeda spans over 200,000 light-years making it more than twice the size of the Milky Way. Shown in false color, the image data reveal the cool dust lanes and clouds that still shine in the infrared but are otherwise dark and opaque at visual wavelengths. Red hues near the galaxy’s outskirts represent the glow of dust heated by starlight to a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. Blue colors correspond to hotter dust warmed by stars in the more crowded central core. Also a tracer of molecular gas, the dust highlights Andromeda’s prodigious reservoir of raw material for future star formation.


NASA’s Swift satellite has detected a sudden burst of energy coming from our neighboring galaxy M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. It is unclear exactly what this is at the moment, either a gamma ray burst (GRB) or an ultra-luminous x-ray source (ULX), but both outcomes are very exciting, especially since this occurred so close to us.
If this energetic source turns out to be a gamma ray burst, it was likely created from a collision of neutron stars. If an ultra-luminousx-ray source, the cause would be a black hole consuming matter.
There is a lot of discussion about this happening on Twitter right now. Check out #GRBm31 for what astronomers and astrophysicists are saying.

More unfolding news on this HERE and HERE!
Related: previous posts on Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs).
The Milky Way Galaxy is one of billions, perhaps hundreds of billions of galaxies notable neither in mass nor in brightness nor in how its stars are configured and arrayed. Some modern deep sky photographs show more galaxies beyond the Milky Way than stars within the Milky Way. Every one of them is an island universe containing perhaps a hundred billion suns. Such an image is a profound sermon on humility.

Thousands of galaxies in a single picture.
Credit: NASA/ESA/
One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

Frontier fields: Abell 2744
Image credit: High Level Science Product / STScI; processing by Judy Schmidt
I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist is not only a technician: He is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.
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