December 16, 2009 Issue

Physics To Go 87 - Galaxies near and far

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Physics in Your World

Andromeda Galaxy image
image credit: Ricnun; image source; larger image

Andromeda Galaxy

You don't need to be a professional astronomer to take images like this one. Our closest spiral galaxy neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, is easily viewed through binoculars or a small telescope. You can learn more about the amateur astronomy community and techniques here.

Amateur astronomers contribute to astronomy in important ways.  When a mysterious object hit Jupiter in July of this year, an amateur astronomer was the first to see the impact.  Read the story and see images of the event at What Hit Jupiter?

You can even contribute without a telescope. Volunteers studying images of galaxies discovered a new class of galaxy called Green Peas. See the Physics at Home feature below for more information about the Galaxy Zoo website.

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Physics at Home

Galaxy Zoo

You can help astronomers by taking part in Galaxy Zoo, a project to classify millions of galaxies. Learn how the site works and how to classify galaxies here. Find out more about the types of galaxies at this Sloan Digital Sky Survey page.

(This feature was updated on August 17, 2013.)


From Physics Research

Hubble's Deepest View of the Universe Unveils Bewildering Galaxies across Billions of Years image
image credit: Robert Williams and the Hubble Deep Field Team (STScI) and NASA; image source; larger image

Hubble's Deepest View of the Universe Unveils Bewildering Galaxies across Billions of Years

Thousands of galaxies of all shapes, sizes, and time periods can be seen in the famous Hubble Deep Field.

- Watch this video from HubbleSite for an overview of the image and how it was made.
- See a picture of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, taken almost ten years after the Hubble Deep Field image.
- Learn about the James Webb Space Telescope, the telescope that will succeed Hubble in 2014.

(This feature was updated on August 17, 2013.)

Worth a Look

Quasars and Active Galaxies

Explore galaxies further by learning about the strange ones:

- Quasars, or quasi-stellar objects, are not stars as the name suggests. Learn about these distant sources of bright light here.
- Active galaxies are thought to be powered by black holes at their centers. Find out more at Introductory Astronomy: Active Galaxies.
- Colliding galaxies offer insight into our Milky Way Galaxy's future. See this APOD on the crashing Antennae Galaxies, and check out this simulation of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies colliding in the cosmologically near future.

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