A stunning new photograph from the Hubble Space Telescope of The Coma Cluster. For more information, check out the full story on Wired.
All text © 2009 Gary William Murning
“A poet once said “The whole universe is in a glass of wine.” We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imaginations adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth’s rocks, and in its composition we see the secret of the universe’s age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are there in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!”
The New Quantum Universe (2003) by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters; Epilogue. (Originally, from “The Feynman Lectures on Physics,” by Feynman, Leighton and Sands.)
Estimated to be no more than three times Jupiter’s mass, the planet, called Fomalhaut b, orbits the bright southern star Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Austrinus (the Southern Fish).
Fomalhaut has been a candidate for planet hunting ever since an excess of dust was discovered around the star in the early 1980s by the US- UK-Dutch Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS).
A truly amazing discovery. 25 light years! Wow. For once I am uncharacteristically at a loss for words.
There are many beautiful things in this universe of ours (if you don’t believe me, you could start by looking at my new picture on the About page… well, maybe not!), but the Lagoon Nebula has to be up there — literally — with the best of them.
In the constellation of Sagittarius, this classic deep-sky object is also known as Messier 8 or M8 for short. Named after the French astronomer and comet hunter Charles Messier it is a stellar nursery approximately 4,100 light-years away from Earth. And it’s beautiful.