For Halloween, here is what looks like a screaming skull, but is actually an image from the orbiting Chandra Observatory of the Perseus Cluster of Galaxies in x-rays, which are photons with over a thousand times the energy of visible light. It has a recession speed of 5,366 km/s and a diameter of 863′. The Perseus Cluster is three hundred and twenty million light-years distant and contains thousands of galaxies, though none are shown in this image. Instead a fifty million degree cloud of intracluster gas dominates the x-ray view, which is more massive than all the cluster's galaxies combined.
The ‘skull’ is over a hundred thousand light-years across; the two dark bubbles representing the skull’s eyes flank a bright central source of x-ray emission, while a third bubble, more elongated, forms a ‘mouth’ for the skull. The bright x-ray source is likely to be a supermassive black hole at the centre of the cl
uster; the bubbles will be blown by explosions of energetic particles thrown from the black hole and sent expanding into the gas cloud. The dark spot which represents the ‘nose’ of the skull is an x-ray shadow of a large galaxy falling into the centre of the cluster.
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap001031.html; http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... 01031.html
Image credit: A. Fabian (IoA Cambridge) et al., NASA
"There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning"
It was taken in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway in Huntsville, Alabama two days ago.
The effect is generated byplate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, by ice crystals called diamond dust drifting in the air at low level
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