Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

Interacting galaxies

Interacting galaxies
Click for full image.

Astronomers using the 8-meter Gemini Telescope on Mauna Kea today released a new image of the Heron galaxy, showing its interaction with a nearby neighbor.

The new image captures the slow and intimate dance of a pair of galaxies some 160 million light-years distant and reveals the sparkle of subsequent star formation fueled by the pair’s interactions.

The two galaxies, astronomers have concluded, have already “collided” at least once. However, galactic collisions can be a lengthy process of successive gravitational encounters, which over time can morph the galaxies into exotic, yet unrecognizable forms. These galaxies, as in all galactic collisions, are engaged in a ghostly dance as the distances between the stars in each galaxy preclude actual stellar collisions and their overall shapes are deformed only by each galaxy’s gravity.

One byproduct of the turbulence caused by the interaction is the coalescence of hydrogen gas into regions of star formation. In this image, these stellar nurseries are revealed in the form of the reddish clumps scattered in a ring-like fashion in the larger galaxy (and a few in the smaller galaxy). Also visible is a dusty ring that is seen in silhouette against the backdrop of the larger galaxy. A similar ring structure is seen in this previous image from the Gemini Observatory, likely the result of another interacting galactic pair.

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2 comments

  • Patrick Underwood

    Holy cow… Capra nailed it in the opening sequence of It’s a Wonderful Life.

  • pzatchok

    “the coalescence of hydrogen gas into regions of star formation.”

    I had a thought about this years ago.
    What if most of the “new” stars that are forming are actually just old stars that have finally gathered enough hydrogen to ignite?

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