Hello, space explorer.
I aim to make this newsletter your window to the universe from the perspective of a space researcher, including bites of astronomy and space exploration. It will also be a way to share my own work and progress in the field with you.
Following a two-year research experience at the European Space Agency (ESA), I recently embarked on a PhD journey in the field of planet formation. However, long before pursuing astrophysics professionally, I wandered through thousands of cosmic images in the online galleries of space agencies and observatories. These sites paired their photos with scientific explanations, which showed me the importance of science communication and outreach. The digestible explanations by science writers taught me about the physics behind nebulae and galaxies as a high school student, and eventually led me to become an astrophysicist.
Some of my favourite astro-photos were saved in an old laptop of mine, and sharing them here in the first newsletter seems like a good fit. Find below a mesmerizing, color enhanced view of the Lagoon Nebula.
Nebulae (nebula is Latin for 'cloud' or 'fog') are visually stunning cosmic objects.
Some nebulae are the remnants of an explosion in the final stages of a massive star's life, while others are created from a gravitational collapse of cosmic gas and dust. When the gaseous outer layers of a star are expelled into space, they create intricate shapes of various colors depending on the abundance of different gases.
A view into a star-formation region in the Orion Nebula follows below. Multiple exposures from an infrared camera on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile (which acquired the data for the research I do now!) were combined here, peering into clouds of cosmic dust.
Strands of molecular hydrogen, known as cometary knots, seen in the Helix Nebula.
Moving to galaxies, the galaxy Messier 94 showcases a starburst ring – the glittering parts comprise many young, bright stars, and new stars are forming at a high rate.
Here are the image galleries:
NASA's Hubble gallery
ESO (European Southern Observatory)
The public attention has definitely been grabbed by the JWST (J. W. Space Telescope) images since the drop of the first batch in July 2022, and understandably so; in the next newsletter, I’ll be explaining planet formation concepts given a recent JWST image. However, it’s worthwhile to remember that Hubble (the workhorse for multiple images above) provides complementary data, and that science benefits from the input of multiple instruments covering different wavelengths. Furthermore, ground-based telescopes continue to deliver impressive results.
In the next newsletter, you can learn about these fascinating red regions visible in the recent Pillars of Creation image.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed KOSMOSEST #1 and look forward to next Sunday’s look into the universe.
Astrophysics Researcher, Science Communicator
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