Tag Archives: stars

This morning.

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

Josh Mathews (above) with his photograph ‘To the Waters and the Wild’ selected as the winning image in the inaugural ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition, run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).  Josh’s photo, along with 22 other entries to the competition is now part of an outdoor exhibition on the railings outside the DIAS building for the month of July.

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Behold: the Orion nebula, tidied up for your viewing pleasure by energetic stars. To wit:

Also known as M42, the nebula’s glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away. The Orion Nebula offers one of the best opportunities to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large star-forming region, but also because the nebula’s energetic stars have blown away obscuring gas and dust clouds that would otherwise block our view – providing an intimate look at a range of ongoing stages of starbirth and evolution. The featured image of the Orion Nebula is among the sharpest ever, constructed using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The entire Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.

(Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive; Processing: Francisco Javier Pobes Serrano)


Behold: SS 433 – one of the most exotic eclipsing x-ray binary star systems we know of. And that’s saying something. To wit:

Its unremarkable name stems from its inclusion in a catalog of Milky Way stars which emit radiation characteristic of atomic hydrogen. Its remarkable behaviour stems from a compact object, a black hole or neutron star, which has produced an accretion disk with jets. Because the disk and jets from SS 433 resemble those surrounding supermassive black holes in the centres of distant galaxies, SS 433 is considered a micro-quasar. As illustrated in the animated featured video based on observational data, a massive, hot, normal star is locked in orbit with the compact object. As the video starts, material is shown being gravitationally ripped from the normal star and falling onto an accretion disk. The central star also blasts out jets of ionised gas in opposite directions – each at about 1/4 the speed of light. The video then pans out to show a top view of the precessing jets producing an expanding spiral. From even greater distances, the dissipating jets are then visualised near the heart of supernova remnant W50. Two years ago, SS 433 was unexpectedly found by the HAWC detector array in Mexico to emit unusually high energy (TeV-range) gamma-rays. Surprises continue, as a recent analysis of archival data taken by NASA‘s Fermi satellite find a gamma-ray source — separated from the central stars as shown — that pulses in gamma-rays with a period of 162 days – the same as SS 433’s jet precession period – for reasons yet unknown.

(Animation: DESY, Science Communication Lab)



Last week, with a PAIR of free tickets to see Stars – one of the best Canadian indie bands of their generation –  perform their stunning 2004 masterpiece Set Yourself On Fire in Dublin’s Workmans Club on Friday September 27 on offer,  I asked YOU to name your favourite piece of music referencing stars.

You answered in your tens.

But there could be only one winner.

Third Place:

The Church – Under The Milky Way

Catherine Vaughan writes:

If you’re gonna reference stars, why not go all out, and reference the whole Milky Way!

Runner up:

Stars Of Heaven – Lights Of Tetouan

Brother Barnabas writes:

Yeah, I know – but no matter: that’s as good as pop gets…


Don McLean – Starry Starry Night.

Bilbo writes:

You people are crazy, it’s Starry Starry Night. Apart from being fantastic lyrically and musically you could very easily draw a line from Don’s singing in this song directly to Torquil (of Stars) singing on Set Yourself on Fire (you’d have to make a brief stop-off at Morrissey considering the blatantly Morrissey-equee track Take Me To The Riots….on 2007’s In Our Bedroom After The War) I refuse to believe this album (Set Yourself On Fire) came out in 2004.

Thanks all.

Last week: Win Nick’s Free Tix

In the mood for exquisite chamber pop?

Then you are in luck as Stars – one of the best Canadian indie bands of their generation – return to perform their stunning 2004 masterpiece Set Yourself On Fire.

The Montreal collective led by Torquil and Amy have added a second late show at 11pm in Dublin’s Workmans Club on Friday September 27 after the earlier one sold out.

I have 2 free tickets to give to a reader to the late show.

Simply tell me below what is your favourite song referencing stars?

My astrologer Fergus will choose the winner.

Lines MUST close at 5.15pm EXTENDED until 10.15pm 3am.

Nick says: Good luck!

Behold: stars forming in Lynd’s Dark Nebula (LDN 1251). To wit:

About 1,000 light-years away and drifting above the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, the dusty molecular cloud is part of a complex of dark nebulae mapped toward theCepheus flare region. Across the spectrum, astronomical explorations of the obscuring interstellar clouds reveal energetic shocks and outflows associated with newborn stars, including the telltale reddish glow from scattered Herbig-Haro objects seen in this sharp image. Distant background galaxies also lurk on the scene, visually buried behind the dusty expanse. The deep telescopic field of view imaged with broadband filters spans about two full moons on the sky, or 17 light-years at the estimated distance of LDN 1251.

(Image: Francesco Sferlazza, Franco Sgueglia, Astro Brallo)


A colourful composite of three bright nebulae in the constellation of Sagittarius –  recorded last last year from Teide National Park in Tenerife. To wit:

18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula just left of centre, and colourful M20 on the top left. The third emission region includes NGC 6559 and can be found to the right of M8. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. Over a hundred light-years across, the expansive M8 is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20’s popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red colour of the emission nebulae. In striking contrast, blue hues in the Trifid are due to dust reflected starlight. Recently formed bright blue stars are visible nearby. 

(Image: Emilio Rivero Padilla)