Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2016 March 9
Explanation: Why is this galaxy so thin? Many disk galaxies are actually just as thin as NGC 5866, pictured above, but are not seen edge-on from our vantage point. One galaxy that is situated edge-on is our own Milky Way Galaxy. Classified as a lenticular galaxy, NGC 5866 has numerous and complex dust lanes appearing dark and red, while many of the bright stars in the disk give it a more blue underlying hue. The blue disk of young stars can be seen extending past the dust in the extremely thin galactic plane, while the bulge in the disk center appears tinged more orange from the older and redder stars that likely exist there. Although similar in mass to our Milky Way Galaxy, light takes about 60,000 years to cross NGC 5866, about 30 percent less than light takes to cross our own Galaxy. In general, many disk galaxies are very thin because the gas that formed them collided with itself as it rotated about the gravitational center. Galaxy NGC 5866 lies about 50 million light years distant toward the constellation of the Dragon (Draco).
The Wiccan Redact
Bide the Wiccan Laws we must,
So we don’t end up as newts, we trust.
Cast the Circle thrice about,
To keep Mormon missionaries out.
Let the spell be spake in rhyme,
To make it silly every time.
Soft of eye and light of touch,
Don’t speak with your mouth full, listen much.
Deosil go by the blue moon,
You saw me standing alone,
By the Witches’ Rune.
Widdershins go by harvest moon,
Up in the sky,
Cause I ain’t had no love’n since January February June or July.
By the light of the silvery moon,
I’d like to spoon,
To my honey I’ll croon,
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale,
for then’s the after Christmas sale.
When the wind comes from the South,
go on vacation for thy health.
When the wind blows from the Southwest,
hiding in the basement’s best.
When the wind blows from the East,
fart thou to the west.
Nine woods in the golf bag go,
Have your caddie carry slow.
Elder be the Lady’s tree,
Spray it down with DDT.
When the Wheel begins to turn,
Let leaves in the yard begin to burn.
When the Wheel has turned to Yule,
Light the furnace and burn some fuel
Heed ye flower, bush and tree,
For some might poison ivy be.
Where the rippling waters go,
portage round or leaks you’ll know.
When ye have a true need,
charge it not lest thy finances bleed.
With a fool no season spend,
Lest ye see yourself in him.
Merry meet and merry part,
Light in the loafers and gay the heart.
When misfortune is anew,
Make sure insurance premiums are not overdue.
Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Mercy is not known by earth water and wood.
Twelve words the Wiccan Redact fulfill:
And it harm none but thee and God, do what ye will.
The Planets Today
Mars in Sagittarius
Warrior Mars creates excitement with the adventurous Archer
Action planet Mars moves into adventurous Sagittarius on March 5, 2016, and this fiery combination should bring plenty of excitement into our lives over the next few weeks … until Mars turns retrograde on April 17, brining everything to a screeching halt.
Mars, which is a very active and assertive planet, is very much at home with risk-taker Sagittarius. This planet and this sign are complimentary to one another, as they share an impulsive nature and an eagerness to rush ahead into uncharted territory.
When Mars is moving direct in Sagittarius, he’s the bad boy who pushes boundaries; the rebel looking for a cause. Which means we’ll be able to harness this fiery, fearless energy to make things happen. But it’s also possible we’ll have so much reckless energy now that we take things too far, or act so impulsively that we make mistakes.
Religious zeal, philosophical fighting, legal battles and overseas wars are expressions of this combination. Our best approach to this heated transit is to cool it with logic and a moment’s pause before doing anything rash.
The Words of Confucius