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.
2015 August 17
Andromeda Rising over the Alps
Image Credit & Copyright: Matteo Dunchi
Explanation: Have you ever seen the Andromeda galaxy? Although M31 appears as a faint and fuzzy blob to the unaided eye, the light you see will be over two million years old, making it likely the oldest light you ever will see directly. Now rising near a few hours after sunset from mid-latitude northern locations, Andromeda is rising earlier each night and will be visible to northerners all night long starting in September. The featured image captured Andromeda rising above the Italian Alps last month. As cool as it may be to see this neighboring galaxy to our Milky Way with your own eyes, long duration camera exposures can pick up many faint and breathtaking details. Recent data indicates that our Milky Way Galaxy will collide and coalesce with the slightly larger Andromeda galaxy in a few billion years.
Scathach (“the shadowy one”), is a warrior queen and mistress of a school for young warriors. The school is located in Scotland on the island of Skye
, reputedly named after Scathach; other sources say she’s living in the Alps. She initiates young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the “friendship of her thighs”, that is to say, initiating them sexually. She grants three wishes to the hero Cuchulainn, because her daughter Uathach, being in love with him, has told him how to make her do it. The three wishes are to train him in the arts of war, to marry her daughter Uathach and to tell his fortune which she does by using imbas forosnai
(“charm of the palms”), party foretelling the events of the Tain Bo Cuailgne (Cattle Raid of Cooley) in dark terms.
Scathach is said to be the daughter of the king of Scythia. Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.
Cloud Carpet Across the Alps
September 28, 2011
Photographer: Hans van Hoogstraten; Hans’s Web page
Summary Author: Hans van Hoogstraten; Jim Foster
This stratocumulus cloud deck is blanketing the Jungfrau, the third highest mountain of the Bernese Alps, after Finsteraarhorn and Aletschhorn. The photo was snapped at approximately 11,500 ft (3,505 m) above sea level. At such altitudes, mountain slopes are still snow covered even in mid to late summer, as can be seen in the foreground. On this day, it seemed as though you could walk across the billowy carpet of clouds to the adjacent ranges. Photo taken on July 25, 2011.