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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Wonder: Hubble Telescope Advent Calendar

Eagle Nebula, photographed November 2004 by the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA. (click photo to really enlarge)
Hat tip to Bronwyn Jones at Present Imperfect...

The online arm of the Boston Globe offers Alan Taylor's Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar. Go look. It's amazing.

The calendar offers photos from near (Saturn) and far (Abell 2218 Galaxy Cluster, 2 billion light-years away). The tall beasty you see here is the Eagle Nebula, 7000 light-years away, and 9.5 light-years long. The Eagle Nebula is a star nursery. All those massive fusion reactors that we see as silent twinklers? They're born in nebulae like this, formations so huge they'd reach from Earth to Sirius, and then some.

Stars are born at Christmas time... your Yuletide metaphors are welcome.

16 photos are up so far; 9 more to come! Photos like these are enough to justify including NASA in any economic stimulus package. You want to build infrastructure that would spur engineering, science, and manufacturing? Think Moon base. Think Mars base. Think starships. Let's go!

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