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2004 Structure and Evolution of the Universe Resource page
The following are selected highlights from the Structure and Evolution of the Universe theme:

"Beyond Einstein" AAS Plasma Screen Presentation

Date: 1/1/04
GSFC Contact: Deanna Kekesi - (301) 286-0041
Library #: G04-001
Credit: NASA

Synopsis: Narrated overview of the Beyond Einstein Program.

Giant Galaxy String Defies Models of How Universe Evolved

Image of a string of galaxies Date: 1/07/04
GSFC Contact: Wade Sisler - (301) 286-6256
Library #: G03-072
Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team/National Science Foundation
URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0107filament.html

Synopsis: Wide-field telescope observations of the remote and early Universe have revealed an enormous string of galaxies about 300 million light-years long. These observations are looking back to a time when the Universe was a fifth of its present age. This new structure defies current models of how the Universe evolved, which cannot explain how a string this big could have formed so early.

The string is comparable in size to the "Great Wall" of galaxies found in the nearby Universe by Dr. John Huchra and Dr. Margaret Geller in 1989. This is the first time astronomers have been able to map an area in the early Universe big enough to reveal such a galaxy structure.

ITEM 1) Giant Galaxy String - Animation – [0:02:12:07 – 0:02:50:28]
ITEM 2) Evolution of the Universe [0:03:13:15-0:03:53:07]
ITEM 3) Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo [0:04:15:10-0:04:37:06]

Nuclear Flashbulb Reveals Bizarre Star's Inner Secrets

Image of a neutron star exploding Date: 2/23/04
GSFC Contact: Deanna Kekesi - (301) 286-0041
Library #: G04-011
Credit: NASA
URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0220stardisk.html

Synopsis: Scientists at NASA and the Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) have captured unprecedented details of the swirling flow of gas hovering just a few miles from the surface of a neutron star, itself a sphere only about ten miles (16km) across. A massive and rare explosion on the surface of this neutron star -- pouring out more energy in three hours than the Sun does in 100 years -- illuminated the region and allowed the scientists to spy on details never before revealed. They could see details as fine as the neutron star's accretion disk, a ring of gas swirling around and flowing onto the neutron star, as the disk buckled from the explosion and then slowly recovered its original form after approximately 1,000 seconds.

ITEM 1a) Nuclear Flashbulb Reveals Inner Secrets
ITEM 1b) Nuclear Flashbulb Reveals Inner Secrets (Close-Up Version)
ITEM 1c) Flashbulb Explosion (Slow By Factor Of 4)
ITEM 1d) Nuclear Flashbulb Reveals Inner Secrets: Explaining The "Wobble"

Catching Gamma Ray Burst on the Fly

Image of the Swift satellite Date: 11/05/04
GSFC Contact: Deanna Kekesi - (301) 286-0041
Library #: G04-A046
Credit: NASA
URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0910swift.html

Synopsis: Mysterious and fleeting gamma ray bursts (GRB’s) are the most powerful explosions in the Universe. They can generate as much energy in one second as our Sun does in a billion years. Most GRBs originate billions of miles away at a rate estimated to be at least several per day and yet, after years of study, scientists still do not understand them. Playing the leading role of detective in this mystery is NASA's Swift “Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer” satellite. Swift is able to quickly respond, turn, and investigate these amazing beacons of light, and it is able to relay the position of the GRB to scientists on the ground and around the world in less than one minute! Swift is an international collaboration with major contributions provided by Italy, the U.K., and the U.S.

ITEM 1) Reporter Package (Long Version)
ITEM 2) Reporter Package (Short Version)
ITEM 3) The Swift Satellite In Action Animation
ITEM 4) Black Holes – A Collapsar Animation
ITEM 5) Supernova Classic Animation
ITEM 6) Devour Thy Neighbor Animation
ITEM 7) The Rapid Response Network Animation
ITEM 8) Swift B-Roll
ITEM 9) Swift Launch On November 20, 2004

Massive Merger of Galaxies is the Most Powerful on Record

Image of a galaxy merger Date: 8/31/04
GSFC Contact: Deanna Kekesi - (301) 286-0041
Library #: G04-048
Credit: NASA/ESA
URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0831galaxymerger.html

Synopsis: An international team of scientists has observed a nearby head-on collision of two galaxy clusters that has smashed together thousands of galaxies and trillions of stars, one of the most powerful events ever witnessed. Such collisions are second only to the Big Bang in total energy output. The event, captured with the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton observatory, details what the scientists are calling the perfect storm: galaxy clusters that collided like two high-pressure weather fronts and create hurricane-like conditions, tossing galaxies far from their paths and churning shock waves of 100-million-degree gas through intergalactic space.

ITEM 1) Cosmic Head-On Collision
ITEM 2) "The Perfect Storm" With Weather Icons
ITEM 3) "The Perfect Storm" Without Embedded Galaxies
ITEM 4) XMM Satellite Animation
ITEM 5) XMM Processing B-Roll

Deepest Image of Exploded Star Uncovers Bipolar Jets

Image of bipolar jets Date: 8/23/04
MSFC Contact: Steve Roy - (256) 544-0034
Chandra Contact: April Hobart – (617) 496-7048
Credit: NASA/Chandra X-ray Observatory
URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2004/04-222.html

Synopsis: A spectacular image of Cassiopeia A from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has nearly 200 times more data than the "First Light" Chandra image of this object made five years ago. The image reveals clues that the initial explosion caused by the collapse of a massive star was far more complicated than suspected.

This sequence shows three different sets Chandra observations of Cassiopeia A. The first image is Chandra's "First Light" image, which was released in August 1999 as the observatory's first major science image. This 5,000-second-long observation then dissolves into another image created from Chandra that contained data from 50,000 seconds of X-ray data released in 2002. Finally, the latest, a one-million-second observation of Cassiopeia A is seen, revealing spectacular new detail and complexity to the supernova remnant.

ITEM 1) Cassiopeia A

Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered

Image from Chandra Date: 1/5/05
MSFC Contact: Steve Roy - (256) 544-0034
Chandra Contact: April Hobart – (617) 496-7048
Credit: NASA/Chandra X-ray Observatory
URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-001.html

Synopsis: Astronomers have found the most powerful eruption in the Universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate. This discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the profound impact they have on their surroundings. The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X-ray emitting gas of a galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6+7421. Two vast cavities extend away from the super massive black hole in the cluster's central galaxy. The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has generated the energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts.

ITEM 1) Animation of Eruption From Supermassive Black Hole

Best of Chandra Images

Images from Chandra telescope Date:
MSFC Contact: Steve Roy - (256) 544-0034
Chandra Contact: April Hobart – (617) 496-7048
Credit: NASA/Chandra X-ray Observatory
URL: http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/animations/image_collection.html

ITEM 1) Best of Chandra Images: Normal Stars & Star Clusters : [00:02:21:21 – 00:03:17:08] Chandra's X-ray observations are useful for understanding how the flaring activity of stars can change as stars evolve, and how the evolution of stars is changed if they are in a close binary system. This video presents some of the best Chandra observations of normal stars and star clusters.

ITEM 2) Best of Chandra Images: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies [00:03:37:27 - 00:04:37:04] – Among the most energetic events in the Universe is the merger of groups of galaxies to form giant clusters containing thousands of galaxies. Vast, hot, X-ray emitting gas clouds in the clusters show this process in action. This video presents some of the best Chandra observations of groups and clusters of galaxies.

ITEM 3) Animation of Chandra Spacecraft and Its Orbit [00:04:59:05 - 00:05:40:02] – In this artist’s conception, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is seen it’s orbit around the Earth. As one of NASA’s “Great Observatories,” Chandra detects and images x-ray sources that are billions of light years away and provides insights into the universe’ structure and evolution. The Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA’s Great Observatories, was deployed from the Space Shuttle During the STS-93 mission on July 23, 1999.

NASA Releases Dazzling Images from New Space Telescope

Images from the Spitzer telescope Date: 12/18/03
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2003-06/release.shtml

Synopsis: A new window to the Universe has opened with today's release of the first dazzling images from NASA's newly named Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility. The first observations, of a glowing stellar nursery; a swirling, dusty galaxy; a disc of planet-forming debris; and organic material in the distant universe, demonstrate the power of the telescope's infrared detectors to capture cosmic features never before seen.

ITEM 1) Star Formation in Our Galaxy
ITEM 2) Spiral Galaxy Animation
ITEM 3) Embedded Stellar Outflow
ITEM 4) Early Release Observations Montage
ITEM 5) Animations of Spitzer Space Telescope Launch & Orbit

NASA Creates Portrait of Life and Death in the Universe

Image showing stars being born and dying Date: 3/8/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: 'http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-04/release.shtml

Synopsis: In a small nearby galaxy lies a luminous cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula, which houses a family of newborn stars. If not for the death of a massive star millions of years ago, this stellar nursery never would have formed. The nebula, Henize 206, and the remnants of the exploding star that created it, are pictured in superb detail in an image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

ITEM 1) Animation of Henize 206
ITEM 2) Animation of Star Formation Process

Invisible Giants Exposed in New Spitzer Image

Image from the Spitzer telescope Date: 4/13/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-06/release.shtml

Synopsis: Hidden behind a curtain of dusty darkness lurks one of the most violent pockets of star birth in our galaxy. Called DR21, this stellar nursery is so draped in cosmic dust that it appears invisible to the human eye. By seeing in the infrared, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has pulled this veil aside, revealing a fireworks-like display of massive stars. The biggest of these stars is estimated to be 100,000 times as bright as our own Sun.

ITEM 1) Spitzer Data Enhances Previous Views
ITEM 2) Two Spitzer Views
ITEM 3) Main Spitzer Image
ITEM 4) Shifting From Visible To Spitzer

Spitzer Shares the Wealth

Image from the Spitzer telescope Date: 5/11/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-07/release.shtml

Synopsis: Like a philanthropist donating a prized collection to a museum, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has opened a virtual vault rich with scientific data. The Spitzer Science Archive now provides astronomers access to the infrared telescope's data well before the mission's one-year anniversary in space.

ITEM 1) A Galaxy Divided
ITEM 2) Star Birth Microcosm

Raw Ingredients for Life Detected in Planetary Construction Zones

Image showing where new stars are born. Date: 5/27/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-08/release.shtml

Synopsis: NASA has announced new findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope, including the discovery of significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout several "planetary construction zones," or dusty planet-forming discs, which circle infant stars. These materials, icy dust particles coated with water, methanol and carbon dioxide, may help explain the origin of icy planetoids like comets. Scientists believe these comets may have endowed Earth with some of its water and many of its biogenic, life-enabling materials.

ITEM 1) Organic Ices in Planet-Forming Discs
ITEM 2) Planet Formation
ITEM 3) New Planet
ITEM 4) Spitzer RCW 49

Dying Star Goes Out with a Ring

Image of a dying star Date: 8/9/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-13/release.shtml

Synopsis: An image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the shimmering embers of a dying star, and in their midst a mysterious doughnut-shaped ring.

ITEM 1) NGC 246

Great Observatories May Unravel 400-Year-Old Supernova Mystery

Image of a supernova Date: 10/6/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-15/release.shtml

Synopsis: Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets. Modern astronomers, using NASA's three orbiting Great Observatories, are unraveling the mysteries of the expanding remains of Kepler's supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy.

ITEM 1) Kepler’s Supernova Turns 400
ITEM 2) Kepler’s Supernova Turns 400 (Composite View)

Astronomers Discover Planet Building is Big Mess

Image of a planet being built Date: 10/18/04
JPL Contact: Gay Yee Hill - (818) 354-0344
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
URL: 'http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-17/release.shtml

Synopsis: Astronomers have announced that planets are built over a long period of massive collisions between rocky bodies as big as mountain ranges. New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal surprisingly large dust clouds around several stars. These clouds most likely flared up when rocky, embryonic planets smashed together. The Earth's own Moon may have formed from such a catastrophe. Prior to these new results, astronomers thought planets were formed under less chaotic circumstances.

ITEM 1) Astronomers Discover Planet Building is a Big Mess

Deanna Kekesi
Goddard Space Flight Center