Thursday, December 28, 2017

Running Man


Today, I finally had a chance to post, after two months of no activity on this blog. I managed to obtain a space image of one of my favourite space objects, and to give a reason for my protracted "absence".

Regarding absence: In October we spent time in Germany with our many friends there. The main reason we travelled there was the 80th birthday celebration for a long-time friend (we've known each other for about 40 years). It was a joyous occasion.

We returned home with some foreboding though. My sister-in-law had been diagnosed with lung cancer at the beginning of September; when we returned, we found her in a very advanced stage of the disease. All of our family were constantly involved in making her life comfortable, but she died in November. Since then, my wife, being the executor, has been very busy with all the legal aspects (there are many) of following the instructions in her will. I help where I can, but I have no legal standing in this matter. To make matters even more sad, we also lost the last of three of my wife's very close, life-long friends (they all were bridesmaids at our wedding 53 years ago) to an apparent heart attack. All these occurrences, and ensuing activities left no time for our hobbies.

Now regarding the space image: I finally connected to one of the remote-controlled Slooh.com telescopes on the Canary Islands and managed to acquire a picture of the Running Man nebula. It has an appropriate name, considering the events mentioned above. I leave it to you to discern the shape which gives that object its name.

(click on picture to enlarge)

The Running Man nebula

This is a "reflection nebula"(actually three separate ones), a vast cloud of hydrogen gas and dust, located near the famous Orion Nebula and illuminated by bright stars in the vicinity. Its distance is about 1,500 light years and it is about 7.5 light years in diameter. Wikipedia has a good description.
Here's the link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh2-279


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