The dark also shines

cloudshine-teaser

The dark clouds of gas and dust that populate the space among the stars are not as dark as previosuly beleived. A recent study done at infrared wavelengths at Calar Alto Observatory, shows that some of these clouds do shine, and display beautiful extended emission most likely due to scattered ambient starlight. The authors of this study named this new light cloudshine...



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AstraLux: Hubble's sharp resolution from Calar Alto

AstraLux on the core of globular cluster M15

AstraLux, a new, simple instrument developed at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, has demonstrated at Calar Alto its ability to register extremely sharp astronomical images, comparable in resolution to views obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope...

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The most luminous quasar state ever observed

quasar175Calar Alto participates in a multi-observatory effort to study the most luminous quasar ever observed. The object, radio quasar 3C 454.3 in the constellation Pegasus, experienced during 2005 a strong optical outburst  that made it observable even with amateur instrumentation (reaching R = 12 mag). According to the WEBT team, "this ourburst peak likely represents the most luminous quasar state ever observed". The same team quantified the maximum luminosity of this object as MB = -31.4 mag. This means that, at its maximum and when observed in blue light, 3C 454.3 was as bright as 550 billions of suns put together...

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The Dark Horse (Photo Release)

horse_head175The famous HorseHead Nebula in Orion (also known as Barnard 33) as seen from Calar Alto. This unusual shaped nebula was first spotted in 1888 on a photographic plate taken at the Harvard College Observatory. The nebula is located just below Alnitak, the easternmost star of Orion's Belt, lies at a distance of about 1500 light-years from Earth, and is approximately 3.5 light-years wide. The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused by tiny...

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