Very Old Spiral
The Hubble telescope has recently found a spiral galaxy that is 10.7 billion years old. That is older than some astronomers have previously estimated would be the oldest spiral galaxy. The galaxy, BX442, is shown to the right but note that this is an artist’s rendering. The actual Hubble image is very small and dim.
Image credit is Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics/Joe Bergeron
Large Solar Flare
A very large solar flare was seen by the SDO spacecraft on July 19. The resulting coronal mass ejection (CME) is not expected to impact Earth. This flare was rated M7.7 which is less than the more serious X flares.
The sunspot that spawned this flare is called AR1520 and it has unleashed CMEs before. The sunspot is estimated to be 186,000 miles wide, coincidentally one light-second.
Sunspot activity is increasing and is expected to peak in 2013 or 2014.
CMEs send solar plasma speeding outward at a speed about 1/200 of the speed of light.
Both stories on this page were seen on space.com. Photo credit for the solar flare is NASA/SDO.
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