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    Saturday in Space: Chinese Year of The Snake - in Space 春节: 蛇
    By Bente Lilja Bye | February 9th 2013 03:38 AM | 8 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Bente Lilja

    Earth science expert and astrophysicist writes about Earth observation, geodesy, climate change, geohazards, water cycle and other science related...

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    The Chinese Spring Festival or Chun Jie starts tomorrow 10th February. In case you are unfamiliar with the annual animals in the Chinese calendar we are now entering the year of the snake - 蛇 She ( water version). For most westerners the Spring Festival is known as the Chinese New Year.

    I am quite certain that I will not shock you when I reveal that I have chosen celestial snakes as the topic of this Saturday in Space! I had such fun looking for snakes in space and in the occasion of the Chinese New Year I will in fact offer you more than one of the species. After all, it is THE most important holiday for the planets most populous country. Happy New Year to all Chinese around the world!

    Warning: Be aware of snakes!

    I'll start with the dark nebula named The Snake Nebula - or B72.

    B72 Snake nebula
    In this image you'll also find a couple of other dark nebulae but it should be pretty easy to spot the snake. Make sure to click on the image for an embiggened version. Cute little story about this particular snake here. Credit Tom McQuillan/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

    B72 Snake nebula

    A galactic snake:  The core of a thick, sooty cloud large enough to swallow dozens of solar systems. It could be compared to  say a "snake's belly" only this celestial version may be harboring massive stars in the process of forming. This snake is located about 11,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Snake in space
    In case you didn't see it in the image above, here there should be no doubt. It IS a snake.

    But we do not have to travel that far to find a snakes in space. - Our dear Sun can whip up one of the species as well. Here is a filament version seen on the Sun's edge.

    Snake filament on the Sun
    NASA has captured a snake moving on the Sun. See it for yourself here.  Credit: NASA

    Comments

    Hfarmer
    Yes those  are some beautiful images.  It's mind blowing to think that, if we were inside such a nebula we might not even notice it. 
    Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans.
    Stellare
    Yes, I found it cool to think about that, too. That within the dark nebula it is actually dark. :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    UvaE
    NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light of Helium. 
    Regarding the snake formation from the surface of the, helium atoms in the sun's chromosphere emit the ultraviolet light seen in such images. The exact nature of the electron transitions are far from being straight forward.
    Stellare
    There are still many things about the energy transport in the Sun we do not understand - I used to study it way back. :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    MikeCrow
    This is one of my nebula (North American Nebula NGC 7000) pictures, it's not so dark, because there's stars in front of the dark part, but behind it looks like it's a view of the side of the galactic bulge.


    Another famous dark nebula.

    Never is a long time.
    Stellare
    Neat imagery, Mi Cro! :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    MikeCrow
    When I was about 10, I asked for a telescope for Christmas to see stuff like that, it wasn't big enough, 30+ years later, I started working on capturing them in digital bits, that took me most of 10 years to get B, B+ quality out of my equipment (you should see what some amateurs produce!). I hope you don't mind me showing them off on your Saturday Space pages when they're sort of topical.
    Never is a long time.
    Stellare
    A lot of amateur imagery is great. I like yours too, so as long as they are topical they are nice and welcome additions. :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth