Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias)
Many think it is just a myth. Others think it is true but its cause isn’t known. Adventurers pride themselves on having seen it. It’s a green flash from the Sun. The truth is the green flash does exist and its cause is well understood. Just as the setting Sun disappears completely from view, a last glimmer appears startlingly green. The effect is typically visible only from locations with a low, distant horizon, and lasts just a few seconds. Agreen flash is also visible for a rising Sun, but takes better timing to spot. A dramatic green flash, as well as an even more rare red flash, was caught in the above photograph recently observed during a sunset visible from the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos in the Canary Islands, Spain. The Sun itself does not turn partly green or red — the effect is caused by layers of the Earth’s atmosphere acting like a prism.
NASA APOD 04-Jun-14
Over 20 million light-years away and swimming within the boundaries of the constellation Pisces, NGC 660’s peculiar appearance marks it as a polar ring galaxy. A rare galaxy type, polar ring galaxies have a substantial population of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings nearly perpendicular to the plane of the galactic disk. The bizarre-looking configuration could have been caused by the chance capture of material from a passing galaxy by a disk galaxy, with the captured debris eventually strung out in a rotating ring. The violent gravitational interaction would account for the myriad pinkish star forming regions scattered along NGC 660’s ring. The polar ring component can also be used to explore the shape of the galaxy’s otherwise unseen dark matter halo by calculating the dark matter’s gravitational influence on the rotation of the ring and disk. Broader than the disk, NGC 660’s ring spans over 50,000 light-years.
Imaging telescopes or lenses: GSO RC10, TeleVue Tele Vue-101
Imaging cameras: QSI 683 ws
Mounts: Astro-Physics AP1200
Software: PixInsight, photoshop
Filters: Astrodon E-series Lum
Dates: March 7, 2014
Integration: 6.0 hours
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 04 June 2014