What could go wrong

It seems that the number of children being home-schooled is way up. And there is often little oversight:

Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.

This is fine though since parents have never done anything bad to their children.

Anyway, I think I’ll go look at a few stars (the Andromeda Galaxy; Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler):


Stars aborning

Below is the Flame nebula as a composite image from the Chandra and Spitzer telescopes. It shows that the stars at the edge of the nebula are older than the ones at the center (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/K.Getman, E.Feigelson, M.Kuhn & the MYStIX team; Infrared:NASA/JPL-Caltech):



Here’s what you get when you combine different takes on the same image (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Detlef Hartmann; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech):


This is a combination of x-ray data from the Chandra telescope, infrared data from the Spitzer space telescope, and optical data from amateur astronomers Detlef Hartmann and Rolf Olsen–very nice everyone.

Where’s the star police

This is pretty impressive:

Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in this newly released image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

In this case, the speedster star is known as Kappa Cassiopeiae, or HD 2905 to astronomers. It is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph relative to its neighbors (1,100 kilometers per second). But what really makes the star stand out in this image is the surrounding, streaky red glow of material in its path. Such structures are called bow shocks, and they can often be seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy.

Incredibly, this shock is created about 4 light-years ahead of Kappa Cassiopeiae, showing what a sizable impact this star has on its surroundings. (This is about the same distance that we are from Proxima Centauri, the nearest star beyond the sun.)

Here’s the image:



Because I feel like I’m going down the drain, here’s a whirlpool galaxy (Credit: NASA/Hubble):



Have a heart

NASA put this up as the Celestial Valentine. I’m not sure it really looks like a heart, but it is pretty (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian):

W5 Star Formation Region

Fire, ice, and some stars

I really like this picture (Credit: NASA Earth Observatory):


It’s the picture of the volcano Tolbachik in the Kamchatka region of Russia. If you click on it you can see a lava flow (black) under the snow and even a current eruption (look for the orange bit).

I’ll also throw in a spiral galaxy, just because they look good (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS):


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