Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2010-12-31

After a short break, the Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles series is back. Since today is new year’s eve, I would like to wish you all a happy 2011! πŸ™‚

This week I recommend to follow @Exoplanetology for lots of interesting tweets about astronomy, exoplanets and deep space. For more Twitter follow suggestions see our astronomy list @TheAstroBlog/astronomy

Weekly Stumbles:

New Hot Jupiter-Like Exoplanet Discovered
A Qatar astronomer teamed with scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and other institutions to discover a new alien world. This “hot Jupiter,” now named Qatar-1b, adds to the growing list of alien planets orbiting distant stars. The Qatar exoplanet survey hunts for stars that “wink,” dimming slightly every time an orbiting planet creates a “mini-eclipse” by crossing in front of the star as seen from Earth. Transit searches like this must sift through thousands of stars to find the small fraction with detectable planets.

Milky Way’s Twin: The Island Galaxy of Pegasus
We bet it does. Spiral galaxy NGC 7331, located 49 megalight years distant in the constellation Pegasus, is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. When the Daily Galaxy staff views the ethereal beauty of the object, we are inspired to wonder: what lies within; what mysteries life forms make this island in the cosmos their home? Since the galaxy’s disk is inclined to our line-of-sight, long telescopic exposures often result in an image that evokes a strong sense of depth.

Picture of the Day – Galaxy With an Explosive Secret
NGC 2397, pictured in this image from Hubble, is a classic spiral galaxy with long prominent dust lanes along the edges of its arms, seen as dark patches and streaks silhouetted against the starlight. Hubble’s exquisite resolution allows the study of individual stars in nearby galaxies. Located nearly 60 million light-years away from Earth, the galaxy NGC 2397 is typical of most spirals, with mostly older, yellow and red stars in its central portion, while star formation continues in the outer, bluer spiral arms.

Does a Supernova of Unknown Origin Hint at New Laws of Physics?
In the past decade, robotic telescopes have turned astronomers’ attention to strange exploding stars that may point to new and unusual physics. An international team of astronomers has uncovered a supernova whose origin cannot be explained by any previously known mechanism and which promises exciting new insights into stellar explosions. SN2005E was first spotted on January 13, 2005 in the nearby galaxy NGC1032.

Best Images from 2010
Here are some of the best space and astronomy images from 2010. These are in no particular order or ranking, just our favorites from the year. If you think we’ve missed any, feel free to add or link to in the comment section. This top image, however, might be my personal favorite from 2010, an image of the space shuttle Endeavor backdropped by the breathtaking image of the earth’s atmosphere. This image was captured from the International Space Station the STS-130 mission on February 9, 2010.

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