Astronomy Picture of the Week – The CMB

*opens door* *dusts off cobwebs*

Time to get this started back up, too. And I’m doing that with this ridiculously amazing image. Now… I absolutely had to start this series off with that incredible image of Saturn, but this honestly should have been the next one. Not making this the very next picture was a mistake. But I’m making up for that now…

This is it right here. The oldest light we can see. The baby visible universe. The best evidence for, and the afterglow of, the Big Bang. The Cosmic Microwave Background.

This image is compiled from data collected by PLANCK. If you click on it, it will download a high resolution, 20.70mb TIFF of this same image. Here’s a link to see WMAP’s image, compiled from nine years of WMAP Data.

The Cosmic Microwave Background, as seen by PLANCK.

The Cosmic Microwave Background, as seen by PLANCK.

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From Marcus Ranum: Fellow Travelers

So I recently made three posts about my disappointment in Wikileaks and it’s fans. I am still angry about how they have been acting over this most recent presidential election. As Marcus Ranum noted, what I’m experiencing is the realization that Wikileaks was never an organization for good, but a vanity project by Julian Assange to boost his own ego; and that it was Assange and another hacker, Adrian Lamo, who threw Chelsea Manning under the bus.

Marcus wrote an incredible post about all this, drawing from his own first-hand experience with such hackers. I’ll quote the bit about what happened to Chelsea Manning here. But please, go and read the entire thing. It’s a long read, yes, but it’s very good, and deserves your full attention.

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Astronomy Picture of the Week: Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall (And an Update)

Late yet again… sorry…

This one is really cool. It’s currently the most massive known structure in our observable universe, measuring 10 billion lightyears in diameter. Sorry I can’t get y’all a better link than Wikipedia. I can’t find anything at or, which is annoying but… what’re ya’ gonna do?

Hubble image of MACS J0717 with mass overlay

Hubble image of MACS J0717 with mass overlay (Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall)

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Astronomy Picture of the Week – Beta Pictoris B

Finding a link with a .tiff file for this one has been… hard… but it’s still really cool.

This is NOT an artist’s rendering. This is a direct image of an exoplanet, Beta Pictoris B:

Beta Pictoris B orbiting its star

Beta Pictoris B orbiting its star

Beta Pictoris, the star, is the large, blurred out circle in the middle. Beta Pictoris B is the small, light, pixelated circle at the bottom right of the star.

How cool is this?