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NGC 1788 and the Witch’s Whiskers

This skyscape finds an esthetic balance of interstellar dust and gas residing in the suburbs of the nebula rich constellation of Orion. Reflecting the light of bright star Rigel, Beta Orionis, the jutting, bluish chin of the Witch Head Nebula is at the upper left. Whiskers tracing the red glow of hydrogen gas ionized by ultraviolet starlight seem to connect that infamous visage with smaller nebulae, like dusty reflection nebula NGC 1788 at the right. Strong winds from Orion’s bright stars have also shaped NGC 1788, and likely triggered the formation of the young stars within. Appropriate for its location, NGC 1788 looks to some like a cosmic bat. The scene spans about 3 degrees on the sky or 6 full Moons.

Research’s Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) turns 50 (2 videos)

The only one of its kind in the world, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego’s FLoating Instrument Platform (FLIP) is a 355-foot-long manned spar buoy designed to serve as a stable platform for oceanographic research.

Resembling a long baseball bat, FLIP is classified as a “research platform” since it has no propulsion power. Rather, FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and, through ballast changes, is “flipped” in about 30 minutes to the vertical position to become uniquely stable.