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Hidden Lair at the Heart of Galaxy NGC 1068

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Spiral galaxy Messier 77, aka NGC 1068-re
Galaxy NGC 1068 can be seen in close-up in this view from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. NuSTAR’s high-energy X-rays eyes were able to obtain the best view yet into the hidden lair of the galaxy’s central, supermassive black hole. This active black hole — shown as an illustration in the zoomed-in inset — is one of the most obscured known, meaning that it is surrounded by extremely thick clouds of gas and dust.
image insert-re
In the view of modern astronomers, a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy is likely encircled by thick, doughnut-shaped disk or torus of gas and dust. The material in these tori is what feeds an active black hole, that is, one that’s still growing.
Telescopes couldn’t penetrate a supermassive black hole’s torus until recently, but now some can, and NASA released the amazing image above this month (December 17, 2015). It’s a peek inside one of the densest known of these tori, surrounding the black hole at the center of a well-studied spiral galaxy called NGC 1068 (aka M77), located some 47 million light-years away in the direction to the constellation Cetus the Whale. The telescope that acquired this image is called NuSTAR (NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array), and it used its X-ray vision to look inside the disk.
It has confirmed that the material in the disk isn’t smooth, but rather clumpy.
A NASA statement explained:
    Doughnut-shaped disks of gas and dust around supermassive black holes were first proposed in the mid-1980s to explain why some black holes are hidden behind gas and dust while others are not. The idea is that the orientation of the doughnut relative to Earth affects the way we perceive a black hole and its intense radiation. If the doughnut is viewed edge-on, the black hole is blocked. If the doughnut is viewed face-on, the black hole and its surrounding, blazing materials can be detected. This idea is referred to as the ‘unified model’ because it neatly joins together the different black hole types, based solely upon orientation.
    In the past decade, astronomers have been finding hints that these doughnuts aren’t as smoothly shaped as once thought. They are more like defective, lumpy doughnuts that a doughnut shop might throw away.
    The new discovery is the first time this clumpiness has been observed in an ultra-thick doughnut and supports the idea that this phenomenon may be common. The research is important for understanding the growth and evolution of massive black holes and their host galaxies.
wow, thank you, Skeen!

IOTD

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Calendar day; December 24, 2015

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Thursday, the 24th of December, 2015 is the 358th day in 2015 and in the 52nd calendar week.
Christmas Season
December 24, 2015 to January 6, 2016 in the World
The Christmas Season takes place from December 24 till January 06, 2015. Christmastide or the Christmas season is one of the seasons of the liturgical year of most Christian churches. It tends to be defined – with slight variations – as the period from Christmas Eve to Epiphany. This period is also commonly known as the Twelve Days of Christmas, as referred to in the Christmas carol of the same name, or Yuletide, as in “Deck the Halls”.
During the season, various festivities are traditionally enjoyed and buildings decorated. In some countries, the superstition has arisen that it is bad luck to leave the decorations up after Twelfth Night. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Christmas is the third most important feast after Pascha and Pentecost.
General Events:
Navidad 2015
December 24, 2015 in Spain
Navidad takes place on December 24, 2015. Nochebuena and Navidad are Spanish words referring to the night of Christmas Eve. In Spain, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the Philippines, the evening consists of a traditional dinner with family. In Spain, Nochebuena includes a dinner with family and friends after Christmas Mass. It is particularly common to start the meal with a seafood dish followed by a bowl of hot, homemade soup. It is also common to have desserts such as turrón. In some countries of Latin America Nochebuena is also celebrated on Christmas Eve and marks the final evening of the Posadas celebrations, in others a dinner is served with the family usually after attended the late Mass known as “Misa del Gallo”.
Where is Navidad?
Nationwide Spain
Christmas Eve 2015
December 24, 2015 in the World
Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day, a widely celebrated holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a culturally significant celebration for most of the Western world and is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas.
In Western culture, Christmas Eve is celebrated on December 24. However, the Coptic, Serbian, Russian, Macedonian, and Georgian Orthodox Churches, as well as the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, use the Julian calendar, which is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, so Christmas Eve for the adherents of those Churches coincides with January 6 of the following year in the Gregorian calendar.
Where is Christmas Eve?
Worldwide
The Prophet’s Birthday (Mawlid an-Nabi)
December 24, 2015 in the World
The Muslim observance Mawlid, also known as The Prophet’s Birthday, takes place on December 24, 2015. On this day Sunni Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. Shi’a Muslims mark it on the 17th of this month. The 12th day, however, is the most popular one from a list of many dates that are reported as Muhammad’s birth date.
The Prophet’s Birthday is celebrated in most predominantly Islamic countries, and in other countries that have a significant Muslim population, such as France, India, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Germany, Nepal, Russia, and Italy. Islamic schools, stores, and businesses may be closed for part of or all of the day. In some Arabian countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia it is not an official public holiday.
Muhammad is believed to be the last prophet. The celebration of Muhammad’s birthday was initiated by the Fatimid’s. The Ottomans declared it an official holiday in 1588. The Prophet’s Birthday often is celebrated in a carnival manner, large street processions are held and homes or mosques are decorated. Charity and food is distributed, and stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry by children. The main significance of these festivities is expression of love for Muhammad, who was born in Mecca in the year 570 of the Gregorian calendar.
Where is Mawlid an-Nabi?
Worldwide
National Eggnog Day
December 24, 2015 in the USA
Eggnog is one of the most popular beverages served during the holidays, so it is very appropriate that this occasion is celebrated on Christmas Eve!
The traditional recipe for eggnog is milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs, spices, and sometimes alcohol. The type of alcohol depends on the country where it is made. In Europe, eggnog is traditionally made with white wine. Americans drink it with bourbon or rum while Peruvians use pomace brandy and Germans use beer.
There are a few theories about how eggnog actually got its name. One story claims that eggnog was first called “egg n’ grog,” which was eventually shortened to “eggnog.” According to other sources, the name comes from the Old English word for strong ale, “nog.” This theory suggests that the combination of the words “egg” and “nog” refers to any drink that contains both eggs and strong alcohol.
Regardless of how eggnog got its name, it has been a favorite holiday beverage for centuries! Make some today to toast the holidays and celebrate National Eggnog Day!
Where is the event?
Nationwide
USA
Historical Events on 24th December:
1476 – 400 Burgundian soldiers freeze to death during siege of Nancy
1565 – Compromise of the Nobles in Habsburg Netherlands closes against inquisition
1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook
1814 – Treaty of Ghent (end of US-Britain War of 1812) signed
1865 – Several Confederate veterans form Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tn
1900 – The French Chamber of Deputies and Senate pass a bill calling for an end to agitation or prosecutions against those involved in the Dreyfus affair, which has divided France since 1894
1900 – Foreign powers present the Chinese Empress with their list of ‘irrevocable conditions’ before their nations will withdraw troops from China
1946 – France’s Fourth Republic is founded
1951 – United Kingdom of Libya gains independence from Italy via UN
1954 – Council for the Protection of Children forms in Netherlands
1990 – Saddam Hussein says Israel will be Iraq’s 1st target
2003 – Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid’s busy Chamartín Station

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