Astronomy Magnets

Astronomy Image Magnets

When you can’t be out observing the night sky you can still enjoy these beautiful full-color magnets in your cubicle at work, on the refrigerator at home, or anywhere you may be.  These brilliant 2” x 3” glossy magnets will brighten your day and are strong enough to hold a stack of papers against any ferrous surface.

We are committed to providing products to support the amateur and beginning astronomer with modest equipment, however we can’t help but be enthralled by the magnificent images from one of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment of them all, the Hubble Space Telescope, or HST.  Images such as these are what drew many of us into the fascinating world of astronomy and inspire us to go out and observe for ourselves.

Below we provide a short description of each of the objects along with catalogue listings and coordinates to help you locate the objects yourself.  Some of the objects will be visible with amateur equipment and some will not.  For those that are, keep in mind that they will look very different.  Obviously Hubble is very large and has the advantage of not looking out through our atmosphere.  Also, the images produced below are composites of several images and include light emissions that are not visible to the naked eye.  It is, nonetheless, thrilling to find, for example, the Orion Nebula with a pair of binoculars, or locate the Eagle Nebula with the naked eye (if you happen to live in a very dark area).

The Astronomy Magnet series has been discontinued. If you are interested in this series please contact us using our Contact Us page.

(If you have an image you would like to suggest for a future magnet use or Contact Us page to let us know, we would be happy to hear from you.)

Butterfly Nebula

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

This image of a planetary nebula is from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 in a combination of ultra-violet and visible light.  The incredible colors are from filters that highlight emissions from oxygen, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur.  The Butterfly Nebula is listed in the New General Catalogue as NGC 6302 and is located near the constellation Scorpius at RA 17h13m Dec. -37°06¢ but should not be confused with the nearby Messier object (M6), the Butterfly Cluster.

Although there is no shortage of Planetary Nebulae to look at, they are relatively rare objects in the universe due to their short lifespan.  As a medium sized star exhausts its nuclear fuel it starts to expand and become more and more unstable until it ultimately ejects a large portion of its mass in strong stellar winds that can reach more than 600,000 mph.  The expanding cloud of gas takes on unique shapes as it interacts with itself and other stellar winds and emits light because it is excited by radiation from the star.  Find more information about this object by clicking the photograph.

Interacting Galaxies

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

This image is a pair of spiral galaxies in the constellation Andromeda.  They are located at RA 02h21m Dec. 39°22¢.  The larger galaxy is listed in the Uppsala General Catalogue of Galaxies as UGC 1810 and the smaller galaxy, which we see almost edge-on, is UGC 1813.  These galaxies are listed in Halton Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 273.  With an apparent magnitude of 13.5 you will need a scope of about 12 inches or more and a very dark location to see this object but there are lots of other interacting galaxies that are accessible with common amateur equipment.

These two galaxies are moving past one another and the gravity of each is affecting the other.  The spiral arm of UGC 1810 appears that it is being pulled away by UGC 1813.  This uncommon spiral pattern is a classic sign of interaction.  Astronomers believe that UGC 1813 has passed through UGC 1810 and this is part of the interaction that has created the rose-like appearance. Find more information about this object by clicking the photograph.

Fairy of the Eagle Nebula

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

This image is of one of several prominent dense columns of dust and gas inside the Eagle Nebula.  The image is from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and is a composite of two images in visible blue and green light, and also includes infrared light and emissions from hydrogen and oxygen.  The Eagle Nebula is listed in the New General Catalogue as NGC 6611 and is located in the constellation Serpens Cauda at RA 18h18m Dec. -13°49¢.  It is located very close to the south end of the constellation Scutum.  It is listed in the Messier catalogue as M16 and has an apparent magnitude of 6.0 so it should be visible to an astute observer on a dark night.

The nebula is a region of active star formation where stars form in dense globules of hydrogen gas.  The nebula is being bombarded, however, by searing ultraviolet radiation form a nearby star cluster which is blowing away the clouds of gas and dust.  The densest areas of the cloud take longer to erode away and appear as the dark regions and towers we see with clouds of hydrogen boiling off the surface in huge streams.

Interestingly, this and other pillars inside the Eagle Nebula may already be gone, having been blown away by the shockwave from an exploding star.  There is evidence of a nearby supernova event approximately 9,000 years ago and astronomers speculate the shockwave from that blast may have reached the pillars about 3,000 years later.  Because it takes light from the Eagle Nebula about 7,000 years to reach us here on Earth we will not be able to see this for another thousand years.  Find more information about this object by clicking the photograph.

 Orion Nebula

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

This image is a small section of the Orion Nebula.  This nebula is one of the gems that can be seen with the naked eye, although it appears as the middle “star” of Orion’s sword.  In binoculars it tends to look like a reddish sphere and with a small telescope it begins to take on its familiar “rose blossom” shape and the four stars of the Trapezium can be seen within it.  It is Messier object M42 and is in the New General Catalogue as NGC 1976.  If the location in Orion’s sword is not enough to get you there, point your binoculars or scope to RA 5h35m Dec. -5°23¢.  Of course, your view will not look like this.  Hubble went all out in this survey of this turbulent star-forming region.  This study took 105 orbits to complete and used all of the imaging instruments aboard the spacecraft simultaneously (the Advanced Camera for Surveys, Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer).  If that is not enough for you, click here to learn about what goes on behind the scenes to assemble an image like this.

One of many things of note in this image is the bright star in the lower left, LP Orionis.  LP Ori is shrouded in a cloud of interstellar dust which reflects its light and is believed to be between us and M42.  The teardrop shaped dark region around the star seems to be a cavity LP Ori has made as it moves through the veil material.  Find more information about this object by clicking the photograph.