Rio Rancho
Astronomical Society

A Member Club of the Astronomical League

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The Rio Rancho Astronomical Society began in 1998 as an astronomy club with Rio Rancho High School.  Soon after its founding the club expanded to become an public club, independent of the high school.  Over the years, we have grown and expanded, with new members coming and going, to the current public club we are today.  We are open to all types of members, from beginning astronomers to seasoned veterans.   And no, you don't need to be a master observer or even own a telescope to join.  All you need are a good pair of eyes and willingness to learn.

The Clash of NGC-3256

Marked by an unusually bright central region, swirling dust lanes, and far flung tidal tails, peculiar NGC 3256 is the aftermath of a truly cosmic collision. The 500 million year old clash of two separate galaxies spans some 100 thousand light-years in this sharp Hubble view. Of course when two galaxies collide, individual stars rarely do. Giant galactic clouds of molecular gas and dust do interact though, and produce spectacular bursts of star formation. In this galaxy clash, the two original spiral galaxies had similar masses. Their disks are no longer distinct and the two galactic nuclei are hidden by obscuring dust. On the timescale of a few hundred million years the nuclei will likely also merge as NGC 3256 becomes a single large elliptical galaxy. NGC 3256 itself is nearly 100 million light-years distant toward the southern sailing constellation Vela. The frame includes many even more distant background galaxies and spiky foreground stars.

Source:  Astronomy Picture of the Day

 

 

Upcoming Events

June 15, 8:00 PM  Monthly Public Meeting at Rainbow Park Observatory.  Telescopes will be set up for stargazing after the meeting, weather permitting.
For more information, contact RRAS Vice-President, Melanie Templet  at 505-220-5355.

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