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The other Devine…

We’ve gotten somewhat off track lately and have been seduced by celebrity and pop gossip.  So for the next month, we’ll be running short profiles of people from the LGBT community who have contributed significantly to society, without necessarily basking in a spotlight. (But if Madonna’s new LP drops…) To start us off meet Neil Devine (1939-1994) – American Astrophysicist, major contributor to modern theory of star formation and prediction of meteoroid and space debris environments. During his 25 years at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Devine made many fundamental scientific contributions, including defining the radiation belts around Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, and the dust environment around Halley and other cometary targets. During his tenure at JPL, he often served as a mentor and inspiration to many younger space physicists who benefited from both his scientific incisiveness and quick wit. He shied so far from the spotlight that it’s impossible to find any pictures of him. So here’s a pretty picture of a space sea horse ejaculating glitter. hubble_009 Actually this Hubble image of Arp 148 is the staggering aftermath of an encounter between two galaxies, resulting in a ring-shaped galaxy and a long-tailed companion. The collision between the two parent galaxies produced a shockwave effect that first drew matter into the center and then caused it to propagate outwards in a ring. The elongated companion perpendicular to the ring suggests that Arp 148 is a unique snapshot of an ongoing collision. Infrared observations reveal a strong obscuration region that appears as a dark dust lane across the nucleus in optical light. Arp 148 is nicknamed Mayall’s object and is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, approximately 500 million light-years away. This interacting pair of galaxies is included in Arp’s catalog of peculiar galaxies as number 148. This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th anniversary on April 24, 2008. REUTERS/NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University), K. Noll (STScI), and J. Westphal (Caltech)/Handout .

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