NGC 2300 Group
NGC 2300 is a small cluster of three galaxies immersed in a huge cloud of hot gas, about 1.3 million light-years in diameter, located about 150 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the northern circumpolar constellation Cepheus.
Astronomers estimate that the cloud has a mass equal to 500 billion times that of the Sun, and is at a temperature of about 10 million kelvins (about 18 million degrees Fahrenheit).
Measurements of the total mass of the system yield the surprising result that the total amount of material in the group is much larger than the sum of the mass of the hot gas and the stars in the galaxies. This means that a substantial amount of invisible "dark matter" (the stuff of a closed Universe) envelops the system, keeping the hot gas contained.
New science has provided exciting insights into the structure of the Universe, including an apparent answer to the historic question of whether it is a closed or open system.
Another historic question may be answered much sooner, as the search for life in the Cosmos is now poised to take a giant leap. A new SETI@home project is about to begin, and the project is looking for volunteers and sponsors. Using data collected from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, this new program will allow home, business and school PC users to actually participate in the real science of the search while also refining the search to take a much closer look at the radio sky than has ever been possible before. The project will work through client software on an Internet distributed system, operating on individual computers (in the background as a screensaver when the computer is idle) to retrieve, analyze and return data back to SETI. Scientists report that when they have 50,000 PC volunteers working in the system, they will have exceeded the power of all previous SETI projects that ever existed. So, if you are looking for an active role in the search for what will be the most significant discovery in the history of the world, visit the site and sign up.
This page is only a launch window to an online trek through the Universe, including our world, which appears above, quite out of context, to benefit your browsing. These pages will be expanded regularly, and a little exploration on your part, clicking on cosmic objects above and below, will take you far beyond the invisible dark matter hidden in the space of NGC 2300...Follow the post-Surveyor exploration as it progresses into a new decade of exploration on Mars.
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