'Bubble Galaxy' NGC 3521

Marvel at this great picture of NGC 3521, a spiral galaxy 35 million light years from Earth.


(NASA's picture of NGC 3521)

Spanning some 50,000 light-years the galaxy sports characteristic patchy, irregular spiral arms laced with dust, pink star forming regions, and clusters of young, blue stars. Remarkably, this deep image also finds NGC 3521 embedded in gigantic bubble-like shells. The shells are likely tidal debris, streams of stars torn from satellite galaxies that have undergone mergers with NGC 3521 in the distant past.

Science fiction writers love the image of the "island galaxy" or "bubble galaxy" and build them into their stories. For example, in his classic 1937 short story Fessenden's Worlds, early science fiction great Edmond Hamilton paints a picture of a miniature universe:

It consisted of two twelve-foot metal disks with grid-like surfaces, one on the floor and one on the ceiling directly over the other...

Between the two disks, floating unsupported in the air, hung a cloud of tiny sparks of light. It looked like a swarm of minute golden bees, countless in number, and the swarm was lenticular in shape...

"Fessenden's eyes had been following my stupefied change of expression. He said calmly, "Yes, Bradley, it is true. That is a tiny, self-sustaining universe, with its own suns, nebulae and worlds. Everything in it, down to the atoms which compose it, is infinitely smaller in scale than our own. But it is a real universe, like our own."
(Read more about Hamilton's miniature universe)

Philip K. Dick had some fun with this idea in his 1953 short story The Trouble With Bubbles:

The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...

Lora turned on the bubble. It glowed, winking into brilliance...

She increased the magnification, bringing the microscopic central planet into focus...

Again Lora increased the magnification. The central planet grew, showing a pale green ocean lapping faintly at a low shoreline.
(Read more about Phil Dick's Worldcraft bubble)

I couldn't resist the short final sequence from the 1997 movie Men in Black, in which we learn our true place in the universe:

Thanks to Fred Kiesche of The Eternal Golden Braid for tweeting this item.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/18/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Misc ")

Is There A Subterranean Ocean?
'A vast, limitless expanse of water, the end of a lake if not of an ocean, spread before us, until it was lost in the distance.'- Jules Verne, 1864.

The Robotic Shopping Cart Of The Future
'...the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'- John Brunner, 1975.

Arctic Resource Jackpot An Old Wish
By inducing climate change, new resources are revealed.

Marie Curie's Papers Still Radioactive
And the half-life of radium's most common isotope is 1,601 years.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Robot Brains Improved By Darwinian Evolution
'The new species. Evolution. The race to come after man.'

Self-Deployable Habitat For Extreme Environments
'When you buy one of them, you don't need to tie up to an electric outlet.'

Audi's Chairless Chair Lower Body Exoskeleton
'Solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing...'

CreoPop 3D Pen Draws In Midair
'It makes drawings in the air...'

Seattle Police Body Cams, Ala Stross, Ala Dick
'Let's hear it for the vague blur!'

Autonomous Cars Will Own Themselves
'The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow.'

World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'

Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard!

Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'

Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'

ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'

Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'

Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'

Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.