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Space photo of the day. July 8, 2010. A group of galaxies.

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Those swirls are galaxies. Not planets, not stars,
not solar systems.  Galaxies. Wow!

HCG 87: A Small Group of Galaxies
Credit: Sally Hunsberger (Lowell Obs.), Jane Charlton (Penn State) et al.;
Data: Hubble Legacy Archive; Processing: Robert Gendler

Explanation: Sometimes galaxies form groups. For example, our own Milky Way Galaxy is part of the Local Group of Galaxies. Small, compact groups, like Hickson Compact Group 87 (HCG 87) shown above, are interesting partly because they slowly self-destruct. Indeed, the galaxies of HCG 87 are gravitationally stretching each other during their 100-million year orbits around a common center. The pulling creates colliding gas that causes bright bursts of star formation and feeds matter into their active galaxy centers. HCG 87 is composed of a large edge-on spiral galaxy visible on the lower left, an elliptical galaxy visible on the lower right, and a spiral galaxy visible near the top. The small spiral near the center might be far in the distance. Several stars from our Galaxy are also visible in the foreground. The above picture was taken in 1999 July by the Hubble Space Telescope‘s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Studying groups like HCG 87 allows insight into how all galaxies form and evolve.

From http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap100706.html

More Nasturtium Recipes

Pasta with Nasturtiums and Snow Peas

8 ounces dried radiatore pastahttps://i1.wp.com/media-files.gather.com/images/d228/d289/d744/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

1 1/2 cups snow peas

1/3 cup bottled ranch salad dressing

3 tablespoons snipped fresh basil

1/2 cup nasturtium flowers

1/3 cup nasturtium leaves,

chopped 4 cups coarsely chopped leaf lettuce,

such as ruby leaf or red tipped

Step 1: Prepare pasta according to package directions, adding the snow peas the last 1 minute of cooking time.

Step 2: Drain and rinse with cold water; drain again.

Step 3: In a medium bowl stir together the dressing, basil, half of the flowers and all of the leaves. Stir in pasta mixture, tossing to coat.

Step 4: Arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Spoon pasta mixture atop. Garnish with remaining flowers.

Serves 8.

Nutrition facts per serving: 159 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 69 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 5 g protein.

Daily Value: 6% vit. A, 24% vit. C, 2% calcium and 12% iron.

Stuffed Nasturtiums

* Nasturtium flowers are more than just beautiful: they are delicious! They have a wonderful spicy, peppery flavor, a little like a radish, only sweeter and tangier. They are an excellent addition to salads as is, and the unopened flower buds are a good substitute for capers when pickled.

You Will Need:

Nasturtium flowers, about four per person, or whatever is available

1 block of cream cheese, room temperature

1 clove of garlic, minced fine

1/2 Tablespoon chives, fresh if you have them

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped lemon verbena or lemon balm

(or lemon thyme, lemon basil, lemon catnip…..etc.)

1. Make sure flowers are clean and dry. Pick as close to serving time as possible, but definitely the same day. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. Mix cream cheese thoroughly with herbs. Place 1 or 2 teaspoons of mixture (depending on size of flower) in center of flower. Pull petals upwards to cover the cheese as much as possible. Press lightly into cheese to stick.

3. That’s it! Ready to serve.

Stuffed Nasturtiums 2

You will need:

Nasturtium blossoms


Egg Yolk, prepared as for deviled eggs

Cream cheese

Yogurt cheese

Fill blossoms with guacamole. With a cake decorating bag, and a large star point tip, Pipe egg preparation into blossoms, use the same process with the cheeses. Use these goodies on appetizer trays, or as a tasty garnish for steak, other beef dishes, or Mexican dishes. Figure 2 to 3 stuffed blossoms per person.


A friend sent me this. I Laughed until I cried, almost…


>I had prepared for it like any intelligent woman would.
>I went on a starvation diet the day before, knowing that all the
>extra weight would just melt off in 24 hours, leaving me with my sleek,
>trim, high-school-girl body. The last forty years of careful
>cellulite collection would just be gone with a snap of a finger.
>I knew if I didn’t eat a morsel on Friday, that I could probably
>fit into my senior formal on Saturday. Trotting up to the attic,
>I pulled the gown out of the garment bag, carried it lovingly downstairs,
>ran my hand over the fabric, and hung it on the door.
>I stripped naked, looked in the mirror, sighed, and thought, “Well,
>okay, maybe if I shift it all to the back …” Bodies
>never have pockets where you need them.
>Bravely I took the gown off the hanger, unzipped the shimmering
>dress and stepped gingerly into it. I struggled, twisted, turned,
>and pulled and I got the formal all the way up to my knees … before
>the zipper gave out. I was disappointed. I wanted to wear that
>dress with those silver sandals again and dance the night away.
>Okay, one setback was not going to spoil my mood for this affair.
> No way! Rolling the dress into a ball and tossing it into
>the corner, I turned to Plan B: the black crepe caftan.
>I gathered up all the goodies that I had purchased at Saks: the
>scented shower gel; the body building and highlighting shampoo and
> conditioner; the split-end killer and shine enhancer. Soon my
> hair would look like that girl’s in the Pantene ads.
>Then the makeup — the under eye “ain’t no lines here” firming
>cream, the all-day face-lifting gravity-fighting moisturizer with
>wrinkle filler spackle; the ‘all day kiss me till my lips bleed, and
>see if this gloss will come off’ lipstick, the bronzing face powder
>for that special glow.
>But first, the roll-on facial hair remover. I could feel the wrinkles
>shuddering in fear.
>Okay, time to get ready! I jumped into the steaming shower,
>soaped, lathered, rinsed, shaved, tweezed, buffed, scrubbed and scoured
>my body to a tingling pink.
>I plastered my freshly scrubbed face with the anti-wrinkle, gravity
>fighting “your face will look like a baby’s posterior” face cream.
> I set my hair on hot rollers.
>I felt wonderful. Ready to take on the world. Or in
>this instance, my underwear. With the towel firmly wrapped around
>my glistening body, I pulled out the black lace, tummy-tucking, cellulite-pushing,
>ham hock-rounding girdle, and the matching “lifting those bosoms like
>they’re filled with helium” bra.
>I greased my body with the scented body lotion and began the plunge.
> I pulled, stretched, tugged, hiked, folded, tucked, twisted,
>shimmied, hopped, pushed, wiggled, snapped, shook, caterpillar crawled
>and kicked. Sweat poured off my forehead but I was done. And
>it didn’t look bad.
>So I rested. A well deserved rest, too.
>The girdle was on my body. Bounce a quarter off my behind?
> It was tighter than a trampoline. Can you say, “Rubber
>baby buggy bumper buns?” Okay, so I had to take baby steps,
>and walk sideways, and I couldn’t move from my buns to my knees. But
>I was firm!
>Oh no … I had to go to the bathroom. And there wasn’t a
>snap crotch. From now on, undies gotta have a snap crotch. I
>was ready to rip it open and re-stitch the crotch with Velcro, but
>the pain factor from past experiments was still fresh in my mind.
> I quickly sidestepped to the bathroom.
>An hour later, I had answered nature’s call and repeated the struggle
>into the girdle. I was ready for the bra. I remembered
>what the saleslady said to do. I could see her glossed lips
>mouthing, “Do not fasten the bra in the front, and twist it
>around. Put the bra on the way it should be worn — straps over
>the shoulders. Then bend over and gently place both breasts
>inside the cups.”
>Easy if you have four hands. But, with confidence, I put
>my arms into the holsters, bent over and pulled the bra down … but
>the boobs weren’t cooperating. I’d no sooner tuck one in a cup, and
>while placing the other, the first would slip out. I needed
>a strategy. I bounced up and down a few times, tried to dribble
> them in with short bunny hops, but that didn’t work. So, while
> bent over, I began rocking gently back and forth on my heel and toes
> and I set ’em to swinging. Finally, on the fourth swing,
> pause, and lift, I captured the gliding glands. Quickly
> fastening the back of the bra,
>I stood up for examination.
>Back straight, slightly arched, I turned and faced the mirror,
>turning front, and then sideways. I smiled, yes, Houston ,
>we have lift up!
>My breasts were high, firm and there was cleavage! I was
>happy until I tried to look down. I had a chin rest. And
>I couldn’t see my feet.
>I still had to put on my pantyhose, and shoes. Oh … why
>did I buy heels with buckles?
>Then I had to pee again. ……..So I put on my sweats, fixed myself
>a drink, ordered pizza, and skipped the high school reunion.

If this didn’t make you laugh out loud, you’re too
> young!!


Go to fullsize image

Nasturtiums come in varieties ranging from trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors with peppery flavors. Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse. Leaves add peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for capers. Use entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers.

Use the blossoms whole or chopped to decorate creamy soups, salads, butters, cakes and platters. Their sweet, peppery taste (both in the leaves and in the flowers) adds to the enjoyment. The tangy taste gives it its common name. From the Latin “Nasus Tortus” meaning convulsed nose, referring to the faces people made when tasting the spicy plant. Its scientific name is Tropaeolum majus.  The edible leaves can be harvested as soon as several leaves are on the plant. Like any leaf type of plant, they taste better when young and older leaves can be bitter. Related to the cress family, Nasturtiums have a slightly pepper taste. The flowers are also edible, but have less taste. Try using the seeds in pickling for a somewhat different taste.

Unlike most of our more common kitchen herbs, which originate in the Mediterranean region, nasturtiums are from South America. The conquistadors brought these brightly colored plants back to Spain in the 1500’s. The Indians of Peru used the leaves as a tea to treat coughs, colds and the flu, as well as menstrual and respiratory difficulties. Being high in vitamin C, nasturtiums act as a natural antibiotic, and as such were used topically as a poultice for minor cuts and scratches. Nasturtiums are also used in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves are rubbed on the gums to stimulate and cleanse them. Because of it origins, early English herbalists referred to nasturtiums as “Indian cress.”

Once introduced to European gardens, nasturtium’s popularity caught on. Monet was rather fond of them and planted them in the border of the pathway that led to the front door of his home in Giverny. Later, during World War Two, dried ground nasturtium seeds were used as a substitute for black pepper, which was unattainable.

Nasturtium Mayonnaise

makes 8 servings as a sauce for fish

This recipe is the perfect compliment to chilled summer salmon, or any fish, fresh off the grill. Also makes a great spread for tea sandwiches, or any sandwich needing some zip.

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. finely minced garlic

2 tsp. coarsely chopped capers

1/3 tsp. grated lemon peel

2 tsp. chopped nasturtium leaves

Combine all ingredients. Keep chilled until ready to use.

More recipes to follow.