2018/01/23

Signs of Ships in the Clouds


Ships churning through the Atlantic Ocean produced this patchwork of bright, criss-crossing cloud trails off the coast of Portugal and Spain. via NASA http://ift.tt/2rwOAuH

Ribbons and Pearls of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1398


Why do some spiral galaxies have a ring around the center? Spiral galaxy NGC 1398 not only has a ring of pearly stars, gas and dust around its center, but a bar of stars and gas across its center, and spiral arms that appear like ribbons farther out. The featured image was taken with ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and resolves this grand spiral in impressive detail. NGC 1398 lies about 65 million light years distant, meaning the light we see today left this galaxy when dinosaurs were disappearing from the Earth. The photogenic galaxy is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Furnace (Fornax). The ring near the center is likely an expanding density wave of star formation, caused either by a gravitational encounter with another galaxy, or by the galaxy's own gravitational asymmetries. via NASA http://ift.tt/2G3GXiy

2018/01/22

An Immersive Visualization of the Galactic Center


What if you could look out from the center of our Galaxy -- what might you see? Two scientifically-determined possibilities are shown in the featured video, an immersive 360-degree view which allows you to look around in every direction. The pictured computer simulation is based on infrared data from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile and X-ray data from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. As the video starts, you quickly approach Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole in the Galactic center. Then looking out, this 500-year time-lapse simulation shows glowing gas and many points of light orbiting all around you. Many of these points are young Wolf-Rayet stars that have visible hot winds blowing out into surrounding nebulas. Clouds approaching close become elongated, while objects approaching too close fall in. Toward the video's end the simulation repeats, but this time with the dynamic region surrounding Sgr A* expelling hot gas that pushes back against approaching material. via NASA http://ift.tt/2BhIheh

2018/01/21

The Upper Michigan Blizzard of 1938


Yes, but can your blizzard do this? In Upper Michigan's Storm of the Century in 1938, some snow drifts reached the level of utility poles. Nearly a meter of new and unexpected snow fell over two days in a storm that started 80 years ago this week. As snow fell and gale-force winds piled snow to surreal heights; many roads became not only impassable but unplowable; people became stranded; cars, school buses and a train became mired; and even a dangerous fire raged. Fortunately only two people were killed, although some students were forced to spend several consecutive days at school. The featured image was taken by a local resident soon after the storm. Although all of this snow eventually melted, repeated snow storms like this help build lasting glaciers in snowy regions of our planet Earth. via NASA http://ift.tt/2rqTSYA

2018/01/20

Old Moon in the New Moon s Arms


Also known as the Moon's "ashen glow" or the "Old Moon in the New Moon's arms", earthshine is earthlight reflected from the Moon's night side. This stunning image of earthshine from a young crescent moon was taken from Las Campanas Observatory, Atacama Desert, Chile, planet Earth near moonset on January 18. Dramatic atmospheric inversion layers appear above the Pacific Ocean, colored by the sunset at the planet's western horizon. But the view from the Moon would have been stunning, too. When the Moon appears in Earth's sky as a slender crescent, a dazzlingly bright, nearly full Earth would be seen from the lunar surface. A description of earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth's oceans in turn illuminating the Moon's dark surface, was written 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci. via NASA http://ift.tt/2FXjHml

2018/01/19

Prepping the Parker Solar Probe for Space


At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the Parker Solar Probe is lowered into the 40-foot-tall thermal vacuum chamber. The thermal vacuum chamber simulates the harsh conditions that the spacecraft will experience on its journey through space, including near-vacuum conditions and severe hot and cold temperatures. via NASA http://ift.tt/2Dl77LM

Clouds in the LMC


An alluring sight in southern skies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is seen in this deep and detailed telescopic mosaic. Recorded with broadband and narrowband filters, the scene spans some 5 degrees or 10 full moons. The narrowband filters are designed to transmit only light emitted by hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Ionized by energetic starlight, the atoms emit their characteristic light as electrons are recaptured and the atoms transition to a lower energy state. As a result, in this image the LMC seems covered with its own clouds of ionized gas surrounding its massive, young stars. Sculpted by the strong stellar winds and ultraviolet radiation, the glowing clouds, dominated by emission from hydrogen, are known as H II (ionized hydrogen) regions. Itself composed of many overlapping H II regions, the Tarantula Nebula is the large star forming region at the left. The largest satellite of our Milky Way Galaxy, the LMC is about 15,000 light-years across and lies a mere 160,000 light-years away toward the constellation Dorado. via NASA http://ift.tt/2Dm6ENt

2018/01/18

Jupiter’s Swirling South Pole


This image of Jupiter’s swirling south polar region was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it neared completion of its tenth close flyby of the gas giant planet. via NASA http://ift.tt/2mM8M68

2018/01/17

Even in the Desert


For the second time in three years, snow has accumulated in the desert near the northern Algerian town of Aïn Séfra. via NASA http://ift.tt/2FLXibp

In the Valley of Orion


This exciting and unfamiliar view of the Orion Nebula is a visualization based on astronomical data and movie rendering techniques. Up close and personal with a famous stellar nursery normally seen from 1,500 light-years away, the digitally modeled frame transitions from a visible light representation based on Hubble data on the left to infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope on the right. The perspective at the center looks along a valley over a light-year wide, in the wall of the region's giant molecular cloud. Orion's valley ends in a cavity carved by the energetic winds and radiation of the massive central stars of the Trapezium star cluster. The single frame is part of a multiwavelength, three-dimensional video that lets the viewer experience an immersive, three minute flight through the Great Nebula of Orion. via NASA http://ift.tt/2B5EHUd

2018/01/16

Three of the 'Thirty-Five New Guys'


On January 16, 1978, NASA announces the first astronaut class in nine years, which included the first African Americans. via NASA http://ift.tt/2FHMDPa

2018/01/15

Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula


By starlight this eerie visage shines in the dark, a crooked profile evoking its popular name, the Witch Head Nebula. In fact, this entrancing telescopic portrait gives the impression that the witch has fixed her gaze on Orion's bright supergiant star Rigel. More formally known as IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula spans about 50 light-years and is composed of interstellar dust grains reflecting Rigel's starlight. The blue color of the Witch Head Nebula and of the dust surrounding Rigel is caused not only by Rigel's intense blue starlight but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth's daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in Earth's atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. Rigel, the Witch Head Nebula, and gas and dust that surrounds them lie about 800 light-years away. via NASA http://ift.tt/2DdfY5t

2018/01/12

Jupiter’s Colorful Cloud Belts


Colorful swirling cloud belts dominate Jupiter’s southern hemisphere in this image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2D6t9pP

Blue Comet PanSTARRS


Discovered with the PanSTARRS telescope on September 7, 2016, this Comet PanSTARRS, C/2016 R2, is presently about 24 light minutes (3 AU) from the Sun, sweeping through planet Earth's skies across the background of stars in the constellation Taurus. An inbound visitor from our Solar System's distant Oort Cloud, its beautiful and complex ion tail is a remarkable shade of blue. Still relatively far from the Sun, the comet's already well-developed ion tail is very impressive. Emission from unusually abundant ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) atoms fluorescing in the increasing sunlight is largely responsible for the pretty blue tint. This color image of the blue comet is a combination of data taken from two different telescopes during the night of January 7. Located at the apex of the V-shaped Hyades star cluster in Taurus, bright star Gamma Tauri is responsible for the glow at the bottom left corner of the frame. via NASA http://ift.tt/2qQZf39

2018/01/11

All the Glittering Stars


A new analysis of about 10,000 normal Sun-like stars in the Milky Way's galactic bulge reveals that our galaxy's hub is a dynamic environment. via NASA http://ift.tt/2msTe80

2018/01/10

Now This: The Apollo 11 Crew


On Jan. 9, 1969, NASA announced the prime crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. This portrait was taken on Jan. 10, the day after the announcement of the crew assignment. From left to right are lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, commander Neil Armstrong; and command module pilot Michael Collins. via NASA http://ift.tt/2D1kpjU

NGC 2623: Merging Galaxies from Hubble


Where do stars form when galaxies collide? To help find out, astronomers imaged the nearby galaxy merger NGC 2623 in high resolution with the Hubble Space Telescope. Analysis of this and other Hubble images as well as images of NGC 2623 in infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope, in X-ray light by XMM-Newton, and in ultraviolet light by GALEX, indicate that two originally spiral galaxies appear now to be greatly convolved and that their cores have unified into one active galactic nucleus (AGN). Star formation continues around this core near the featured image center, along the stretched out tidal tails visible on either side, and perhaps surprisingly, in an off-nuclear region on the upper left where clusters of bright blue stars appear. Galaxy collisions can take hundreds of millions of years and take several gravitationally destructive passes. NGC 2623, also known as Arp 243, spans about 50,000 light years and lies about 250 million light years away toward the constellation of the Crab (Cancer). Reconstructing the original galaxies and how galaxy mergers happen is often challenging, sometimes impossible, but generally important to understanding how our universe evolved. via NASA http://ift.tt/2CVMj1y

2018/01/09

New Day


Sunrise as seen from the International Space Station. "A view of the sunrise from the ISS is a perfect start to a new day," so said @Anton_Astrey, otherwise known as cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a member of the Expedition 54 crew aboard the International Space Station, orbiting 250 miles above the Earth. via NASA http://ift.tt/2qPs28i

2018/01/08

Veil of Ice


Saturn’s rings, made of countless icy particles, form a translucent veil in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2D7ntZe

Clouds of Andromeda


What are those red clouds surrounding the Andromeda galaxy? This galaxy, M31, is often imaged by planet Earth-based astronomers. As the nearest large spiral galaxy, it is a familiar sight with dark dust lanes, bright yellowish core, and spiral arms traced by clouds of bright blue stars. A mosaic of well-exposed broad and narrow-band image data, this colorful portrait of our neighboring island universe offers strikingly unfamiliar features though, faint reddish clouds of glowing ionized hydrogen gas in the same wide field of view. These ionized hydrogen clouds surely lie in the foreground of the scene, well within our Milky Way Galaxy. They are likely associated with the pervasive, dusty interstellar cirrus clouds scattered hundreds of light-years above our own galactic plane. via NASA http://ift.tt/2F6f74J

2018/01/05

Winter Storm Pummels the East Coast


Millions of people along the East Coast of the United States faced snow and ice, gusty winds, power outages, travel delays, school closings, and flooding as a rapidly-intensifying Nor’easter plowed northward during the first week of 2018. via NASA http://ift.tt/2qyLNAS

Carina over Lake Ballard


A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, also known as NGC 3372, is one of our galaxy's largest star forming regions. Easily visible to the unaided eye it stands high above the signature hill of Lake Ballard, ephemeral salt lake of Western Australia, in this serene night skyscape from December 25, 2017. The Milky Way itself stretches beyond the southern horizon. Along the Milky Way, bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri lie just above the hill's right flank, with the Southern Cross and dark Coalsack Nebula above the hill top. Based on a 22 panel mosaic, the scene was cropped to reveal more closely the beauty of this region of the southern Milky Way. On that short summer night, a star tracking camera mount was used to record the mosaic images of the sky, but turned off to image the foreground in moonlight. via NASA http://ift.tt/2AllL3u

2018/01/04

Geocolor Image From NOAA's GOES-16 Satellite of Powerful East Coast Storm


This Geocolor image from NOAA's GOES-16 satellite captures the deepening storm off the East coast of the United States on Jan. 4, 2018, at 16:22 UTC. The powerful nor'easter is battering coastal areas with heavy snow and strong winds, from Florida to Maine. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lVqWCY

2018/01/03

From Mercury Mark II to Project Gemini


On Jan. 3, 1962, the newly announced Mercury Mark II project was renamed Project Gemini. This artist's concept of a two-person Gemini spacecraft in flight shows a cutaway view. via NASA http://ift.tt/2Czgzz0

2018/01/02

From the Earth, Moon and Beyond


THE OSIRIS-REx mission will map and return samples from asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich hunk of rock that might contain organic materials or molecular precursors to life. OSIRIS-Rex is expected to reach Bennu in August, 2018. via NASA http://ift.tt/2CFwXLi

2017/12/29

Under the Midnight Sun


In September 2017, a new iceberg calved from Pine Island Glacier—one of the main outlets where the West Antarctic Ice Sheet flows into the ocean. via NASA http://ift.tt/2EcblGs

2017/12/28

Naples at Night


An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of the city lights of Naples and the Campania region of southern Italy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2Dsv57t

Recycling Cassiopeia A


Massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnaces ignite and create heavy elements in their cores. After a few million years, the enriched material is blasted back into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew. The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an example of this final phase of the stellar life cycle. Light from the explosion which created this supernova remnant would have been first seen in planet Earth's sky about 350 years ago, although it took that light about 11,000 years to reach us. This false-color Chandra X-ray Observatory image shows the still hot filaments and knots in the Cassiopeia A remnant. High-energy emission from specific elements has been color coded, silicon in red, sulfur in yellow, calcium in green and iron in purple, to help astronomers explore the recycling of our galaxy's star stuff - Still expanding, the blast wave is seen as the blue outer ring. The sharp X-ray image, spans about 30 light-years at the estimated distance of Cassiopeia A. The bright speck near the center is a neutron star, the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of the massive stellar core. via NASA http://ift.tt/2BGOfpP

2017/12/27

Kwanzaa Tholus on Ceres


These images show a subtle feature on dwarf planet Ceres called Kwanzaa Tholus. via NASA http://ift.tt/2Ccnzye

The Horsehead Nebula


One of the most identifiable nebulae in the sky, the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, is part of a large, dark, molecular cloud. Also known as Barnard 33, the unusual shape was first discovered on a photographic plate in the late 1800s. The red glow originates from hydrogen gas predominantly behind the nebula, ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis. The darkness of the Horsehead is caused mostly by thick dust, although the lower part of the Horsehead's neck casts a shadow to the left. Streams of gas leaving the nebula are funneled by a strong magnetic field. Bright spots in the Horsehead Nebula's base are young stars just in the process of forming. Light takes about 1,500 years to reach us from the Horsehead Nebula. The featured image was taken with the large 3.6-m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, USA. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lcxtbl

2017/12/26

Grand Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232


Galaxies are fascinating not only for what is visible, but for what is invisible. Grand spiral galaxy NGC 1232, captured in detail by one of the Very Large Telescopes, is a good example. The visible is dominated by millions of bright stars and dark dust, caught up in a gravitational swirl of spiral arms revolving about the center. Open clusters containing bright blue stars can be seen sprinkled along these spiral arms, while dark lanes of dense interstellar dust can be seen sprinkled between them. Less visible, but detectable, are billions of dim normal stars and vast tracts of interstellar gas, together wielding such high mass that they dominate the dynamics of the inner galaxy. Leading theories indicate that even greater amounts of matter are invisible, in a form we don't yet know. This pervasive dark matter is postulated, in part, to explain the motions of the visible matter in the outer regions of galaxies. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ps5tWu

2017/12/24

SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over California


What's happened to the sky? On Friday, the photogenic launch plume from a SpaceX rocket launch created quite a spectacle over parts of southern California and Arizona. Looking at times like a giant space fish, the impressive rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, was so bright because it was backlit by the setting Sun. Lifting off during a minuscule one-second launch window, the Falcon 9 Heavy rocket successfully delivered to low Earth orbit ten Iridium NEXT satellites that are part of a developing global communications network. The plume from the first stage is seen on the right, while the soaring upper stage rocket is seen at the apex of the plume toward the left. Several good videos of the launch were taken. The featured image was captured from Orange County, California, in a 2.5 second duration exposure. via NASA http://ift.tt/2BCAwEL

2017/12/23

Phaethon s Brood


Based on its well-measured orbit, 3200 Phaethon (sounds like FAY-eh-thon) is recognized as the source of the meteroid stream responsible for the annual Geminid meteor shower. Even though most meteor showers' parents are comets, 3200 Phaethon is a known and closely tracked near-Earth asteroid with a 1.4 year orbital period. Rocky and sun-baked, its perihelion or closest approach to the Sun is well within the orbit of innermost planet Mercury. In this telescopic field of view, the asteroid's rapid motion against faint background stars of the heroic constellation Perseus left a short trail during the two minute total exposure time. The parallel streaks of its meteoric children flashed much more quickly across the scene. The family portrait was recorded near the Geminid meteor shower's very active peak on December 13. That was just before 3200 Phaethon's historic December 16 closest approach to planet Earth. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kZD44i

2017/12/22

Hubble's Holiday Nebula “Ornament”


The Hubble Space Telescope captured what looks like a colorful holiday ornament in space. It's actually an image of NGC 6326, a planetary nebula with glowing wisps of outpouring gas. via NASA http://ift.tt/2CV8qkg

2017/12/21

Launch Day!


On Dec. 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 crew leaves the Kennedy Space Center's then-named Manned Spacecraft Operations Building during the mission's prelaunch countdown on the way to their history-making lunar orbiting flight. via NASA http://ift.tt/2zbwlJX

Solstice Sun and Milky Way


Welcome to December's solstice, first day of winter in the north and summer for the southern hemisphere. Astronomical markers of the seasons, solstice and equinox dates are based on the Sun's place in its annual journey along the ecliptic, through planet Earth's sky. At this solstice, the Sun reaches its maximum southern declination of -23.5 degrees today at 16:28 UTC, while its right ascension coordinate on the celestial sphere is 18 hours. That puts the Sun in the constellation Sagittarius in a direction near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, if you could see today's Solstice Sun against faint background stars and nebulae (that's really hard to do, especially in the daytime ...) your view might look something like this composited panorama. To make it, images of our fair galaxy were taken under dark Namibian night skies, then stitched together in a panoramic view. From a snapshot made on December 21, 2015, the Sun was digitally overlayed as a brilliant star at today's northern winter solstice position, close to the center of the Milky Way. via NASA http://ift.tt/2oZxZOG

2017/12/20

Hello From Above


Greetings from @Astro_Sabot, otherwise known as Mark Vande Hei, from aboard the International Space Station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2z6xNx8

2017/12/19

The Bluest of Ice


Acquired on November 29 by Operation IceBridge during a flight to Victoria Land, this image shows an iceberg floating in Antarctica's McMurdo Sound. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kjgNz4

The Spiral North Pole of Mars


Why is there a spiral around the North Pole of Mars? Each winter this pole develops a new outer layer about one meter thick composed of carbon dioxide frozen out of the thin Martian atmosphere. This fresh layer is deposited on a water-ice layer that exists year round. Strong winds blow down from above the cap's center and swirl due to the spin of the red planet -- contributing to Planum Boreum's spiral structure. The featured image is a perspective mosaic generated earlier this year from numerous images taken by ESA's Mars Express and elevations extracted from the laser altimeter aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor mission. New missions to Mars planned in the next few years include Insight with plans to drill into Mars, and ExoMars and the Mars 2020 Rover with plans to search for signs of microscopic Martian life -- past and present. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ATjFch

2017/12/18

Seeing an X-Plane's Sonic Boom


This schlieren image shows an Air Force Test Pilot School T-38 in a transonic state, meaning the aircraft is transitioning from a subsonic speed to supersonic. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kHqUNB

2017/12/17

The Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens


Most galaxies have a single nucleus -- does this galaxy have four? The strange answer leads astronomers to conclude that the nucleus of the surrounding galaxy is not even visible in this image. The central cloverleaf is rather light emitted from a background quasar. The gravitational field of the visible foreground galaxy breaks light from this distant quasar into four distinct images. The quasar must be properly aligned behind the center of a massive galaxy for a mirage like this to be evident. The general effect is known as gravitational lensing, and this specific case is known as the Einstein Cross. Stranger still, the images of the Einstein Cross vary in relative brightness, enhanced occasionally by the additional gravitational microlensing effect of specific stars in the foreground galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2j8dLNf

2017/12/16

A Wintry Shower


Four Geminids flash through northern skies in this wintry night skyscape. The bright fireball and 3 fainter meteors were captured in a single 10 second exposure, near the peak of December's Geminid meteor shower. Reflecting the fireball's greenish light, a partially frozen Lake Edith in Alberta Canada's Jasper National Park lies in the foreground, with the Canadian Rocky Mountains ranging along the northern horizon. Of course, the glacial lake is cold even in summer. But photographer Jack Fusco reports that he experienced -9 degree C temperatures that night while enjoying one of the most active meteor showers he's ever seen. via NASA http://ift.tt/2CyewHQ

2017/12/15

New Research Launches to Space Station Aboard SpaceX Resupply Mission


The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Dragon will bring supplies, equipment and new science experiments for technology research to the orbiting laboratory. via NASA http://ift.tt/2BfDjA6

Geminids of the North


Earth's annual Geminid meteor shower did not disappoint as our fair planet plowed through dust from active asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Captured in this northern hemisphere nightscape, the meteors stream away from the shower's radiant in Gemini. To create the image, 37 individual frames recording meteor streaks were taken over period of 8.5 hours during the night of December 12/13. In the final composite they were selected and registered against the starry sky above a radio telescope dish of MUSER, a solar-dedicated radio telescope array at astronomically-named Mingantu Station in Inner Mongolia, China, about 400 kilometers from Beijing. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major, shines brightly just above the radio dish and the Milky Way stretches toward the zenith. Yellowish Betelgeuse is a standout in Orion to the right of the northen Milky Way. The shower's radiant is at top left, high above the horizon near Castor and Pollux the twin stars of Gemini. The radiant effect is due to perspective as the parallel meteor tracks appear to converge in the distance. Gemini's meteors enter Earth's atmosphere traveling at about 22 kilometers per second. via NASA http://ift.tt/2BkhPVp

2017/12/14

Soyuz Carrying Expedition 53 Crew Lands in Kazakhstan


The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ytt3kN

2017/12/13

The Fault in Our Mars


This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of northern Meridiani Planum shows faults that have disrupted layered deposits. via NASA http://ift.tt/2iXZy5j

2017/12/12

Chandra Reveals the Elementary Nature of Cassiopeia A


Due to its unique evolutionary status, Cassiopeia A (Cas A) is one of the most intensely studied of these supernova remnants. via NASA http://ift.tt/2C6ofVz

2017/12/11

Science From the Moon’s Shadow


The Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse was rare in its long, uninterrupted path over land, which provided scientists with a rare chance to investigate the Sun and its influence on Earth in ways that aren’t usually possible. On Dec. 11, researchers discussed initial findings based on observations gathered during the eclipse. via NASA http://ift.tt/2AszyKt

2017/12/10

In Green Company: Aurora over Norway


Raise your arms if you see an aurora. With those instructions, two nights went by with, well, clouds -- mostly. On the third night of returning to same peaks, though, the sky not only cleared up but lit up with a spectacular auroral display. Arms went high in the air, patience and experience paid off, and the creative featured image was captured as a composite from three separate exposures. The setting is a summit of the Austnesfjorden fjord close to the town of Svolvear on the Lofoten islands in northern Norway. The time was early 2014. Although our Sun is nearing Solar Minimum and hence showing relatively little surface activity, holes in the upper corona have provided some nice auroral displays over the last few months. via NASA http://ift.tt/2nI8JvT

2017/12/09

Stardust in Aries


This composition in stardust covers over 8 degrees on the northern sky. The mosaicked field of view is west of the familiar Pleiades star cluster, toward the zodiacal constellation Aries and the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. At right in the deep skyscape is bluish Epsilon Arietis, a star visible to the naked-eye and about 330 light-years away. Reflecting starlight in the region, dusty nebulae LBN762, LBN753, and LBN743 sprawl left to right across the field, but are likely some 1,000 light-years away. At that estimated distance, the cosmic canvas is over 140 light-years across. Near the edge of a large molecular cloud, their dark interiors can hide newly formed stars and young stellar objects or protostars from prying optical telescopes. Collapsing due to self-gravity, the protostars form around dense cores embedded in the molecular cloud. via NASA http://ift.tt/2A1Zfx4