Hurricanes Madeline and Lester

The island of Hawaii rarely takes a direct hit from a hurricane. This week, two Pacific storms are lining up to change that. This natural-color image of Hurricane Madeline and Hurricane Lester is a composite built from two overpasses by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi NPP satellite on August 29, 2016. via NASA http://ift.tt/2c0w2dn


Good Morning From the International Space Station

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA shared this sunrise panorama taken from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station, writing, "Morning over the Atlantic…this one will hang on my wall." via NASA http://ift.tt/2c5sWSy

Young Suns of NGC 7129

Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus. While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only a few million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago. Most noticeable in the sharp image are the lovely bluish dust clouds that reflect the youthful starlight. But the compact, deep red crescent shapes are also markers of energetic, young stellar objects. Known as Herbig-Haro objects, their shape and color is characteristic of glowing hydrogen gas shocked by jets streaming away from newborn stars. Paler, extended filaments of reddish emission mingling with the bluish clouds are caused by dust grains effectively converting the invisible ultraviolet starlight to visible red light through photoluminesence. Ultimately the natal gas and dust in the region will be dispersed, the stars drifting apart as the loose cluster orbits the center of the Galaxy. The processing of this remarkable composite image has revealed the faint red strands of emission at the upper right. They are recently recognized as a likely supernova remnant and are currently being analyzed by Bo Reipurth (Univ. Hawaii) who obtained the image data at the Subaru telescope. At the estimated distance of NGC 7129, this telescopic view spans over 40 light-years. via NASA http://ift.tt/2buaoQC


An Age-defying Star

An age-defying star designated as IRAS 19312+1950 (arrow) exhibits features characteristic of a very young star and a very old star. The object stands out as extremely bright inside a large, chemically rich cloud of material, as shown in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bMlE8G


Lunar Orbiter Earthset

August 10th was the 50th anniversary of the launch of Lunar Orbiter 1. It was the first of five Lunar Orbiters intended to photograph the Moon's surface to aid in the selection of future landing sites. That spacecraft's camera captured the data used in this restored, high-resolution version of its historic first image of Earth from the Moon on August 23, 1966 while on its 16th lunar orbit. Hanging almost stationary in the sky when viewed from the lunar surface, Earth appears to be setting beyond the rugged lunar horizon from the perspective of the orbiting spacecraft. Two years later, the Apollo 8 crew would record a more famous scene in color: Earthrise from lunar orbit. via NASA http://ift.tt/2chQLuW

Speeding Towards Jupiter's Pole

Jupiter's north polar region is coming into view as NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches the giant planet. This view of Jupiter was taken on August 27, when Juno was 437,000 miles (703,000 kilometers) away. The Juno mission successfully executed its first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bIW01K


The Milky Way Sets

Under dark skies the setting of the Milky Way can be a dramatic sight. Stretching nearly parallel to the horizon, this rich, edge-on vista of our galaxy above the dusty Namibian desert stretches from bright, southern Centaurus (left) to Cepheus in the north (right). From early August, the digitally stitched, panoramic night skyscape captures the Milky Way's congeries of stars and rivers of cosmic dust, along with colors of nebulae not readily seen with the eye. Mars, Saturn, and Antares, visible even in more luminous night skies, form the the bright celestial triangle just touching the trees below the galaxy's central bulge. Of course, our own galaxy is not the only galaxy in the scene. Two other major members of our local group, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Triangulum Galaxy, lie near the right edge of the frame, beyond the arc of the setting Milky Way. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bumCEz


Katherine Johnson at NASA Langley Research Center

NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson is photographed at her desk at Langley Research Center. Born on Aug. 26, 1918, in White Sulphur Springs, WV, Johnson worked at Langley from 1953 until her retirement in 1986, making critical technical contributions which included calculating the trajectory of Alan Shepard's historic 1961 flight. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bThBp5


Space Station View of Grand Canyon National Park

To celebrate the centennial of the U.S National Park Service, Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA has taken hundreds of images of national parks from his vantage point in low Earth orbit, aboard the International Space Station. Here, a series of Williams' photographs are assembled into this composite image of the Grand Canyon. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bA2l1U


New NASA Record Holder For Cumulative Days in Space

On Aug. 24, 2016, Station Commander Jeff Williams passed astronaut Scott Kelly, also a former station commander, for most cumulative days living and working in space by a NASA astronaut (520 days and counting). Williams is scheduled to land Sept. 6, 2016, for a record total of 534 days in space. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bnkEWE


Spacewalkers Successfully Install New Docking Adapter for Commercial Crew Flights

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams (shown here) and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA successfully installed the first of two international docking adapters Friday Aug. 19, 2016, during a five hour and 58-minute spacewalk. On Sept. 1, the two astronauts will spacewalk outside the space station for the second time in less than two weeks. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bcild3

Tutulemma: Solar Eclipse Analemma

If you went outside at exactly the same time every day and took a picture that included the Sun, how would the Sun's position change? With great planning and effort, such a series of images can be taken. The figure-8 path the Sun follows over the course of a year is called an analemma. At the Winter Solstice in Earth's northern hemisphere, the Sun appears at the bottom of the analemma. Analemmas created from different latitudes appear at least slightly different, as well as analemmas created at a different time each day. With even greater planning and effort, the series can include a total eclipse of the Sun as one of the images. Pictured is such a total solar eclipse analemma or Tutulemma - a term coined by the photographers based on the Turkish word for eclipse. The featured composite image sequence was recorded from Turkey starting in 2005. The base image for the sequence is from the total phase of a solar eclipse as viewed from Side, Turkey on 2006 March 29. Venus was also visible during totality, toward the lower right. If you want to create your own USA-based tutulemma ending at next August's total solar eclipse, now would be good time to start. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bwzRrA


A Moon's Contrasts

Dione reveals its past via contrasts in this view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bpUFzx

Map of Total Solar Eclipse Path in 2017 August

Would you like to see a total eclipse of the Sun? If so, do any friends or relatives live near the path of next summer's eclipse? If yes again, then you might want to arrange a visit for one year from today. Next year on this exact date, the path of a total solar eclipse will cut right across the center of the contiguous USA. All of North America and part of South America will experience, at the least, a partial solar eclipse. Featured here is a map of the path of totality, computed by eclipse expert Fred Espenak of NASA's GSFC. Many people who have seen a total solar eclipse tell stories about it for the rest of their lives. The last path of solar totality that included any part of the contiguous USA was in 1979, and the next two will be in 2024 and 2044. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bdhxQS


Gamma rays and Comet Dust

Gamma-rays and dust from periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle plowed through planet Earth's atmosphere on the night of August 11/12. Impacting at about 60 kilometers per second the grains of comet dust produced this year's remarkably active Perseid meteor shower. This composite wide-angle image of aligned shower meteors covers a 4.5 hour period on that Perseid night. In it the flashing meteor streaks can be traced back to the shower's origin on the sky. Alongside the Milky Way in the constellation Perseus, the radiant marks the direction along the perodic comet's orbit. Traveling at the speed of light, cosmic gamma-rays impacting Earth's atmosphere generated showers too, showers of high energy particles. Just as the meteor streaks point back to their origin, the even briefer flashes of light from the particles can be used to reconstruct the direction of the particle shower, to point back to the origin on the sky of the incoming gamma-ray. Unlike the meteors, the incredibly fast particle shower flashes can't be followed by eye. But both can be followed by the high speed cameras on the multi-mirrored dishes in the foreground. Of course, the dishes are MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov) telescopes, an Earth-based gamma-ray observatory on the Canary Island of La Palma. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b5UZpl


Perseid Fireball at Sunset Crater

On the night of August 12, this bright Perseid meteor flashed above volcanic Sunset Crater National Monument, Arizona, USA, planet Earth. Streaking along the summer Milky Way, its initial color is likely due to the shower meteor's characteristically high speed. Entering at 60 kilometers per second, Perseid meteors are capable of exciting green emission from oxygen atoms while passing through the tenuous atmosphere at high altitudes. Also characteristic of bright meteors, this Perseid left a visibly glowing persistent train. Its evolution is seen over a three minute sequence (left to right) spanning the bottom of the frame. The camera ultimately captured a dramatic timelapse video of the twisting, drifting train. via NASA http://ift.tt/2byQIpz


Fuselage of NASA's Future X-57 Maxwell All-Electric Aircraft

As NASA celebrates National Aviation Day, the agency's innovators are working to transform air transportation to meet the future needs of the global aviation community. The agency is embarking on a 10-year plan, New Aviation Horizons, that will see NASA field a number of experimental aircraft to demonstrate 21st century ideas for flight. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bjfrkf


Plugging Away Inside Massive SLS Fuel Tank: Welders Complete Final Plug Fusion Welds on SLS Liquid Hydrogen Tank

Welders inside a large liquid hydrogen tank for NASA's Space Launch System at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are plugging holes left after the tank was assembled. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b3ycaU


Supernova Ejected from the Pages of History

A new look at the debris from an exploded star in our galaxy has astronomers re-examining when the supernova actually happened. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aZURrp

Five Planets and the Moon over Australia

It is not a coincidence that planets line up. That's because all of the planets orbit the Sun in (nearly) a single sheet called the plane of the ecliptic. When viewed from inside that plane -- as Earth dwellers are likely to do -- the planets all appear confined to a single band. It is a coincidence, though, when several of the brightest planets all appear in nearly the same direction. Such a coincidence was captured just last week. Featured above, six planets and Earth's Moon were all imaged together last week, just before sunset, from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. A second band is visible across the top of this tall image -- the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bClNx6


Lake Powell From the Space Station's EarthKAM

The remotely controlled Sally Ride EarthKAM aboard the International Space Station acquired this photograph on July 14, 2016, as the orbiting laboratory flew over Lake Powell and the border of Utah and Arizona. Located on the Colorado River, Lake Powell is the second largest artificial reservoir in the United States. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bfc1Mp

Human as Spaceship

You are a spaceship soaring through the universe. So is your dog. We all carry with us trillions of microorganisms as we go through life. These multitudes of bacteria, fungi, and archaea have different DNA than you. Collectively called your microbiome, your shipmates outnumber your own cells. Your crew members form communities, help digest food, engage in battles against intruders, and sometimes commute on a liquid superhighway from one end of your body to the other. Much of what your microbiome does, however, remains unknown. You are the captain, but being nice to your crew may allow you to explore more of your local cosmos. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aW739w


Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams Prepare For a Spacewalk

Expedition 48 crew members Kate Rubins (left) and Jeff Williams (right) of NASA outfit spacesuits inside of the Quest airlock aboard the International Space Station. Rubins and Williams will conduct a spacewalk on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, to install a new docking port that will enable the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bsR1DP

The Keyhole in the Carina Nebula

The dark dusty Keyhole Nebula gets its name from its unusual shape. The looping Keyhole, in this featured classic image by the Hubble Space Telescope, is a smaller region inside the larger Carina Nebula. Dramatic dark dust knots and complex features are sculpted by the winds and radiation of the Carina Nebula's many massive and energetic stars. In particular, the shape of the dust cloud on the upper left of the Keyhole Nebula may stimulate the human imagination to appear similar to, for example, a superhero flying through a cloud, arm up, with a saved person in tow below. The region lies about 7,500 light-years away in planet Earth's southern sky. The Keyhole Nebula was created by the dying star Eta Carina , out of the frame, which is prone to violent outbursts during its final centuries. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b78zFw


Perseid from Torralba del Burgo

Perseid meteors rained on planet Earth last night. This year the stream of dust from periodic comet Swift-Tuttle has produced a stunningly active shower of bright cosmic streaks. In this 25 second long exposure, one luminous Perseid trail, fast and colorful with a small explosion at the end, is witnessed by night skygazers from Torralba del Burgo, Soria, Spain. A second fainter meteor trail appears well below the first. The two can be extended to intersect at the meteor shower's radiant just above the brighter stars of the heroic constellation Perseus. Though the meteor shower's activity is waning, in the coming days Perseids will still flash through the night. But you won't see any if you don't go outside and look up. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aPomqa


The Easterbunny Comes to NGC 4725

At first called "Easterbunny" by its discovery team, officially named Makemake is the second brightest dwarf planet of the Kuiper belt. The icy world appears twice in this astronomical image, based on data taken on June 29 and 30 of the bright spiral galaxy NGC 4725. Makemake is marked by short red lines, its position shifting across a homemade telescope's field-of-view over two nights along a distant orbit. On those dates nearly coincident with the line-of-sight to the spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, Makemake was about 52.5 astronomical units or 7.3 light-hours away. NGC 4725 is over 100,000 light-years across and 41 million light-years distant. Makemake is now known to have at least one moon. NGC 4725 is a famous one-armed spiral galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2bnxiZk


Perseid Meteor Shower 2016 from West Virginia

In this 30 second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aMxaNq

Perseid, Aurora, and Noctilucent Clouds

Night skies over northern Sweden can hold some tantalizing sights in August. Gazing toward the Big Dipper, this beautiful skyscape captures three of them in a single frame taken last August 12/13. Though receding from northern skies for the season, night shining or noctilucent clouds are hanging just above the horizon. Extreme altitude icy condensations on meteoric dust, they were caught here just below an early apparition of a lovely green auroral band, also shining near the edge of space. The flash of a Perseid meteor near the peak of the annual shower punctuates the scene. In fact, this year's Perseid shower will peak in the coming days, offering a continuing chance for a night sky photographer's hat trick. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aOwwk7


Site of 2016 Summer Olympic Games Viewed by NASA's MISR Instrument

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite passed directly over Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 2, 2016, just prior to the opening of the Summer Olympic Games. On the left is an image from MISR's nadir camera; on the right, a map of aerosol optical depth. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b8hQMb

Colliding Galaxies in Stephans Quintet

Will either of these galaxies survive? In what might be dubbed as a semi-final round in a galactic elimination tournament, the two spirals of NGC 7318 are colliding. The featured picture was created from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. When galaxies crash into each other, many things may happen including gravitational distortion, gas condensing to produce new episodes of star formation, and ultimately the two galaxies combining into one. Since these two galaxies are part of Stephan's Quintet, a final round of battling galaxies will likely occur over the next few billion years with the eventual result of many scattered stars and one large galaxy. Quite possibly, the remaining galaxy will not be easily identified with any of its initial galactic components. Stephan's Quintet was the first identified galaxy group, lies about 300 million light years away, and is visible through a moderately-sized telescope toward the constellation of the Winged Horse (Pegasus). via NASA http://ift.tt/2bfKPSy


A Black Hole Story Told by a Cosmic Blob and Bubble

Two cosmic structures show evidence for a remarkable change in behavior of a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b8yFuc


Infrared Saturn Clouds

This false-color view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows clouds in Saturn's northern hemisphere. The view was made using images taken by Cassini's wide-angle camera on July 20, 2016, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to infrared light at 750, 727 and 619 nanometers. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b5OdPE

Perseid Meteors over Mount Shasta

Where are all of these meteors coming from? In terms of direction on the sky, the pointed answer is the constellation of Perseus. That is why the meteor shower that peaks later this week is known as the Perseids -- the meteors all appear to came from a radiant toward Perseus. In terms of parent body, though, the sand-sized debris that makes up the Perseids meteors come from Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet follows a well-defined orbit around our Sun, and the part of the orbit that approaches Earth is superposed in front of the Perseus. Therefore, when Earth crosses this orbit, the radiant point of falling debris appears in Perseus. Featured here, a composite image containing over 60 meteors from last August's Perseids meteor shower shows many bright meteors that streaked over Mount Shasta, California, USA. This year's Perseids holds promise to be the best meteor shower of the year. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aV4SkG


Aurora and Manicouagan Crater

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station adjusted the camera for night imaging and captured the green veils and curtains of an aurora that spanned thousands of kilometers over Quebec, Canada. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aLT32y

Io: Moon over Jupiter

How big is Jupiter's moon Io? The most volcanic body in the Solar System, Io (usually pronounced "EYE-oh") is 3,600 kilometers in diameter, about the size of planet Earth's single large natural satellite. Gliding past Jupiter at the turn of the millennium, the Cassini spacecraft captured this awe inspiring view of active Io with the largest gas giant as a backdrop, offering a stunning demonstration of the ruling planet's relative size. Although in the featured picture Io appears to be located just in front of the swirling Jovian clouds, Io hurtles around its orbit once every 42 hours at a distance of 420,000 kilometers or so from the center of Jupiter. That puts Io nearly 350,000 kilometers above Jupiter's cloud tops, roughly equivalent to the distance between Earth and Moon. In July, NASA's Juno satellite began orbiting Jupiter and will sometimes swoop to within 5,000 kilometers of Jupiter's cloud tops. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aEpBhA


Las Campanas Moon and Mercury

Last Thursday the view toward sunset from the 2.5 kilometer summit of Cerro Las Campanas in the remote Chilean Andes was amazing. Bright but fading Mercury stood very close to a two day old Moon. Both a sunlit lunar crescent and earthlit lunar nightside are captured with the fleeting innermost planet in this breathtaking mountainscape. Even below the conjunction of Moon and Mercury, a close pairing of brilliant Venus and bright star Regulus hangs in the sky, still above the colorful western horizon. Of course amazing skies above Las Campanas are not unexpected. The region is currently home to the twin Magellan telescopes of the Las Campanas Observatory and the summit location is the site of the future Giant Magellan Telescope. via NASA http://ift.tt/2b1a5vU


Neil Armstrong in NASA Ames' Bell X-14 Aircraft

Neil A. Armstrong is photographed in the cockpit of the Ames Bell X-14 aircraft at NASA's Ames Research Center. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5, 1930. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aAr5q7

M63: Sunflower Galaxy Wide Field

The Sunflower Galaxy blooms near the center of this wide field telescopic view. The scene spans about 2 degrees or 4 full moons on the sky toward the loyal constellation Canes Venatici. More formally known as Messier 63, the majestic island universe is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Surrounding its bright yellowish core, sweeping spiral arms are streaked with cosmic dust lanes and dotted with star forming regions. A dominant member of a known galaxy group, M63 has faint, extended features that could be the the remains of dwarf satellite galaxies, evidence that large galaxies grow by accreting small ones. M63 shines across the electromagnetic spectrum and is thought to have undergone bursts of intense star formation. via NASA http://ift.tt/2akDW0Y


Curiosity's Arm Over 'Marimba' Target on Mount Sharp

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover began close-up investigation of a target called "Marimba," on lower Mount Sharp, during the week preceding the fourth anniversary of the mission's dramatic sky-crane landing. via NASA http://ift.tt/2awWxlG

Behold the Universe

What if you climbed up on a rock and discovered the Universe? You can. Although others have noted much of it before, you can locate for yourself stars, planets, and even the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. All you need is a dark clear sky -- the rock is optional. If you have a camera, you can further image faint nebulas, galaxies, and long filaments of interstellar dust. If you can process digital images, you can bring out faint features, highlight specific colors, and merge foreground and background images. In fact, an industrious astrophotographer has done all of these to create the presented picture. All of the component images were taken early last month on the same night within a few meters of each other. The picturesque setting was Sand Beach in Stonington, Maine, USA with the camera pointed south over Penobscot Bay. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aPLnOx


Astronauts Test Orion Docking Hatch For Future Missions

Engineers and astronauts conducted testing in a representative model of the Orion spacecraft at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to gather the crew's feedback on the design of the docking hatch and on post-landing equipment operations. via NASA http://ift.tt/2asGUOr


Field Testing NASA's New Carbon-Dioxide Measuring Instrument

A team of NASA scientists and engineers is poised to realize a lifetime goal: building an instrument powerful and accurate enough to gather around-the-clock global atmospheric carbon-dioxide (CO2) measurements from space. Developers of the CO2 Sounder Lidar instrument snapped this photo during a field campaign over California and Nevada. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ax2BeL


Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the most visited parks in America, drawing more than 2.5 million visitors per year to the craggy, jagged coast of Maine. The park is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. On September 6, 2015, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired these images of the park and its surroundings. via NASA http://ift.tt/2aJKh6Q