2017/10/19

Jovian Moon Shadow


Jupiter’s moon Amalthea casts a shadow on the gas giant planet in this image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2yDDMwL

M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy


Find the Big Dipper and follow the handle away from the dipper's bowl until you get to the last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you'll come upon this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (bottom), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canes Venatici. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the eye, deep images like this one can reveal striking colors and the faint tidal debris around the smaller galaxy via NASA http://ift.tt/2yQWhyI

2017/10/18

What Lurks Below NASA’s Chamber A?


Hidden beneath Chamber A at the Johnson Space Center is an area engineers used to test critical contamination control technology that has helped keep our James Webb Space Telescope clean during cryogenic testing. via NASA http://ift.tt/2gjAzIb

2017/10/17

Puerto Rico From the Space Station


NASA astronaut Joe Acaba photographed Puerto Rico from the cupola of the International Space Station on Oct. 12, 2017. Sharing the image with his followers on social media, he wrote, "Finally a chance to see the beautiful island of Puerto Rico from @Space_Station. Continued thoughts throughout the recovery process." via NASA http://ift.tt/2gpX41X

Haumea of the Outer Solar System


One of the strangest objects in the outer Solar System has recently been found to have a ring. The object, named Haumea, is the fifth designated dwarf planet after Pluto, Ceres, Eris, and Makemake. Haumea's oblong shape makes it quite unusual. Along one direction, Haumea is significantly longer than Pluto, while in another direction Haumea has an extent very similar to Pluto, while in the third direction is much smaller. Haumea's orbit sometimes brings it closer to the Sun than Pluto, but usually Haumea is further away. Illustrated above, an artist visualizes Haumea as a cratered ellipsoid surrounded by a uniform ring. Originally discovered in 2003 and given the temporary designation of 2003 EL61, Haumea was renamed in 2008 by the IAU for a Hawaiian goddess. Besides the ring discovered this year, Haumea has two small moons discovered in 2005, named Hi'iaka and Namaka for daughters of the goddess. via NASA http://ift.tt/2gKDBWu

2017/10/16

When (Neutron) Stars Collide


This illustration shows the hot, dense, expanding cloud of debris stripped from neutron stars just before they collided. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hK4fP8

2017/10/15

On the Origin of Gold


Where did the gold in your jewelry originate? No one is completely sure. The relative average abundance in our Solar System appears higher than can be made in the early universe, in stars, and even in typical supernova explosions. Some astronomers have suggested, and many believe, that neutron-rich heavy elements such as gold might be most easily made in rare neutron-rich explosions such as the collision of neutron stars. Pictured here is an artist's illustration depicting two neutron stars spiraling in toward each other, just before they collide. Since neutron star collisions are also suggested as the origin of short duration gamma-ray bursts, it is possible that you already own a souvenir from one of the most powerful explosions in the universe. via NASA http://ift.tt/2i98Z4L

2017/10/14

All Sky Steve


Familiar green and red tinted auroral emission floods the sky along the northern (top) horizon in this fish-eye panorama projection from September 27. On the mild, clear evening the Milky Way tracks through the zenith of a southern Alberta sky and ends where the six-day-old Moon sets in the southwest. The odd, isolated, pink and whitish arc across the south has come to be known as Steve. The name was given to the phenomenon by the Alberta Aurora Chasers Facebook group who had recorded appearances of the aurora-like feature. Sometimes mistakenly identified as a proton aurora or proton arc, the mysterious Steve arcs seem associated with aurorae but appear closer to the equator than the auroral curtains. Widely documented by citizen scientists and recently directly explored by a Swarm mission satellite, Steve arcs have been measured as thermal emission from flowing gas rather than emission excited by energetic electrons. Even though a reverse-engineered acronym that fits the originally friendly name is Sudden Thermal Emission from Velocity Enhancement, his origin is still mysterious. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ykOVlG

2017/10/13

Glorious Sunrise at the Start of a Spacewalk


NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei exits the International Space Station on Oct. 10, 2017, for a spacewalk in this photograph taken by fellow spacewalker Randy Bresnik. Bresnik wrote, "A glorious sunrise greeted @Astro_Sabot and I at the start of our 2nd #spacewalk. His visor reflection shows the airlock hatch we came out." via NASA http://ift.tt/2hExaE6

2017/10/12

Dream Chaser at Dawn


Dawn bring the sight of Dream Chaser, Sierra Nevada's reusable spaceplane, as it sits on the runway at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kJGA6h

NGC 1365: Majestic Island Universe


Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This impressively sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the central black hole. via NASA http://ift.tt/2g120qf

2017/10/11

Apollo 7 Launches on October 11, 1968


On October 11, 1968, Apollo 7 launched via NASA http://ift.tt/2gwjhbq

Star Cluster NGC 362 from Hubble


If our Sun were near the center of NGC 362, the night sky would glow like a jewel box of bright stars. Hundreds of stars would glow brighter than Sirius, and in many different colors. Although these stars could become part of breathtaking constellations and intricate folklore, it would be difficult for planetary inhabitants there to see -- and hence understand -- the greater universe beyond. NGC 362 is one of only about 170 globular clusters of stars that exist in our Milky Way Galaxy. This star cluster is one of the younger globulars, forming likely well after our Galaxy. NGC 362 can be found with the unaided eye nearly in front of the Small Magellanic Cloud, and angularly close to the second brightest globular cluster known, 47 Tucanae. The featured image was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope to help better understand how massive stars end up near the center of some globular clusters. via NASA http://ift.tt/2zc33My

2017/10/10

Where Does the Sand Come From?


This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO) shows one possible place where sand grains are being produced on Mars today. via NASA http://ift.tt/2yUEv9G

2017/10/09

Unusual Mountain Ahuna Mons on Asteroid Ceres


What created this unusual mountain? Ahuna Mons is the largest mountain on the largest known asteroid in our Solar System, Ceres, which orbits our Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ahuna Mons, though, is like nothing that humanity has ever seen before. For one thing, its slopes are garnished not with old craters but young vertical streaks. One hypothesis holds that Ahuna Mons is an ice volcano that formed shortly after a large impact on the opposite side of the dwarf planet loosened up the terrain through focused seismic waves. The bright steaks may be high in reflective salt, and therefore similar to other recently surfaced material such as visible in Ceres' famous bright spots. The featured double-height digital image was constructed from surface maps taken of Ceres last year by the robotic Dawn mission. via NASA http://ift.tt/2y8JHtl

2017/10/07

Eclipsosaurus Rex


We live in an era where total solar eclipses are possible because at times the apparent size of the Moon can just cover the disk of the Sun. But the Moon is slowly moving away from planet Earth. Its distance is measured to increase about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) per year due to tidal friction. So there will come a time, about 600 million years from now, when the Moon is far enough away that the lunar disk will be too small to ever completely cover the Sun. Then, at best only annular eclipses, a ring of fire surrounding the silhouetted disk of the too small Moon, will be seen from the surface of our fair planet. Of course the Moon was slightly closer and loomed a little larger 100 million years ago. So during the age of the dinosaurs there were more frequent total eclipses of the Sun. In front of the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College in Wyoming, this dinosaur statue posed with a modern total eclipse, though. An automated camera was placed under him to shoot his portrait during the Great American Eclipse of August 21. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ggIeYc

2017/10/06

Suited Up for a Day's Work


Astronaut Randy Bresnik conducts a spacewalk on October 5. via NASA http://ift.tt/2y0CIR2

Global Aurora at Mars


A strong solar event last month triggered intense global aurora at Mars. Before (left) and during (right) the solar storm, these projections show the sudden increase in ultraviolet emission from martian aurora, more than 25 times brighter than auroral emission previously detected by the orbiting MAVEN spacecraft. With a sunlit crescent toward the right, data from MAVEN's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph is projected in purple hues on the night side of Mars globes simulated to match the observation dates and times. On Mars, solar storms can result in planet-wide aurora because, unlike Earth, the Red Planet isn't protected by a strong global magnetic field that can funnel energetic charged particles toward the poles. For all those on the planet's surface during the solar storm, dangerous radiation levels were double any previously measured by the Curiosity rover. MAVEN is studying whether Mars lost its atmosphere due to its lack of a global magnetic field. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fMTEm8

2017/10/05

First Meeting of the National Space Council


Members of the National Space Council are seen during the council's first meeting on Oct. 5 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence heard testimony from representatives from civil space, commercial space, and national security space industry representatives. via NASA http://ift.tt/2yrxjWh

2017/10/04

Oct. 4, 1957 - Sputnik, the Dawn of the Space Age


History changed on Oct. 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball, about 23 inches in diameter and weighing less than 190 pounds. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hNf1Yq

The Soul Nebula in Infrared from Herschel


Stars are forming in the Soul of the Queen of Aethopia. More specifically, a large star forming region called the Soul Nebula can be found in the direction of the constellation Cassiopeia, who Greek mythology credits as the vain wife of a King who long ago ruled lands surrounding the upper Nile river. The Soul Nebula houses several open clusters of stars, a large radio source known as W5, and huge evacuated bubbles formed by the winds of young massive stars. Located about 6,500 light years away, the Soul Nebula spans about 100 light years and is usually imaged next to its celestial neighbor the Heart Nebula (IC 1805). The featured image, impressively detailed, was taken last month in several bands of infrared light by the orbiting Herschel Space Observatory. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xMXJBn

2017/10/03

It's Planting Season on the International Space Station


It's planting season on the International Space Station! via NASA http://ift.tt/2yVNLLC

2017/10/02

Goodbye to the Dark Side


Stunning views like this image of Saturn's night side are only possible thanks to our robotic emissaries like Cassini. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hHltR0

2017/10/01

Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine


What will passenger airplanes be like in the future? To help brainstorm desirable and workable attributes, NASA sponsors design competitions. Shown here is an artist's depiction of a concept plane that was suggested in 2010. This futuristic plane would be expected to achieve supersonic speeds, possibly surpassing the speeds of the supersonic transport planes that ran commercially in the late twentieth century. In terms of noise reduction, the future aircraft has been drawn featuring an inverted V wing stretched over its engines. The structure is intended to reduce the sound from annoying sonic booms. Additionally, future airplanes would aim to have relatively little impact on our environment, including green limits on pollution and fuel consumption. Aircraft utilizing similar design concepts might well become operational by the 2030s. via NASA http://ift.tt/2x3UJfa

2017/09/30

Portrait of NGC 281


Look through the cosmic cloud cataloged as NGC 281 and you might miss the stars of open cluster IC 1590. Still, formed within the nebula that cluster's young, massive stars ultimately power the pervasive nebular glow. The eye-catching shapes looming in this portrait of NGC 281 are sculpted columns and dense dust globules seen in silhouette, eroded by intense, energetic winds and radiation from the hot cluster stars. If they survive long enough, the dusty structures could also be sites of future star formation. Playfully called the Pacman Nebula because of its overall shape, NGC 281 is about 10,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. This sharp composite image was made through narrow-band filters, combining emission from the nebula's hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms in green, red, and blue hues. It spans over 80 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 281. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ycIMsT

2017/09/29

95 Minutes Over Jupiter


This sequence of color-enhanced images shows how quickly the viewing geometry changes for NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it swoops by Jupiter. via NASA http://ift.tt/2yMOui7

Puppis A Supernova Remnant


Driven by the explosion of a massive star, supernova remnant Puppis A is blasting into the surrounding interstellar medium about 7,000 light-years away. At that distance, this colorful telescopic field based on broadband and narrowband optical image data is about 60 light-years across. As the supernova remnant (upper right) expands into its clumpy, non-uniform surroundings, shocked filaments of oxygen atoms glow in green-blue hues. Hydrogen and nitrogen are in red. Light from the initial supernova itself, triggered by the collapse of the massive star's core, would have reached Earth about 3,700 years ago. The Puppis A remnant is actually seen through outlying emission from the closer but more ancient Vela supernova remnant, near the crowded plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Still glowing across the electromagnetic spectrum Puppis A remains one of the brightest sources in the X-ray sky. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xOgBiH

2017/09/28

This Week in NASA History: Second Crewed Skylab Mission Splashes Down – Sept. 25, 1973


This week in 1973, the second crewed Skylab mission splashed down in the Pacific Ocean following a successful 59-day mission in the orbiting laboratory. via NASA http://ift.tt/2wWUaUt

2017/09/27

Rift on Pine Island Glacier


A new iceberg calved from Pine Island Glacier—one of the main outlets where ice from the interior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet flows into the ocean. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this natural-color image on September 21, 2017, just before the break. via NASA http://ift.tt/2yGFCud

2017/09/26

OSIRIS-REx Views the Earth During Flyby


A color composite image of Earth was taken on Sept. 22, 2017, by the MapCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xD7UHx

2017/09/25

Phantom Limb


The brightly lit limb of a crescent Enceladus looks ethereal against the blackness of space. This image is a composite of images taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 29, 2017, using filters that allow infrared, green, and ultraviolet light. via NASA http://ift.tt/2y49TX6

Massive Shell Expelling Star G79 29 0 46


Stars this volatile are quite rare. Captured in the midst of dust clouds and visible to the right and above center is massive G79.29+0.46, one of less than 100 luminous blue variable stars (LBVs) currently known in our Galaxy. LBVs expel shells of gas and may lose even the mass of Jupiter over 100 years. The star, itself bright and blue, is shrouded in dust and so not seen in visible light. The dying star appears green and surrounded by red shells, though, in this mapped-color infrared picture combining images from NASA's Spitzer Space Observatory and NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer. G79.29+0.46 is located in the star-forming Cygnus X region of our Galaxy. Why G79.29+0.46 is so volatile, how long it will remain in the LBV phase, and when it will explode in a supernova is not known. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fIuXau

2017/09/24

How to Identify that Light in the Sky


What is that light in the sky? Perhaps one of humanity's more common questions, an answer may result from a few quick observations. For example -- is it moving or blinking? If so, and if you live near a city, the answer is typically an airplane, since planes are so numerous and so few stars and satellites are bright enough to be seen over the din of artificial city lights. If not, and if you live far from a city, that bright light is likely a planet such as Venus or Mars -- the former of which is constrained to appear near the horizon just before dawn or after dusk. Sometimes the low apparent motion of a distant airplane near the horizon makes it hard to tell from a bright planet, but even this can usually be discerned by the plane's motion over a few minutes. Still unsure? The featured chart gives a sometimes-humorous but mostly-accurate assessment. Dedicated sky enthusiasts will likely note -- and are encouraged to provide -- polite corrections. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xAZSQ5

2017/09/23

A Conjunction of Comets


A conjunction of comets is captured in this pretty star field from the morning of September 17. Discovered in July by a robotic sky survey searching for supernovae, comet C/2017 O1 ASASSN is at the lower left. The visible greenish glow of its coma is produced by the fluorescence of diatomic carbon molecules in sunlight. Nearing its closest approach to the Sun, the binocular comet was only about 7.2 light-minutes from Earth. In the same telescopic field of view is the long-tailed, outbound comet C/2015 ER61 PanSTARRS at the upper right, almost 14 light-minutes away. Many light-years distant, the starry background includes faint, dusty nebulae of the Milky Way. The well-known Pleiades star cluster lies just off the top right of the frame. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hkU6fa

2017/09/22

Soaring Over Jupiter


This striking image of Jupiter was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed its eighth flyby of the gas giant planet. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xzDw1k

2017/09/21

X-plane Preliminary Design Model Tests Quiet Supersonic Technology


Test Engineer Samantha O’Flaherty finalizes the set-up of the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) Preliminary Design Model inside the 14- by- 22 Foot Subsonic Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center. The QueSST Preliminary Design is the initial design stage of NASA’s planned Low-Boom Flight Demonstration experimental airplane, or X-plane. via NASA http://ift.tt/2w9GhD4

A September Morning Sky


The Moon, three planets, and a bright star gathered near the ecliptic plane in the September 18 morning sky over Veszprem Castle, Hungary. In this twilight skyscape, Mercury and Mars still shine close to the eastern horizon, soon to disappear in the glare of the Sun. Regulus, alpha star of the constellation Leo, is the bright point next to a waning crescent Moon, with brilliant Venus near the top of the frame. The beautiful morning conjunction of Moon, planets, and bright star could generally be followed by early morning risers all around planet Earth. But remarkably, the Moon also occulted, or passed directly in front of, Regulus and each of the three planets within 24 hours, all on September 18 UT. Visible from different locations, timing and watching the lunar occultations was much more difficult though, and mostly required viewing in daytime skies. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xhaqlg

2017/09/20

Suomi NPP Satellite Captures Thermal Image of Hurricane Maria


The VIIRS instrument on NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a thermal image of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20 at 2:12 a.m. EDT. The image showed very cold cloud top temperatures in the powerful thunderstorms in Maria’s eyewall. Maria’s eye was just east of the American Virgin Islands, and its northwestern quadrant stretched over Puerto Rico. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xn5mNK

The Big Corona


Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun's corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is unparalleled. The human eye can adapt to see coronal features and extent that average cameras usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The featured picture is a combination of forty exposures from one thousandth of a second to two seconds that, together, were digitally combined and processed to highlight faint features of the total solar eclipse that occurred in August of 2017. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields in the Sun's corona. Looping prominences appear bright pink just past the Sun's limb. Faint details on the night side of the New Moon can even be made out, illuminated by sunlight reflected from the dayside of the Full Earth. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hbq0KU

2017/09/19

Northern Lights Over Canada


The spectacular aurora borealis, or the “northern lights,” over Canada is sighted from the International Space Station near the highest point of its orbital path. The station’s main solar arrays are seen in the left foreground. This photograph was taken by a member of the Expedition 53 crew aboard the station on Sept. 15, 2017. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xNXbeZ

Veil Nebula: Wisps of an Exploded Star


Wisps like this are all that remain visible of a Milky Way star. About 7,000 years ago that star exploded in a supernova leaving the Veil Nebula. At the time, the expanding cloud was likely as bright as a crescent Moon, remaining visible for weeks to people living at the dawn of recorded history. Today, the resulting supernova remnant, also known as the Cygnus Loop, has faded and is now visible only through a small telescope directed toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). The remaining Veil Nebula is physically huge, however, and even though it lies about 1,400 light-years distant, it covers over five times the size of the full Moon. The featured picture is a Hubble Space Telescope mosaic of six images together covering a span of only about two light years, a small part of the expansive supernova remnant. In images of the complete Veil Nebula, even studious readers might not be able to identify the featured filaments. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fckF5B

2017/09/18

Long Way From Home


This picture of a crescent-shaped Earth and Moon - the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft - was recorded Sept. 18, 1977, by NASA's Voyager 1 when it was 7.25 million miles (11.66 million kilometers) from Earth. The moon is at the top of the picture and beyond the Earth as viewed by Voyager. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fe9adV

2017/09/17

Bright Spiral Galaxy M81


One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky is similar in size to our Milky Way Galaxy: big, beautiful M81. This grand spiral galaxy can be found toward the northern constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major). This superbly detailed view reveals M81's bright yellow nucleus, blue spiral arms, and sweeping cosmic dust lanes with a scale comparable to the Milky Way. Hinting at a disorderly past, a remarkable dust lane actually runs straight through the disk, to the left of the galactic center, contrary to M81's other prominent spiral features. The errant dust lane may be the lingering result of a close encounter between M81 and its smaller companion galaxy, M82. Scrutiny of variable stars in M81 has yielded one of the best determined distances for an external galaxy -- 11.8 million light-years. via NASA http://ift.tt/2x9X8bS

2017/09/16

Cassini s Final Image


As planned, the Cassini spacecraft impacted the upper atmosphere of Saturn on September 15, after a 13 year long exploration of the Saturnian System. With spacecraft thrusters firing until the end, its atmospheric entry followed an unprecedented series of 22 Grand Finale dives between Saturn and rings. Cassini's final signal took 83 minutes to reach planet Earth and the Deep Space Network antenna complex in Canberra Australia where loss of contact with the spacecraft was recorded at 11:55 UT. For the spacecraft, Saturn was bright and the Sun was overhead as it plowed into the gas giant planet's swirling cloud tops at about 70,000 miles (113,000 kilometers) per hour. But Cassini's final image shows the impact site hours earlier and still on the planet's night side, the cloud tops illuminated by ringlight, sunlight reflected from Saturn's rings. via NASA http://ift.tt/2faTEj8

2017/09/15

Cassini End of Mission


Cassini program manager at JPL, Earl Maize, left, and spacecraft operations team manager for the Cassini mission at Saturn, Julie Webster embrace after the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. via NASA http://ift.tt/2foCj37

100 Steps Forward


A beautiful conjunction of Venus and Moon, human, sand, and Milky Way is depicted in this night skyscape from planet Earth. The scene is a panorama of 6 photos taken in a moment near the end of a journey. In the foreground, footsteps along the wind-rippled dunes are close to the Huacachina oasis in the southwestern desert of Peru. An engaging perspective on the world at night, the stunning final image was also chosen as a winner in The World at Night's 2017 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. via NASA http://ift.tt/2wYuhaU

2017/09/14

Orion Parachutes Measure Up in High Pressure Test


Orion’s three main orange and white parachutes help a representative model of the spacecraft descend through sky above Arizona, where NASA engineers tested the parachute system on Sept. 13, 2017, at the U.S. Army Proving Ground in Yuma. NASA is qualifying Orion’s parachutes for missions with astronauts. via NASA http://ift.tt/2xBoGYR

2017/09/13

Dreamy Swirls on Saturn


NASA's Cassini spacecraft gazed toward the northern hemisphere of Saturn to spy subtle, multi-hued bands in the clouds there. via NASA http://ift.tt/2jppZUF

NGC 6334: The Cats Paw Nebula


Nebulas are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps cats are for getting into trouble. Still, no known cat could have created the vast Cat's Paw Nebula visible in Scorpius. At 5,500 light years distant, Cat's Paw is an emission nebula with a red color that originates from an abundance of ionized hydrogen atoms. Alternatively known as the Bear Claw Nebula or NGC 6334, stars nearly ten times the mass of our Sun have been born there in only the past few million years. Pictured here is a deep field image of the Cat's Paw Nebula in light emitted by hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. via NASA http://ift.tt/2wUOfn6

Expedition 53 Launches to the International Space Station


The Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft launches with Expedition 53 crewmembers Joe Acaba of NASA, Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, (Kazakh time) (Sept. 12, U.S. time). via NASA http://ift.tt/2wYcZs9