Glaciers Ebb on South Georgia Island

Frequent cloud cover in the southern Atlantic Ocean often obscures satellite images of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. But occasionally the clouds give way. On September 14, 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured natural-color images of South Georgia Island, where several glaciers are in retreat. via NASA http://ift.tt/2m3yN2e

Four Quasar Images Surround a Galaxy Lens

An odd thing about the group of lights near the center is that four of them are the same distant quasar. This is because the foreground galaxy -- in the center of the quasar images and the featured image -- is acting like a choppy gravitational lens. A perhaps even odder thing is that by watching these background quasars flicker, you can estimate the expansion rate of the universe. That is because the flicker timing increases as the expansion rate increases. But to some astronomers, the oddest thing of all is that these multiply imaged quasars indicate a universe that is expanding a bit faster than has been estimated by different methods that apply to the early universe. And that is because ... well, no one is sure why. Reasons might include an unexpected distribution of dark matter, some unexpected effect of gravity, or something completely different. Perhaps future observations and analyses of this and similarly lensed quasar images will remove these oddities. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lqQwNC


Images of the Sun From the GOES-16 Satellite

These images of the sun were captured at the same time on January 29, 2017 by the six channels on the Solar Ultraviolet Imager or SUVI instrument aboard NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite. Data from SUVI will provide an estimation of coronal plasma temperatures and emission measurements which are important to space weather forecasting. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lOkQTJ

A Supercell Thunderstorm Cloud Over Montana

Is that a spaceship or a cloud? Although it may seem like an alien mothership, it's actually a impressive thunderstorm cloud called a supercell. Such colossal storm systems center on mesocyclones -- rotating updrafts that can span several kilometers and deliver torrential rain and high winds including tornadoes. Jagged sculptured clouds adorn the supercell's edge, while wind swept dust and rain dominate the center. A tree waits patiently in the foreground. The above supercell cloud was photographed in 2010 July west of Glasgow, Montana, USA, caused minor damage, and lasted several hours before moving on. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kZHgUH


Orion Spacecraft Progress Continues With Installation of Module to Test Propulsion Systems

On Feb. 22, engineers successfully installed ESA’s European Service Module Propulsion Qualification Module (PQM) at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico that was delivered by Airbus – ESA’s prime contractor for the Service Module. The module will be equipped with a total of 21 engines to support NASA’s Orion spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lNu6cD


Sounding Rocket Launches to Study Auroras

A NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket soars skyward into an aurora over Alaska following a 5:13 a.m. EST, Feb. 22, 2017 launch from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The rocket carried an Ionospheric Structuring: In Situ and Groundbased Low Altitude StudieS (ISINGLASS) instrumented payload examining the structure of an aurora. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lp4hz6


Rays of Creusa

When viewed from a distance with the sun directly behind Cassini, the larger, brighter craters really stand out on moons like Dione. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kHYR3n


Liftoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon From Launch Complex 39A

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the company's 10th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 9:39 a.m. EST from the historic launch site now operated by SpaceX under a property agreement with NASA. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kNCo03

Penumbral Eclipse Rising

As seen from Cocoa Beach Pier, Florida, planet Earth, the Moon rose at sunset on February 10 while gliding through Earth's faint outer shadow. In progress was the first eclipse of 2017, a penumbral lunar eclipse followed in this digital stack of seaside exposures. Of course, the penumbral shadow is lighter than the planet's umbral shadow. That central, dark, shadow is easily seen on the lunar disk during a total or partial lunar eclipse. Still, in this penumbral eclipse the limb of the Moon grows just perceptibly darker as it rises above the western horizon. The second eclipse of 2017 could be more dramatic though. With viewing from a path across planet Earth's southern hemisphere, on February 26 there will be an annular eclipse of the Sun. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kJzVUb


Falcon 9 Rocket With Dragon Spacecraft Vertical at Launch Complex 39A

NASA provider SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are vertical at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff of SpaceX's tenth Commercial Resupply Services cargo mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for 10:01 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lr9OFB

The Tulip and Cygnus X-1

Framing a bright emission region, this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the reddish glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant and 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful nebula blossoms at the center of this composite image. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star near the center of the nebula. Also framed in the field of view is microquasar Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest X-ray sources in planet Earth's sky. Driven by powerful jets from a black hole accretion disk, its fainter visible curved shock front lies above and right, just beyond the cosmic Tulip's petals via NASA http://ift.tt/2lVUygT


Thomas Byrdsong, Aerospace Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center

On March 2, 1963 Engineer Thomas Byrdsong checks the Apollo/Saturn 1B Ground-wind-loads model in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ku7vT9

The Calabash Nebula from Hubble

Fast expanding gas clouds mark the end for a central star in the Calabash Nebula. The once-normal star has run out of nuclear fuel, causing the central regions to contract into a white dwarf. Some of the liberated energy causes the outer envelope of the star to expand. In this case, the result is a photogenic proto-planetary nebula. As the million-kilometer per hour gas rams into the surrounding interstellar gas, a supersonic shock front forms where ionized hydrogen and nitrogen glow blue. Thick gas and dust hide the dying central star. The Calabash Nebula, also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula and OH231.8+4.2, will likely develop into a full bipolar planetary nebula over the next 1000 years. The nebula, featured here, is about 1.4 light-years in extent and located about 5000 light-years away toward the constellation of Puppis. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lKLZtg


Glacial 'Aftershock' Spawns Antarctic Iceberg

Pine Island Glacier has shed another block of ice into Antarctic waters. The loss was tiny compared to the icebergs that broke off in 2014 and 2015, but the event is further evidence of the ice shelf’s fragility. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lhOlz6

The Rosette Nebula

Would the Rosette Nebula by any other name look as sweet? The bland New General Catalog designation of NGC 2237 doesn't appear to diminish the appearance of this flowery emission nebula. Inside the nebula lies an open cluster of bright young stars designated NGC 2244. These stars formed about four million years ago from the nebular material and their stellar winds are clearing a hole in the nebula's center, insulated by a layer of dust and hot gas. Ultraviolet light from the hot cluster stars causes the surrounding nebula to glow. The Rosette Nebula spans about 100 light-years across, lies about 5000 light-years away, and can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros). via NASA http://ift.tt/2ksUEf4


Space Station Flight Over Venice

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency shared this photograph from the International Space Station on Feb. 14, 2017, writing, "Venice, city of gondoliers and the lovers they carry along the canals. Happy Valentine's Day!" via NASA http://ift.tt/2kti7fZ


F for Fabulous

When seen up close, the F ring of Saturn resolves into multiple dusty strands. This Cassini view shows three bright strands and a very faint fourth strand off to the right. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lc53zv


Hubble Sees Spiral in Andromeda

The Andromeda constellation is one of the 88 modern constellations and should not be confused with our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kcRMCB


Jeanette A. Scissum, Scientist and Mathematician at NASA Marshall

Jeanette Scissum joined NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in 1964 after earning bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Alabama A&M University. Scissum published a NASA report in 1967, “Survey of Solar Cycle Prediction Models,” which put forward techniques for improved forecasting of the sunspot cycle. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lofO2M


Sunrise at Rogers Dry Lake

A sunrise photo of Edwards Air Force Base’s Rogers Dry Lake was taken after heavy rainfall in southern California. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center is seen in the foreground. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kmG89u


Antarctica’s Changing Larsen Ice Shelf

The Larsen Ice Shelf is situated along the northeastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the fastest-warming places on the planet. In the past three decades, two large sections of the ice shelf (Larsen A and B) collapsed. A third section (Larsen C) seems like it may be on a similar trajectory, with a new iceberg poised to break away soon. via NASA http://ift.tt/2khVD2e

The Porpoise Galaxy from Hubble

What's happening to this spiral galaxy? Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy -- spinning, creating stars -- and minding its own business. But then it got too close to the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 2937 below and took a dive. Dubbed the Porpoise Galaxy for its iconic shape, NGC 2936 is not only being deflected but also being distorted by the close gravitational interaction. A burst of young blue stars forms the nose of the porpoise toward the right of the upper galaxy, while the center of the spiral appears as an eye. Alternatively, the galaxy pair, together known as Arp 142, look to some like a penguin protecting an egg. Either way, intricate dark dust lanes and bright blue star streams trail the troubled galaxy to the lower right. The featured re-processed image showing Arp 142 in unprecedented detail was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope last year. Arp 142 lies about 300 million light years away toward the constellation, coincidently, of the Water Snake (Hydra). In a billion years or so the two galaxies will likely merge into one larger galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lb8fMN


Potentially Hospitable Enceladus

Seen from outside, Enceladus appears to be like most of its sibling moons: cold, icy and inhospitable. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kdYKIB

Odysseus Crater on Tethys

Some moons wouldn't survive the collision. Tethys, one of Saturn's larger moons at about 1000 kilometers in diameter, survived the collision, but today exhibits the resulting expansive impact crater Odysseus. Sometimes called the Great Basin, Odysseus occurs on the leading hemisphere of Tethys and shows its great age by the relative amount of smaller craters that occur inside its towering walls. The density of Tethys is similar to water-ice. The featured image was captured in November by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn as it swooped past the giant ice ball. Cassini has now started on its Grand Finale Tour which will take it inside Saturn's rings and culminate in September with a dive into Saturn's thick atmosphere. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kGHEGp


Hubble Captures Brilliant Star Death in “Rotten Egg” Nebula

The Calabash Nebula, pictured here is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the sun. via NASA http://ift.tt/2k9Nu2t

NGC 1316: After Galaxies Collide

An example of violence on a cosmic scale, enormous elliptical galaxy NGC 1316 lies about 75 million light-years away toward Fornax, the southern constellation of the Furnace. Investigating the startling sight, astronomers suspect the giant galaxy of colliding with smaller neighbor NGC 1317 seen just above, causing far flung loops and shells of stars. Light from their close encounter would have reached Earth some 100 million years ago. In the deep, sharp image, the central regions of NGC 1316 and NGC 1317 appear separated by over 100,000 light-years. Complex dust lanes visible within also indicate that NGC 1316 is itself the result of a merger of galaxies in the distant past. Found on the outskirts of the Fornax galaxy cluster, NGC 1316 is known as Fornax A. One of the visually brightest of the Fornax cluster galaxies it is one of the strongest and largest radio sources with radio emission extending well beyond this telescopic field-of-view, over several degrees on the sky. via NASA http://ift.tt/2jAxVC0


Looking Back: Dr. George Carruthers and Apollo 16 Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph

Dr. George Carruthers, right, and William Conway, a project manager at the Naval Research Institute, examine the gold-plated ultraviolet camera/spectrograph, the first moon-based observatory that Carruthers developed for the Apollo 16 mission. Apollo 16 astronauts placed the observatory on the moon in April 1972. via NASA http://ift.tt/2kwxJTs


Lake Powell and Grand Staircase-Escalante

This panorama, photographed by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, shows nearly the full length of Lake Powell, the reservoir on the Colorado River in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Note that the ISS was north of the lake at the time, so in this view south is at the top left of the image. via NASA http://ift.tt/2jw0kt1

Where to See the American Eclipse

Are you planning to see the American Eclipse on August 21? A few hours after sunrise, a rare total eclipse of the Sun will be visible along a narrow path across the USA. Those only near the path will see a partial eclipse. Although some Americans live right in path of totality, surely many more will be able to get there after a well-planned drive. One problem with eclipses, though, is that clouds sometimes get in the way. To increase your clear-viewing odds, you might consult the featured map and find a convenient destination with a historically low chance (more blue) of thick clouds overhead during totality. Given the large fraction of Americans carrying camera-equipped smartphones, this American Eclipse may turn out to be the most photographed event in the history of the world. via NASA http://ift.tt/2jR3xiW