Total Solar Eclipse of 1979

From cold, clear skies over Riverton, Manitoba, Canada, planet Earth, the solar corona surrounds the silhouette of the New Moon in this telescopic snapshot of the total solar eclipse of February 26, 1979. Thirty eight years ago, it was the last total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States. The narrow path of totality ran through the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota before crossing into Canadian provinces Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Following the upcoming August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse crossing the U.S. from coast to coast, an annular solar eclipse will be seen in the continental United States on October 14, 2023, visible along a route from Northern California to Florida. Then, the next total solar eclipse to touch the continental U.S. will track across 13 states from from Texas to Maine on April 8, 2024. via NASA http://ift.tt/2v7zND7


Atlas V Rocket and TDRS-M

As the Sun rises at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket vents liquid oxygen propellant vapors during fueling for the lift off of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M. via NASA http://ift.tt/2uPitaN


Jupiter: A New Point of View

This striking Jovian vista was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vLOn5u

NGC 2442: Galaxy in Volans

Distorted galaxy NGC 2442 can be found in the southern constellation of the flying fish, (Piscis) Volans. Located about 50 million light-years away, the galaxy's two spiral arms extending from a pronounced central bar have a hook-like appearance in wide-field images. But this mosaicked close-up, constructed from Hubble Space Telescope and European Southern Observatory data, follows the galaxy's structure in amazing detail. Obscuring dust lanes, young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions surround a core of yellowish light from an older population of stars. The sharp image data also reveal more distant background galaxies seen right through NGC 2442's star clusters and nebulae. The image spans about 75,000 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 2442. via NASA http://ift.tt/2i4R92x


Space Station Flight Over the Bahamas

One of the most recognizable points on the Earth for astronauts to photograph is the Bahamas. Randy Bresnik of NASA shared this Aug. 13 photo from the International Space Station, saying, "The stunning Bahamas were a real treat for us. The vivid turquoise of the water over the reef was absolutely captivating." via NASA http://ift.tt/2x4Sg4W

Perseid by the Sea

Just after moonrise on August 12 this grain of cosmic sand fell by the sea, its momentary flash part of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. To create the Perseid meteors, dust along the orbit of periodic comet Swift-Tuttle is swept up by planet Earth. The cometary debris plows through the atmosphere at nearly 60 kilometers per second and is quickly vaporized at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so. Perseid meteors are often bright and colorful, like the one captured in this sea and night skyscape. Against starry sky and faint Milky Way the serene view looks south and west across the Adriatic Sea, from the moonlit Dalmatian coast toward the island of Brac. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fHEKAR


Spiraling Cloud Patterns Over Guadalupe Island

On May 24, 2017, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured a natural-color image of long, spiraling cloud patterns, or "von Kármán vortices," on the lee side of Guadalupe Island. The volcanic island rises from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. via NASA http://ift.tt/2wbhbGA

Stars, Gas, and Dust Battle in the Carina Nebula

Chaos reigns in the Carina Nebula where massive stars form and die. Striking and detailed, this close-up of a portion of the famous nebula is a combination of light emitted by hydrogen (shown in red) and oxygen (shown in blue). Dramatic dark dust knots and complex features revealed are sculpted by the winds and radiation of Carina's massive and energetic stars. One iconic feature of the Carina Nebula is the dark V-shaped dust lane that occurs in the top half of the image. The Carina Nebula spans about 200 light years, lies about 7,500 light years distant, and is visible with binoculars toward the southern constellation of Carina. In a billion years after the dust settles -- or is destroyed, and the gas dissipates -- or gravitationally condenses, then only the stars will remain -- but not even the brightest ones. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vx7wcO


SpaceX CRS-12 Cargo Mission Launch

The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kenney Space Center carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2uDQFGd

Highlighting Titan's Hazes

NASA's Cassini spacecraft looks toward the night side of Saturn's moon Titan in a view that highlights the extended, hazy nature of the moon's atmosphere. via NASA http://ift.tt/2w6cbDc


Detailed View of a Solar Eclipse Corona

Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona's brightness, although discernible to the eye, are notoriously difficult to photograph. Pictured here, however, using multiple images and digital processing, is a detailed image of the Sun's corona taken during the 2008 August total solar eclipse from Mongolia. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields. Bright looping prominences appear pink just above the Sun's limb. A similar solar corona might be visible through clear skies in a thin swath across the USA during a total solar eclipse that occurs just one week from tomorrow. via NASA http://ift.tt/2uPVDuV


Hubble Displays a Dwarf Spiral Galaxy

Dwarf galaxy NGC 5949 sits at a distance of around 44 million light-years from us, placing it within the Milky Way’s cosmic neighborhood. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vVzjFb

A Total Solar Eclipse of Saros 145

A darkened sky holds bright planet Venus, the New Moon in silhouette, and the shimmering corona of the Sun in this image of a total solar eclipse. A composite of simultaneous telephoto and wide angle frames it was taken in the path of totality 18 years ago, August 11, 1999, near Kastamonu, Turkey. That particular solar eclipse is a member of Saros 145. Known historically from observations of the Moon's orbit, the Saros cycle predicts when the Sun, Earth, and Moon will return to the same geometry for a solar (or lunar) eclipse. The Saros has a period of 18 years, 11 and 1/3 days. Eclipses separated by one Saros period belong to the same numbered Saros series and are very similar. But the path of totality for consecutive solar eclipses in the same Saros shifts across the Earth because the planet rotates for an additional 8 hours during the cycle's fractional day. So the next solar eclipse of Saros 145 will also be a total eclipse, and the narrow path of totality will track coast to coast across the United States on August 21, 2017. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vIhybS


A Starburst with the Prospect of Gravitational Waves

More than a hundred years after Swift’s discovery of the "starburst" galaxy IC 10, astronomers are studying IC 10 with the most powerful telescopes of the 21st century. via NASA http://ift.tt/2wxOwt0

Night of the Perseids

This weekend, meteors will rain down near the peak of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. Normally bright and colorful, the Perseid shower meteors are produced by dust swept up by planet Earth from the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle. They streak from a radiant in Perseus, above the horizon in clear predawn skies. Despite interfering light from August's waning gibbous moon, this year's Perseids will still be enjoyable, especially if you can find yourself in an open space, away from city lights, and in good company. Frames used in this composite view capture bright Perseid meteors from the 2016 meteor shower set against a starry background along the Milky Way, with even the faint Andromeda Galaxy just above center. In the foreground, astronomers of all ages have gathered on a hill above the Slovakian village of Vrchtepla. via NASA http://ift.tt/2uo0I28


Solar Evaporation Ponds Near Moab, Utah

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of solar evaporation ponds outside the city of Moab, Utah. There are 23 colorful ponds spread across 400 acres. They are part of a large operation to mine potassium chloride—more commonly referred to as muriate of potash (MOP)—from ore buried underground. via NASA http://ift.tt/2uGPbGk

August Lunar Eclipse

August's Full Moon is framed in this sharp, high dynamic range composition. Captured before sunrise on August 8 from Sydney, Australia, south is up and the Earth's dark, umbral shadow is at the left, near the maximum phase of a partial lunar eclipse. Kicking off the eclipse season, this time the Full Moon's grazing slide through Earth's shadow was visible from the eastern hemisphere. Up next is the much anticipated total solar eclipse of August 21. Then, the New Moon's shadow track will include North America, the narrow path of totality running coast to coast through the United States. via NASA http://ift.tt/2woQfAK


Moon Rise From the Space Station

From his vantage point aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik pointed his camera toward the rising Moon and captured this beautiful image on August 3, 2017. Bresnik wrote, "Gorgeous moon rise! Such great detail when seen from space. Next full moon marks #Eclipse2017. We’ll be watching from @Space_Station." via NASA http://ift.tt/2wELWk9

Density Waves in Saturns Rings from Cassini

What causes the patterns in Saturn's rings? The Cassini spacecraft, soon ending its 13 years orbiting Saturn, has sent back another spectacular image of Saturn's immense ring system in unprecedented detail. The physical cause for some of Saturn's ring structures is not always understood. The cause for the beautifully geometric type of ring structure shown here in ring of Saturn, however, is surely a density wave. A small moon systematically perturbing the orbits of ring particles circling Saturn at slightly different distances causes such a density wave bunching. Also visible on the lower right of the image is a bending wave, a vertical wave in ring particles also caused by the gravity of a nearby moon. Cassini's final orbits are allowing a series of novel scientific measurements and images of the Solar System's most grand ring system. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vaJh3H


Prometheus and the Ghostly F Ring

The thin sliver of Saturn's moon Prometheus lurks near ghostly structures in Saturn's narrow F ring in this view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. via NASA http://ift.tt/2wAP7cL

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512: The Inner Ring

Most galaxies don't have any rings -- why does this galaxy have two? To begin, the bright band near NGC 1512's center is a nuclear ring, a ring that surrounds the galaxy center and glows brightly with recently formed stars. Most stars and accompanying gas and dust, however, orbit the galactic center in a ring much further out -- here seen near the image edge. This ring is called, counter-intuitively, the inner ring. If you look closely, you will see this the inner ring connects ends of a diffuse central bar that runs horizontally across the galaxy. These ring structures are thought to be caused by NGC 1512's own asymmetries in a drawn-out process called secular evolution. The gravity of these galaxy asymmetries, including the bar of stars, cause gas and dust to fall from the inner ring to the nuclear ring, enhancing this ring's rate of star formation. Some spiral galaxies also have a third ring -- an outer ring that circles the galaxy even further out. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vDVT5c


Gravity s Grin

Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, published over 100 years ago, predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. And that's what gives these distant galaxies such a whimsical appearance, seen through the looking glass of X-ray and optical image data from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Nicknamed the Cheshire Cat galaxy group, the group's two large elliptical galaxies are suggestively framed by arcs. The arcs are optical images of distant background galaxies lensed by the foreground group's total distribution of gravitational mass. Of course, that gravitational mass is dominated by dark matter. The two large elliptical "eye" galaxies represent the brightest members of their own galaxy groups which are merging. Their relative collisional speed of nearly 1,350 kilometers/second heats gas to millions of degrees producing the X-ray glow shown in purple hues. Curiouser about galaxy group mergers? The Cheshire Cat group grins in the constellation Ursa Major, some 4.6 billion light-years away. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fdbVf2


NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Watches a Sunspot

On July 5, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory watched an active region — an area of intense and complex magnetic fields — rotate into view on the Sun. This image shows a blended view of the sunspot in visible and extreme ultraviolet light, revealing bright coils arcing over the active region — particles spiraling along magnetic field lines. via NASA http://ift.tt/2v43I2x

North North Temperate Zone Little Red Spot

On July 11, the Juno spacecraft once again swung near the turbulent Jovian cloud tops. On its seventh orbital closest approach this perijove passage brought Juno within 3,500 kilometers of the Solar System's largest planetary atmosphere. Near perijove the rotating JunoCam was able to record this stunning, clear view of one of Jupiter's signature vortices. About 8,000 kilometers in diameter, the anticyclonic storm system was spotted in Jupiter's North North Temperate Zone in the 1990s. That makes it about half the size of an older and better known Jovian anticyclone, the Great Red Spot, but only a little smaller than planet Earth. At times taking on reddish hues, the enormous storm system is fondly known as a North North Temperate Zone Little Red Spot. via NASA http://ift.tt/2vkZKU4


A Look Inside the Space Station's Expandable BEAM Module

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik looks through the hatch of the International Space Station's Bigelow Expandable Aerospace Module (BEAM) on July 31, 2017. The BEAM is an experimental expandable module just over halfway into its planned two-year demonstration on the space station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hrHlPL

Pelican Nebula Close Up

The prominent ridge of emission featured in this vivid skyscape is designated IC 5067. Part of a larger emission region with a distinctive shape, popularly called The Pelican Nebula, the ridge spans about 10 light-years and follows the curve of the cosmic pelican's head and neck. Fantastic, dark shapes inhabiting the view are clouds of cool gas and dust sculpted by energetic radiation from young, hot, massive stars. But stars are also forming within the dark shapes. Twin jets emerging from the tip of the long, dark tendril left of center are the telltale signs of an embedded protostar cataloged as Herbig-Haro 555 (HH 555). In fact, other Herbig-Haro objects indicating the presence of protostars are found within the frame. The Pelican Nebula itself, also known as IC 5070, is about 2,000 light-years away. To find it, look northeast of bright star Deneb in the high flying constellation Cygnus. via NASA http://ift.tt/2f7Hbfv


Space Station Flyover of Super Typhoon Noru

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik photographed Super Typhoon Noru on August 1, 2017, as the International Space Station passed overhead. He shared images of the massive storm on social media, writing, "Super Typhoon #Noru, amazing the size of this weather phenomenon, you can almost sense its power from 250 miles above." via NASA http://ift.tt/2tZW5Hq

The Dust Monster in IC 1396

Is there a monster in IC 1396? Known to some as the Elephant's Trunk Nebula, parts of gas and dust clouds of this star formation region may appear to take on foreboding forms, some nearly human. The only real monster here, however, is a bright young star too far from Earth to hurt us. Energetic light from this star is eating away the dust of the dark cometary globule near the top of the featured image. Jets and winds of particles emitted from this star are also pushing away ambient gas and dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a much larger region on the sky than shown here, with an apparent width of more than 10 full moons. via NASA http://ift.tt/2f3TuJE


August 1, 1971 - Second Apollo 15 Moonwalk

This mini-panorama combines two photographs taken by Apollo 15 lunar module pilot Jim Irwin, from the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) site, at the end of the second Apollo 15 moonwalk on August 1, 1971. Apollo 15 was the fourth crewed mission to land on the Moon. via NASA http://ift.tt/2ugfLpO

Perseid Meteors over Turkey

The Perseid Meteor Shower, usually the best meteor shower of the year, will peak late next week. A person watching a clear sky from a dark location might see a bright meteor every minute. These meteors are actually specks of rock that have broken off Comet Swift-Tuttle and continued to orbit the Sun until they vaporize in Earth's atmosphere. The featured composite image shows a outburst of Perseids as they appeared over Turkey during last year's meteor shower. Enough meteors were captured to trace the shower's radiant back to the constellation of Perseus on the far left. The tail-end of the Perseids will still be going during the total solar eclipse on August 21, creating a rare opportunity for some lucky astrophotographers to image a Perseid meteor during the day. via NASA http://ift.tt/2hgcaXB