Author: Just Space

The Nebra Sky Disk : It is considered the ol…

The Nebra Sky Disk : It is considered the oldest known illustration of the night sky. But what, exactly, does it depict, and why was it made? The Nebra sky disk was found with a metal detector in 1999 by treasure hunters near Nebra, Germany, in the midst of several bronze-age weapons. The ancient artifact spans about 30 centimeters and has been associated with the Unetice culture that inhabited part of Europe around 1600 BC. Reconstructed, the dots are thought to represent stars, with the cluster representing the Pleiades, and the large circle and the crescent representing the Sun and Moon. The purpose of the disk remains unknown – hypotheses including an astronomical clock, a work of art, and a religious symbol. Valued at about $11 million, some believe that the Nebra sky disk is only one of a pair, with the other disk still out there waiting to be discovered. via NASA

Rotating Moon from LRO : No one, presently, s…

Rotating Moon from LRO : No one, presently, sees the Moon rotate like this. That’s because the Earth’s moon is tidally locked to the Earth, showing us only one side. Given modern digital technology, however, combined with many detailed images returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a high resolution virtual Moon rotation movie has been composed. The above time-lapse video starts with the standard Earth view of the Moon. Quickly, though, Mare Orientale, a large crater with a dark center that is difficult to see from the Earth, rotates into view just below the equator. From an entire lunar month condensed into 24 seconds, the video clearly shows that the Earth side of the Moon contains an abundance of dark lunar maria, while the lunar far side is dominated by bright lunar highlands. Currently, over 20 new missions to the Moon are under active development from four different countries, most of which have expected launch dates either this year or next. via NASA

Rose-Colored Jupiter : This image captures a c…

Rose-Colored Jupiter : This image captures a close-up view of a storm with bright cloud tops in the northern hemisphere of Jupiter. (via NASA)

The Aurora Named STEVE : What’s in a nam…

The Aurora Named STEVE : What’s in a name? If your name is Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement aka STEVE, then there’s quite bit behind the name. (via NASA)

Catalog Entry Number 1 : Every journey has fir…

Catalog Entry Number 1 : Every journey has first step and every catalog a first entry. First entries in six well-known deep sky catalogs appear in these panels, from upper left to lower right in chronological order of original catalog publication. From 1774, Charles Messier’s catalog entry number 1 is M1, famous cosmic crustacean and supernova remnant the Crab Nebula. J.L.E. Dreyer’s (not so new) New General Catalog was published in 1888. A spiral galaxy in Pegasus, his NGC 1 is centered in the next panel. Just below it in the frame is another spiral galaxy cataloged as NGC 2. In Dreyer’s follow-on Index Catalog (next panel), IC 1 is actually a faint double star, though. Now recognized as part of the Perseus molecular cloud complex, dark nebula Barnard 1 begins the bottom row from Dark Markings of the Sky, a 1919 catalog by E.E. Barnard. Abell 1 is a distant galaxy cluster in Pegasus, from George Abell’s 1958 catalog of Rich Clusters of Galaxies. The final panel is centered on vdB 1, from Sidney van den Bergh’s 1966 study. The pretty, blue galactic reflection nebula is found in the constellation Cassiopeia. via NASA

There’s Always Pi! : Just by determining…

There’s Always Pi! : Just by determining how circular a given crater is – using pi and the crater’s perimeter and area – planetary geologists can reveal clues about how the crater was formed and the surface that was impacted. (via NASA)

Night Sky Highlights: March to May : What mig…

Night Sky Highlights: March to May : What might you see in the night sky over the next few months? The featured graphic gives a few highlights. Viewed as a clock face centered at the bottom, sky events in March fan out toward the left, April toward the top, and May toward the right. Objects relatively close to Earth are illustrated, in general, as nearer to the cartoon figure with the telescope at the bottom center – although almost everything pictured can be seen without a telescope. Sky highlights this season include a bright Venus in the evening sky during March, the Lyrids meteor shower during April, and Jupiter entering the evening sky during May. As true in every season, the International Space Station (ISS) can be sometimes be found drifting across your sky if you know just when and where to look. via NASA

Running a Real-Time Simulation of Go-No-Go for…

Running a Real-Time Simulation of Go-No-Go for Apollo 17 : Not everyone gets to become a part of history, but mathematician Billie Robertson is one of the lucky ones. In this image taken on Nov. 27, 1972, she was running a real-time simulation of Translunar Injection (TLI) Go-No-Go for the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission. (via NASA)

The Complete Galactic Plane: Up and Down : Is…

The Complete Galactic Plane: Up and Down : Is it possible to capture the entire plane of our galaxy in a single image? Yes, but not in one exposure – and it took some planning to do it in two. The top part of the featured image is the night sky above Lebanon, north of the equator, taken in 2017 June. The image was taken at a time when the central band of the Milky Way Galaxy passed directly overhead. The bottom half was similarly captured six months later in latitude-opposite Chile, south of Earth’s equator. Each image therefore captured the night sky in exactly the opposite direction of the other, when fully half the Galactic plane was visible. The southern half was then inverted – car and all – and digitally appended to the top half to show the entire central band of our Galaxy, as a circle, in a single image. Many stars and nebulas are visible, with the Large Magellanic Cloud being particularly notable inside the lower half of the complete galactic circle. via NASA

Dramatic Dione : Cassini captured this strikin…

Dramatic Dione : Cassini captured this striking view of Saturn’s moon Dione on July 23, 2012. (via NASA)