Author: Just Space

Reflections of Venus and Moon : Posing near th…

Reflections of Venus and Moon : Posing near the western horizon, a brilliant evening star and slender young crescent shared reflections in a calm sea last Thursday after sunset. Recorded in this snapshot from the Atlantic beach at Santa Marinella near Rome, Italy, the lovely celestial conjunction of the two brightest beacons in the night sky could be enjoyed around the world. Seaside, light reflected by briefly horizontal surfaces of the gentle waves forms the shimmering columns across the water. Similar reflections by fluttering atmospheric ice crystals can create sometimes mysterious pillars of light. Of course, earthlight itself visibly illuminates the faint lunar night side. via NASA

Orbital ATK Rocket Rolls Out for May 21 Launch…

Orbital ATK Rocket Rolls Out for May 21 Launch : An Orbital ATK rocket rolls out to launch Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on May 17, 2018, in advance of a May 21 launch from Wallops Island, VA. The Antares will launch a Cygnus spacecraft on a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. (via NASA)

Hubble Catches a Spiral Galaxy in Disguise : N…

Hubble Catches a Spiral Galaxy in Disguise : NGC 1032 cleaves the quiet darkness of space in two in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (via NASA)

An Amazing View : Astronaut Ricky Arnold took …

An Amazing View : Astronaut Ricky Arnold took this selfie during the May 16, 2018, spacewalk. (via NASA)

Blue Waters : This image of the southern Green…

Blue Waters : This image of the southern Greenland town of Narsaq was taken during an Operation IceBridge flight on Apr. 26, 2018. (via NASA)

A Sunny Day : Each and every day NASA’s …

A Sunny Day : Each and every day NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observes our Sun and relays observational data to scientists on Earth. (via NASA)

Europa by the Numbers : Galileo Galilei discov…

Europa by the Numbers : Galileo Galilei discovered Jupiter’s moon Europa in 1610. More than four centuries later, astronomers are still making discoveries about its icy surface. (via NASA)

Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning : Why does …

Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning : Why does a volcanic eruption sometimes create lightning? Pictured above, the Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan was caught erupting in 2013 January. Magma bubbles so hot they glowed shot away as liquid rock burst through the Earth’s surface from below. The featured image is particularly notable, however, for the lightning bolts caught near the volcano’s summit. Why lightning occurs even in common thunderstorms remains a topic of research, and the cause of volcanic lightning is even less clear. Surely, lightning bolts help quench areas of opposite but separated electric charges. Volcanic lightning episodes may be facilitated by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust. Lightning is usually occurring somewhere on Earth, typically over 40 times each second. via NASA

A Plurality of Singularities at the Galactic C…

A Plurality of Singularities at the Galactic Center : A recent informal poll found that astronomers don’t yet have a good collective noun for a group of black holes, but they need one. The red circles in this Chandra Observatory X-ray image identify a group of a dozen black holes that are members of binary star systems. With 5 to 30 times the mass of the Sun, the black hole binaries are swarming within about 3 light-years of the center of our galaxy where the supermassive black hole identified as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) resides. Yellow circles indicate X-ray sources that are likely less massive neutron stars or white dwarf stars in binary star systems. Alone, black holes would be invisible, but as part of a binary star system they accrete material from their normal companion star and generate X-rays. At the distance of the galactic center Chandra can detect only the brighter of these black hole binary systems as point-like sources of X-rays, hinting that many fainter X-ray emitting black hole binaries should exist there, as yet undetected. via NASA

NGC 1360: The Robin s Egg Nebula : This pretty…

NGC 1360: The Robin s Egg Nebula : This pretty cosmic cloud lies some 1,500 light-years away, it shape and color reminiscent of a blue robin’s egg. It spans about 3 light-years, nested securely within the boundaries of the southern constellation Fornax. Recognized as a planetary nebula it doesn’t represent a beginning though, but instead corresponds to a brief and final phase in the evolution of an aging star. In fact, visible in the telescopic image the central star of NGC 1360 is known to be a binary star system likely consisting of two evolved white dwarf stars, less massive but much hotter than the Sun. Their intense and otherwise invisible ultraviolet radiation has stripped away electrons from the atoms in the surrounding gaseous shroud. The predominant blue-green hue of NGC 1360 seen here is the strong emission produced as electrons recombine with doubly ionized oxygen atoms. via NASA