Author: Just Space

Apollo 11 and Landing Site 2 in the Sea of Tranquility : This photographic illustration compares the size of Apollo 11 Landing Site 2 with that of the metropolitan New York City area. (via NASA)

Soyuz Heads to the Launch Pad in Black and White : In this black and white infrared image, the Soyuz rocket is seen as it transported to the launch pad by train, Thursday, July 18, 2019 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (via NASA)

Apollo 11: Descent to the Moon : It had never been done before. But with the words “You’re Go for landing”, 50 years ago this Saturday, Apollo 11 astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong were cleared to make the first try. The next few minutes would contain more than a bit of drama, as an unexpected boulder field and an unacceptably sloping crater loomed below. With fuel dwindling, Armstrong coolly rocketed the lander above the lunar surface as he looked for a clear and flat place to land. With only seconds of fuel remaining, and with the help of Aldrin and mission control calling out data, Armstrong finally found a safe spot – and put the Eagle down. Many people on Earth listening to the live audio felt great relief on hearing “The Eagle has landed”, and great pride knowing that for the first time ever, human beings were on the Moon. Combined in the featured descent video are two audio feeds, a video feed similar to what the astronauts saw, captions of the dialog, and data including the tilt of the Eagle lander. The video concludes with the panorama of the lunar landscape visible outside the Eagle. A few hours later, hundreds of millions of people across planet Earth, drawn together as a single species, watched fellow humans walk on the Moon. via NASA

50 Years Ago Apollo 11 Launches Into History : At 9:32 a.m. EDT, July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Florida on a mission to the Moon. (via NASA)

Artist Russ Arasmith’s Visions of Apollo : Artist Russ Arasmith’s vision of Apollo was a potent vision of the program that shows in the works he created. (via NASA)

The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun : That’s no sunspot. It’s the International Space Station (ISS) caught passing in front of the Sun. Sunspots, individually, have a dark central umbra, a lighter surrounding penumbra, and no solar panels. By contrast, the ISS is a complex and multi-spired mechanism, one of the largest and most sophisticated machines ever created by humanity. Also, sunspots occur on the Sun, whereas the ISS orbits the Earth. Transiting the Sun is not very unusual for the ISS, which orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, but getting one’s timing and equipment just right for a great image is rare. Strangely, besides that fake spot, in this recent two-image composite, the Sun lacked any real sunspots. The featured picture combines two images – one capturing the space station transiting the Sun – and another taken consecutively capturing details of the Sun’s surface. Sunspots have been rare on the Sun since the dawn of the current Solar Minimum, a period of low solar activity. For reasons not yet fully understood, the number of sunspots occurring during both the previous and current solar minima have been unusually low. via NASA

Hubble Peers at Galactic Cherry Blossoms : The galaxy NGC 1156 resembles a delicate cherry blossom tree flowering in springtime in this Hubble image. The many bright “blooms” within the galaxy are in fact stellar nurseries — regions where new stars are springing to life. (via NASA)

Delivering Saturn Test Hardware to Marshall in July 1964 : In July 1964, the first Saturn V S-IVB, or third stage test hardware, was delivered to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (via NASA)

Growing VEGGIEs in Space : Leafy greens are growing in space! (via NASA)

4000 Exoplanets : Over 4000 planets are now known to exist outside our Solar System. Known as exoplanets, this milestone was passed last month, as recorded by NASA’s Exoplanet Archive. The featured video highlights these exoplanets in sound and light, starting chronologically from the first confirmed detection in 1992. The entire night sky is first shown compressed with the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy making a giant U. Exoplanets detected by slight jiggles in their parents-star’s colors (radial velocity) appear in pink, while those detected by slight dips in their parent star’s brightness (transit) are shown in purple. Further, those exoplanets imaged directly appear in orange, while those detected by gravitationally magnifying the light of a background star (microlensing) are shown in green. The faster a planet orbits its parent star, the higher the accompanying tone played. The retired Kepler satellite has discovered about half of these first 4000 exoplanets in just one region of the sky, while the new TESS mission is on track to find even more, all over the sky, orbiting the brightest nearby stars. Finding exoplanets not only helps humanity to better understand the potential prevalence of life elsewhere in the universe, but also how our Earth and Solar System were formed. via NASA