Category: 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)

OSIRIS-REx arrived at asteroid Bennu this week…

OSIRIS-REx arrived at asteroid Bennu this week! It will stay in orbit to do a complete survey of the asteroid. But even cooler, it will get so close to the surface it will touch Bennu briefly and use a puff of hydrogen to dislodge surface material, that it will then collect. After that, OSIRIS-REx heads back to Earth to deliver the sample!

Here is a really cool video on how this little orbiter got to Bennu and detailing its mission.

https://youtu.be/NYGHbl_esgw

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

Galaxies in the River : Large galaxies grow by…

Galaxies in the River : Large galaxies grow by eating small ones. Even our own galaxy practices galactic cannibalism, absorbing small galaxies that get too close and are captured by the Milky Way’s gravity. In fact, the practice is common in the universe and illustrated by this striking pair of interacting galaxies from the banks of the southern constellation Eridanus, The River. Located over 50 million light years away, the large, distorted spiral NGC 1532 is seen locked in a gravitational struggle with dwarf galaxy NGC 1531 (right of center), a struggle the smaller galaxy will eventually lose. Seen edge-on, spiral NGC 1532 spans about 100,000 light-years. Nicely detailed in this sharp image, the NGC 1532/1531 pair is thought to be similar to the well-studied system of face-on spiral and small companion known as M51. via NASA

The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), loca…

The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA’s InSight lander, took this picture of the Martian surface on Nov. 26, 2018, the same day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet. The camera’s transparent dust cover is still on in this image, to prevent particulates kicked up during landing from settling on the camera’s lens. This image was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full Moon Over Newfoundland : The crew of the …

Full Moon Over Newfoundland : The crew of the International Space Station snapped this image of the full moon on April 30, 2018, as the station orbited off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. (via NASA)