Category: 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)

Flying over the Earth at Night II : What woul…

Flying over the Earth at Night II : What would it be like to orbit the Earth? The International Space Station (ISS) does this every 90 minutes, and sometimes the astronauts on board take image sequences that are made into videos. The featured time-lapse video shows many visual spectacles of the dark Earth below. First, as the video begins, green and red auroras are visible on the upper left above white clouds. Soon city lights come into view, and it becomes clear you are flying over North America, eventually passing over Florida. In the second sequence you fly over Europe and Africa, eventually passing over the Nile River. Brief flashes of light are lightning in storms. Stars far in the distance can be seen rising through the greenish-gold glow of the Earth’s atmosphere. via NASA

Veggies in Space! : The crew aboard the Intern…

Veggies in Space! : The crew aboard the International Space Station have grown two batches of mixed greens (mizuna, red romaine lettuce and tokyo bekana cabbage), and are now running two Veggie facilities simultaneously. (via NASA)

Horsehead: A Wider View : Combined image data …

Horsehead: A Wider View : Combined image data from the massive, ground-based VISTA telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope was used to create this wide perspective of the interstellar landscape surrounding the famous Horsehead Nebula. Captured at near-infrared wavelengths, the region’s dusty molecular cloud sprawls across the scene that covers an angle about two-thirds the size of the Full Moon on the sky. Left to right the frame spans just over 10 light-years at the Horsehead’s estimated distance of 1,600 light-years. Also known as Barnard 33, the still recognizable Horsehead Nebula stands at the upper right, the near-infrared glow of a dusty pillar topped with newborn stars. Below and left, the bright reflection nebula NGC 2023 is itself the illuminated environs of a hot young star. Obscuring clouds below the base of the Horsehead and on the outskirts of NGC 2023 show the tell-tale far red emission of energetic jets, known as Herbig-Haro objects, also associated with newborn stars. via NASA