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 : 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 this selfie during the May 16, 2018, spacewalk. (via NASA)
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 Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observes our Sun and relays observational data to scientists on Earth. (via NASA)
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 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
These dense, dark pillars of dust and gas are resisting erosion from intense ultraviolet light released by the Orion Nebula’s biggest stars.
And new stars are forming.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
A small portion of the rough-and-tumble neighborhood of swirling dust and gas near one of the most massive and eruptive stars in our galaxy is seen in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image. This close-up view shows only a three light-year-wide portion of the entire Carina Nebula, which has a diameter of over 200 light-years. Located 8,000 light-years from Earth, the nebula can be seen in the southern sky with the naked eye. Credit: NASA/ESA, Hubble
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