Saturday, July 31, 2021
Pluto is more colorful than we can see. Color data and high-resolution images of our Solar System's most famous dwarf planet, taken by the robotic New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby in 2015 July, have been digitally combined to give an enhanced-color view of this ancient world sporting an unexpectedly young surface. The featured enhanced color image is not only esthetically pretty but scientifically useful, making surface regions of differing chemical composition visually distinct. For example, the light-colored heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio on the lower right is clearly shown here to be divisible into two regions that are geologically different, with the leftmost lobe Sputnik Planitia also appearing unusually smooth. After Pluto, New Horizons continued on, shooting past asteroid Arrokoth in 2019 and has enough speed to escape our Solar System completely.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210801.html ( August 01, 2021)
Friday, July 30, 2021
It was just last July. If you could see the stars of the Big Dipper, you could find Comet NEOWISE in your evening sky. After sunset denizens of the north could look for the naked-eye comet below the bowl of that famous celestial kitchen utensil and above the northwestern horizon. The comet looked like a fuzzy 'star' with a tail, though probably not so long a tail as in this memorable skyview recorded from the Czech Republic on July 23th, 2020, near the comet's closest approach to planet Earth. Photographs of C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) often did show the comet's broad dust tail and fainter but separate bluish ion tail extending farther than the eye could follow. Skygazers around the world were delighted to witness Comet NEOWISE, surprise visitor from the outer Solar System.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210731.html ( July 31, 2021)
Apollo 15 Commander David Scott drives the lunar roving vehicle on the surface of the Moon, the first time the rover was used.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/taking-a-ride-on-the-moon-in-the-lunar-roving-vehicle
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Mimas lies in near darkness alongside a dramatic sunlit crescent. The mosaic was captured near the Cassini spacecraft's final close approach on January 30, 2017. Cassini's camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction only 45,000 kilometers from Mimas. The result is one of the highest resolution views of the icy, crater-pocked, 400 kilometer diameter moon. An enhanced version better reveals the Saturn-facing hemisphere of the synchronously rotating moon lit by sunlight reflected from Saturn itself. To see it, slide your cursor over the image (or follow this link). Other Cassini images of Mimas include the small moon's large and ominous Herschel Crater.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210730.html ( July 30, 2021)
On April 29, 2015, NuSTAR, Hinode, and SDO all stared at our Sun.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/staring-at-the-sun
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
This tall telescopic field of view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the brightest glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust above center is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. Nearly 70 light-years across the complex and beautiful Tulip Nebula blossoms about 8,000 light-years away, shown in a Hubble palette image that maps the glow of the nebula's sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen ions into red, green, and blue colors. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. Also in the field of view is microquasar Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest X-ray sources in planet Earth's sky. Driven by powerful jets from a black hole accretion disk, its fainter bluish curved shock front is only just visible though, directly above the cosmic Tulip's petals near the top of the frame.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210729.html ( July 29, 2021)
From 156 million light-years away the heart of active galaxy IC 5063 reveals a mixture of bright rays and dark shadows coming from the blazing core, home of a supermassive black hole.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/bright-rays-and-dark-shadows-in-a-nearby-galaxy
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
The rim of the large blue galaxy at the right is an immense ring-like structure 150,000 light years in diameter composed of newly formed, extremely bright, massive stars. AM 0644-741 is known as a ring galaxy and was caused by an immense galaxy collision. When galaxies collide, they pass through each other and their individual stars rarely come into contact. The large galaxy's ring-like shape is the result of the gravitational disruption caused by a small intruder galaxy passing through it. When this happens, interstellar gas and dust become compressed, causing a wave of star formation to move out from the impact point like a ripple across the surface of a pond. Other galaxies in the field of view are background galaxies, not interacting with AM 0644-741. Foreground spiky stars are within our own Milky Way. But the smaller intruder galaxy is caught above and right, near the top of the frame taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Ring galaxy AM 0644-741 lies about 300 million light years away toward the southern constellation Volans.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210728.html ( July 28, 2021)
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/boeing-starliner-secured-atop-atlas-v-rocket
Monday, July 26, 2021
Chaotic in appearance, these tangled filaments of shocked, glowing gas are spread across planet Earth's sky toward the constellation of Cygnus as part of the Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, an expanding cloud born of the death explosion of a massive star. Light from the original supernova explosion likely reached Earth over 5,000 years ago. The glowing filaments are really more like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge on, remarkably well separated into the glow of ionized hydrogen atoms shown in blue and oxygen in red hues. Also known as the Cygnus Loop and cataloged as NGC 6979, the Veil Nebula now spans about 6 times the diameter of the full Moon. The length of the wisp corresponds to about 30 light years, given its estimated distance of 2,400 light years. Often identified as Pickering's Triangle for a director of Harvard College Observatory, it is also named for its discoverer, astronomer Williamina Fleming, as Fleming's Triangular Wisp.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210727.html ( July 27, 2021)
This image from May 11, 1971, is a high angle view showing the Apollo 15 spacecraft on the way from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad A, Launch Complex 39.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/celebrating-the-50th-anniversary-of-apollo-15
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Can a gas cloud grab a galaxy? It's not even close. The "claw" of this odd looking "creature" in the featured photo is a gas cloud known as a cometary globule. This globule, however, has ruptured. Cometary globules are typically characterized by dusty heads and elongated tails. These features cause cometary globules to have visual similarities to comets, but in reality they are very much different. Globules are frequently the birthplaces of stars, and many show very young stars in their heads. The reason for the rupture in the head of this object is not yet known. The galaxy to the left of the globule is huge, very far in the distance, and only placed near CG4 by chance superposition.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210726.html ( July 26, 2021)
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Gliding silently through the outer Solar System, the Voyager 2 spacecraft camera captured Neptune and Triton together in crescent phase. The elegant picture of the gas giant planet and its cloudy moon was taken from behind just after closest approach in 1989. It could not have been taken from Earth because Neptune never shows a crescent phase to sunward Earth. The unusual vantage point also robs Neptune of its familiar blue hue, as sunlight seen from here is scattered forward, and so is reddened like the setting Sun. Neptune is smaller but more massive than Uranus, has several dark rings, and emits more light than it receives from the Sun.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210725.html ( July 25, 2021)
Friday, July 23, 2021
Where does space begin? For purposes of spaceflight some would say at the Karman line, currently defined as an altitude of 100 kilometers (60 miles). Others might place a line 80 kilometers (50 miles) above Earth's mean sea level. But there is no sharp physical boundary that marks the end of atmosphere and the beginning of space. In fact, the Karman line itself is near the transition between the upper mesophere and lower thermosphere. Night shining or noctilucent clouds are high-latitude summer apparitions formed at altitudes near the top of the mesophere, up to 80 kilometers or so, also known as polar mesopheric clouds. Auroral bands of the northern (and southern) lights caused by energetic particles exciting atoms in the thermosphere can extend above 80 kilometers to over 600 kilometers altitude. Taken from a cockpit while flying at an altitude of 10 kilometers (33,000 feet) in the realm of stratospheric aeronautics, this snapshot captures both noctilucent clouds and aurora borealis under a starry sky, looking toward planet Earth's horizon and the edge of space.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210724.html ( July 24, 2021)
Payloads Cell Biology Experiment Facility-L (CBEF-L): The crew reconfigured the Low Temperature Loop (LTL) flow into CBEF facilities. CBEF-L is a new JAXA sub-rack facility, which is an upgraded facility of the CBEF currently aboard the ISS. CBEF-L provides new capabilities with additional new resources such as full high definition video interface, ethernet, 24 VDC … ...
July 23, 2021 at 07:44PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/23/iss-daily-summary-report-7-23-2021/
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Sprawling emission nebulae IC 1396 and Sh2-129 mix glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds in this 10 degree wide field of view toward the northern constellation Cepheus the King. Energized by its bluish central star IC 1396 (left) is hundreds of light-years across and some 3,000 light-years distant. The nebula's intriguing dark shapes include a winding dark cloud popularly known as the Elephant's Trunk below and right of center. Tens of light-years long, it holds the raw raw material for star formation and is known to hide protostars within. Located a similar distance from planet Earth, the bright knots and swept back ridges of emission of Sh2-129 on the right suggest its popular name, the Flying Bat Nebula. Within the Flying Bat, the most recently recognized addition to this royal cosmic zoo is the faint bluish emission from Ou4, the Giant Squid nebula.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210723.html ( July 23, 2021)
Payloads Exploration Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) – Toilet: The crew completed a fit-check of the Collapsible Contingency Urinal (CCU) with the Toilet. Additionally, the crew inspected Toilet air filters for loose particulates and damage. The Toilet System is an Exploration Technology Demonstration that has evolved into a permanent United States On-orbit Segment … ...
July 22, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/22/iss-daily-summary-report-7-22-2021/
Ingenuity, the helicopter that arrived on the Red Planet on the Mars Perseverance rover, has made nine flights on Mars.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/the-little-mars-helicopter-that-could
Crew Dragon Endeavour Port Relocation: Today, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, undocked Crew Dragon Endeavour from the Node 2 Forward International Docking Adapter (IDA) at 5:45 AM CT and docked to the Node 2 Zenith IDA at 6:36 AM CT. This relocation cleared the … ...
July 21, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/21/iss-daily-summary-report-7-21-2021/
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Point your telescope toward the high flying constellation Pegasus and you can find this expanse of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies. NGC 7814 is centered in the pretty field of view that would almost be covered by a full moon. NGC 7814 is sometimes called the Little Sombrero for its resemblance to the brighter more famous M104, the Sombrero Galaxy. Both Sombrero and Little Sombrero are spiral galaxies seen edge-on, and both have extensive halos and central bulges cut by a thin disk with thinner dust lanes in silhouette. In fact, NGC 7814 is some 40 million light-years away and an estimated 60,000 light-years across. That actually makes the Little Sombrero about the same physical size as its better known namesake, appearing smaller and fainter only because it is farther away. In this telescopic view from July 17, NGC 7814 is hosting a newly discovered supernova, dominant immediately to the left of the galaxy's core. Cataloged as SN 2021rhu, the stellar explosion has been identified as a Type Ia supernova, useful toward calibrating the distance scale of the universe.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210722.html ( July 22, 2021)
Payloads Cold Atom Lab (CAL): The crew completed the closeout procedures for the CAL Slice-7 Removal & Replacement (R&R). The CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero, much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms have almost … ...
July 20, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/20/iss-daily-summary-report-7-20-2021/
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/boeing-s-cst-100-starliner-secured-atop-an-atlas-v-rocket
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
What if you could see, separately, all the colors of the Ring? And of the surrounding stars? There's technology for that. The featured image shows the Ring Nebula (M57) and nearby stars through such technology: in this case, a prism-like diffraction grating. The Ring Nebula is seen only a few times because it emits light, primarily, in only a few colors. The two brightest emitted colors are hydrogen (red) and oxygen (blue), appearing as nearly overlapping images to the left of the image center. The image just to the right of center is the color-combined icon normally seen. Stars, on the other hand, emit most of their light in colors all across the visible spectrum. These colors, combined, make a nearly continuous streak -- which is why stars appear accompanied by multicolored bars. Breaking object light up into colors is scientifically useful because it can reveal the elements that compose that object, how fast that object is moving, and how distant that object is.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210721.html ( July 21, 2021)
On July 20, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another celestial body.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/240000-miles-to-the-moon
Monday, July 19, 2021
Thor not only has his own day (Thursday), but a helmet in the heavens.�� Popularly called Thor's Helmet, NGC 2359 is a hat-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor's Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the cosmic head-covering is more like an interstellar bubble, blown with a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble's center. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. NGC 2359 is located about 15,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Great Overdog. This remarkably sharp image is a mixed cocktail of data from broadband and narrowband filters, capturing not only natural looking stars but details of the nebula's filamentary structures. The star in the center of Thor's Helmet is expected to explode in a spectacular supernova sometime within the next few thousand years.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210720.html ( July 20, 2021)
This dramatic image from January 2006 offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/a-peek-inside-the-orion-nebula
Sunday, July 18, 2021
The photographer had this shot in mind for some time. He knew that objects overhead are the brightest -- since their light is scattered the least by atmospheric air. He also that knew the core of our Milky Way Galaxy was just about straight up near midnight around this time of year in South Australia. Chasing his mental picture, he ventured deep inside the Kuipto Forest where tall radiata pines blocked out much of the sky -- but not in this clearing. There, through a window framed by trees, he captured his envisioned combination of local and distant nature. Sixteen exposures of both trees and the Milky Way Galaxy were recorded. Antares is the bright orange star to left of our Galaxy's central plane, while Alpha Centauri is the bright star just to the right of the image center. The direction toward our Galaxy's center is below Antares. Although in a few hours the Earth's rotation moved the Galactic plane up and to the left -- soon invisible behind the timber, his mental image was secured forever -- and is featured here.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210719.html ( July 19, 2021)
Saturday, July 17, 2021
What does the Andromeda galaxy look like in ultraviolet light? Young blue stars circling the galactic center dominate. A mere 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, really is just next door as large galaxies go. Spanning about 230,000 light-years, it took 11 different image fields from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite telescope to produce this gorgeous portrait of the spiral galaxy in ultraviolet light in 2003. While its spiral arms stand out in visible light images, Andromeda's arms look more like rings in ultraviolet. The rings are sites of intense star formation and have been interpreted as evidence that Andromeda collided with its smaller neighboring elliptical galaxy M32 more than 200 million years ago. The Andromeda galaxy and our own comparable Milky Way galaxy are the most massive members of the Local Group of galaxies and are projected to collide in several billion years -- perhaps around the time that our Sun's atmosphere will expand to engulf the Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210718.html ( July 18, 2021)
Friday, July 16, 2021
Point your telescope at tonight's first quarter Moon. Along the terminator, the shadow line between night and day, you might find these two large craters staring back at you with an owlish gaze. Alphonsus (left) and Arzachel are ancient impact craters on the north eastern shores of Mare Nubium, the lunar Sea of Clouds. The larger Alphonsus is over 100 kilometers in diameter. A low sun angle highlights the crater's sharp 1.5 kilometer high central peak in bright sunlight and dark shadow. Scouting for potential Apollo moon landing sites, the Ranger 9 spacecraft returned closeup photographs of Alphonsus before it crashed in the crater just northeast (left) of its central mountain in 1965. Alpetragius, between Alphonsus and Arzachel, is the small crater with the deeply shadowed floor and overly large central peak.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210717.html ( July 17, 2021)
Payloads Cold Atom Lab (CAL): The crew performed the CAL Slice-7 Removal and Replacement (R&R). The closeout procedures were only partially completed due to the crew running out of time for the activity. The remainder of the closeout will be completed at a later date. The CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to … ...
July 15, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/15/iss-daily-summary-report-7-15-2021/
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Venus, named for the Roman goddess of love, and Mars, the war god's namesake, come together by moonlight in this serene skyview, recorded on July 11 from Lualaba province, Democratic Republic of Congo, planet Earth. Taken in the western twilight sky shortly after sunset the exposure also records earthshine illuminating the otherwise dark surface of the young crescent Moon. Of course the Moon has moved on. Venus still shines in the west though as the evening star, third brightest object in Earth's sky, after the Sun and the Moon itself. Seen here above a brilliant Venus, Mars moved even closer to the brighter planet and by July 13 could be seen only about a Moon's width away. Mars has since slowly wandered away from much brighter Venus in the twilight, but both are sliding toward bright star Regulus. Alpha star of the constellation Leo, Regulus lies off the top of this frame and anticipates a visit from Venus and then Mars in twilight skies of the coming days.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210716.html ( July 16, 2021)
This artist's illustration shows the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/a-view-of-the-rings-of-saturn
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
In silhouette against a crowded star field along the tail of the arachnalogical constellation Scorpius, this dusty cosmic cloud evokes for some the image of an ominous dark tower. In fact, clumps of dust and molecular gas collapsing to form stars may well lurk within the dark nebula, a structure that spans almost 40 light-years across this gorgeous telescopic portrait. Known as a cometary globule, the swept-back cloud, is shaped by intense ultraviolet radiation from the OB association of very hot stars in NGC 6231, off the upper edge of the scene. That energetic ultraviolet light also powers the globule's bordering reddish glow of hydrogen gas. Hot stars embedded in the dust can be seen as bluish reflection nebulae. This dark tower, NGC 6231, and associated nebulae are about 5,000 light-years away.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210715.html ( July 15, 2021)
Payloads Cold Atom Lab (CAL): The crew prepared the CAL facility in preparation for the Slice-7 Removal and Replacement (R&R) activity. The CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero, much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms … ...
July 13, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/13/iss-daily-summary-report-7-13-2021/
On July 4, 2016, our Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter on a mission to peer through the gas giant planet’s dense clouds
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/celebrating-5-years-at-jupiter
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
What happens when a black hole destroys a neutron star? Analyses indicate that just such an event created gravitational wave event GW200115, detected in 2020 January by LIGO and Virgo observatories. To better understand the unusual event, the featured visualization was created from a computer simulation. The visualization video starts with the black hole (about 6 times the Sun's mass) and neutron star (about 1.5 times the Sun's mass) circling each other, together emitting an increasing amount of gravitational radiation. The picturesque pattern of gravitational wave emission is shown in blue. The duo spiral together increasingly fast until the neutron star becomes completely absorbed by the black hole. Since the neutron star did not break apart during the collision, little light escaped -- which matches the lack of an observed optical counterpart. The remaining black hole rings briefly, and as that dies down so do the emitted gravitational waves. The 30-second time-lapse video may seem short, but it actually lasts about 1000 times longer than the real merger event.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210714.html ( July 14, 2021)
Payloads Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) – Fluids and Combustion Facility: The crew removed the O2 Bottle from the CIR Manifold #2 rack and replaced it with a high percentage oxygen bottle containing 85% O2 and 15% N2. The crew also replaced the fuel bottle in the CIR Manifold #4 rack with a bottle containing 100% … ...
July 12, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/12/iss-daily-summary-report-7-12-2021/
This uniform in the center of this image belonged to one of the unsung heroes of the Space Shuttle Program – Travis Thompson, former Closeout Crew Lead.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/honoring-the-space-shuttle-closeout-crew-lead
Monday, July 12, 2021
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship departs the International Space Station after it undocked from the Harmony module.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/spacex-cargo-dragon-departs-the-space-station
Sunday, July 11, 2021
What will become of our Sun? The first hint of our Sun's future was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of diffuse objects not to be confused with comets. The 27th object on Messier's list, now known as M27 or the Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebula, one of the brightest planetary nebulae on the sky -- and visible toward the constellation of the Fox (Vulpecula) with binoculars. It takes light about 1000 years to reach us from M27, featured here in colors emitted by hydrogen and oxygen. We now know that in about 6 billion years, our Sun will shed its outer gases into a planetary nebula like M27, while its remaining center will become an X-ray hot white dwarf star. Understanding the physics and significance of M27 was well beyond 18th century science, though. Even today, many things remain mysterious about planetary nebulas, including how their intricate shapes are created.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210712.html ( July 12, 2021)
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Where's the Moon? Somewhere in this image, the Earth's Moon is hiding. The entire Moon is visible, in its completely full phase, in plain sight. Even the photographer's keen eye couldn't find it even though he knew exactly where to look -- only the long exposure of his camera picked it up -- barely. Although by now you might be congratulating yourself on finding it, why was it so difficult to see? For one reason, this photograph was taken during a total lunar eclipse, when the Earth's shadow made the Moon much dimmer than a normal full Moon. For another, the image, taken in Colorado, USA, was captured just before sunrise. With the Moon on the exact opposite side of the sky from the Sun, this meant that the Sun was just below the horizon, but still slightly illuminating the sky. Last, as the Moon was only about two degrees above the horizon, the large volume of air between the camera and the horizon scattered a lot of light away from the background Moon. Twelve minutes after this image was acquired in 2012, the Sun peeked over the horizon and the Moon set.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210711.html ( July 11, 2021)
Friday, July 9, 2021
On July 8th early morning risers saw Mercury near an old Moon low on the eastern horizon. On that date bright planet, faint glow of lunar night side, and sunlit crescent were captured in this predawn skyscape from Tenerife's Teide National Park in the Canary Islands. Never far from the Sun in planet Earth's sky, the fleeting inner planet shines near its brightest in the morning twilight scene. Mercury lies just below the zeta star of the constellation Taurus, Zeta Tauri, near the tip of the celestial bull's horn. Of course the Moon's ashen glow is earthshine, earthlight reflected from the Moon's night side. A description of earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth's oceans illuminating the Moon's dark surface, was written over 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci. Waiting for the coming dawn in the foreground are the Teide Observatory's sentinels of the Sun, also known as (large domes left to right) the THEMIS, VTT, and GREGOR solar telescopes.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210710.html ( July 10, 2021)
SpaceX-22 Undock and Return: Cargo Dragon SpaceX-22 (SpX-22) undocked from the ISS today at 9:45 AM CT to return cargo and payloads to the ground concluding the 33-day mission aboard the ISS. SpX-22 will complete departure phasing through Friday evening, jettison the Trunk carrying the empty ISS Power Augmentation (IPA) for destructive re-entry, deorbit, and … ...
July 08, 2021 at 09:33AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/08/iss-daily-summary-report-7-08-2021/
Two enormous galaxies capture your attention in this spectacular image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope using the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/hubble-glimpses-a-galactic-duo
Thursday, July 8, 2021
M82 is a starburst galaxy with a superwind. In fact, through ensuing supernova explosions and powerful winds from massive stars, the burst of star formation in M82 is driving a prodigious outflow. Evidence for the superwind from the galaxy's central regions is clear in sharp telescopic snapshot. The composite image highlights emission from long outflow filaments of atomic hydrogen gas in reddish hues. Some of the gas in the superwind, enriched in heavy elements forged in the massive stars, will eventually escape into intergalactic space. Triggered by a close encounter with nearby large galaxy M81, the furious burst of star formation in M82 should last about 100 million years or so. Also known as the Cigar Galaxy for its elongated visual appearance, M82 is about 30,000 light-years across. It lies 12 million light-years away near the northern boundary of Ursa Major.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210709.html ( July 09, 2021)
Payloads Astrobee/SoundSee: The crew participated in a crew conference, set up the appropriate hardware, and initiated the SoundSee science session. Investigation of Deep Audio Analytics on the ISS (SoundSee Mission) tests monitoring of the acoustic environment using an audio sensor on Astrobee, a mobile robotic platform aboard the space station. Microphones collect acoustic information, and … ...
July 07, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/07/iss-daily-summary-report-7-07-2021/
This week in 2011, space shuttle Atlantis, mission STS-135, launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/history/images/this-week-in-nasa-history-final-launch-of-shuttle-program-july-8-2011.html
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Aphelion for 2021 occurred on July 5th. That's the point in Earth's elliptical orbit when it is farthest from the Sun. Of course, the distance from the Sun doesn't determine the seasons. Those are governed by the tilt of Earth's axis of rotation, so July is still summer in the north and winter in the southern hemisphere. But it does mean that on July 5 the Sun was at its smallest apparent size when viewed from planet Earth. This composite neatly compares two pictures of the Sun, both taken with the same telescope and camera. The left half was captured close to the date of the 2021 perihelion (January 2), the closest point in Earth's orbit. The right was recorded just before the aphelion in 2021. Otherwise difficult to notice, the change in the Sun's apparent diameter between perihelion and aphelion amounts to a little over 3 percent.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210708.html ( July 08, 2021)
Payloads Collapsible Contingency Urinal (CCU) Demo: The crew performed multiple handheld fill and drain cycles of the CCU using fruit punch as a test fluid. The ground team guided and observed the operations to analyze performance characteristics and observe fluid dynamics and stability of liquid in the system. The CCU is exploration hardware flown to … ...
July 06, 2021 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/07/06/iss-daily-summary-report-7-06-2021/
Our birthday wishes for Ringo Starr's 81st birthday are almost boundless.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/theres-a-starr-in-the-asteroid-belt