Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Blue Banded Blood Moon

What causes a blue band to cross the Moon during a lunar eclipse? The blue band is real but usually quite hard to see. The featured HDR image of last week's lunar eclipse, however -- taken from Yancheng, China -- has been digitally processed to equalize the Moon's brightness and exaggerate the colors. The gray color of the bottom right is the Moon's natural color, directly illuminated by sunlight. The upper left part of the Moon is not directly lit by the Sun since it is being eclipsed -- it in the Earth's shadow. It is faintly lit, though, by sunlight that has passed deep through Earth's atmosphere. This part of the Moon is red -- and called a blood Moon -- for the same reason that Earth's sunsets are red: because air scatters away more blue light than red. The unusual blue band is different -- its color is created by sunlight that has passed high through Earth's atmosphere, where red light is better absorbed by ozone than blue. A total eclipse of the Sun will occur tomorrow but, unfortunately, totality be visible only near the Earth's South Pole.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211201.html ( December 01, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/29/2021



Payloads: ISS HAM:   The crew completed an ISS HAM pass with Colegio Pumahue Temuco, Temuco, Chile.  The school is part of the international group of Cognita Schools and a certified Cambridge International School.   ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering, … ...

November 29, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/29/iss-daily-summary-report-11-29-2021/

Dragons-Eye View

As the Crew-2 mission departed the International Space Station aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the crew snapped this image of the station.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/dragons-eye-view

Between Earth and Sky

As the Crew-2 mission departed the International Space Station aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the crew snapped this image of the station.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/between-earth-and-sky

Monday, November 29, 2021

In Motion: Uranus and Moons

What's that moving across the sky? A planet just a bit too faint to see with the unaided eye: Uranus. The gas giant out past Saturn was tracked earlier this month near opposition -- when it was closest to Earth and at its brightest. The featured video captured by the Bayfordbury Observatory in Hertfordshire, UK is a four-hour time-lapse showing Uranus with its four largest moons in tow: Titania, Oberon, Umbriel and Ariel. Uranus' apparent motion past background stars is really dominated by Earth's own orbital motion around our Sun. The cross seen centered on Uranus is called a diffraction spike and is caused by light diffracting around the four arms that hold one of the telescope's mirrors in place. The rotation of the diffraction spikes is not caused by the rotation of Uranus but, essentially, by the rotation of the Earth. During the next few months Uranus itself will be visible with binoculars, but, as always, to see its moons will require a telescope.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211130.html ( November 30, 2021)

Hubble’s View of Planetary Nebula Reveals Complex Structure

NGC 6891 is a bright, asymmetrical planetary nebula in the constellation Delphinus, the Dolphin.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/hubble-s-view-of-planetary-nebula-reveals-complex-structure

Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Extraordinary Spiral in LL Pegasi

What created the strange spiral structure on the upper left? No one is sure, although it is likely related to a star in a binary star system entering the planetary nebula phase, when its outer atmosphere is ejected. The huge spiral spans about a third of a light year across and, winding four or five complete turns, has a regularity that is without precedent. Given the expansion rate of the spiral gas, a new layer must appear about every 800 years, a close match to the time it takes for the two stars to orbit each other. The star system that created it is most commonly known as LL Pegasi, but also AFGL 3068 and IRAS 23166+1655. The featured image was taken in near-infrared light by the Hubble Space Telescope. Why the spiral glows is itself a mystery, with a leading hypothesis being illumination by light reflected from nearby stars.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211129.html ( November 29, 2021)

Saturday, November 27, 2021

A High Cliff on Comet Churyumov Gerasimenko

This high cliff occurs not on a planet, not on a moon, but on a comet. It was discovered to be part of the dark nucleus of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG) by Rosetta, a robotic spacecraft launched by ESA that rendezvoused with the Sun-orbiting comet in 2014. The ragged cliff, as featured here, was imaged by Rosetta in 2014. Although towering about one kilometer high, the low surface gravity of Comet CG would likely make it an accessible climb -- and even a jump from the cliff survivable. At the foot of the cliff is relatively smooth terrain dotted with boulders as large as 20 meters across. Data from Rosetta indicates that the ice in Comet CG has a significantly different deuterium fraction -- and hence likely a different origin -- than the water in Earth's oceans. Rosetta ended its mission with a controlled impact onto Comet CG in 2016. Comet CG has just completed another close approach to Earth and remains visible through a small telescope.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211128.html ( November 28, 2021)

Friday, November 26, 2021

Messier 101

Big, beautiful spiral galaxy M101 is one of the last entries in Charles Messier's famous catalog, but definitely not one of the least. About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is enormous, almost twice the size of our own Milky Way. M101 was also one of the original spiral nebulae observed by Lord Rosse's large 19th century telescope, the Leviathan of Parsontown. Assembled from 51 exposures recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope in the 20th and 21st centuries, with additional data from ground based telescopes, this mosaic spans about 40,000 light-years across the central region of M101 in one of the highest definition spiral galaxy portraits ever released from Hubble. The sharp image shows stunning features of the galaxy's face-on disk of stars and dust along with background galaxies, some visible right through M101 itself. Also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, M101 lies within the boundaries of the northern constellation Ursa Major, about 25 million light-years away.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211127.html ( November 27, 2021)

Black Hole Collision May Have Exploded With Light

This artist's concept shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of gas.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/black-hole-collision-may-have-exploded-with-light

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Great Refractor and Lunar Eclipse

Rain clouds passed and the dome of the Lick Observatory's 36 inch Great Refractor opened on November 19. The historic telescope was pointed toward a partially eclipsed Moon. Illuminated by dim red lighting to preserve an astronomer's night vision, telescope controls, coordinate dials, and the refractor's 57 foot long barrel were captured in this high dynamic range image. Visible beyond the foreshortened barrel and dome slit, growing brighter after its almost total eclipse phase, the lunar disk created a colorful halo through lingering clouds. From the open dome, the view of the clearing sky above includes the Pleiades star cluster about 5 degrees from Moon and Earth's shadow.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211126.html ( November 26, 2021)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

At the Shadow s Edge

Shaped like a cone tapering into space, the Earth's dark central shadow or umbra has a circular cross-section. It's wider than the Moon at the distance of the Moon's orbit though. But during the lunar eclipse of November 18/19, part of the Moon remained just outside the umbral shadow. The successive pictures in this composite of 5 images from that almost total lunar eclipse were taken over a period of about 1.5 hours. The series is aligned to trace part of the cross-section's circular arc, with the central image at maximum eclipse. It shows a bright, thin sliver of the lunar disk still beyond the shadow's curved edge. Of course, even within the shadow the Moon's surface is not completely dark, reflecting the reddish hues of filtered sunlight scattered into the shadow by Earth's atmosphere.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211125.html ( November 25, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/23/2021



Payloads: Astrobatics: The crew relocated items out of the experiment area, set up the appropriate hardware, and assisted the ground team with the Astrobatics experiment session tasks.  Astrobee Maneuvering by Robotic Manipulator Hopping (Astrobatics) demonstrates the Astrobee robotic vehicles using robotic manipulators to execute a hopping or self-toss maneuver as the primary mean of propulsion, … ...

November 23, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/23/iss-daily-summary-report-11-23-2021/

Hubble Witnesses Shock Wave of Colliding Gases in Running Man Nebula

Mounded, luminous clouds of gas and dust glow in this Hubble image of a Herbig-Haro object known as HH 45.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/hubble-witnesses-shock-wave-of-colliding-gases-in-running-man-nebula

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Pleiades: The Seven Sisters Star Cluster

Have you ever seen the Pleiades star cluster? Even if you have, you probably have never seen it as large and clear as this. Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the bright stars of the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. With a long exposure from a dark location, though, the dust cloud surrounding the Pleiades star cluster becomes very evident. The featured exposure, taken from Florida, USA, covers a sky area several times the size of the full moon. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the Pleiades lies about 400 light years away toward the constellation of the Bull (Taurus). A common legend with a modern twist is that one of the brighter stars faded since the cluster was named, leaving only six of the sister stars visible to the unaided eye. The actual number of Pleiades stars visible, however, may be more or less than seven, depending on the darkness of the surrounding sky and the clarity of the observer's eyesight.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211124.html ( November 24, 2021)

Stay Tuned for DART!

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will help determine if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/stay-tuned-for-dart

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/22/2021



Cygnus NG-16 Departure: On Saturday, November 20th, NG-16 was unberthed from the Node 1 nadir CBM, maneuvered and then released by the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) at 10:01 am CST. Cygnus will deorbit on Wednesday, Dec. 15, following a deorbit engine firing to set up a destructive re-entry. The spacecraft, filled with waste … ...

November 22, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/22/iss-daily-summary-report-11-22-2021/

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Sun in X rays from NuSTAR

Why are the regions above sunspots so hot? Sunspots themselves are a bit cooler than the surrounding solar surface because the magnetic fields that create them reduce convective heating. It is therefore unusual that regions overhead -- even much higher up in the Sun's corona -- can be hundreds of times hotter. To help find the cause, NASA directed the Earth-orbiting Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite to point its very sensitive X-ray telescope at the Sun. Featured here is the Sun in ultraviolet light, shown in a red hue as taken by the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Superimposed in false-colored green and blue is emission above sunspots detected by NuSTAR in different bands of high-energy X-rays, highlighting regions of extremely high temperature. Clues about the Sun's atmospheric heating mechanisms come from NuSTAR images like this and shed light on solar nanoflares and microflares as brief bursts of energy that may drive the unusual heating.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211123.html ( November 23, 2021)

Hubble Spots Swirls of Dust in the Flame Nebula

The Flame Nebula, also called NGC 2024, is a large star-forming region in the constellation Orion that lies about 1,400 light-years from Earth. It’s a part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/hubble-spots-swirls-of-dust-in-the-flame-nebula

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Lunar Eclipse over a Skyscraper

Why is the Moon on top of this building? Planning. It took the astrophotographer careful planning -- including figuring out exactly where to place the camera and exactly when to take the shot -- to create this striking superposition. The single image featured was taken in the early morning hours of November 19, near the peak of the partial lunar eclipse that was occurring as the Moon passed through the Earth's shadow. At this time, almost the entire Moon -- 99.1 percent of its area -- was in the darkest part of the Earth's shadow. The building is the Gran Torre Santiago building in Chile, the tallest building in South America. Although the entire eclipse lasted an impressive six hours, this image had to be taken within just a few seconds to get the alignment right -- the Earth's rotation soon moved the building out of alignment. The next Earth-Moon eclipse will be a total eclipse of the Sun that will occur on December 4 -- but only be visible from the bottom of our world.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211122.html ( November 22, 2021)

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Introducing Comet Leonard

Here comes Comet Leonard. Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) was discovered as a faint smudge in January 2021 when it was out past Mars -- but its orbit will take the giant shedding ice-ball into the inner Solar System, passing near both Earth and Venus in December before it swoops around the Sun in early January 2022. Although comets are notoriously hard to predict, some estimations have Comet Leonard brightening to become visible to the unaided eye in December. Comet Leonard was captured just over a week ago already sporting a green-tinged coma and an extended dust tail. The featured picture was composed from 62 images taken through a moderate-sized telescope -- one set of exposures tracking the comet, while another set tracking the background stars. The exposures were taken from the dark skies above the Eastern Sierra Mountains, near June Lake in California, USA. Soon after passing near the Earth in mid-December, the comet will shift from northern to southern skies.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211121.html ( November 21, 2021)

Friday, November 19, 2021

An Almost Total Lunar Eclipse

Predawn hours of November 19 found the Moon in partly cloudy skies over Cancun, Mexico. Captured in this telephoto snapshot, the lunar disk is not quite entirely immersed in Earth's dark umbral shadow during a long partial lunar eclipse. The partial eclipse was deep though, deep enough to show the dimmed but reddened light in Earth's shadow. That's a sight often anticipated by fans of total lunar eclipses. Wandering through the constellation Taurus, the eclipsed Moon's dimmer light also made it easier to spot the Pleiades star cluster. The stars of the Seven Sisters share this frame at the upper right, with the almost totally eclipsed Moon.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211120.html ( November 20, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/18/2021



Payloads: Grip Seated Science 2 Experiment Session: From an upright seated posture, the crew performed experiment tasks looking at friction, discrete movement (with eyes open/closed), and collisions.  The Grip experiment studies the long-duration spaceflight effects on the abilities of human subjects to regulate grip force and upper limbs trajectories when manipulating objects during different kind … ...

November 18, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/18/iss-daily-summary-report-11-18-2021/

Crew-1 Astronaut Victor Glover Meets with DC Students

NASA astronaut Victor Glover speaks with students about his time aboard the International Space Station, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/crew-1-astronaut-victor-glover-meets-with-dc-students

Thursday, November 18, 2021

NGC 281: Starless with Stars

In visible light the stars have been removed from this narrow-band image of NGC 281, a star forming region some 10,000 light-years away toward the constellation Cassiopeia. Stars were digitally added back to the resulting starless image though. But instead of using visible light image data, the stars were added with X-ray data (in purple) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and infrared data (in red) from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The merged multiwavelength view reveals a multitude of stars in the region's embedded star cluster IC 1590. The young stars are normally hidden in visible light images by the natal cloud's gas and obscuring dust. Also known to backyard astro-imagers as the Pacman Nebula for its overall appearance in visible light, NGC 281 is about 80 light-years across.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211119.html ( November 19, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/17/2021



Radial Hatch Opening: This morning, FE-12 opened all radial hatches in the USOS. This allowed the crew to opportunity to perform several activities, notably EVA preparation activities in the US Airlock. The ISS team continues to monitor the effects of a Russian satellite breakup that created sufficient debris and posed a conjunction threat to the … ...

November 17, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/17/iss-daily-summary-report-11-17-2021/

Suits at the Ready for Next Spacewalk

A pair of U.S. spacesuits are pictured inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock ready for an upcoming spacewalk.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/suits-at-the-ready-for-next-spacewalk

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Full Moonlight

A photographer in silhouette stands in bright moonlight as the Full Moon rises in this well-planned telephoto image. Of course, the Full Moon is normally the brightest lunar phase. But on November 18/19, the Full Moon's light will be dimmed during a deep partial lunar eclipse seen across much of planet Earth. At maximum eclipse only a few percent of the lunar disk's diameter should remain outside the Earth's dark umbral shadow when the Moon slides close to the shadow's southern edge. Near apogee, the farthest point in its orbit, the Moon's motion will be slow. That should make this second lunar eclipse of 2021 an exceptionally long partial lunar eclipse. For most of North America the eclipse partial phases will be visible in predawn hours. Since eclipses tend to come in pairs, this lunar eclipse will be followed by a solar eclipse in two weeks on December 4.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211118.html ( November 18, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/16/2021



Orbital Debris Continued Influence: The ISS team continues to monitor the effects of a Russian satellite breakup that created sufficient debris and posed a conjunction threat to the ISS. As part of the nominal procedure for ISS conjunctions, yesterday the crew closed all hatches and both Dragon and Soyuz crews sheltered in their respective vehicles. … ...

November 16, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/16/iss-daily-summary-report-11-16-2021/

Hubble Spies Newly Forming Star Incubating in IC 2631

This Hubble infrared image captures a protostar designated J1672835.29-763111.64 in the reflection nebula IC 2631, part of the Chamaeleon star-forming region in the southern constellation Chamaeleon.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/hubble-spies-newly-forming-star-incubates-in-ic-2631

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

NGC 3314: When Galaxies Overlap

Why doesn't the nearby galaxy create a gravitational lensing effect on the background galaxy? It does, but since both galaxies are so nearby, the angular shift is much smaller than the angular sizes of the galaxies themselves. The featured Hubble image of NGC 3314 shows two large spiral galaxies which happen to line up exactly. The foreground spiral NGC 3314a appears nearly face-on with its pinwheel shape defined by young bright star clusters. Against the glow of the background galaxy NGC 3314b, though, dark swirling lanes of interstellar dust can also be seen tracing the nearer spiral's structure. Both galaxies appear on the edge of the Hydra Cluster of Galaxies, a cluster that is about 200 million light years away. Gravitational lens distortions are much easier to see when the lensing galaxy is smaller and further away. Then, the background galaxy may even be distorted into a ring around the nearer. Fast gravitational lens flashes due to stars in the foreground galaxy momentarily magnifying the light from stars in the background galaxy might one day be visible in future observing campaigns with high-resolution telescopes.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211117.html ( November 17, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/15/2021



Orbital Debris Shelter-In-Place: The ISS team has been notified of a satellite breakup that may create sufficient debris to pose a conjunction threat to the ISS. As part of the nominal procedure for ISS conjunctions, this morning the crew closed all hatches and both Dragon and Soyuz crews sheltered in their respective vehicles. Out of … ...

November 15, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/15/iss-daily-summary-report-11-15-2021/

Observing Earth from the Space Station

This image taken from the space station shows the blue-green waters around the Bahamas.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/observing-earth-from-the-space-station

Monday, November 15, 2021

Geminids from Gemini

Where are all of these meteors coming from? In terms of direction on the sky, the pointed answer is the constellation of Gemini. That is why the major meteor shower in December is known as the Geminids -- because shower meteors all appear to come from a radiant toward Gemini. Three dimensionally, however, sand-sized debris expelled from the unusual asteroid 3200 Phaethon follows a well-defined orbit about our Sun, and the part of the orbit that approaches Earth is superposed in front of the constellation of Gemini. Therefore, when Earth crosses this orbit, the radiant point of falling debris appears in Gemini. Featured here, a composite of many images taken during the 2020 Geminids meteor shower shows over 200 bright meteorss that streaked through the sky during the night December 14. The best meteor shower in November, the Leonids, peaks tonight and tomorrow. Unfortunately, this year, dim meteors during the early-morning peak will be hard to see against a sky lit by a bright gibbous moon. Still, a few bright Leonid meteors should be visible each hour.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211116.html ( November 16, 2021)

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Light Pillar over Volcanic Etna

What happening above that volcano? Something very unusual -- a volcanic light pillar. More typically, light pillars are caused by sunlight and so appear as a bright column that extends upward above a rising or setting Sun. Alternatively, other light pillars -- some quite colorful -- have been recorded above street and house lights. This light pillar, though, was illuminated by the red light emitted by the glowing magma of an erupting volcano. The volcano is Italy's Mount Etna, and the featured image was captured with a single shot a few hours after sunset in mid-June. Freezing temperatures above the volcano's ash cloud created ice-crystals either in cirrus clouds high above the volcano -- or in condensed water vapor expelled by Mount Etna. These ice crystals -- mostly flat toward the ground but fluttering -- then reflected away light from the volcano's caldera.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211115.html ( November 15, 2021)

Saturday, November 13, 2021

How to Identify that Light in the Sky

What is that light in the sky? Perhaps one of humanity's more common questions, an answer may result from a few quick observations. For example -- is it moving or blinking? If so, and if you live near a city, the answer is typically an airplane, since planes are so numerous and so few stars and satellites are bright enough to be seen over the din of artificial city lights. If not, and if you live far from a city, that bright light is likely a planet such as Venus or Mars -- the former of which is constrained to appear near the horizon just before dawn or after dusk. Sometimes the low apparent motion of a distant airplane near the horizon makes it hard to tell from a bright planet, but even this can usually be discerned by the plane's motion over a few minutes. Still unsure? The featured chart gives a sometimes-humorous but mostly-accurate assessment. Dedicated sky enthusiasts will likely note -- and are encouraged to provide -- polite corrections.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211114.html ( November 14, 2021)

Friday, November 12, 2021

Rosetta s Comet in Gemini

Returning along its 6.4 year orbit, periodic comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) is caught in this telescopic frame from November 7. Sweeping past background stars in the constellation Gemini the comet's dusty tail stretches toward the upper right to Upsilon Geminorum. Also known as Pollux, Beta Geminorum, Gemini's brightest star, shines just off the upper left edge of the field-of-view. Churyumov-Gerasimenko reached its 2021 perihelion or closest approach to the Sun on November 2. At perigee, its closest approach to planet Earth on November 12, this comet was about 0.42 astronomical units away, though it remains too faint to be seen by eye alone. The well-studied comet was explored by robots from planet Earth during its last trip through the inner solar system. It's now famous as the final resting place for the historic Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211113.html ( November 13, 2021)

Crew-3 Launches to the Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/crew-3-launches-to-the-space-station

Thursday, November 11, 2021

M33: The Triangulum Galaxy

The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way. About 3 million light-years from the Milky Way, M33 is itself thought to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy and astronomers in these two galaxies would likely have spectacular views of each other's grand spiral star systems. As for the view from planet Earth, this sharp image shows off M33's blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions along the galaxy's loosely wound spiral arms. In fact, the cavernous NGC 604 is the brightest star forming region, seen here at about the 4 o'clock position from the galaxy center. Like M31, M33's population of well-measured variable stars have helped make this nearby spiral a cosmic yardstick for establishing the distance scale of the Universe.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211112.html ( November 12, 2021)

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

NGC 1333: Stellar Nursery in Perseus

NGC 1333 is seen in visible light as a reflection nebula, dominated by bluish hues characteristic of starlight reflected by interstellar dust. A mere 1,000 light-years distant toward the heroic constellation Perseus, it lies at the edge of a large, star-forming molecular cloud. This telescopic close-up spans about two full moons on the sky or just over 15 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 1333. It shows details of the dusty region along with telltale hints of contrasty red emission from Herbig-Haro objects, jets and shocked glowing gas emanating from recently formed stars. In fact, NGC 1333 contains hundreds of stars less than a million years old, most still hidden from optical telescopes by the pervasive stardust. The chaotic environment may be similar to one in which our own Sun formed over 4.5 billion years ago.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211111.html ( November 11, 2021)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/09/2021



Payloads:           ISS HAM:  A crewmember initiated an ISS HAM contact with South Yarra Primary School, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.  ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM … ...

November 09, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/09/iss-daily-summary-report-11-09-2021/

Mocha Swirls in Jupiter’s Turbulent Atmosphere

During its 36th low pass over Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this view of striking cloud bands and swirls in the giant planet’s mid-southern latitudes.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/mocha-swirls-in-jupiter-s-turbulent-atmosphere

Mocha Swirls in Jupiter’s Turbulent Atmosphere

During its 36th low pass over Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this view of striking cloud bands and swirls in the giant planet’s mid-southern latitudes.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/mocha-swirls-in-jupiter-s-turbulent-atmosphere

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Video of a Green Flash

Many think it is just a myth. Others think it is true but its cause isn't known. Adventurers pride themselves on having seen it. It's a green flash from the Sun. The truth is the green flash does exist and its cause is well understood. Just as the setting Sun disappears completely from view, a last glimmer appears startlingly green. The effect is typically visible only from locations with a low, distant horizon, and lasts just a few seconds. A green flash is also visible for a rising Sun, but takes better timing to spot. A dramatic green flash was caught on video last month as the Sun set beyond the Ligurian Sea from Tuscany, Italy. The second sequence in the featured video shows the green flash in real time, while the first is sped up and the last is in slow motion. The Sun itself does not turn partly green -- the effect is caused by layers of the Earth's atmosphere acting like a prism.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211110.html ( November 10, 2021)

Crew Dragon Endeavour Recovered After a Successful Splashdown

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft is lifted onto the GO Navigator recovery ship after it landed off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Mon., Nov. 8, 2021.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/crew-dragon-endeavour-recovered-after-a-successful-splashdown

ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/08/2021



Endeavour Crew Undock/Landing: The Crew Dragon vehicle, Endeavour, carrying Thomas Pesquet, Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Aki Hoshide undocked from the ISS today at 1:05 PM CT and will splash down later this evening. The completion of the 199-day Crew-2 mission marks the longest crewed capsule mission in US spaceflight history to-date and reduces the … ...

November 08, 2021 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2021/11/08/iss-daily-summary-report-11-08-2021/

Monday, November 8, 2021

All of These Space Images are Fake Except One

Why would you want to fake a universe? For one reason -- to better understand our real universe. Many astronomical projects seeking to learn properties of our universe now start with a robotic telescope taking sequential images of the night sky. Next, sophisticated computer algorithms crunch these digital images to find stars and galaxies and measure their properties. To calibrate these algorithms, it is useful to test them on fake images from a fake universe to see if the algorithms can correctly deduce purposely imprinted properties. The featured mosaic of fake images was created to specifically mimic the images that have appeared on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). Only one image of the 225 images is real -- can you find it? The accomplished deceptors have made available individual fake APOD images that can be displayed by accessing their ThisIsNotAnAPOD webpage or Twitter feed. More useful for calibrating and understanding our distant universe, however, are fake galaxies -- a sampling of which can be seen at their ThisIsNotAGalaxy webpage.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211109.html ( November 09, 2021)

Spotted by Hubble: Dark Star-Hatching frEGGs

This image shows knots of cold, dense interstellar gas where new stars are forming. These Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules (frEGGs) are located in the Northern Coalsack Nebula in the direction of Cygnus, the Swan.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/spotted-by-hubble-dark-star-hatching-freggs

Sunday, November 7, 2021

A Filament Leaps from the Sun

Why, sometimes, does part of the Sun's atmosphere leap into space? The reason lies in changing magnetic fields that thread through the Sun's surface. Regions of strong surface magnetism, known as active regions, are usually marked by dark sunspots. Active regions can channel charged gas along arching or sweeping magnetic fields -- gas that sometimes falls back, sometimes escapes, and sometimes not only escapes but impacts our Earth. The featured one-hour time-lapse video -- taken with a small telescope in France -- captured an eruptive filament that appeared to leap off the Sun late last month. The filament is huge: for comparison, the size of the Earth is shown on the upper left. Just after the filament lifted off, the Sun emitted a powerful X-class flare while the surface rumbled with a tremendous solar tsunami. A result was a cloud of charged particles that rushed into our Solar System but mostly missed our Earth -- this time. However, enough solar plasma did impact our Earth's magnetosphere to create a few faint auroras.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211108.html ( November 08, 2021)

Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Cats Eye Nebula in Optical and X-ray

To some it looks like a cat's eye. To others, perhaps like a giant cosmic conch shell. It is actually one of brightest and most highly detailed planetary nebula known, composed of gas expelled in the brief yet glorious phase near the end of life of a Sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the outer circular concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. The formation of the beautiful, complex-yet-symmetric inner structures, however, is not well understood. The featured image is a composite of a digitally sharpened Hubble Space Telescope image with X-ray light captured by the orbiting Chandra Observatory. The exquisite floating space statue spans over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into this Cat's Eye, humanity may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211107.html ( November 07, 2021)