Saturday, December 31, 2022
The Largest Rock in our Solar System
There, that dot on the right, that's the largest rock known in our Solar System. It is larger than every known asteroid, moon, and comet nucleus. It is larger than any other local rocky planet. This rock is so large its gravity makes it into a large ball that holds heavy gases near its surface. (It used to be the largest known rock of any type until the recent discoveries of large dense planets orbiting other stars.) The Voyager 1 spacecraft took the featured picture -- famously called Pale Blue Dot -- of this giant space rock in 1990 from the outer Solar System. Today, this rock starts another orbit around its parent star, for roughly the 5 billionth time, spinning over 350 times during each trip. Happy Gregorian Calendar New Year to all inhabitants of this rock we call Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230101.html ( January 01, 2023)
Friday, December 30, 2022
Moon over Makemake
Makemake (sounds like MAH-kay MAH-kay), second brightest dwarf planet of the Kuiper belt, has a moon. Nicknamed MK2, Makemake's moon reflects sunlight with a charcoal-dark surface, about 1,300 times fainter than its parent body. Still, in 2016 it was spotted in Hubble Space Telescope observations intended to search for faint companions with the same technique used to find the small satellites of Pluto. Just as for Pluto and its satellites, further observations of Makemake and orbiting moon will measure the system's mass and density and allow a broader understanding of the distant worlds. About 160 kilometers (100 miles) across compared to Makemake's 1,400 kilometer diameter, MK2's relative size and contrast are shown in this artist's vision. An imagined scene of an unexplored frontier of the Solar System, it looks back from a spacecraft's vantage as the dim Sun shines along the Milky Way. Of course, the Sun is over 50 times farther from Makemake than it is from planet Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221231.html ( December 31, 2022)
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/29/2022
Payloads: NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer Mission-24 (NRCSD-24): The crew set up a camcorder to record video and take still photos of the satellite deployment from the NRCSD-24 deployer. NRCSD-24 is an external deployer that is installed in the JEM airlock and robotically placed in the deploy configuration using the JEM Remote Manipulator System (RMS). NRCSD-24 deployed … ...
December 29, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/29/iss-daily-summary-report-12-29-2022/
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Mars and the Star Clusters
At this year's end Mars still shines brightly in planet Earth's night as it wanders through the head-strong constellation Taurus. Its bright yellowish hue dominates this starry field of view that includes Taurus' alpha star Aldebaran and the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters. While red giant Aldebaran appears to anchor the V-shape of the Hyades at the left of the frame, Aldebaran is not a member of the Hyades star cluster. The Hyades cluster is 151 light-years away making it the nearest established open star cluster, but Aldebaran lies at less than half that distance, along the same line-of-sight. At the right, some 400 light-years distant is the open star cluster cataloged as Messier 45, also known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. In Greek myth, the Pleiades were daughters of the astronomical titan Atlas and sea-nymph Pleione.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221230.html ( December 30, 2022)
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/28/2022
Payloads: Actiwatch-Plus: Four Actiwatch Plus devices were connected to the HRF Payload Drawer on HRF Rack 1 to allow battery charging and data downlink. The Actiwatch-Plus is a waterproof, non-intrusive, sleep-wake activity monitor worn on the wrist of a crewmember. It contains a miniature uniaxial accelerometer that produces a signal as the subject moves. The … ...
December 28, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/28/iss-daily-summary-report-12-28-2022/
HIRISE Spots Martian Crater Deposits
This image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft’s HIRISE instrument on Oct. 23, 2022, of the northern plains of Arabia Terra shows craters that contain curious deposits with mysterious shapes and distribution.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/hirise-spots-martian-crater-deposits
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Horsehead and Flame
The Horsehead Nebula, famous celestial dark marking also known as Barnard 33, is notched against a background glow of emission nebulae in this sharp cosmic skyscape. About five light-years "tall" the Horsehead lies some 1,500 light-years away in the constellation of Orion. Within the region's fertile molecular cloud complex, the expanse of obscuring dust has a recognizable shape only by chance from our perspective in the Milky Way though. Orion's easternmost belt star, bright Alnitak, is to the left of center. Energetic ultraviolet light from Alnitak powers the glow of dusty NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula, just below it. Completing a study in cosmic contrasts, bluish reflection nebula NGC 2023 is below the Horsehead itself. This well-framed telescopic field spans about 3 full moons on the sky.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221229.html ( December 29, 2022)
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/27/2022
Payloads: NanoRacks Module-89 (Moon Gallery): Module-89 was removed from NanoRacks MainFrame A and stowed. NanoRacks Module-89 houses the Moon Gallery experiment that evaluates the performance of a single-board computer platform with a high-quality camera in the space station’s radiation environment. Photos and videos taken with the camera become part of an art installation known as … ...
December 27, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/27/iss-daily-summary-report-12-27-2022/
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Charles Messier described the 88th entry in his 18th century catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters as a spiral nebula without stars. Of course the gorgeous M88 is now understood to be a galaxy full of stars, gas, and dust, not unlike our own Milky Way. In fact, M88 is one of the brightest galaxies in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster some 50 million light-years away. M88's beautiful spiral arms are easy to trace in this sharp cosmic portait. The arms are lined with young blue star clusters, pink star-forming regions, and obscuring dust lanes extending from a yellowish core dominated by an older population of stars. Spiral galaxy M88 spans over 100,000 light-years.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221228.html ( December 28, 2022)
Starry Wreath in Pegasus
The James Webb Space Telescope spies the spiral galaxy NGC 7469, located 220 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus, in this image released on Dec. 21, 2022.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/starry-wreath-in-pegasus
Monday, December 26, 2022
A Full Circle Rainbow over Norway
Have you ever seen an entire rainbow? From the ground, typically, only the top portion of a rainbow is visible because directions toward the ground have fewer raindrops. From the air, though, the entire 360-degree circle of a rainbow is more commonly visible. Pictured here, a full-circle rainbow was captured over the Lofoten Islands of Norway in September by a drone passing through a rain shower. An observer-dependent phenomenon primarily caused by the internal reflection of sunlight by raindrops, the rainbow has a full diameter of 84 degrees. The Sun is in the exact opposite direction from the rainbow's center. As a bonus, a second rainbow that was more faint and color-reversed was visible outside the first.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221227.html ( December 27, 2022)
Sunday, December 25, 2022
NGC 6164: Dragons Egg Nebula and Halo
The star at the center created everything. Known as the Dragon's Egg, this star -- a rare, hot, luminous O-type star some 40 times as massive as the Sun -- created not only the complex nebula (NGC 6164) that immediately surrounds it, but also the encompassing blue halo. Its name is derived, in part, from the region's proximity to the picturesque NGC 6188, known as the fighting Dragons of Ara. In another three to four million years the massive star will likely end its life in a supernova explosion. Spanning around 4 light-years, the nebula itself has a bipolar symmetry making it similar in appearance to more common planetary nebulae - the gaseous shrouds surrounding dying sun-like stars. Also like many planetary nebulae, NGC 6164 has been found to have an extensive, faint halo, revealed in blue in this deep telescopic image of the region. Expanding into the surrounding interstellar medium, the material in the blue halo was likely expelled from an earlier active phase of the O-star. NGC 6164 lies 4,200 light-years away in the southern constellation of the Carpenter's Square (Norma).
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221226.html ( December 26, 2022)
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Geminids and the Mittens
Asteroid 3200 Phaethon's annual gift to planet Earth always arrives in December. Otherwise known as the Geminid meteor shower, the source of the meteroid stream is dust shed along the orbit of the mysterious asteroid. Near the December 13/14 peak of the shower's activity, geminid meteors are captured in this night skyscape, composited from 22 images of starry sky taken before the moon rose over Monument Valley in the American southwest. The bright stars near the position of the shower's radiant are the constellation Gemini's twin stars Castor (blue) and Pollux (yellow). As Earth sweeps through the dusty stream, the parallel meteor trails appear to radiate from a point on the sky in Gemini due to perspective, and so the yearly shower is named for the constellation. From the camera's perspective, this view of three prominent buttes across Monument Valley also suggests appropriate names for two of them. The third one is called Merrick Butte.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221225.html ( December 25, 2022)
Friday, December 23, 2022
Comet 2022 E3 ZTF
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility this year in early March. Since then the new long-period comet has brightened substantially and is now sweeping across the northern constellation Corona Borealis in predawn skies. It's still too dim to see without a telescope though. But this fine telescopic image from December 19 does show the comet's brighter greenish coma, short broad dust tail, and long faint ion tail stretching across a 2.5 degree wide field-of-view. On a voyage through the inner Solar System comet 2022 E3 will be at perihelion, its closest to the Sun, in the new year on January 12 and at perigee, its closest to our fair planet, on February 1. The brightness of comets is notoriously unpredictable, but by then C/2022 E3 (ZTF) could become only just visible to the eye in dark night skies.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221224.html ( December 24, 2022)
Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders Captures Earthrise
On Dec. 24, 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders became the first humans to orbit the Moon, and the first to witness the magnificent sight called "Earthrise."
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/apollo-8-astronaut-bill-anders-captures-earthrise
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Cassini Looks Out from Saturn
This is what Saturn looks like from inside the rings. In 2017, for the first time, NASA directed the Cassini spacecraft to swoop between Saturn and its rings. During the dive, the robotic spacecraft took hundreds of images showing unprecedented detail for structures in Saturn's atmosphere. Looking back out, however, the spacecraft was also able to capture impressive vistas. In the featured image, taken a few hours before closest approach, Saturn's unusual northern hexagon is seen surrounding the North Pole. Saturn's B ring is the closest visible, while the dark Cassini Division separates B from the outer A. A close inspection will find the two small moons that shepherd the F-ring, the farthest ring discernable. A few months after this image was taken -- and after more than a decade of exploration and discovery -- the Cassini spacecraft ran low on fuel and was directed to enter Saturn's atmosphere, where it surely melted.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221223.html ( December 23, 2022)
Space Station Snaps Hawaii’s Volcanoes
Hawaii's big island and its two major volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa rest under a partly cloudy sky on Feb. 8, 2022, in this view from the International Space Station.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/space-station-snaps-hawaii-s-volcanoes
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
NGC 1365: Majestic Island Universe
Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the faint but heated constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax Cluster of galaxies. This impressively sharp color image shows the intense, reddish star forming regions near the ends of central bar and along the spiral arms, with details of the obscuring dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the central black hole.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221222.html ( December 22, 2022)
Webb Uncovers Young Stars’ Outbursts in Carina Nebula
By taking a closer look at one of Webb’s first images, the iconic Cosmic Cliffs, scientists have found dozens of energetic jets and outflows from young stars previously hidden by dust clouds.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/webb-uncovers-young-stars-outbursts-in-carina-nebula
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Sun Halo at Sixty three Degrees North
Happy Solstice! Today is the December solstice, marking an astronomical beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the north. On its yearly trek through planet Earth's skies, at this solstice the Sun reaches its southern most declination, 23.5 degrees south, at 21:48 UTC. About 4 days ago the Sun was near this seasonal southern limit and so only just above the horizon at local noon over Ostersund in central Sweden. This view looking over the far northern lakeside city finds the midday Sun with a beautiful solar ice halo. Naturally occurring atmospheric ice crystals can produce the tantalizing halo displays, refracting and reflecting the sunlight through their hexagonal geometry. Still, with the Sun low and near the horizon in the clear sky, likely sources of the ice crystals producing this intense halo are snow cannons. Operating at a local ski area, the snowmaking machines create a visible plume at the top of the nearby island Froson toward the right side of the panorama.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221221.html ( December 21, 2022)
Saying 'Farewell' to InSight Mars Lander
The lander's journey of discovery into the interior structure and composition of Mars has come to a close.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/saying-farewell-to-insight-mars-lander
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/19/2022
Payloads: Materials Science Research Rack/Materials Science Laboratory (MSRR/MSL): The crew gained access to the MSL furnace area, removed the Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductors (GTCS) Sample Cartridge Assembly (SCA) and installed the Fabrication of Amorphous Metals in Space (FAMIS) C2 SCA. FAMIS studies the microstructure of composites of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) and tungsten spheres … ...
December 19, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/19/iss-daily-summary-report-12-19-2022/
Monday, December 19, 2022
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 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/ap221220.html ( December 20, 2022)
NASA, Moog SureFly Test Aircraft Noise
The Moog Surefly vehicle hovers above Cincinnati Municipal Airport in this photo from summer 2022.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/nasa-moog-surefly-test-aircraft-noise
Sunday, December 18, 2022
The Tadpole Nebula in Gas and Dust
What's causing the commotion in the Tadpole Nebula? Star formation. Dusty emission in the Tadpole Nebula, IC 410, lies about 12,000 light-years away in the northern constellation of the Charioteer (Auriga). The cloud of glowing gas is over 100 light-years across, sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from embedded open star cluster NGC 1893. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, bright newly formed cluster stars are seen all around the star-forming nebula. Notable on the lower-right of the featured image are two relatively dense streamers of material trailing away from the nebula's central regions. Potentially sites of ongoing star formation in IC 410, these cosmic tadpole shapes are about 10 light-years long. The image was processed highlighting the emission from sulfur (red), hydrogen (green), and oxygen (blue) gas -- but with the stars digitally removed.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221219.html ( December 19, 2022)
Saturday, December 17, 2022
The 25 Brightest Stars in the Night Sky
Do you know the names of some of the brightest stars? It's likely that you do, even though some bright stars have names so old they date back to near the beginning of written language. Many world cultures have their own names for the brightest stars, and it is culturally and historically important to remember them. In the interest of clear global communication, however, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has begun to designate standardized star names. Featured here in true color are the 25 brightest stars in the night sky, currently as seen by humans, coupled with their IAU-recognized names. Some star names have interesting meanings, including Sirius ("the scorcher" in Latin), Vega ("falling" in Arabic), and Antares ("rival to Mars" in Greek). You are likely even familiar with the name of at least one star too dim to make this list: Polaris.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221218.html ( December 18, 2022)
Friday, December 16, 2022
Apollo 17 VIP Site Anaglyph
Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo scene from Taurus-Littrow valley on the Moon! The color anaglyph features a detailed 3D view of Apollo 17's Lunar Rover in the foreground -- behind it lies the Lunar Module and distant lunar hills. Because the world was going to be able to watch the Lunar Module's ascent stage liftoff via the rover's TV camera, this parking place was also known as the VIP Site. Fifty years ago, in December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. The crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than from any of the other lunar landing sites. Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk (or drive) on the Moon.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221217.html ( December 17, 2022)
Hubble Views a Star-Studded Cosmic Cloud
A portion of the open cluster NGC 6530 appears as a roiling wall of smoke studded with stars in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2022/hubble-views-a-star-studded-cosmic-cloud
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/15/2022
Significant Items: Soyuz Coolant Leak: During preparation for RS EVA 56, coolant was seen leaking via external cameras from the external thermal control loop on the Soyuz 68S Instrumentation Module. MCC-M made a decision to cancel RS EVA 56 before crew opened the EV hatch. A commission has been formed to investigate this anomaly. Payloads: … ...
December 15, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/15/iss-daily-summary-report-12-15-2022/
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Returning from beyond the Moon, on December 11 the Orion spacecraft entered Earth's atmosphere at almost 11 kilometers per second. That's half the speed of the grain of dust that created this long fireball meteor when it entered the atmosphere on December 13, near the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower. As our fair planet makes its yearly pass through the dust trail of mysterious asteroid 3200 Phaethon, the parallel tracks of all Geminid meteors appear to radiate from a point in the constellation Gemini. But the twin stars of Gemini hide just behind the trees on the left in this night skyscape from the beautiful Blue Moon Valley, Yunnan, China. Reflected in the still waters of the mountain lake, stars of the constellation Orion are rising near center. Captured before moonrise, dazzling Mars is still the brightest celestial beacon in the scene.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221216.html ( December 16, 2022)
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/14/2022
Payloads: JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS): The JWRS Gas Trap Module B and T-union were reconnected. The JWRS Valve Module SV-7 was reinstalled and the JWRS Bypass Line tube tip was cut as part of JWRS troubleshooting. The demonstration of JWRS generates potable water from urine. In the past, urine and wastewater were collected and … ...
December 14, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/14/iss-daily-summary-report-12-14-2022/
Hubble Captures Majestic Barred Spiral
Against an inky black backdrop, the blue swirls of barred spiral galaxy NGC 6956 stand out radiantly.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2022/hubble-captures-majestic-barred-spiral
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Full Moon, Full Mars
On December 8 a full Moon and a full Mars were close, both bright and opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. In fact Mars was occulted, passing behind the Moon when viewed from some locations across Europe and North America. Seen from the city of Kosice in eastern Slovakia, the lunar occultation of Mars happened just before sunrise. The tantalizing spectacle was recorded in this telescopic timelapse sequence of exposures. It took about an hour for the Red Planet to disappear behind the lunar disk and then reappear as a warm-hued full Moon, the last full Moon of 2022, sank toward the western horizon. The next lunar occultation of bright planet Mars will be in the new year on January 3, when the Moon is in a waxing gibbous phase. Lunar occultations are only ever visible from a fraction of the Earth's surface, though. The January 3 occultation of Mars will be visible from parts of the South Atlantic, southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221215.html ( December 15, 2022)
SWOT Satellite, Falcon 9 Rocket Approach Pad
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft onboard is seen as it rolls out to the pad, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, at Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/swot-satellite-falcon-9-rocket-approach-pad
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/13/2022
Payloads: Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR): CIR Absorber Cartridge QDs (Quick Disconnects) were reconnected. The CIR includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel and oxidizer control, and five different cameras for performing combustion investigations in microgravity. Dose Distribution Inside the International Space Station-3D (DOSIS-3D): DOSTEL-2 data and power cables were removed from DOSIS Main Box in … ...
December 13, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/13/iss-daily-summary-report-12-13-2022/
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Lunar Dust and Duct Tape
Why is the Moon so dusty? On Earth, rocks are weathered by wind and water, creating soil and sand. On the Moon, the history of constant micrometeorite bombardment has blasted away at the rocky surface creating a layer of powdery lunar soil or regolith. For the Apollo astronauts and their equipment, the pervasive, fine, gritty dust was definitely a problem. Fifty years ago, on the lunar surface in December 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan needed to repair one of their rover's fenders in an effort to keep the rooster tails of dust away from themselves and their gear. This picture reveals the wheel and fender of their dust covered rover along with the ingenious application of spare maps, clamps, and a grey strip of "duct tape".
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221214.html ( December 14, 2022)
Gemini-VII and Gemini-VI-A Meet at Last
In this photo from Dec. 15, 1965, the Gemini-VII spacecraft is seen from the Gemini-VI-A spacecraft during their rendezvous mission in space.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/gemini-vii-and-gemini-vi-a-meet-at-last
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/12/2022
Payloads: Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF): The Air Gas Bottle Unit was removed and an Argon Gas Bottle Unit Argon was installed. The ELF is an experimental facility designed to levitate/melt/solidify materials by container less processing techniques using the Electrostatic Levitation method. With this facility, thermophysical properties of high temperature melts can be measured, and solidification … ...
December 12, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/12/iss-daily-summary-report-12-12-2022/
Monday, December 12, 2022
An Artful Sky over Lofoten Islands
Can the night sky be both art and science? If so, perhaps the featured image is an example. The digital panorama was composed of 10 landscape and 10 sky images all taken on the same night, from the same location, and with the same camera. Iconic features in the image have been artfully brightened, and the ground nearby was artfully illuminated. Visible in the foreground is the creative photographer anchoring an amazing view from the rugged Lofoten Islands of Norway, two months ago, by holding a lamp. Far in the distance are three prominent arches: our Milky Way Galaxy on the left, while a scientifically-unusual double-arced aurora is documented on the right. A meteor is highlighted between them. Other notable skylights include, left to right, the Andromeda Galaxy, the planet Jupiter, the star Vega, and the stars that compose the Big Dipper asterism.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221213.html ( December 13, 2022)
Orion Comes Home to Earth
At 12:40 p.m. EST, Dec. 11, 2022, the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after a 25.5-day mission to the Moon.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orion-comes-home-to-earth
Sunday, December 11, 2022
An Unusual Globule in IC 1396
Is there a monster in IC 1396? Known to some as the Elephant's Trunk Nebula, parts of gas and dust clouds of this star formation region may appear to take on foreboding forms, some nearly human. The only real monster here, however, is a bright young star too far from Earth to hurt us. Energetic light from this star is eating away the dust of the dark cometary globule near the top of the featured image. Jets and winds of particles emitted from this star are also pushing away ambient gas and dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a much larger region on the sky than shown here, with an apparent width of more than 10 full moons.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221212.html ( December 12, 2022)
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Io in True Color
The strangest moon in the Solar System is bright yellow. The featured picture, an attempt to show how Io would appear in the "true colors" perceptible to the average human eye, was taken in 1999 July by the Galileo spacecraft that orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003. Io's colors derive from sulfur and molten silicate rock. The unusual surface of Io is kept very young by its system of active volcanoes. The intense tidal gravity of Jupiter stretches Io and damps wobbles caused by Jupiter's other Galilean moons. The resulting friction greatly heats Io's interior, causing molten rock to explode through the surface. Io's volcanoes are so active that they are effectively turning the whole moon inside out. Some of Io's volcanic lava is so hot it glows in the dark.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221211.html ( December 11, 2022)
Friday, December 9, 2022
America and the Sea of Serenity
Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo view of another world. Fifty years ago the scene was recorded by Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene Cernan on December 11, 1972, one orbit before descending to land on the Moon. The stereo anaglyph was assembled from two photographs (AS17-147-22465, AS17-147-22466) captured from his vantage point on board the Lunar Module Challenger as he and Dr. Harrison Schmitt flew over Apollo 17's landing site in the Taurus-Littrow Valley. The broad, sunlit face of the mountain dubbed South Massif rises near the center of the frame, above the dark floor of Taurus-Littrow to its left. Piloted by Ron Evans, the Command Module America is visible in orbit in the foreground against the South Massif's peak. Beyond the mountains, toward the lunar limb, lies the Moon's Mare Serenitatis.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221210.html ( December 10, 2022)
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/08/2022
Payloads: Food Physiology: A diet briefing was attended between the crew and principal investigator team in support of the Food Physiology investigation. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight … ...
December 08, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/08/iss-daily-summary-report-12-08-2022/
Orion Gazes at Moon Before Return to Earth
On flight day 20 of the Artemis I mission, Dec. 5, 2022, Orion captured the Moon on the day of return powered flyby, the final major engine maneuver of the flight test.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orion-gazes-at-moon-before-return-to-earth
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Mars Rises above the Lunar Limb
On the night of December 7 Mars wandered near the Full Moon. In fact the Red Planet was occulted, passing behind the Moon, when viewed from locations across Europe and North America. About an hour after disappearing behind the lunar disk Mars reappears in this stack of sharp video frames captured from San Diego, planet Earth. With the Moon in the foreground Mars was a mere 82 million kilometers distant, near its own opposition. Full Moon and full Mars were bright enough provide the spectacular image with no exposure adjustments necessary. In the image Mars appears to rise just over ancient, dark-floored, lunar crater Abel very close to the southeastern edge of the Moon's near side. Humboldt is the large impact crater to its north (left).
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221209.html ( December 09, 2022)
Pioneer 10 Flies by Jupiter
In this illustration by Rick Giudice from August 1973, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft passes by the gas giant planet Jupiter.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pioneer-10-flies-by-jupiter
ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/07/2022
Payloads: Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): A BCM research session consisting of a set of 12 runs/tests was performed. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (BCM) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during long-duration spaceflight, … ...
December 07, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2022/12/07/iss-daily-summary-report-12-07-2022/
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Orion and the Ocean of Storms
A camera on board the uncrewed Orion spacecraft captured this view on December 5 as Orion approached its return powered flyby of the Moon. Below one of Orion's extended solar arrays lies dark, smooth, terrain along the western edge of the Oceanus Procellarum. Prominent on the lunar nearside Oceanus Procellarum, the Ocean of Storms, is the largest of the Moon's lava-flooded maria. The lunar terminator, shadow line between lunar night and day, runs along the left of the frame. The 41 kilometer diameter crater Marius is top center, with ray crater Kepler peeking in at the edge, just right of the solar array wing. Kepler's bright rays extend to the north and west, reaching the dark-floored Marius. Of course the Orion spacecraft is now headed toward a December 11 splashdown in planet Earth's water-flooded Pacific Ocean.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap221208.html ( December 08, 2022)
Apollo 17 Astronauts Capture Iconic Blue Marble 50 Years Ago
This classic photograph of the Earth was taken on Dec. 7, 1972, by the crew of the final Apollo mission, Apollo 17, as they traveled toward the moon on their lunar landing mission.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/apollo-17-astronauts-capture-iconic-blue-marble-50-years-ago
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