Monday, January 31, 2022

Moon Phases 2022

What will the Moon phase be on your birthday this year? It is hard to predict because the Moon's appearance changes nightly. As the Moon orbits the Earth, the half illuminated by the Sun first becomes increasingly visible, then decreasingly visible. The featured video animates images and altitude data taken by NASA's Moon-orbiting Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to show all 12 lunations that appear this year, 2022 -- as seen from Earth's northern (southern) hemisphere. A single lunation describes one full cycle of our Moon, including all of its phases. A full lunation takes about 29.5 days, just under a month (moon-th). As each lunation progresses, sunlight reflects from the Moon at different angles, and so illuminates different features differently. During all of this, of course, the Moon always keeps the same face toward the Earth. What is less apparent night-to-night is that the Moon's apparent size changes slightly, and that a slight wobble called a libration occurs as the Moon progresses along its elliptical orbit. ( February 01, 2022)

Learning How Ocean Water Melts Glaciers

To learn how ocean water is melting glaciers, NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission extensively surveyed the coastline of the world’s largest island.

from NASA

Saturday, January 29, 2022

A Solar Prominence from SOHO

How can gas float above the Sun? Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. In 1999, this dramatic and detailed image was recorded by the Extreme ultraviolet Image Telescope (EIT) on board the space-based SOHO observatory in the light emitted by ionized Helium. It shows hot plasma escaping into space as a fiery prominence breaks free from magnetic confinement a hundred thousand kilometers above the Sun. These awesome events bear watching as they can affect communications and power systems over 100 million kilometers away on planet Earth. In late 2020 our Sun passed the solar minimum of its 11-year cycle and is now showing increased surface activity. ( January 30, 2022)

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Fornax Cluster of Galaxies

Named for the southern constellation toward which most of its galaxies can be found, the Fornax Cluster is one of the closest clusters of galaxies. About 62 million light-years away, it is almost 20 times more distant than our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy, and only about 10 percent farther than the better known and more populated Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Seen across this two degree wide field-of-view, almost every yellowish splotch on the image is an elliptical galaxy in the Fornax cluster. Elliptical galaxies NGC 1399 and NGC 1404 are the dominant, bright cluster members toward the upper left (but not the spiky foreground stars). A standout barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is visible on the lower right as a prominent Fornax cluster member. ( January 29, 2022)

Remembering Challenger and Her Crew

In this image taken in 1985, four members of the Challenger STS-51L crew train on the flight deck of the shuttle crew compartment.

from NASA

The Mare Orientale, Latin for Eastern Sea, is one of the most striking large scale lunar features. The youngest of the large lunar impact basins it's very difficult to see from an earthbound perspective. Still, taken during a period of favorable tilt, or libration of the lunar nearside, the Eastern Sea can be found near top center in this sharp telescopic view, extremely foreshortened along the Moon's western edge. Formed by the impact of an asteroid over 3 billion years ago and nearly 1000 kilometers across, the impact basin's concentric circular features, ripples in the lunar crust, are a little easier to spot in spacecraft images of the Moon, though. So why is the Eastern Sea at the Moon's western edge? The Mare Orientale lunar feature was named before 1961. That's when the convention labeling east and west on lunar maps was reversed. ( January 28, 2022)

Thursday, January 27, 2022

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/26/2021



Payloads: Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF-L):  CBEF-L internal equipment and junction box and were removed. Gas sensors, stirring fan and vent fans were reconfigured and the centrifuge was re-inserted.  CBEF-L is a new Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) subrack facility, which is an upgraded facility of the original CBEF currently aboard the ISS.  CBEF-L provides … ...

January 26, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Remembering Apollo 1

On Jan. 27, 1967, tragedy struck on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy during a preflight test for Apollo 204 (AS-204).

from NASA

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

South of Orion

South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. At the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999's illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. The nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape at center right in this telescopic vista that spans about two full moons on the sky. Its dark shape was once assumed to be an obscuring dust cloud seen in silhouette. But infrared data suggest the shape is likely a hole blown through the nebula itself by energetic young stars. In fact, this region abounds with energetic young stars producing jets and outflows with luminous shock waves. Cataloged as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, named for astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro, the shocks have intense reddish hues. HH1 and HH2 are just below and right of NGC 1999. HH222, also known as the Waterfall nebula, looks like a red gash near top right in the frame. To create the shocks stellar jets push through the surrounding material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second. ( January 27, 2022)

The Colors of Water

Much like the sky, rivers are rarely painted one color.

from NASA

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Stars, Dust, and Gas Near Antares

Why is the sky near Antares and Rho Ophiuchi so dusty yet colorful? The colors result from a mixture of objects and processes. Fine dust -- illuminated from the front by starlight -- produces blue reflection nebulae. Gaseous clouds whose atoms are excited by ultraviolet starlight produce reddish emission nebulae. Backlit dust clouds block starlight and so appear dark. Antares, a red supergiant and one of the brighter stars in the night sky, lights up the yellow-red clouds on the lower right of the featured image. The Rho Ophiuchi star system lies at the center of the blue reflection nebula on the top left. The distant globular cluster of stars M4 is visible above and to the right of Antares. These star clouds are even more colorful than humans can see, emitting light across the electromagnetic spectrum. ( January 26, 2022)

X-59 Wind Tunnel Testing at NASA Glenn

This colorized schlieren image is of a small-scale model of NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology airplane.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/24/2021



SpaceX-24 Undock and Return: Due to unfavorable weather conditions at the landing site, Cargo Dragon SpaceX-24 (SpX-24) undock was delayed two days from the original departure date of January 21st. The vehicle undocked from the ISS yesterday at 9:40 AM CT to return cargo and payloads to the ground concluding the 33-day mission aboard the … ...

January 24, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Monday, January 24, 2022

Video: Comet Leonard over One Hour

Which direction is this comet heading? Judging by the tail, one might imagine that Comet Leonard is traveling towards the bottom right, but a full 3D analysis shows it traveling almost directly away from the camera. With this perspective, the dust tail is trailed towards the camera and can only be seen as a short yellow-white glow near the head of the comet. The bluish ion tail, however, is made up of escaping ions that are forced directly away from the Sun by the solar wind -- but channeled along the Sun's magnetic field lines. The Sun's magnetic field is quite complex, however, and occasionally solar magnetic reconnection will break the ion tail into knots that are pushed away from the Sun. One such knot is visible in the featured one-hour time-lapse video captured in late December from Thailand. Comet Leonard is now fading as it heads out of our Solar System. ( January 25, 2022)

Studying the ‘Lost Habitable’ World of Venus

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure.

from NASA

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula

By starlight this eerie visage shines in the dark, a crooked profile evoking its popular name, the Witch Head Nebula. In fact, this entrancing telescopic portrait gives the impression that the witch has fixed her gaze on Orion's bright supergiant star Rigel. More formally known as IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula spans about 50 light-years and is composed of interstellar dust grains reflecting Rigel's starlight. The blue color of the Witch Head Nebula and of the dust surrounding Rigel is caused not only by Rigel's intense blue starlight but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth's daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in Earth's atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. Rigel, the Witch Head Nebula, and gas and dust that surrounds them lie about 800 light-years away. ( January 24, 2022)

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows

Seen from ice moon Tethys, rings and shadows would display fantastic views of the Saturnian system. Haven't dropped in on Tethys lately? Then this gorgeous ringscape from the Cassini spacecraft will have to do for now. Caught in sunlight just below and left of picture center in 2005, Tethys itself is about 1,000 kilometers in diameter and orbits not quite five saturn-radii from the center of the gas giant planet. At that distance (around 300,000 kilometers) it is well outside Saturn's main bright rings, but Tethys is still one of five major moons that find themselves within the boundaries of the faint and tenuous outer E ring. Discovered in the 1980s, two very small moons Telesto and Calypso are locked in stable along Tethys' orbit. Telesto precedes and Calypso follows Tethys as the trio circles Saturn. ( January 23, 2022)

Friday, January 21, 2022

The Full Moon and the Dancer

On Monday, January's Full Moon rose as the Sun set. Spotted near the eastern horizon, its warm hues are seen in this photo taken near Cagliari, capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia. Of course the familiar patterns of light and dark across the Moon's nearside are created by bright rugged highlands and dark smooth lunar maria. Traditionally the patterns are seen as pareidolia, giving the visual illusion of a human face like the Man in the Moon, or familiar animal like the Moon rabbit. But for a moment the swarming murmuration, also known as a flock of starlings, frozen in the snapshot's field of view lends another pareidolic element to the scene. Some see the graceful figure of a dancer enchanted by moonlight. ( January 22, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/20/2021



Payloads: Micro Monitor: A 350 ml water sample was collected from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) to be returned to the ground for analysis. Development of the On-board Monitoring System for Microorganisms in Potable Water on Manned Spacecraft (Micro Monitor) examines a high-performance, real-time system for monitoring spacecraft water systems. It uses an ultraviolet light and … ...

January 20, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Hubble Sights a Sail of Stars

The spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 3318 are lazily draped across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This spiral galaxy lies in the constellation Vela and is roughly 115 light-years away from Earth.

from NASA

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Young Star Jet MHO 2147

Laser guide stars and adaptive optics sharpened this stunning ground-based image of stellar jets from the Gemini South Observatory, Chilean Andes, planet Earth. These twin outflows of MHO 2147 are from a young star in formation. It lies toward the central Milky Way and the boundary of the constellations Sagittarius and Ophiuchus at an estimated distance of some 10,000 light-years. At center, the star itself is obscured by a dense region of cold dust. But the infrared image still traces the sinuous jets across a frame that would span about 5 light-years at the system's estimated distance. Driven outward by the young rotating star, the apparent wandering direction of the jets is likely due to precession. Part of a multiple star system, the young star's rotational axis would slowly precess or wobble like a top under the gravitation influence of its nearby companions. ( January 21, 2022)

Peering Through a Window to the World

In this image from Jan. 9, 2022, NASA astronaut Kayla Barron peered out from a window inside the International Space Station's cupola.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/19/2021



Russian Segment (RS) Extravehicular Activity (EVA) #51: During today’s EVA, the Russian crew worked outside the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) to complete the below tasks. The USOS crew assisted with the Airlock operations in the Service Module (SM). The following tasks were completed and deferred during the EVA: Completed: Installation of NM Handrail Limiters (2 … ...

January 19, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

NGC 7822 in Cepheus

Hot, young stars and cosmic pillars of gas and dust seem to crowd into NGC 7822. At the edge of a giant molecular cloud toward the northern constellation Cepheus, the glowing star forming region lies about 3,000 light-years away. Within the nebula, bright edges and dark shapes stand out in this colorful telescopic skyscape. The image includes data from narrowband filters, mapping emission from atomic oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur into blue, green, and red hues. The emission line and color combination has become well-known as the Hubble palette. The atomic emission is powered by energetic radiation from the central hot stars. Their powerful winds and radiation sculpt and erode the denser pillar shapes and clear out a characteristic cavity light-years across the center of the natal cloud. Stars could still be forming inside the pillars by gravitational collapse but as the pillars are eroded away, any forming stars will ultimately be cutoff from their reservoir of star stuff. This field of view spans about 40 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 7822. ( January 20, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/18/2021



Payloads: Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON): The crew performed the appropriate steps to prepare a bootable disk for a CIMON software load. The Pilot Study with CIMON is a technology demonstration project, and an observational study, that aims to obtain the first insights into the effects on crew support by an artificial intelligence (AI), in … ...

January 18, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Remembering Trailblazing Pilot Charles McGee

Retired U.S. Air Force Honorary Brigadier General Charles McGee, left, spoke with NASA astronaut Alvin Drew in 2020.

from NASA

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

The most distant object easily visible to the unaided eye is M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy. Even at some two and a half million light-years distant, this immense spiral galaxy -- spanning over 200,000 light years -- is visible, although as a faint, nebulous cloud in the constellation Andromeda. In contrast, a bright yellow nucleus, dark winding dust lanes, and expansive spiral arms dotted with blue star clusters and red nebulae, are recorded in this stunning telescopic image which combines data from orbiting Hubble with ground-based images from Subaru and Mayall. In only about 5 billion years, the Andromeda galaxy may be even easier to see -- as it will likely span the entire night sky -- just before it merges with our Milky Way Galaxy. ( January 19, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/17/2021



Payloads: Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2 (ANITA-2): The crew assisted with the initial power-up of the ANITA-2 system by closing switches and adjusting a video camera to monitor the unit.  Following this, the ground was unable to successfully ping the unit and is discussing the issue.  ANITA-2 is a compact gas analyzer which can analyze … ...

January 17, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Drilling Holes on the Red Planet

This image shows the Highfield drill hole, on Vera Rubin Ridge in Gale crater on Mars, made by NASA’s Curiosity rover in its search for rock samples. Just recently, scientists announced that an analysis of rock samples collected by the rover were enriched in carbon 12, a type of carbon that on Earth is associated with biological processes.

from NASA

Monday, January 17, 2022

From Orion to the Southern Cross

This is a sky filled with glowing icons. On the far left is the familiar constellation of Orion, divided by its iconic three-aligned belt stars and featuring the famous Orion Nebula, both partly encircled by Barnard's Loop. Just left of center in the featured image is the brightest star in the night: Sirius. Arching across the image center is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. On the far right, near the top, are the two brightest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way: the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). Also on the far right -- just above the cloudy horizon -- is the constellation of Crux, complete with the four stars that make the iconic Southern Cross. The featured image is a composite of 18 consecutive exposures taken by the same camera and from the same location in eastern Australia during the last days of last year. In the foreground, picturesque basalt columns of the Bombo Quarry part to reveal the vast Pacific Ocean. ( January 18, 2022)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Chamaeleon Dark Nebulas

Sometimes the dark dust of interstellar space has an angular elegance. Such is the case toward the far-south constellation of Chamaeleon. Normally too faint to see, dark dust is best known for blocking visible light from stars and galaxies behind it. In this four-hour exposure, however, the dust is seen mostly in light of its own, with its strong red and near-infrared colors giving creating a brown hue. Contrastingly blue, the bright star Beta Chamaeleontis is visible just to the right of center, with the dust that surrounds it preferentially reflecting blue light from its primarily blue-white color. All of the pictured stars and dust occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy with -- but one notable exception: the white spot just below Beta Chamaeleontis is the galaxy IC 3104 which lies far in the distance. Interstellar dust is mostly created in the cool atmospheres of giant stars and dispersed into space by stellar light, stellar winds, and stellar explosions such as supernovas. ( January 17, 2022)

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset

What type of cloud is that? This retreating cumulonimbus cloud, more commonly called a thundercloud, is somewhat unusual as it contains the unusual bumpiness of a mammatus cloud on the near end, while simultaneously producing falling rain on the far end. Taken in mid-2013 in southern Alberta, Canada, the cloud is moving to the east, into the distance, as the sun sets in the west, behind the camera. In the featured image, graphic sunset colors cross the sky to give the already photogenic cloud striking orange and pink hues. A darkening blue sky covers the background. Further in the distance, a rising, waxing, gibbous moon is visible on the far right. ( January 16, 2022)

Friday, January 14, 2022

Galileo's Europa

Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft recorded stunning views of Europa and uncovered evidence that the moon's icy surface likely hides a deep, global ocean. Galileo's Europa image data has been remastered here, with improved calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see. Europa's long curving fractures hint at the subsurface liquid water. The tidal flexing the large moon experiences in its elliptical orbit around Jupiter supplies the energy to keep the ocean liquid. But more tantalizing is the possibility that even in the absence of sunlight that process could also supply the energy to support life, making Europa one of the best places to look for life beyond Earth. What kind of life could thrive in a deep, dark, subsurface ocean? Consider planet Earth's own extreme shrimp. ( January 15, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/13/2021



Payloads: AstroPi: After moving an AstroPi from Columbus to a Node 2 window, the focus and aperture were adjusted for the 5mm camera lens. This was performed during ISS orbital day to make sure the camera was viewing the Earth. Two augmented Raspberry Pi computers (called AstroPis) were originally flown to the ISS as part … ...

January 13, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Thursday, January 13, 2022

NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy

An island universe of billions of stars, NGC 1566 lies about 60 million light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado. Popularly known as the Spanish Dancer galaxy, it's seen face-on from our Milky Way perspective. A gorgeous grand design spiral, this galaxy's two graceful spiral arms span over 100,000 light-years, traced by bright blue star clusters, pinkish starforming regions, and swirling cosmic dust lanes. NGC 1566's flaring center makes the spiral one of the closest and brightest Seyfert galaxies. It likely houses a central supermassive black hole wreaking havoc on surrounding stars, gas, and dust. In this sharp southern galaxy portrait, the spiky stars lie well within the Milky Way. ( January 14, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/12/2021



ISS Reboost: Today, the ISS performed a reboost using the aft 79 Progress thrusters. The purpose of this reboost is to set up the phasing conditions for the 80 Progress 34-Orbit rendezvous in February and begin to set up the phasing conditions for the 66 Soyuz landing and 67 Soyuz launch in March. The burn … ...

January 12, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Color Explosion; Beautiful Earth

This image, captured by the Landsat-8 satellite, shows the view over Western Australia on May 12, 2013.

from NASA

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Supernova Remnant Simeis 147

It's easy to get lost following the intricate, looping, twisting filaments in this detailed image of supernova remnant Simeis 147. Also cataloged as Sharpless 2-240 it goes by the popular nickname, the Spaghetti Nebula. Seen toward the boundary of the constellations Taurus and Auriga, it covers nearly 3 degrees or 6 full moons on the sky. That's about 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This composite includes image data taken through narrow-band filters where reddish emission from ionized hydrogen atoms and doubly ionized oxygen atoms in faint blue-green hues trace the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core. ( January 13, 2022)

Baby Stars in the Orion Constellation

Scores of baby stars shrouded by dust are revealed in this infrared image of the star-forming region NGC 2174.

from NASA

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia

What does Comet Leonard look like up close? Although we can't go there, imaging the comet's coma and inner tails through a small telescope gives us a good idea. As the name implies, the ion tail is made of ionized gas -- gas energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun and pushed outward by the solar wind. The solar wind is quite structured and sculpted by the Sun's complex and ever changing magnetic field. The effect of the variable solar wind combined with different gas jets venting from the comet's nucleus accounts for the tail's complex structure. Following the wind, structure in Comet Leonard's tail can be seen to move outward from the Sun even alter its wavy appearance over time. The blue color of the ion tail is dominated by recombining carbon monoxide molecules, while the green color of the coma surrounding the head of the comet is created mostly by a slight amount of recombining diatomic carbon molecules. Diatomic carbon is destroyed by sunlight in about 50 hours -- which is why its green glow does not make it far into the ion tail. The featured imagae was taken on January 2 from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Comet Leonard, presently best viewed from Earth's Southern Hemisphere, has rounded the Sun and is now headed out of the Solar System. ( January 12, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/10/2021



Payloads: Advanced Plant Experiment-07 (APEX-07): A harvest was performed for the plants that have been growing in petri plate experiment containers in the Veggie Facilities. This harvest follows approximately 12 days of plant growth for the Arabidopsis thaliana. APEX-07 examines how changes in gravity and other environmental factors associated with spaceflight affect plants at the … ...

January 10, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

The Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Has a Leak

Our Milky Way's central black hole has a leak.

from NASA

Monday, January 10, 2022

Orions Belt Region in Gas and Dust

You may have seen Orion's belt before -- but not like this. The three bright stars across this image are, from left to right, Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak: the iconic belt stars of Orion. The rest of the stars in the frame have been digitally removed to highlight the surrounding clouds of glowing gas and dark dust. Some of these clouds have intriguing shapes, including the Horsehead and Flame Nebulas, both near Alnitak on the lower right. This deep image, taken last month from the Marathon Skypark and Observatory in Marathon, Texas, USA, spans about 5 degrees, required about 20 hours of exposure, and was processed to reveal the gas and dust that we would really see if we were much closer. The famous Orion Nebula is off to the upper right of this colorful field. The entire region lies only about 1,500 light-years distant and so is one of the closest and best studied star formation nurseries known. ( January 11, 2022)

Sidney Poitier's Visit to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Legendary actor and diplomat, Sidney Poitier, visited JPL in 1979.

from NASA

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Comet Leonards Tail Wag

Why does Comet Leonard's tail wag? The featured time-lapse video shows the ion tail of Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) as it changed over ten days early last month. The video was taken by NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft that co-orbits the Sun at roughly the same distance as the Earth. Each image in this 29-degree field was subtracted from following image to create frames that highlight differences. The video clearly shows Comet Leonard's long ion tail extending, wagging, and otherwise being blown around by the solar wind -- a stream of fast-moving ions that stream out from the Sun. Since the video was taken, Comet Leonard continued plunging toward the Sun, reached its closest approach to the Sun between the orbits of Mercury and Venus, survived this closest approach without breaking apart, and is now fading as heads out of our Solar System. ( January 10, 2022)

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Hubbles Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot

What will become of Jupiter's Great Red Spot? Gas giant Jupiter is the solar system's largest world with about 320 times the mass of planet Earth. Jupiter is home to one of the largest and longest lasting storm systems known, the Great Red Spot (GRS), visible to the left. The GRS is so large it could swallow Earth, although it has been shrinking. Comparison with historical notes indicate that the storm spans only about one third of the exposed surface area it had 150 years ago. NASA's Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program has been monitoring the storm more recently using the Hubble Space Telescope. The featured Hubble OPAL image shows Jupiter as it appeared in 2016, processed in a way that makes red hues appear quite vibrant. Modern GRS data indicate that the storm continues to constrict its surface area, but is also becoming slightly taller, vertically. No one knows the future of the GRS, including the possibility that if the shrinking trend continues, the GRS might one day even do what smaller spots on Jupiter have done -- disappear completely. ( January 09, 2022)

Friday, January 7, 2022

Quadrantids of the North

Named for a forgotten constellation, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower puts on an annual show for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers. The shower's radiant on the sky lies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis. That location is not far from the Big Dipper, at the boundaries of the modern constellations Bootes and Draco. In fact north star Polaris is just below center in this frame and the Big Dipper asterism (known to some as the Plough) is above it, with the meteor shower radiant to the right. Pointing back toward the radiant, Quadrantid meteors streak through the night in the panoramic skyscape, a composite of images taken in the hours around the shower's peak on January 4, 2022. Arrayed in the foreground are radio telescopes of the Chinese Spectral Radioheliograph, Mingantu Observing Station, Inner Mongolia, China. A likely source of the dust stream that produces Quadrantid meteors was identified in 2003 as an asteroid. ( January 08, 2022)

Waiting to Unfold

This image shows the James Webb Space Telescope atop its launch vehicle, but before it was encapsulated in the rocket fairing.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/06/2021



Payloads: Acoustic Diagnostics:  Acoustic Diagnostics (AUDIO) measurements were taken.  The Acoustic Upgraded Diagnostics In-Orbit (Acoustic Diagnostics) investigation tests the hearing of ISS crew members before, during, and after flight. This study assesses the possible adverse effects of noise and the microgravity environment aboard the ISS on human hearing. The investigation compares the relationship between the … ...

January 06, 2022 at 11:00AM
From NASA:

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Ecstatic Solar Eclipse

A male Adelie penguin performed this Ecstatic Vocalization in silhouette during the December 4 solar eclipse, the final eclipse of 2021. Of course his Ecstatic Vocalization is a special display that male penguins use to claim their territory and advertise their condition. This penguin's territory, at Cape Crozier Antarctica, is located in one of the largest Adelie penguin colonies. The colony has been studied by researchers for over 25 years. From there, last December's eclipse was about 80 percent total when seen at its maximum phase as the Moon's shadow crossed planet Earth's southernmost continent. ( January 07, 2022)