Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Tulip and Cygnus X-1

Framing a bright emission region, this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula, the reddish glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. Nearly 70 light-years across, the complex and beautiful Tulip Nebula blossoms about 8,000 light-years away. Ultraviolet radiation from young energetic stars at the edge of the Cygnus OB3 association, including O star HDE 227018, ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. Also in the field of view is microquasar Cygnus X-1, one of the strongest X-ray sources in planet Earth's sky. Blasted by powerful jets from a lurking black hole its fainter bluish curved shock front is only just visible though, beyond the cosmic Tulip's petals near the right side of the frame. ( September 01, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/30/2022



Payloads: Advanced Nano Step: Following the completion of the experiment session, the Advanced Nano Step specimen cell was removed from its cartridge and Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF), and prepared for return to the ground on Crew-4. The Advanced Nano Step experiment monitors and records how the incorporation of specific impurity molecules affect the development … ...

August 30, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Lacerta’s Star Outshines a Galaxy

A little-studied star, TYC 3203-450-1, upstages a galaxy in this Hubble Telescope image from December 2017.

from NASA

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Siccar Point on Mars

What created this unusual hill on Mars? No one is sure. A good outlook to survey the surrounding area, Siccar Point stands out from its surroundings in Gale Crater. The unusual mound was visited by the robotic Curiosity rover exploring Mars late last year. Siccar Point not only has a distinctive shape, it has dark rocks above lighter rocks. The apparent much younger age of the dark rocks indicates a time-break in the usual geological ordering of rock layers -- by a process yet unknown. The Martian hill is named for Siccar Point on Earth, a place in Scotland itself distinctive as a junction between two different rock layers. Curiosity continues to explore Gale crater on Mars, looking for clues of ancient life. Simultaneously, 2300 kilometers away, its sister rover Perseverance explores Jezero crater, there assisted by the flight-capable scout Ingenuity. ( August 31, 2022)

A Peek Into Jupiter’s Inner Life

Auroras and hazes glow in this composite image of Jupiter taken by the James Webb Space Telescope Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam).

from NASA

Monday, August 29, 2022

Jupiter from the Webb Space Telescope

This new view of Jupiter is illuminating. High-resolution infrared images of Jupiter from the new James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) reveal, for example, previously unknown differences between high-floating bright clouds -- including the Great Red Spot -- and low-lying dark clouds. Also clearly visible in the featured Webb image are Jupiter's dust ring, bright auroras at the poles, and Jupiter's moons Amalthea and Adrastea. Large volcanic moon Io's magnetic funneling of charged particles onto Jupiter is also visible in the southern aurora. Some objects are so bright that light noticeably diffracts around Webb's optics creating streaks. Webb, which orbits the Sun near the Earth, has a mirror over 6 meters across making it the largest astronomical telescope ever launched -- with 15 times more light-collecting area than Hubble. ( August 30, 2022)

Early Morning Artemis I

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, as the Artemis I launch teams loaded more than 700 thousand gallons of cryogenic propellants including liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

from NASA

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Horsehead Nebula Region without Stars

The famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion is not alone. A deep exposure shows that the dark familiar shaped indentation, visible just right of center, is part of a vast complex of absorbing dust and glowing gas. The featured spectacular picture details an intricate tapestry of gaseous wisps and dust-laden filaments that were created and sculpted over eons by stellar winds and ancient supernovas. The Flame Nebula is visible in orange just to the Horsehead's left. To highlight the dust and gas, most of the stars have been digitally removed, although a notable exception is Alnitak, just above the Flame Nebula, which is the rightmost star in Orion's famous belt of three aligned stars. The Horsehead Nebula lies 1,500 light years distant towards the constellation of Orion. ( August 29, 2022)

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Perijove 11: Passing Jupiter

Here comes Jupiter! NASA's robotic spacecraft Juno is continuing on its highly-elongated orbits around our Solar System's largest planet. The featured video is from perijove 11 in early 2018, the eleventh time Juno has passed near Jupiter since it arrived in mid-2016. This time-lapse, color-enhanced movie covers about four hours and morphs between 36 JunoCam images. The video begins with Jupiter rising as Juno approaches from the north. As Juno reaches its closest view -- from about 3,500 kilometers over Jupiter's cloud tops -- the spacecraft captures the great planet in tremendous detail. Juno passes light zones and dark belt of clouds that circle the planet, as well as numerous swirling circular storms, many of which are larger than hurricanes on Earth. After the perijove, Jupiter recedes into the distance, then displaying the unusual clouds that appear over Jupiter's south. To get desired science data, Juno swoops so close to Jupiter that its instruments are exposed to very high levels of radiation. ( August 28, 2022)

Friday, August 26, 2022

IC 5146: The Cocoon Nebula

Inside the Cocoon Nebula is a newly developing cluster of stars. Cataloged as IC 5146, the beautiful nebula is nearly 15 light-years wide. Climbing high in northern summer night skies, it's located some 4,000 light years away toward the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Like other star forming regions, it stands out in red, glowing, hydrogen gas excited by young, hot stars, and dust-reflected starlight at the edge of an otherwise invisible molecular cloud. In fact, the bright star found near the center of this nebula is likely only a few hundred thousand years old, powering the nebular glow as it clears out a cavity in the molecular cloud's star forming dust and gas. A 29 hour long integration with a small telescope from Ayr, Ontario, Canada resulted in this exceptionally deep color view tracing tantalizing features within and surrounding the dusty stellar nursery. ( August 27, 2022)

Apollo 15 Catches Earth on the Horizon

This view of the crescent Earth over the Moon's horizon was taken during the Apollo 15 lunar landing mission.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/25/2022



ISS Reboost: Today, the ISS performed a reboost using the Aft Progress 81P R&D thrusters. This reboost was the second of three reboosts to set up proper constraints for 68S 2-orbit rendezvous on September 21 and 67S landing on September 29. The burn duration was 5 minutes 33 seconds with a Delta-V of 0.68 m/s. … ...

August 25, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Little Planet South Pole

Lights play around the horizon of this snowy little planet as it drifts through a starry night sky. Of course the little planet is actually planet Earth. Recorded on August 21, the digitally warped, nadir centered panorama covers nearly 360x180 degrees outside the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. The southernmost research outpost is near the horizon at the top where the light of dawn is approaching after nearly six months of darkness. Along the bottom is the ceremonial pole marker surrounded by the 12 flags of the original signatories of the Antarctic treaty, with a wild display of the aurora australis above. ( August 26, 2022)

NASA T-38s Soar Over Artemis I

​T-38 planes are a fixture of astronaut training, making pilots and mission specialists think quicky in changing situations.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/24/2022



Payloads: Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): The crew performed several BCM research sessions consisting of a set of 12 runs/tests each. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric … ...

August 24, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Tiangong Space Station Transits the Moon

The rugged lunar south polar region lies at the top of this colorful portrait of a last quarter Moon made on August 20. Constructed from video frames and still images taken at Springrange, New South Wales, Australia it also captures a transit of China's Tiangong Space Station. The transit itself was fleeting, taking the space station less than a second to cross the shadowed and sunlit lunar disk. The low Earth orbiting Tiangong is at an altitude of about 400 kilometers, while the Moon is some 400,000 kilometers away. Subtle color differences along the bright lunar surface are revealed in the multiple stacked frames. Not visible to the eye, they indicate real differences in chemical makeup across the lunar surface. ( August 25, 2022)

Milky Way Time Lapse

This time lapse of the Milky Way Galaxy taken from the International Space Station (ISS) also captured a lightning strike on Earth so bright that it lights up the space station’s solar panels.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/23/2022



Payloads: AstroPi: The crew reviewed the big picture words for the AstroPi photography checkout activity. In this checkout, the ground teams will assess the night-time photography capabilities of the AstroPi system. Two augmented Raspberry Pi computers (called AstroPis) were flown to the ISS and are both equipped with the mighty Sense Hardware Attached on Top … ...

August 23, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Cartwheel Galaxy from Webb

To some, it looks like a wheel of a cart. In fact, because of its outward appearance, the presence of a central galaxy, and its connection with what looks like the spokes of a wheel, the galaxy on the right is known as the Cartwheel Galaxy. To others, however, it looks like a complicated interaction between galaxies awaiting explanation. Along with the two galaxies on the left, the Cartwheel is part of a group of galaxies about 500 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor. The large galaxy's rim spans over 100,000 light years and is composed of star forming regions filled with extremely bright and massive stars. The Cartwheel's ring-like shape is the result of gravitational disruption caused by a smaller galaxy passing through a large one, compressing the interstellar gas and dust and causing a star formation wave to move out like a ripple across the surface of a pond. The featured recent image of the Cartwheel Galaxy by the Webb Space Telescope reveals new details not only about where stars are forming, but also about activity near the galaxy's central black hole. ( August 24, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/22/2022



Payloads: AstroPi: After reviewing the big picture words, the AstroPi Vis unit was moved to the Node 2 window and set up for night-time photography. Max360 imagery was also captured of both AstroPi units to help student teams develop frames of reference for use with the sensors on the AstroPi units. Two augmented Raspberry Pi … ...

August 22, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

The Historic X-1E Looks Forward

The supersonic X-1E research aircraft was the last of NASA's experimental X-1 series of aircraft.

from NASA

Monday, August 22, 2022

Meteor and Milky Way over the Mediterranean

Careful planning made this a nightscape to remember. First, the night itself was chosen to occur during the beginning of this year's Perseid Meteor Shower. Next, the time of night was chosen to be before the bright Moon would rise and dominate the night sky's brightness. The picturesque foreground was selected to be a rocky beach of the Mediterranean Sea in Le Dramont, France, with, at the time, île d’Or island situated near the ominously descending central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. Once everything was set and with the weather cooperating, all of the frames for this seemingly surreal nightscape were acquired within 15 minutes. What you can't see is that, on this night, the astrophotographer brought along his father who, although unskilled in modern sky-capture techniques, once made it a point to teach his child about the sky. ( August 23, 2022)

NASA's Europa Clipper in High Bay 1

The core of NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft has taken center stage in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

from NASA

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Earths Recent Climate Spiral

Is our Earth warming? Compared to the past 250 million years, the Earth is currently enduring a relative cold spell, possibly about four degrees Celsius below average. Over the past 120 years, though, data indicate that the average global temperature of the Earth has increased by nearly one degree Celsius. The featured visualization video depicts Earth's recent global warming in graphic terms. The depicted temperatures are taken from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies' Surface Temperature Analysis. Already noticeable by many, Earth's recent warming trend is causing sea levels to rise, precipitation patterns to change, and pole ice to melt. Few now disagree that recent global warming is occurring, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that we humans have created a warming surge that is likely to continue. A continuation could impact many local agricultures and even the global economy. Although there seems to be no simple solutions, geoengineering projects that might help include artificial cloud creation to reduce the amount of sunlight heating the Earth's surface. ( August 22, 2022)

Saturday, August 20, 2022

The Spinning Pulsar of the Crab Nebula

At the core of the Crab Nebula lies a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second. Known as the Crab Pulsar, it is the bright spot in the center of the gaseous swirl at the nebula's core. About twelve light-years across, the spectacular picture frames the glowing gas, cavities and swirling filaments near the Crab Nebula's center. The featured picture combines visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope in purple, X-ray light from the Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, and infrared light from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. Like a cosmic dynamo the Crab pulsar powers the emission from the nebula, driving a shock wave through surrounding material and accelerating the spiraling electrons. With more mass than the Sun and the density of an atomic nucleus,the spinning pulsar is the collapsed core of a massive star that exploded. The outer parts of the Crab Nebula are the expanding remnants of the star's component gasses. The supernova explosion was witnessed on planet Earth in the year 1054. ( August 21, 2022)

Friday, August 19, 2022

Stardust and Comet Tails

Heading for its closest approach to the Sun, or perihelion, on December 19 comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) remains a sight for telescopic observers as it sweeps through planet Earth's skies in the constellation Scorpius. The comet currently sports a greenish coma, long whitish dust tail, and short ion tail in this deep image from August 18. The 2x3 degree wide field of view includes part of the dusty nebula IC 4592 reflecting blue starlight. Also known as the Blue Horsehead Nebula, IC 4592 is about 400 light-years distant while the comet is just under 17 light-minutes away. First spotted at a distance well beyond the orbit of Saturn C/2017 K2 is on its maiden voyage to the inner solar system, a pristine visitor from the remote Oort cloud. ( August 20, 2022)

Moon Over New Orleans

A paddlewheeler makes its way up the Mississippi River as the moon rises over New Orleans on Sunday evening, Aug. 22, 2021.

from NASA

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Saturn: 1993 2022

Saturn is the most distant planet of the Solar System easily visible to the unaided eye. With this extraordinary, long-term astro-imaging project begun in 1993, you can follow the ringed gas giant for one Saturn year as it wanders once around the ecliptic plane, finishing a single orbit around the Sun by 2022. Constructed from individual images made over 29 Earth years, the split panorama is centered along the ecliptic and crossed by the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Saturn's position in 1993 is at the right side, upper panel in the constellation Capricornus and progresses toward the left. It returns to the spot in Capricornus at left in the lower panel in 2022. The consistent imaging shows Saturn appears slightly brighter during the years 2000-2005 and 2015-2019, periods when its beautiful rings were tilted more face-on to planet Earth. ( August 19, 2022)

Voyager 1 Sees the Great Red Spot

Launched in 1977, the twin Voyager probes are NASA’s longest-operating mission and the only spacecraft ever to explore interstellar space.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/17/2022



RS Extravehicular Activity (EVA) #54: Today, Oleg Artemyev (EV1) and Denis Matveev (EV2) performed RS EVA #54 with Sergey Korsakov supporting as the IV operator. Hatch opening occurred at 8:53 AM CT. The trio performed several tasks to configure and test the European Robotic Arm (ERA) for operations on the station’s Russian Segment; however, today’s … ...

August 17, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Full Moon Perseids

The annual Perseid meteor shower was near its peak on August 13. As planet Earth crossed through streams of debris left by periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle meteors rained in northern summer night skies. But even that night's nearly Full Moon shining near the top of this composited view couldn't hide all of the popular shower's meteor streaks. The image captures some of the brightest perseid meteors in many short exposures recorded over more than two hours before the dawn. It places the shower's radiant in the heroic constellation of Perseus just behind a well-lit medieval tower in the village of Sant Llorenc de la Muga, Girona, Spain. Observed in medieval times, the Perseid meteor shower is also known in Catholic tradition as the Tears of St. Lawrence, and festivities are celebrated close to the annual peak of the meteor shower. Joining the Full Moon opposite the Sun, bright planet Saturn also shines in the frame at the upper right. ( August 18, 2022)

We Are Going: Artemis I on Launch Pad

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it is rolled up the ramp at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

from NASA

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Stargate Milky Way

There is a huge gate of stars in the sky, and you pass through it twice a day. The stargate is actually our Milky Way Galaxy, and it is the spin of the Earth that appears to propel you through it. More typically, the central band of our Milky Way appears as a faint band stretching across the sky, only visible in away from bright city lights. In a long-exposure wide-angle image from a dark location like this, though, the Milky Way's central plane is easily visible. The featured picture is a digital composite involving multiple exposures taken on the same night and with the same camera, but employing a stereographic projection that causes the Milky Way to appear as a giant circular portal. Inside the stargate-like arc of our Galaxy is a faint stripe called zodiacal light -- sunlight reflected by dust in our Solar System. In the foreground are cacti and dry rocks found in the rough terrain of the high desert of Chile, not far from the El Sauce Observatory and the developing Vera Rubin Observatory, the latter expected to begin routine operations in 2024. ( August 17, 2022)

Perennial Perseids

The Perseid meteors are an annual event many skywatchers look forward to, as they often produce lots of shooting stars to enjoy.

from NASA

Monday, August 15, 2022

A Meteor Wind over Tunisia

Does the Earth ever pass through a wind of meteors? Yes, and they are frequently visible as meteor showers. Almost all meteors are sand-sized debris that escaped from a Sun-orbiting comet or asteroid, debris that continues in an elongated orbit around the Sun. Circling the same Sun, our Earth can move through an orbiting debris stream, where it can appear, over time, as a meteor wind. The meteors that light up in Earth's atmosphere, however, are usually destroyed. Their streaks, though, can all be traced back to a single point on the sky called the radiant. The featured image composite was taken over two days in late July near the ancient Berber village Zriba El Alia in Tunisia, during the peak of the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower. The radiant is to the right of the image. A few days ago our Earth experienced the peak of a more famous meteor wind -- the Perseids. ( August 16, 2022)

Aquanaut Gets to Work Underwater

A team of roboticists from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston have applied their expertise in making robots for deep space to designing a fully electric shape-changing submersible robot that will cut costs for maritime industries.

from NASA

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Cygnus Wall of Star Formation

The North America nebula on the sky can do what the North America continent on Earth cannot -- form stars. Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall. The featured image shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark dust they have created. The part of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) shown spans about 15 light years and lies about 1,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). ( August 15, 2022)

Saturday, August 13, 2022

4000 Exoplanets

Over 4000 planets are now known to exist outside our Solar System. Known as exoplanets, this milestone was passed last month, as recorded by NASA's Exoplanet Archive. The featured video highlights these exoplanets in sound and light, starting chronologically from the first confirmed detection in 1992 and continuing into 2019. The entire night sky is first shown compressed with the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy making a giant U. Exoplanets detected by slight jiggles in their parents-star's colors (radial velocity) appear in pink, while those detected by slight dips in their parent star's brightness (transit) are shown in purple. Further, those exoplanets imaged directly appear in orange, while those detected by gravitationally magnifying the light of a background star (microlensing) are shown in green. The faster a planet orbits its parent star, the higher the accompanying tone played. The retired Kepler satellite has discovered about half of these first 4000 exoplanets in just one region of the sky, while the TESS mission is on track to find even more, all over the sky, orbiting the brightest nearby stars. Finding exoplanets not only helps humanity to better understand the potential prevalence of life elsewhere in the universe, but also how our Earth and Solar System were formed. ( August 14, 2022)

Friday, August 12, 2022

Herschel Crater on Mimas

Mimas, small 400 kilometer-diameter moon of Saturn, is host to 130 kilometer-diameter Herschel crater, one of the larger impact craters in the entire Solar System. The robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn in 2010 recorded this startling view of small moon and big crater while making a 10,000-kilometer record close pass by the diminutive icy world. Shown in contrast-enhanced false color, the image data reveal more clearly that Herschel's landscape is colored slightly differently from heavily cratered terrain nearby. The color difference could yield surface composition clues to the violent history of Mimas. Of course, an impact on Mimas any larger than the one that created the 130-kilometer Herschel might have destroyed the small moon of Saturn. ( August 13, 2022)

Hubble Peers at Celestial Cloudscape

This celestial cloudscape from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures the colorful region in the Orion Nebula surrounding the Herbig-Haro object HH 505.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/11/2022



Payloads: Cold Atom Lab (CAL): The crew used a Grab Sample Container (GSC) to sample the air around the Cold Atom Lab location. The GSC will be returned to the ground for analysis of the sample. The CAL produces clouds of atoms chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero — … ...

August 11, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Artemis I Moonikin Campos Inspection and Install

Artemis I Moonikin Campos Inspection and Install

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/10/2022



ISS Reboost: Today, the ISS performed a reboost using the Aft Progress 81P R&D thrusters. This reboost was the first of three reboosts to set up proper conditions for 68S 2-orbit rendezvous on September 21 and 67S landing on September 29. The burn duration was 2 minutes 45 seconds with a Delta-V of 0.3 m/s. … ...

August 10, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/09/2022



Payloads: Immunosenescence: The fourth BioCell media exchange was performed for the Immunosenescence experiment. The media is replaced periodically as the cells consume the nutrients in the media and waste products accumulate. Microgravity as a Model for Immunological Senescence and its Impact on Tissue Stem Cells and Regeneration (Immunosenescence) studies the effects of microgravity on cells … ...

August 09, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

NASA’s B377SGT Super Guppy Turbine Cargo Airplane lands at Moffett Field at NASA Ames

In this picture from 2016, our Super Guppy, a specialized aircraft with a unique hinged nose, lands at Moffett Field at NASA Ames.

from NASA

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

ISS Daily Summary Report – 8/08/2022



Payloads: Combustion Integrated Rack/Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction (CIR/SoFIE): The crew gained access to the interior of the CIR rack, and replaced the CIR Fuel and Oxidizer Management Assembly (FOMA) Calibration Unit. The FOMA calibration is performed periodically to help verify accurate readings from the various measurement systems in the CIR. The CIR facility includes … ...

August 08, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Monday, August 8, 2022

Leaving Earth

What it would look like to leave planet Earth? Such an event was recorded visually in great detail by the MESSENGER spacecraft as it swung back past the Earth in 2005 on its way in toward the planet Mercury. Earth can be seen rotating in this time-lapse video, as it recedes into the distance. The sunlit half of Earth is so bright that background stars are not visible. The robotic MESSENGER spacecraft is now in orbit around Mercury and has recently concluded the first complete map of the surface. On occasion, MESSENGER has continued to peer back at its home world. MESSENGER is one of the few things created on the Earth that will never return. At the end of its mission MESSENGER crashed into Mercury's surface. ( August 09, 2022)

Moon Mosaic

This Moon-mosaic is comprised of 1,231 images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's (LRO) Narrow-Angle Camera (NAC) in the summer of 2018.

from NASA

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Meteor before Galaxy

What's that green streak in front of the Andromeda galaxy? A meteor. While photographing the Andromeda galaxy in 2016, near the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower, a small pebble from deep space crossed right in front of our Milky Way Galaxy's far-distant companion. The small meteor took only a fraction of a second to pass through this 10-degree field. The meteor flared several times while braking violently upon entering Earth's atmosphere. The green color was created, at least in part, by the meteor's gas glowing as it vaporized. Although the exposure was timed to catch a Perseid meteor, the orientation of the imaged streak seems a better match to a meteor from the Southern Delta Aquariids, a meteor shower that peaked a few weeks earlier. Not coincidentally, the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks later this week, although this year the meteors will have to outshine a sky brightened by a nearly full moon. ( August 07, 2022)

Friday, August 5, 2022

Stereo Phobos

Get out your red/blue glasses and float next to Phobos, grooved moon of Mars! Captured in 2004 by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, the image data was recorded at a distance of about 200 kilometers from the martian moon. This tantalizing stereo anaglyph view shows the Mars-facing side of Phobos. It highlights the asteroid-like moon's cratered and grooved surface. Up to hundreds of meters wide, the mysterious grooves may be related to the impact that created Stickney crater, the large crater at the left. Stickney crater is about 10 kilometers across, while Phobos itself is only around 27 kilometers across at its widest point. ( August 06, 2022)