Monday, October 31, 2022

NGC 6357: The Lobster Nebula

Why is the Lobster Nebula forming some of the most massive stars known? No one is yet sure. Cataloged as NGC 6357, the Lobster Nebula houses the open star cluster Pismis 24 near its center -- a home to unusually bright and massive stars. The overall red glow near the inner star forming region results from the emission of ionized hydrogen gas. The surrounding nebula, featured here, holds a complex tapestry of gas, dark dust, stars still forming, and newly born stars. The intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity. The image was taken with DOE's Dark Energy Camera on the 4-meter Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. NGC 6357 spans about 400 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion. ( November 01, 2022)

Grinning Gourd Decorates Milky Way

While observing the outer region of the Milky Way galaxy, our Spitzer Telescope captured this infrared image of a cloud of gas and dust that looks like the hollowed-out pumpkins we see every Halloween.

from NASA

Sunday, October 30, 2022

LDN 43: The Cosmic Bat Nebula

What is the most spook-tacular nebula in the galaxy? One contender is LDN 43, which bears an astonishing resemblance to a vast cosmic bat flying amongst the stars on a dark Halloween night. Located about 1400 light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, this molecular cloud is dense enough to block light not only from background stars, but from wisps of gas lit up by the nearby reflection nebula LBN 7. Far from being a harbinger of death, this 12-light year-long filament of gas and dust is actually a stellar nursery. Glowing with eerie light, the bat is lit up from inside by dense gaseous knots that have just formed young stars. ( October 31, 2022)

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Night on a Spooky Planet

What spooky planet is this? Planet Earth of course, on a dark and stormy night in 2013 at Hverir, a geothermally active area along the volcanic landscape in northeastern Iceland. Triggered by solar activity, geomagnetic storms produced the auroral display in the starry night sky. The ghostly towers of steam and gas are venting from fumaroles and danced against the eerie greenish light. For now, auroral apparitions are increasing as our Sun approaches a maximum in its 11 year solar activity cycle. And pretty soon, ghostly shapes may dance in your neighborhood too. ( October 30, 2022)

Friday, October 28, 2022

LDN 673: Dark Clouds in Aquila

Part of a dark expanse that splits the crowded plane of our Milky Way galaxy, the Aquila Rift arcs through planet Earth's skies near bright star Altair. In eerie silhouette against the Milky Way's faint starlight, its dusty molecular clouds likely contain raw material to form hundreds of thousands of stars and astronomers search the dark clouds for telltale signs of star birth. This telescopic close-up looks toward the region at a fragmented Aquila dark cloud complex identified as LDN 673, stretching across a field of view slightly wider than the full moon. In the scene, visible indications of energetic outflows associated with young stars include the small red tinted nebulosity RNO 109 above and right of center, and Herbig-Haro object HH32 below. These dark clouds might look scary, but they're estimated to be some 600 light-years away. At that distance, this field of view spans about 7 light-years. ( October 29, 2022)

Webb Reveals New Details in Pillars of Creation

Our James Webb Space Telescope has captured a new image of the famous Pillars of Creation—first imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995—that reveals new details about the region.

from NASA

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Seven Years of Halley Dust

History's first known periodic comet Halley (1P/Halley) returns to the inner Solar System every 75 years or so. The famous comet made its last appearance to the naked-eye in 1986. But dusty debris from Comet Halley can be seen raining through planet Earth's skies twice a year during two annual meteor showers, the Eta Aquarids in May and the Orionids in October. Including meteors near the shower maximum on October 21, this composite view compiles Orionid meteors captured from years 2015 through 2022. About 47 bright meteors are registered in the panoramic night skyscape. Against a starry background extending along the Milky Way, the Orionid meteors all seem to radiate from a point just north of Betelgeuse in the familiar constellation of the Hunter. In the foreground are mountains in eastern Slovakia near the city of Presov. ( October 28, 2022)

Lucy Spots Earth and Moon

On Oct. 13, 2022, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and the Moon from 890,000 miles (1.4 million km) away.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/26/2022



82 Progress (82P) Launch: Yesterday at 7:20 PM CT, 82P launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying food, fuel, and supplies to the ISS. 82P will dock to the ISS Poisk Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM-2) zenith port on Thursday, October 27th at 9:49 PM CT after completing a 34-orbit rendezvous. Payloads: Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG): Cleaning … ...

October 26, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Sunset, Moonset, Taj Mahal

On October 25th, Sun and New Moon set together as seen from Agra, India. Their close conjunction near the western horizon, a partial solar eclipse, was captured in this elevated view in hazy skies near the solitary dome of the Taj Mahal. Of course, the partial solar eclipse was also seen from most of Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and western parts of Asia. This eclipse was the last of two solar eclipses (both partial eclipses) in 2022. But the next Full Moon will slide through planet Earth's shadow on November 7/8, in a total lunar eclipse. ( October 27, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/25/2022



ISS Predetermined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM): US tracking sources identified a debris conjunction of concern yesterday. As a mitigation step, ground teams opted to implement a PDAM using the Aft 81P R&D thrusters with a time of ignition (TIG) at 7:25 PM CT. The burn duration was 5 minutes and 5 seconds with a Delta-V … ...

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Cocoon Nebula Wide Field

When does a nebula look like a comet? In this crowded starfield, covering over two degrees within the high flying constellation of the Swan (Cygnus), the eye is drawn to the Cocoon Nebula. A compact star forming region, the cosmic Cocoon punctuates a nebula bright in emission and reflection on the left, with a long trail of interstellar dust clouds to the right, making the entire complex appear a bit like a comet. Cataloged as IC 5146, the central bright head of the nebula spans about 10 light years, while the dark dusty tail spans nearly 100 light years. Both are located about 2,500 light years away. The bright star near the bright nebula's center, likely only a few hundred thousand years old, supplies power to the nebular glow as it helps clear out a cavity in the molecular cloud's star forming dust and gas. The long dusty filaments of the tail, although dark in this visible light image, are themselves hiding stars in the process of formation, stars that can be seen at infrared wavelengths. ( October 26, 2022)

Mapping the Entire Night Sky

This mosaic is composed of images covering the entire sky, taken by the ​Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) as part of WISE’s 2012 All-Sky Data Release.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/24/2022



Payloads: Causal Analysis of Cardiorespiratory Coupling on the ISS (Cardiobreath): After donning the BioMonitor sensor garment and setting up the appropriate hardware, the crew performed a Cardiobreath experiment session. Astronauts experience changes in their cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems during spaceflight, which can affect their capacity to exercise and to maintain blood pressure when standing … ...

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

Monday, October 24, 2022

Jupiter Rotates as Moons Orbit

Jupiter and its moons move like our Sun and its planets. Similarly, Jupiter spins while its moons circle around. Jupiter’s rotation can be observed by tracking circulating dark belts and light zones. The Great Red Spot, the largest storm known, rotates to become visible after about 15 seconds in the 48-second time lapse video. The video is a compilation of shorts taken over several nights last month and combined into a digital recreation of how 24-continuous hours would appear. Jupiter's brightest moons always orbit in the plane of the planet's rotation, even as Earth’s spin makes the whole system appear to tilt. The moons Europa, Ganymede, and Io are all visible, with Europa's shadow appearing as the icy Galilean moon crosses Jupiter's disk. Jupiter remains near opposition this month, meaning that it is unusually bright, near to its closest to the Earth, and visible nearly all night long. ( October 25, 2022)

Jupiter in Ganymede’s Shadow

During its 40th close pass by Jupiter, our Juno spacecraft saw Ganymede cast a large, dark spot on the planet on Feb. 25, 2022.

from NASA

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Clouds Around Galaxy Andromeda

What are those red clouds surrounding the Andromeda galaxy? This galaxy, M31, is often imaged by planet Earth-based astronomers. As the nearest large spiral galaxy, it is a familiar sight with dark dust lanes, bright yellowish core, and spiral arms traced by clouds of bright blue stars. A mosaic of well-exposed broad and narrow-band image data, this deep portrait of our neighboring island universe offers strikingly unfamiliar features though, faint reddish clouds of glowing ionized hydrogen gas in the same wide field of view. Most of the ionized hydrogen clouds surely lie in the foreground of the scene, well within our Milky Way Galaxy. They are likely associated with the pervasive, dusty interstellar cirrus clouds scattered hundreds of light-years above our own galactic plane. Some of the clouds, however, occur right in the Andromeda galaxy itself, and some in M110, the small galaxy just below. ( October 24, 2022)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Milky Way and Zodiacal Light over Australian Pinnacles

What strange world is this? Earth. In the foreground of the featured image are the Pinnacles, unusual rock spires in Nambung National Park in Western Australia. Made of ancient sea shells (limestone), how these human-sized picturesque spires formed remains a topic of research. The picturesque panorama was taken in 2017 September. A ray of zodiacal light, sunlight reflected by dust grains orbiting between the planets in the Solar System, rises from the horizon near the image center. Arching across the top is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. The planets Jupiter and Saturn, as well as several famous stars are also visible in the background night sky. ( October 23, 2022)

Friday, October 21, 2022

NGC 1499: The California Nebula

Drifting through the Orion Arm of the spiral Milky Way Galaxy, this cosmic cloud by chance echoes the outline of California on the west coast of the United States. Our own Sun also lies within the Milky Way's Orion Arm, only about 1,500 light-years from the California Nebula. Also known as NGC 1499, the classic emission nebula is around 100 light-years long. The California Nebula shines with the telltale reddish glow characteristic of hydrogen atoms recombining with long lost electrons. The electrons have been stripped away, ionized by energetic starlight. Most likely providing the energetic starlight that ionizes much of the nebular gas is the bright, hot star Xi Persei just to the right of the nebula. A popular target for astrophotographers, this deep image reveals the glowing nebula, obscuring dust, and stars across a 3 degree wide field of view. The California nebula lies toward the constellation Perseus, not far from the Pleiades. ( October 22, 2022)

IXPE Measures Exploded Star Remains

When a massive star collapsed in the Cassiopeia constellation, it generated a supernova explosion with some of the fastest shockwaves in the Milky Way.

from NASA

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Andromeda in Southern Skies

Looking north from southern New Zealand, the Andromeda Galaxy never gets more than about five degrees above the horizon. As spring comes to the southern hemisphere, in late September Andromeda is highest in the sky around midnight though. In a single 30 second exposure this telephoto image tracked the stars to capture the closest large spiral galaxy from Mount John Observatory as it climbed just over the rugged peaks of the south island's Southern Alps. In the foreground, stars are reflected in the still waters of Lake Alexandrina. Also known as M31, the Andromeda Galaxy is one of the brightest objects in the Messier catalog, usually visible to the unaided eye as a small, faint, fuzzy patch. But this clear, dark sky and long exposure reveal the galaxy's greater extent in planet Earth's night, spanning nearly 6 full moons. ( October 21, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/19/2022



Payloads: Cerebral Autoregulation: The crew performed a Cerebral Autoregulation science session, and then stowed the experiment hardware. As the body’s most important organ, the brain needs a strong and reliable blood supply, so the brain is capable of self-regulating blood flow even when the heart and blood vessels cannot maintain an ideal blood pressure. The … ...

October 19, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Crew-4 Members Pose for Pre-Return Photo

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 members Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti link arms for a portrait on Oct. 14, 2022, just before boarding the Dragon Freedom crew ship, undocking from the International Space Station, and returning to Earth, completing a 170-day space research mission.

from NASA

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Pillars of Creation

A now famous picture from the Hubble Space Telescope featured these star forming columns of cold gas and dust light-years long inside M16, the Eagle Nebula, dubbed the Pillars of Creation. This James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam image expands Hubble's exploration of that region in greater detail and depth inside the iconic stellar nursery. Particularly stunning in Webb's near infrared view is the telltale reddish emission from knots of material undergoing gravitational collapse to form stars within the natal clouds. The Eagle Nebula is some 6,500 light-years distant. The larger bright emission nebula is itself an easy target for binoculars or small telescopes. M16 lies along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy in a nebula rich part of the sky, toward the split constellation Serpens Cauda (the tail of the snake). ( October 20, 2022)

Aerial Leaf Peeping in Adirondack Park

Our Operational Land Imager-2 on Landsat 9 acquired this vibrant image of deciduous trees and conifers in the Adirondack Mountains in northeast New York on Oct. 8, 2022.

from NASA

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A Galaxy Beyond Stars, Gas, Dust

Do we dare believe our eyes? When we look at images of space, we often wonder whether they are "real", and just as often the best answer varies. In this case, the scene appears much as our eyes would see it, because it was obtained using RGB (Red, Green, Blue) filters like the cone cells in our eyes, except collecting light for 19 hours, not a fraction of a second. The featured image was captured over six nights, using a 24-inch diameter telescope in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in California, USA. The bright spiral galaxy at the center (NGC 7497) looks like it is being grasped by an eerie tendril of a space ghost, and therein lies the trick. The galaxy is actually 59 million light years away, while the nebulosity is MBM 54, less than one thousand light years away, making it one of the nearest cool clouds of gas and dust -- galactic cirrus -- within our own Milky Way Galaxy. Both are in the constellation of Pegasus, which can be seen high overhead from northern latitudes in the autumn. ( October 19, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/17/2022



ISS Reboost: Today, the ISS successfully performed a reboost using the Progress 81P thrusters. The purpose of this reboost is to set up the conditions for Progress 82 34-Orbit rendezvous on October 25, 2022. The burn duration was estimated to be 10 minutes 30 seconds with a Delta-V of 1.0 m/s, and teams are assessing … ...

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

Monday, October 17, 2022

Milky Way Auroral Flower

Could the stem of our Milky Way bloom into an auroral flower? No, not really, even though it may appear that way in today’s featured all-sky image. On the left, the central plane of our home galaxy extends from the horizon past the middle of the sky. On the right, an auroral oval also extends from the sky's center -- but is dominated by bright green-glowing oxygen. The two are not physically connected, because the aurora is relatively nearby, with the higher red parts occurring in Earth's atmosphere only about 1000 kilometers high. In contrast, an average distance to the stars and nebulas we see in the Milky Way more like 1000 light-years away - 10 trillion times further. The featured image composite was taken in early October across a small lake in Abisko, northern Sweden. As our Sun's magnetic field evolves into the active part of its 11-year cycle, auroras near both of Earth's poles are sure to become more frequent. ( October 18, 2022)

Safe Return for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts

After 170 days in orbit, NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti safely splashed down Friday, October 14, 2022, off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, completing the agency’s fourth commercial crew mission to the International Space Station.

from NASA

Sunday, October 16, 2022

X Ray Rings Around a Gamma Ray Burst

Why would x-ray rings appear around a gamma-ray burst? The surprising answer has little to do with the explosion itself but rather with light reflected off areas of dust-laden gas in our own Milky Way Galaxy. GRB 221009A was a tremendous explosion -- a very bright gamma-ray burst (GRB) that occurred far across the universe with radiation just arriving in our Solar System last week. Since GRBs can also emit copious amounts of x-rays, a bright flash of x-rays arrived nearly simultaneously with the gamma-radiation. In this case, the X-rays also bounced off regions high in dust right here in our Milky Way Galaxy, creating the unusual reflections. The greater the angle between reflecting Milky Way dust and the GRB, the greater the radius of the X-ray rings, and, typically, the longer it takes for these light-echoes to arrive. ( October 17, 2022)

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Across the center of this spiral galaxy is a bar. And at the center of this bar is smaller spiral. And at the center of that spiral is a supermassive black hole.  This all happens in the big, beautiful, barred spiral galaxy cataloged as NGC 1300, a galaxy that lies some 70 million light-years away toward the constellation of the river Eridanus. This Hubble Space Telescope composite view of the gorgeous island universe is one of the most detailed Hubble images ever made of a complete galaxy. NGC 1300 spans over 100,000 light-years and the Hubble image reveals striking details of the galaxy's dominant central bar and majestic spiral arms. How the giant bar formed, how it remains, and how it affects star formation remains an active topic of research. ( October 16, 2022)

Friday, October 14, 2022

GRB 221009A

Gamma-ray burst GRB 221009A likely signals the birth of a new black hole, formed at the core of a collapsing star long ago in the distant universe. The extremely powerful blast is depicted in this animated gif constructed using data from the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope. Fermi captured the data at gamma-ray energies, detecting photons with over 100 million electron volts. In comparison visible light photons have energies of about 2 electron volts. A steady, high energy gamma-ray glow from the plane of our Milky Way galaxy runs diagonally through the 20 degree wide frame at the left, while the transient gamma-ray flash from GRB 221009A appears at center and then fades. One of the brightest gamma-ray bursts ever detected GRB 221009A is also close as far as gamma-ray bursts go, but still lies about 2 billion light-years away. In low Earth orbit Fermi’s Large Area Telescope recorded gamma-ray photons from the burst for more than 10 hours as high-energy radiation from GRB 221009A swept over planet Earth last Sunday, October 9. ( October 15, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/13/2022



Crew-4 Freedom Departure: Due to unfavorable weather conditions at the splashdown site, the Crew-4 Freedom spacecraft undock was delayed from the previous departure date of October 13th. The next undock opportunity is tomorrow, October 14th at 10:30 am CT. The crew instead had a light duty day in preparation for undock slated tomorrow. Payloads: Dynamics … ...

October 13, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Falcon and the Hunter s Moon

The Full Moon of October 9th was the second Full Moon after the northern hemisphere autumnal equinox, traditionally called the Hunter's Moon. According to lore, the name is a fitting one because this Full Moon lights the night during a time for hunting in preparation for the coming winter months. In this snapshot, a nearly full Hunter's Moon was captured just after sunset on October 8, rising in skies over Florida's Space Coast. Rising from planet Earth a Falcon 9 rocket pierces the bright lunar disk from the photographer's vantage point. Ripples and fringes along the edge of the lunar disk appear as supersonic shock waves generated by the rocket's passage change the atmosphere's index of refraction. ( October 14, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/12/2022



Crew-4 Freedom Departure: Due to unfavorable weather conditions at the splashdown site, the Crew-4 Freedom spacecraft undock was delayed from the original departure date of October 12th. The next undock opportunity is tomorrow, October 13th at 9:00 am CT. The crew instead had a light duty day in preparation for undock slated tomorrow. Payloads: Actiwatch: … ...

October 12, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Dust Shells around WR 140 from Webb

What are those strange rings? Rich in dust, the rings are likely 3D shells -- but how they were created remains a topic of research. Where they were created is well known: in a binary star system that lies about 6,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus) -- a system dominated by the Wolf-Rayet star WR 140. Wolf-Rayet stars are massive, bright, and known for their tumultuous winds. They are also known for creating and dispersing heavy elements such as carbon which is a building block of interstellar dust. The other star in the binary is also bright and massive -- but not as active. The two great stars joust in an oblong orbit as they approach each other about every eight years. When at closest approach, the X-ray emission from the system increases, as, apparently, does the dust expelled into space -- creating another shell. The featured infrared image by the new Webb Space Telescope resolves greater details and more dust shells than ever before. ( October 13, 2022)

Greetings from the Cupola

Expedition 67 flight engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins are all smiles in this Sept. 12, 2022, image from the International Space Station cupola.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/11/2022



Payloads: Wireless Compose-2: On Monday, a crewmember donned the SmartTex-2 shirt and performed a Ballistocardiography experiment session. The main scientific goal of the Wireless Communication Network (Wireless Compose-2) investigation is to provide a flexible and adaptable wireless network infrastructure to conduct and execute low-power, light-weight, and wireless experiments on the ISS. For this demonstration, Wireless … ...

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Ou4: The Giant Squid Nebula

A mysterious squid-like cosmic cloud, this nebula is very faint, but also very large in planet Earth's sky. In the image, composed with 30 hours of narrowband image data, it spans nearly three full moons toward the royal constellation Cepheus. Discovered in 2011 by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the Squid Nebula's bipolar shape is distinguished here by the telltale blue-green emission from doubly ionized oxygen atoms. Though apparently surrounded by the reddish hydrogen emission region Sh2-129, the true distance and nature of the Squid Nebula have been difficult to determine. Still, a more recent investigation suggests Ou4 really does lie within Sh2-129 some 2,300 light-years away. Consistent with that scenario, the cosmic squid would represent a spectacular outflow of material driven by a triple system of hot, massive stars, cataloged as HR8119, seen near the center of the nebula. If so, this truly giant squid nebula would physically be over 50 light-years across. ( October 12, 2022)

Sun Rings in New Month with Strong Flare

The Sun released an X1 solar flare, captured by our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on Oct. 2, 2022.

from NASA

Monday, October 10, 2022

Stars, Dust, Pillars, and Jets in the Pelican Nebula

What dark structures arise within the Pelican Nebula? On the whole, the nebula appears like a bird (a pelican) and is seen toward the constellation of a different bird: Cygnus, a Swan. But inside, the Pelican Nebula is a place lit up by new stars and befouled by dark dust. Smoke-sized dust grains start as simple carbon compounds formed in the cool atmospheres of young stars but are dispersed by stellar winds and explosions. Two impressive Herbig-Haro jets are seen emitted by the star HH 555 on the right, and these jets are helping to destroy the light year-long dust pillar that contains it. Other pillars and jets are also visible. The featured image was scientifically-colored to emphasize light emitted by small amounts of heavy elements in a nebula made predominantly of the light elements hydrogen and helium. The Pelican Nebula (IC 5067 and IC 5070) is about 2,000 light-years away and can be found with a small telescope to the northeast of the bright star Deneb. ( October 11, 2022)

Sunday, October 9, 2022

A Double Lunar Analemma over Turkey

An analemma is that figure-8 curve you get when you mark the position of the Sun at the same time each day for one year. But the trick to imaging an analemma of the Moon is to wait bit longer. On average the Moon returns to the same position in the sky about 50 minutes and 29 seconds later each day. So photograph the Moon 50 minutes 29 seconds later on successive days. Over one lunation or lunar month it will trace out an analemma-like curve as the Moon's actual position wanders due to its tilted and elliptical orbit. Since the featured image was taken over two months, it actually shows a double lunar analemma. Crescent lunar phases too thin and faint to capture around the New moon are missing. The two months the persistent astrophotographer chose were during a good stretch of weather during July and August, and the location was Kayseri, Turkey ( October 10, 2022)

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Auroras over Northern Canada

Gusting solar winds and blasts of charged particles from the Sun resulted in several rewarding nights of auroras back in 2014 December, near the peak of the last 11-year solar cycle. The featured image captured dramatic auroras stretching across a sky near the town of Yellowknife in northern Canada. The auroras were so bright that they not only inspired awe, but were easily visible on an image exposure of only 1.3 seconds. A video taken concurrently shows the dancing sky lights evolving in real time as tourists, many there just to see auroras, respond with cheers. The conical dwellings on the image right are tipis, while far in the background, near the image center, is the constellation of Orion. Auroras may increase again over the next few years as our Sun again approaches solar maximum. ( October 09, 2022)

Friday, October 7, 2022

Two Comets in Southern Skies

Heading for its closest approach to the Sun or perihelion on December 20, comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) remains a sight for telescopic observers as it sweeps through planet Earth's southern hemisphere skies. First time visitor from the remote Oort cloud this comet PanSTARRS sports a greenish coma and whitish dust tail about half a degree long at the upper left in a deep image from September 21. It also shares the starry field of view toward the constellation Scorpius with another comet, 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, seen about 1 degree below and right of PanSTARRS. Astronomers estimate that first time visitor comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) has been inbound from the Oort cloud for some 3 million years along a hyperbolic orbit. Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is more familiar though. The periodic comet loops through its own elliptical orbit, from just beyond the orbit of Jupiter to the vicinity of Earth's orbit, once every 5.4 years. Just passing in the night, this comet PanSTARRS is about 20 light-minutes from Earth in the September 21 image. Seen to be disintegrating since 1995, Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 was about 7.8 light-minutes away. ( October 08, 2022)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/06/2022



Crew-5 Dock: SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance successfully docked to the ISS at 4:14 PM CT on Thursday, October 6th. The Freedom crew welcomed aboard NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. The ISS crew complement has officially increased from 7 to 11. Payloads: Actiwatch: Crew-5 astronauts … ...

October 06, 2022 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission Casts Long Exposure Light Beam

In this 20-second exposure from Oct. 5, 2022, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

from NASA

Thursday, October 6, 2022

In Ganymede s Shadow

At opposition, opposite the Sun in Earth's sky, late last month Jupiter is also approaching perihelion, the closest point to the Sun in its elliptical orbit, early next year. That makes Jupiter exceptionally close to our fair planet, currently resulting in excellent views of the Solar System's ruling gas giant. On September 27, this sharp image of Jupiter was recorded with a small telescope from a backyard in Florence, Arizona. The stacked video frames reveal the massive world bounded by planet girdling winds. Dark belts and light zones span the gas giant, along with rotating oval storms and its signature Great Red Spot. Galilean moon Ganymede is below and right in the frame. The Solar System's largest moon and its shadow are in transit across the southern Jovian cloud tops. ( October 07, 2022)

Solid Science from Serena Auñón-Chancellor

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor installs samples for the Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS) experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in this image from Nov. 27, 2018.

from NASA

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

NGC 4631: The Whale Galaxy

NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy. Seen edge-on, it lies only 25 million light-years away in the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy. Either way, it is similar in size to our own Milky Way. In this sharp color image, the galaxy's yellowish core, dark dust clouds, bright blue star clusters, and red star forming regions are easy to spot. A companion galaxy, the small elliptical NGC 4627 is just above the Whale Galaxy. Faint star streams seen in deep images are the remnants of small companion galaxies disrupted by repeated encounters with the Whale in the distant past. The Whale Galaxy is also known to have spouted a halo of hot gas glowing in X-rays. ( October 06, 2022)

Astronaut Nicole Mann Trains in T-38

Astronaut Nicole Mann sits inside a T-38 trainer jet at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas in this image from Nov. 15, 2018.

from NASA