Saturday, September 23, 2023
What's rising above the horizon behind those clouds? It's the Sun. Most sunrises don't look like this, though, because most sunrises don't include the Moon. In the early morning of 2013 May 10, however, from Western Australia, the Moon was between the Earth and the rising Sun. At times, it would be hard for the uninformed to understand what was happening. In an annular eclipse, the Moon is too far from the Earth to block the entire Sun, and at most leaves a ring of fire where sunlight pours out around every edge of the Moon. The featured time-lapse video also recorded the eclipse through the high refraction of the Earth's atmosphere just above the horizon, making the unusual rising Sun and Moon appear also flattened. As the video continues, the Sun continues to rise, while the Sun and Moon begin to separate. The next annular solar eclipse will occur in less than three weeks. On Saturday, October 14, a ring of fire will be visible through clear skies from a thin swath crossing both North and South America.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230924.html ( September 24, 2023)
Friday, September 22, 2023
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. To make this one, a 4x5 pinhole camera was set up looking north in southern New Zealand skies. The shutter was briefly opened each clear day in the afternoon at 4pm local time exposing the same photosensitized glass plate for the year spanning September 23, 2022 to September 19, 2023. On two days, the winter and summer solstices, the shutter was opened again 15 minutes after the main exposure and remained open until sunset to create the sun trails at the bottom and top of the curve. The equinox dates correspond to positions in the middle of the curve, not the crossover point. Of course, the curve itself is inverted compared to an analemma traced from the northern hemisphere. And while fall begins today at the Autumnal Equinox for the northern hemisphere, it's the Spring Equinox in the south.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230923.html ( September 23, 2023)
Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli captured this image of New Zealand, dotted by white clouds, on Sept. 12, 2023, as the International Space Station orbited 230 miles above the island nation.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/seeing-new-zealand-from-a-new-perspective
Payloads: Cold Atom Lab (CAL): The crew verified that the Ion Pump Controller Power LED was illuminated. This allows the health of the new science module 3B to be preserved until it can be installed in the CAL facility next week. CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of … ...
September 21, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/21/iss-daily-summary-report-9-21-2023/
Thursday, September 21, 2023
During the day, over 12,000 large mirrors reflect sunlight at the 100-megawatt, molten-salt, solar thermal power plant at the western edge of the Gobi desert near Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. Individual mirror panels turn to track the sun like sunflowers. They conspire to act as a single super mirror reflecting the sunlight toward a fixed position, the power station's central tower. During the night the mirrors stand motionless though. They reflect the light of the countless distant stars, clusters and nebulae of the Milky Way and beyond. This sci-fi night skyscape was created with a camera fixed to a tripod near the edge of the giant mirror matrix on September 15. The camera's combined sequence of digital exposures captures concentric arcs of celestial star trails through the night with star trails in surreal mirrored reflection.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230922.html ( September 22, 2023)
Payloads: Complement of Integrated Protocols for Human Exploration Research on Varying Mission Durations (CIPHER): A Vestibular Motion Sickness Questionnaire, Standard Measures (SM) pre-sleep questionnaires, and a SM Cognition test were performed in support of the CIPHER investigation. CIPHER consists of 14 studies designed to improve our understanding of physiological and psychological changes in humans on … ...
September 20, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/20/iss-daily-summary-report-9-20-2023/
The Artemis II crew and teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program successfully completed on Sept. 20, the first in a series of integrated ground system tests at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for the upcoming mission around the Moon.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/artemis-ii-astronauts-complete-day-of-launch-dry-run-for-moon-mission
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's arm reached out and touched asteroid 101955 Bennu on October 20, 2020, after a careful approach to the small, near-Earth asteroid's boulder-strewn surface. Dubbed a Touch-And-Go (TAG) sampling event, the 30 centimeter wide sampling head (TAGSAM) appears to crush some of the rocks in this close-up recorded by the spacecraft's SamCam. The image was snapped just after surface contact some 321 million kilometers from planet Earth. One second later, the spacecraft fired nitrogen gas from a bottle intended to blow a substantial amount of Bennu's regolith into the sampling head, collecting the loose surface material. And now, nearly three years later, on Sunday, September 24, that sample of asteroid Bennu is scheduled to arrive on planet Earth. The sample return capsule will be dropped off by the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft as it makes a close flyby of Earth. Twenty minutes after the drop-off, the spacecraft will fire its thrusters to divert past Earth and continue on to orbit near-Earth asteroid 99942 Apophis.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230921.html ( September 21, 2023)
"The stars aligned – I was working at Johnson Space Center in Houston about six months later. That’s how I got here, in a roundabout way.” — Isidro Reyna, Strategic Communications Manager, Strategic Integration and Management Division, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/faces-of-nasa/isidro-reyna
Payloads: Circadian Light: Using the EveryWear app on a tablet, a start-of-the-next-day assessment was performed. Circadian Light tests a new lighting system that is designed to help astronauts maintain an acceptable circadian rhythm in comparison to the current lighting aboard the ISS. This can help enhance cognitive performance during a long-duration mission and help combat … ...
September 19, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/19/iss-daily-summary-report-9-19-2023/
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Where else might life exist? One of humanity's great outstanding questions, locating planets where extrasolar life might survive took a step forward in 2019 with the discovery of a significant amount of water vapor in the atmosphere of distant exoplanet K2-18b. The planet and its parent star, K2-18, lie about 124 light years away toward the constellation of the Lion (Leo). The exoplanet is significantly larger and more massive than our Earth, but orbits in the habitable zone of its home star. K2-18, although more red than our Sun, shines in K2-18b's sky with a brightness similar to the Sun in Earth's sky. The 2019 discovery of atmospheric water was made in data from three space telescopes: Hubble, Spitzer, and Kepler, by noting the absorption of water-vapor colors when the planet moved in front of the star. Now in 2023, further observations by the Webb Space Telescope in infrared light have uncovered evidence of other life-indicating molecules -- including methane. The featured illustration imagines exoplanet K2-18b on the far right orbited by a moon (center), which together orbit a red dwarf star depicted on the lower left.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230920.html ( September 20, 2023)
Payloads: Circadian Light: Photos were taken of the light panel setup and an end-of-day assessment was performed in support of the ongoing Circadian Lights investigation. Circadian Light tests a new lighting system that is designed to help astronauts maintain an acceptable circadian rhythm in comparison to the current lighting aboard the ISS. This can help … ...
September 18, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/18/iss-daily-summary-report-9-18-2023/
Monday, September 18, 2023
Do stars always create jets as they form? No one is sure. As a gas cloud gravitationally contracts, it forms a disk that can spin too fast to continue contracting into a protostar. Theorists hypothesize that this spin can be reduced by expelling jets. This speculation coincides with known Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, young stellar objects seen to emit jets -- sometimes in spectacular fashion. Pictured is Herbig-Haro 211, a young star in formation recently imaged by the Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in infrared light and in great detail. Along with the two narrow beams of particles, red shock waves can be seen as the outflows impact existing interstellar gas. The jets of HH 221 will likely change shape as they brighten and fade over the next 100,000 years, as research into the details of star formation continues.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230919.html ( September 19, 2023)
Sunday, September 17, 2023
The sprite and tree could hardly be more different. To start, the red sprite is an unusual form of lightning, while the tree is a common plant. The sprite is far away -- high in Earth's atmosphere, while the tree is nearby -- only about a football field away. The sprite is fast -- electrons streaming up and down at near light's speed, while the tree is slow -- wood anchored to the ground. The sprite is bright -- lighting up the sky, while the tree is dim -- shining mostly by reflected light. The sprite was fleeting -- lasting only a small fraction of a second, while the tree is durable -- living now for many years. Both however, when captured together, appear oddly similar in this featured composite image captured early this month in France as a thunderstorm passed over mountains of the Atlantic Pyrenees.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230918.html ( September 18, 2023)
Saturday, September 16, 2023
What are those dark streaks in this composite image of a solar eclipse? They are reversed shadows of mountains at the edge of the Moon. The center image, captured from Xiamen, China, has the Moon's center directly in front of the Sun's center. The Moon, though, was too far from the Earth to completely block the entire Sun. Light that streamed around the edges of the Moon is called a ring of fire. Images at each end of the sequence show sunlight that streamed through lunar valleys. As the Moon moved further in front of the Sun, left to right, only the higher peaks on the Moon's perimeter could block sunlight. Therefore, the dark streaks are projected, distorted, reversed, and magnified shadows of mountains at the Moon's edge. Bright areas are called Baily's Beads. Only people in a narrow swath across Earth's Eastern Hemisphere were able to view this full annular solar eclipse in 2020. Next month, though, a narrow swath crossing both North and South America will be exposed to the next annular solar eclipse. And next April, a total solar eclipse will be visible across North America.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230917.html ( September 17, 2023)
Friday, September 15, 2023
On September 12, from a location just south of the Arctic Circle, stones of Iceland's modern Arctic Henge point skyward in this startling scene. Entertaining an intrepid group of aurora hunters during a geomagnetic storm, alluring northern lights dance across the darkened sky when a stunning fireball meteor explodes. Awestruck, the camera-equipped skygazers captured video and still images of the boreal bolide, at its peak about as bright as a full moon. Though quickly fading from view, the fireball left a lingering visible trail or persistent train. The wraith-like trail was seen for minutes wafting in the upper atmosphere at altitudes of 60 to 90 kilometers along with the auroral glow.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230916.html ( September 16, 2023)
"It's amazing when I get a chance to see the space station fly over. I am very fortunate to be able to say that my hands were on a lot of the hardware that is up there. I’m very proud to have been part of the International Space Station program.” — Liliana Villarreal, Artemis Landing and Recovery Director, Exploration Ground Systems
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/faces-of-nasa/liliana-villareal
Payloads: Actiwatch-Plus: Actiwatch units were hooked up to the HRF-1 rack for charging and data downlink. The Actiwatch-Plus is a waterproof, non-intrusive, sleep-wake activity monitor worn on the wrist of a crewmember and contains a miniature uniaxial accelerometer that produces a signal as the subject moves. The data is stored in non-volatile memory within the … ...
September 14, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/14/iss-daily-summary-report-9-14-2023/
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Venus has returned as a brilliant morning star. From a window seat on a flight to Mexico City, the bright celestial beacon was captured just before sunrise in this astronomical snapshot, taken on September 12. Venus, at the upper right, shared the early predawn skies with an old crescent Moon. Seen from this stratospheric perspective, both mountain peaks and clouds appear in silhouette along a glowing eastern horizon. The dramatic, long, low cloud bank was created by venting from planet Earth's active volcano PopocatÃ©petl.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230915.html ( September 15, 2023)
Payloads: Circadian Light: The Circadian Light start-of-next-day assessment was performed. The Circadian Light investigation tests a new lighting system to help astronauts maintain an acceptable circadian rhythm. This can help enhance cognitive performance during a long-duration mission and help combat monotony through automated, varied, and gradually changing lighting sequences and settings. Earthshine from ISS: Earthshine … ...
September 13, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/13/iss-daily-summary-report-9-13-2023/
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the NOAA-20 satellite captured this image of fragmented ice in Hudson Bay on June 28, 2023.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/accelerated-ice-breakup-in-hudson-bay
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. Since the galaxy's disk is inclined to our line-of-sight, long telescopic exposures often result in images that evokes a strong sense of depth. The effect is further enhanced in this sharp image by galaxies that lie beyond the gorgeous island universe. The most prominent background galaxies are about one tenth the apparent size of NGC 7331 and so lie roughly ten times farther away. Their close alignment on the sky with NGC 7331 occurs just by chance. Lingering above the plane of the Milky Way, this striking visual grouping of galaxies is known to some as the Deer Lick Group.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230914.html ( September 14, 2023)
Justin Hall lands the Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone 2 (DROID 2) aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, on Aug. 22, 2023.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/droid-2-captures-the-wind
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Galaxy NGC 4632 hides a secret from optical telescopes. It is surrounded by a ring of cool hydrogen gas orbiting at 90 degrees to its spiral disk. Such polar ring galaxies have previously been discovered using starlight. However, NGC 4632 is among the first in which a radio telescope survey revealed a polar ring. The featured composite image combines this gas ring, observed with the highly sensitive ASKAP telescope, with optical data from the Subaru telescope. Using virtual reality, astronomers separated out the gas in the main disk of the galaxy from the ring, and the subtle color gradient traces its orbital motion. Why do polar rings exist? They could be material pulled from one galaxy as it gravitationally interacts with a companion. Or hydrogen gas flows along the filaments of the cosmic web and accretes into a ring around a galaxy, some of which gravitationally contracts into stars.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230913.html ( September 13, 2023)
In this image from July 24, 2023, astronaut Frank Rubio completes a session on the Surface Avatar Remote Control Terminal, which investigates how haptic controls, user interfaces, and virtual reality could command and control surface-bound robots from long distances.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/frank-rubio-breaks-nasa-s-single-spaceflight-record
Monday, September 11, 2023
Some 4 billion light-years away, massive galaxy cluster Abell 370 is captured in this sharp Hubble Space Telescope snapshot. The cluster of galaxies only appears to be dominated by two giant elliptical galaxies and infested with faint arcs. In reality, the fainter, scattered bluish arcs, along with the dramatic dragon arc below and left of center, are images of galaxies that lie far beyond Abell 370. About twice as distant, their otherwise undetected light is magnified and distorted by the cluster's enormous gravitational mass, overwhelmingly dominated by unseen dark matter. Providing a tantalizing glimpse of galaxies in the early universe, the effect is known as gravitational lensing. A consequence of warped spacetime, lensing was predicted by Einstein almost a century ago. Far beyond the spiky foreground Milky Way star at lower right, Abell 370 is seen toward the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. It was the last of six galaxy clusters imaged in the Frontier Fields project.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230912.html ( September 12, 2023)
A snowy egret, identifiable by its slender black bill, black legs and yellow feet, marches through a pond near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, looking for food in this image from March 29, 2007.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/snowy-egret-searches-the-waters
Sunday, September 10, 2023
This scene would be beautiful even without the comet. By itself, the sunrise sky is an elegant deep blue on high, with faint white stars peeking through, while near the horizon is a pleasing tan. By itself, the foreground hills of eastern Slovakia are appealingly green, with the ZadÅˆa hura and VeÄ¾kÃ¡ hora hills in the distance, and with the lights of small towns along the way. Venus, by itself on the right, appears unusually exquisite, surrounded by a colorful atmospheric corona. But what attracts the eye most is the comet. On the left, in this composite image taken just before dawn yesterday morning, is Comet Nishimura. On recent mornings around the globe, its bright coma and long ion tail make many a morning panoramic photo unusually beautiful. Tomorrow, C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) will pass its nearest to the Earth for about the next 434 years.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230911.html ( September 11, 2023)
Saturday, September 9, 2023
What is this person doing? In 2012, an annular eclipse of the Sun was visible over a narrow path that crossed the northern Pacific Ocean and several western US states. In an annular solar eclipse, the Moon is too far from the Earth to block out the entire Sun, leaving the Sun peeking out over the Moon's disk in a ring of fire. To capture this unusual solar event, an industrious photographer drove from Arizona to New Mexico to find just the right vista. After setting up and just as the eclipsed Sun was setting over a ridge about 0.5 kilometers away, a person unknowingly walked right into the shot. Although grateful for the unexpected human element, the photographer never learned the identity of the silhouetted interloper. It appears likely that the person is holding a circular device that would enable them to get their own view of the eclipse. The shot was taken at sunset on 2012 May 20 at 7:36 pm local time from a park near Albuquerque. Next month, on October 14, a different narrow swath across North and South America will be exposed to a different annular solar eclipse, if the sky is clear. Simultaneously, cloud-free observers almost anywhere on either continent will be able to see a partial solar eclipse.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230910.html ( September 10, 2023)
Friday, September 8, 2023
Comet Nishimura is growing. More precisely, the tails C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) are growing as it nears the Sun. Discovered only last month, the comet is already near naked eye brightness as it now moves inside the Earth's orbit. The comet will be nearest the Earth next week, but nearest the Sun the week after -- on September 17. Speculation holds that expelled ice and dust from Comet Nishimura's last visit to the inner Solar System may have created the Sigma Hydrids meteor shower which peaks yearly in December. If so, then this meteor shower may become more active, refreshed with new comet debris. Pictured, Comet Nishimura was captured from Edgewood, New Mexico, USA four nights ago, showing a long ion tail structured by interactions with the Sun's wind. Look for this comet near your eastern horizon just before sunrise for the next few mornings, but very near your western horizon just after sunset next week -- as its coma continues to brighten and its tails continue to grow.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230909.html ( September 09, 2023)
Support teams onboard the SpaceX recovery ship MEGAN work to open the hatch of the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft shortly after it landed in the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 4, 2023, with NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev aboard.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/opening-the-hatch-crew-6-splashdown
Payloads: Astrobee: The JEM was prepared for Astrobee flyer remote operations. Astrobee is made up of three free-flying, cube-shaped robots. These robots are designed to help scientists and engineers develop and test technologies for use in microgravity to assist astronauts with routine chores, and give ground controllers additional eyes and ears on the space station. … ...
September 07, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/07/iss-daily-summary-report-9-07-2023/
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this 1/3 degree wide field of view spans over 30 light-years. The sharp composite, color image highlights faint details of the region's gas and dust clouds against a backdrop of central Milky Way stars. Stellar winds and energetic light from hot, massive stars formed from M17's stock of cosmic gas and dust have slowly carved away at the remaining interstellar material, producing the cavernous appearance and undulating shapes. M17 is also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230908.html ( September 08, 2023)
Payloads: Actiwatch-Plus: Actiwatch units were hooked up to Human Research Facility 1 (HRF-1) for charging and data downlinks. The Actiwatch-Plus is a waterproof, non-intrusive, sleep-wake activity monitor worn on the wrist of a crewmember and contains a miniature uniaxial accelerometer that produces a signal as the subject moves. The data is stored in non-volatile memory … ...
September 06, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/06/iss-daily-summary-report-9-06-2023/
Hubble's colorful image of the globular star cluster Terzan 12 is a spectacular example of how dust in space affects starlight coming from background objects.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2023/hubble-sees-glittering-globular-cluster-embedded-inside-our-milky-way
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
The 16th century Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew had plenty of time to study the southern sky during the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. As a result, two fuzzy cloud-like objects easily visible to southern hemisphere skygazers are known as the Clouds of Magellan, now understood to be satellite galaxies of our much larger, spiral Milky Way galaxy. About 160,000 light-years distant in the constellation Dorado, the Large Magellanic Cloud is seen in this sharp galaxy portrait. Spanning about 15,000 light-years or so, it is the most massive of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies and is the home of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A. The prominent patch above center is 30 Doradus, also known as the magnificent Tarantula Nebula, a giant star-forming region about 1,000 light-years across.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230907.html ( September 07, 2023)
A recovery team member takes part in field rehearsals in preparation for the retrieval of the sample return capsule from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission in this image from Aug. 29, 2023.
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/practicing-for-the-osiris-rex-sample-return
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
They may look like modern mechanical dinosaurs, but they are enormous swiveling eyes that watch the sky. The High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) Observatory is composed of four 12-meter reflecting-mirror telescopes surrounding a larger telescope housing a 28-meter mirror. They are designed to detect strange flickers of blue light -- Cherenkov radiation --emitted when charged particles move slightly faster than the speed of light in air. This light is emitted when a gamma ray from a distant source strikes a molecule in Earth's atmosphere and starts a charged-particle shower. H.E.S.S. is sensitive to some of the highest energy photons (TeV) crossing the universe. Operating since 2003 in Namibia, H.E.S.S. has searched for dark matter and has discovered over 50 sources emitting high energy radiation including supernova remnants and the centers of galaxies that contain supermassive black holes. Pictured in June, H.E.S.S. telescopes swivel and stare in time-lapse sequences shot in front of our Milky Way Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds -- as the occasional Earth-orbiting satellite zips by.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230906.html ( September 06, 2023)
Voyager 1 Lifts Off Toward an Interstellar Journey
from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/voyager-1-lifts-off-toward-an-interstellar-journey
Crew-6 Dragon Endeavour Undock and Landing: Crew Dragon Endeavour undocked from the PMA-2 docking port on Node 2 Forward of the ISS on Sunday September 3rd at 6:05 AM CDT. Later that day, at 11:17 PM CDT, Crew Dragon Endeavour splashed down near Jacksonville off the coast of Florida returning NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Woody … ...
September 04, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/09/04/iss-daily-summary-report-9-04-2023/
Monday, September 4, 2023
The last full moon was doubly unusual. First of all, it was a blue moon. A modern definition of a blue moon is a second full moon to occur during one calendar month. Since there are 13 full moons in 2023, one month has to have two -- and that month was August. The first full moon was on August 1 and named a Sturgeon Moon. The second reason that the last full moon was unusual was because it was a supermoon. A modern definition of supermoon is a moon that reaches its full phase when it is relatively close to Earth -- and so appears a bit larger and brighter than average. Pictured, the blue supermoon of 2023 was imaged hovering far behind a historic castle and lighthouse in Syracuse, Sicily, Italy.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230905.html ( September 05, 2023)
Sunday, September 3, 2023
As stars die, they create clouds. Two stellar death clouds of gas and dust can be found toward the high-flying constellation of the Swan (Cygnus) as they drift through rich star fields in the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Caught here within the telescopic field of view are the Soap Bubble (lower left) and the Crescent Nebula (upper right). Both were formed at the final phase in the life of a star. Also known as NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula was shaped as its bright, central massive Wolf-Rayet star, WR 136, shed its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind. Burning through fuel at a prodigious rate, WR 136 is near the end of a short life that should finish in a spectacular supernova explosion. Discovered in 2013, the Soap Bubble Nebula is likely a planetary nebula, the final shroud of a lower mass, long-lived, Sun-like star destined to become a slowly cooling white dwarf. Both stellar nebulas are about 5,000 light-years distant, with the larger Crescent Nebula spanning about 25 light-years across. Within a few million years, both will likely have dispersed.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230904.html ( September 04, 2023)
Saturday, September 2, 2023
Periodic comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has broken up at least twice. A cosmic souffle of ice and dust left over from the early solar system, this comet was first seen to split into several large pieces during the close-in part of its orbit in 1995. However, in the 2006 passage, it disintegrated into dozens of fragments that stretched several degrees across the sky. Since comets are relatively fragile, stresses from heat, gravity and outgassing, for example, could be responsible for their tendency to break up in such a spectacular fashion when they near the hot Sun. The Hubble Space Telescope recorded, in 2006, the featured sharp view of prolific Fragment B, itself trailing a multitude of smaller pieces, each with its own cometary coma and tail. The picture spans over 3,000 kilometers at the comet's distance of 32 million kilometers from planet Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230903.html ( September 03, 2023)
Friday, September 1, 2023
These cosmic clouds have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile starfields of the constellation Cepheus. Called the Iris Nebula, NGC 7023 is not the only nebula to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this deep telescopic image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries embedded in surrounding fields of interstellar dust. Within the Iris itself, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the reflection nebula glow with a faint reddish photoluminescence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula contains complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The dusty blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230902.html ( September 02, 2023)
Thursday, August 31, 2023
In 1716, English astronomer Edmond Halley noted, "This is but a little Patch, but it shows itself to the naked Eye, when the Sky is serene and the Moon absent." Of course, M13 is now less modestly recognized as the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, one of the brightest globular star clusters in the northern sky. Sharp telescopic views like this one reveal the spectacular cluster's hundreds of thousands of stars. At a distance of 25,000 light-years, the cluster stars crowd into a region 150 light-years in diameter. Approaching the cluster core, upwards of 100 stars could be contained in a cube just 3 light-years on a side. For comparison, the closest star to the Sun is over 4 light-years away. The remarkable range of brightness recorded in this image follows stars into the dense cluster core.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230901.html ( September 01, 2023)
Payloads: Advanced Resistive Exercise Device-Kinematics (ARED-K): The crew performed a familiarization session for the ARED-K experiment. Resistive exercise is used as a countermeasure to musculoskeletal deconditioning in microgravity and currently ISS crews perform resistive exercise using ARED. However, a major unknown is the internal bone and muscle forces developed during exercise in microgravity. In addition, … ...
August 30, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/08/30/iss-daily-summary-report-8-30-2023/
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Not the James Webb Space Telescope's latest view of a distant galactic nebula, this illuminated cloud of gas and dust dazzled early morning spacecoast skygazers on August 26. The snapshot was taken about 2 minutes after the launch of of a Falcon 9 rocket on the SpaceX Crew-7 mission, the seventh commercial crew rotation mission for the International Space Station. It captures drifting plumes and exhaust from the separated first and second stage illuminated against the still dark skies. Near the center of the image, within the ragged blueish ring, are two bright points of light. The lower one is the second stage of the rocket carrying 4 humans to space in a Crew Dragon spacecraft. The bright point above is the Falcon 9 first stage booster orienting itself for the trip back to Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral, planet Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230831.html ( August 31, 2023)
Payloads: Engineering Stem Cell-Derived Cardiac Microtissues with Metabolic Regulators in Space to Promote Cardiomyocyte Maturation (Project EAGLE): The crew performed the final preservation session. During the operations, several internal membranes were ruptured, but it’s believed the ground teams can still harvest the cells they need for the experiment. Culturing human cardiomyocytes or heart cells holds … ...
August 29, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/08/29/iss-daily-summary-report-8-29-2023/