Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Is star AE Aurigae on fire? No. Even though AE Aurigae is named the Flaming Star and the surrounding nebula IC 405 is named the Flaming Star Nebula, and even though the nebula appears to some like a swirling flame, there is no fire. Fire, typically defined as the rapid molecular acquisition of oxygen, happens only when sufficient oxygen is present and is not important in such high-energy, low-oxygen environments such as stars. The bright star AE Aurigae occurs near the center of the Flaming Star Nebula and is so hot it glows blue, emitting light so energetic it knocks electrons away from surrounding gas. When a proton recaptures an electron, light is emitted, as seen in the surrounding emission nebula. Captured here three weeks ago, the Flaming Star Nebula is visible near the composite image's center, between the red Tadpole Nebula on the left and blue-tailed Comet ZTF on the right. The Flaming Star Nebula lies about 1,500 light years distant, spans about 5 light years, and is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Charioteer (Auriga).

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230301.html ( March 01, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/27/2023



Payloads: Human Research Facility-2 (HRF-2): The One Terabyte Hard Drives (HDDs) were removed from the HRF-2 UltraBay and PC2 Zbook and replaced with new HDDs. The old HDDs will be trashed. HRF-2 provides an on-orbit laboratory that enables human life science researchers to study and evaluate the physiological, behavioral, and chemical changes induced by spaceflight. … ...

February 27, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/27/iss-daily-summary-report-2-27-2023/

Monday, February 27, 2023

Why is a thin crescent moon never seen far from a horizon? Because the only geometry that gives a thin crescent lunar phase occurs when the Moon appears close to the Sun in the sky. The crescent is not caused by the shadow of the Earth, but by seeing only a small part of the Moon directly illuminated by the Sun. Moreover, the thickest part of the crescent always occurs in the direction of the Sun. In the evening, a thin crescent Moon will set shortly after the Sun and not be seen for the rest of the night. Alternatively, in the morning, a crescent Moon will rise shortly before the Sun after not being seen for most of the night. Pictured two weeks ago, a crescent moon was captured near the horizon, just before sunrise, far behind remnants of the ancient Temple of Poseidon in Greece.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230228.html ( February 28, 2023)

Sunday, February 26, 2023

What's causing that unusual ray of light extending from the horizon? Dust orbiting the Sun. At certain times of the year, a band of sun-reflecting dust from the inner Solar System appears prominently after sunset or before sunrise and is called zodiacal light. The dust was emitted mostly from faint Jupiter-family comets and slowly spirals into the Sun. The featured HDR image, acquired in mid-February from the Sierra Nevada National Park in Spain, captures the glowing band of zodiacal light going right in front of the bright evening planets Jupiter (upper) and Venus (lower). Emitted from well behind the zodiacal light is a dark night sky that prominently includes the Pleiades star cluster. Jupiter and Venus are slowly switching places in the evening sky, and just in the next few days nearing their closest angular approach.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230227.html ( February 27, 2023)

Saturday, February 25, 2023

What would make a moon look like a walnut? A strange ridge that circles Saturn's moon Iapetus's equator, visible near the bottom of the featured image, makes it appear similar to a popular edible nut. The origin of the ridge remains unknown, though, with hypotheses including ice that welled up from below, a ring that crashed down from above, and structure left over from its formation perhaps 100 million years ago. Also strange is that about half of Iapetus is so dark that it can nearly disappear when viewed from Earth, while the rest is, reflectively, quite bright. Observations show that the degree of darkness of the terrain is strangely uniform, as if a dark coating was somehow recently applied to an ancient and highly cratered surface. Last, several large impact basins occur around Iapetus, with a 400-kilometer wide crater visible near the image center, surrounded by deep cliffs that drop sharply to the crater floor. The featured image was taken by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft during a flyby of Iapetus at the end of 2004.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230226.html ( February 26, 2023)

Friday, February 24, 2023

Crescent Moon Occultation

On February 22, a young Moon shared the western sky at sunset with bright planets Venus and Jupiter along the ecliptic plane. The beautiful celestial conjunction was visible around planet Earth. But from some locations Jupiter hid for a while, occulted by the crescent lunar disk. The Solar System's ruling gas giant was captured here just before it disappeared behind the the Moon's dark edge, seen over the Río de la Plata at Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. In the serene river and skyscape Venus is not so shy, shining brightly closer to the horizon through the fading twilight. Next week Venus and Jupiter will appear even closer in your evening sky.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230225.html ( February 25, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/23/2023



Payloads: Astrobee Maneuvering by Robotic Manipulator Hopping (Astrobatics): Astrobatics skins were installed onto the Astrobee free-fliers and science session #4 was performed. Astrobatics demonstrates the Astrobee robotic vehicles using robotic manipulators to execute a hopping or self-toss maneuver as the primary means of propulsion, making it mostly propellant-less. Astrobee performs increasingly complex maneuvers between handrails … ...

February 23, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/23/iss-daily-summary-report-2-23-2023/

Crew-6 Preparations Continue

The sun rises on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/crew-6-preparations-continue

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Jones Emberson 1

Planetary nebula Jones-Emberson 1 is the death shroud of a dying Sun-like star. It lies some 1,600 light-years from Earth toward the sharp-eyed constellation Lynx. About 4 light-years across, the expanding remnant of the dying star's atmosphere was shrugged off into interstellar space, as the star's central supply of hydrogen and then helium for fusion was finally depleted after billions of years. Visible near the center of the planetary nebula is what remains of the stellar core, a blue-hot white dwarf star. Also known as PK 164 +31.1, the nebula is faint and very difficult to glimpse at a telescope's eyepiece. But this deep broadband image combining 22 hours of exposure time does show it off in exceptional detail. Stars within our own Milky Way galaxy as well as background galaxies across the universe are scattered through the clear field of view. Ephemeral on the cosmic stage, Jones-Emberson 1 will fade away over the next few thousand years. Its hot, central white dwarf star will take billions of years to cool.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230224.html ( February 24, 2023)

John Glenn Goes Into Orbit

Astronaut John Glenn enters the Mercury spacecraft, Friendship 7, prior to the launch of Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) on Feb. 20, 1962.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/john-glenn-goes-into-orbit

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/22/2023



Payloads: Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF): The crew continued the work to install the High-Speed Camera system into ELF. This camera will be used to support the next set of ELF experiments. ELF is an experimental facility designed to levitate/melt/solidify materials by containerless processing techniques using the Electrostatic Levitation method. With this facility, thermophysical properties of … ...

February 22, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/22/iss-daily-summary-report-2-22-2023/

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Peculiar spiral galaxy Arp 78 is found within the boundaries of the head strong constellation Aries. Some 100 million light-years beyond the stars and nebulae of our Milky Way galaxy, the island universe is an enormous 200,000 light-years across. Also known as NGC 772, it sports a prominent, outer spiral arm in this detailed cosmic portrait. Tracking along sweeping dust lanes and lined with young blue star clusters, Arp 78's overdeveloped spiral arm is pumped-up by galactic-scale gravitational tides. Interactions with its brightest companion galaxy, the more compact NGC 770 seen above and right of the larger spiral, are likely responsible. Embedded in faint star streams revealed in the deep telescopic exposure, NGC 770's fuzzy, elliptical appearance contrasts nicely with spiky foreground Milky Way stars in matching yellowish hues.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230223.html ( February 23, 2023)

A Blue Farewell

A blue halo glows around Pluto’s receding crescent in this parting image taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/a-blue-farewell

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/21/2023



Payloads: Mochii: The crew performed a power-cycle of the Mochii electron microscope system, and then reported the status of the LEDs on the diagnostic strip. This is an effort to restore communication to Mochii following a network switch power cycle a little over a week ago. Mochii is a miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with … ...

February 21, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/21/iss-daily-summary-report-2-21-2023/

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Our Sun is becoming a busy place. Only two years ago, the Sun was emerging from a solar minimum so quiet that months would go by without even a single sunspot. In contrast, already this year and well ahead of schedule, our Sun is unusually active, already nearing solar activity levels seen a decade ago during the last solar maximum. Our increasingly active Sun was captured two weeks ago sporting numerous interesting features. The image was recorded in a single color of light called Hydrogen Alpha, color-inverted, and false colored. Spicules carpet much of the Sun's face. The brightening towards the Sun's edges is caused by increased absorption of relatively cool solar gas and called limb darkening. Just outside the Sun's disk, several scintillating prominences protrude, while prominences on the Sun's face are known as filaments and show as light streaks. Magnetically tangled active regions are both dark and light and contain cool sunspots. As our Sun's magnetic field winds toward solar maximum over the next few years, whether the Sun's high activity will continue to increase is unknown.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230222.html ( February 22, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/20/2023



Payloads: Echo: The Echo hardware was retrieved and deployed in the Columbus Module in preparation for routine maintenance activities. Echo is a tele-operated ultrasound system, equipped with motorized probes that are controlled by flight controllers on the ground. The flight controller hardware expert on Earth controls the fine movements of the probes, and receives high … ...

February 20, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/20/iss-daily-summary-report-2-20-2023/

NASA Celebrates National Engineers Week: Perspectives from Jamesa Stokes

As NASA celebrates National Engineers Week, NASA Glenn gets perspectives from materials research engineer Jamesa Stokes.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/glenn/image-feature/2023/nasa-celebrates-national-engineers-week-perspectives-from-jamesa-stokes

Monday, February 20, 2023

They are both falling. The water in Yosemite Falls, California, USA, is falling toward the Earth. Comet ZTF is falling toward the Sun. This double cosmic cascade was captured late last month as fading Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) had just passed its closest to planet Earth. The orange star just over the falls is Kochab. With the exception of a brief encounter with a black bear, the featured image was a well-planned composite of a moonlit-foreground and long-duration background exposures - all designed to reconstruct a deep version of an actual single sight. Although Comet ZTF is now fading as it glides back to the outer Solar System, its path is determined by gravity and so it can be considered to still be falling toward the Sun -- but backwards.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230221.html ( February 21, 2023)

Sunday, February 19, 2023

There is nothing like this ball of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. This is surprising because, at first glance, this featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope suggests that star cluster NGC 1850's size and shape are reminiscent of the many ancient globular star clusters which roam our own Milky Way Galaxy's halo. But NGC 1850's stars are all too young, making it a type of star cluster with no known counterpart in the Milky Way. Moreover, NGC 1850 is also a double star cluster, with a second, compact cluster of stars visible here just to the right of the large cluster's center. Stars in the large cluster are estimated to be 50 million years young, while stars in the compact cluster are younger still, with an age of about 4 million years. A mere 168,000 light-years distant, NGC 1850 is located near the outskirts of the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. The glowing gas filaments across the image left, like supernova remnants in our own galaxy, testify to violent stellar explosions and indicate that short-lived massive stars have recently been present in the region.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230220.html ( February 20, 2023)

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Is this really the famous Pleiades star cluster? Known for its iconic blue stars, the Pleiades is shown here in infrared light where the surrounding dust outshines the stars. Here three infrared colors have been mapped into visual colors (R=24, G=12, B=4.6 microns). The base images were taken by NASA's orbiting Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Cataloged as M45 and nicknamed the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades star cluster is by chance situated in a passing dust cloud. The light and winds from the massive Pleiades stars preferentially repel smaller dust particles, causing the dust to become stratified into filaments, as seen. The featured image spans about 20 light years at the distance of the Pleiades, which lies about 450 light years distant toward the constellation of the Bull (Taurus).

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230219.html ( February 19, 2023)

Friday, February 17, 2023

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1365 from Webb

A mere 56 million light-years distant toward the southern constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is an enormous barred spiral galaxy about 200,000 light-years in diameter. That's twice the size of our own barred spiral Milky Way. This sharp image from the James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) reveals stunning details of this magnificent spiral in infrared light. Webb's field of view stretches about 60,000 light-years across NGC 1365, exploring the galaxy's core and bright newborn star clusters. The intricate network of dusty filaments and bubbles is created by young stars along spiral arms winding from the galaxy's central bar. Astronomers suspect the gravity field of NGC 1365's bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, funneling gas and dust into a star-forming maelstrom and ultimately feeding material into the active galaxy's central, supermassive black hole.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230218.html ( February 18, 2023)

Let’s Roll, Crew-6!

Mission Specialist Andrey Fedyaev, Pilot Warren "Woody" Hoburg, Commander Stephen Bowen, and Mission Specialist Sultan Alnedayi, the SpaceX Crew-6 mission, pose for a photo atop an emergency egress vehicle at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/let-s-roll-crew-6

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/16/2023



Payloads: Cardiobreath: Bio-Monitor wearable hardware was donned and calibrated and was worn for a two-hour session including a CEVIS Exercise period. 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 after return to Earth. Causal Analysis of Cardiorespiratory … ...

February 16, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/16/iss-daily-summary-report-2-16-2023/

Thursday, February 16, 2023

2023 CX1 Meteor Flash

While scanning the skies for near earth objects Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky first imaged the meter-sized space rock now cataloged as 2023 CX1 on 12 February 2023 at 20:18:07 UTC. That was about 7 hours before it impacted planet Earth's atmosphere. Its predicted trajectory created a rare opportunity for meteor observers and a last minute plan resulted in this spectacular image of the fireball, captured from the Netherlands as 2023 CX1 vaporized and broke up over northern France. Remarkably it was Sárneczky's second discovery of an impacting asteroid, while 2023 CX1 is only the seventh asteroid to be detected before being successfully predicted to impact Earth. It has recently become the third such object from which meteorites have been recovered. This fireball was witnessed almost 10 years to the day following the infamous Chelyabinsk Meteor flash.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230217.html ( February 17, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/15/2023



Payloads: Four Bed CO2 (4BCO2) Scrubber: The Acoustic Blanket was installed, and acoustic tests were performed. The 4BCO2 Scrubber was then stowed. 4BCO2 Scrubber demonstrates a technology for removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere on a spacecraft. The technology is based on the current system in use on the ISS with mechanical upgrades in … ...

February 15, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/15/iss-daily-summary-report-2-15-2023/

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/14/2023



Payloads: Actiwatch-Plus: A crewmember doffed an Actiwatch Plus unit and stowed it in the Actiwatch Plus Kit. 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 … ...

February 14, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/14/iss-daily-summary-report-2-14-2023/

Practicing Our Moonwalk

Two Joint Extravehicular Activity Test Team Field Test #3 (JETT3) mission members work on sample collection on the remote, rocky, high-desert terrain of the S P Crater near Flagstaff, Arizona on Oct. 5, 2022.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/practicing-our-moonwalk

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

This unusual sky was both familiar and unfamiliar. The photographer's mission was to capture the arch of the familiar central band of our Milky Way Galaxy over a picturesque medieval manor. The surprise was that on this January evening, the foreground sky was found glowing in a beautiful but unfamiliar manner. The striped bands are called airglow and they result from air high in Earth's atmosphere being excited by the Sun's light and emitting a faint light of its own. The bands cross the entire sky -- their curved appearance is due to the extremely wide angle of the camera lens. In the foreground lies Château de Losse in southwest France. Other familiar sky delights dot the distant background including the bright white star Sirius, the orange planet Mars, the blue Pleiades star cluster, the red California Nebula, and, on the far right, the extended Andromeda Galaxy. The initial mission was also successful: across the top of the frame is the arching band of our Milky Way.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230215.html ( February 15, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/13/2023



Payloads: BioFabrication Facility (BFF): Test Print Without Cells Installation 1 was performed inside the BFF. Using 3D biological printers to produce usable human organs has long been a dream of scientists and doctors around the globe. However, printing the tiny, complex structures found inside human organs, such as capillary structures, has proven difficult to accomplish … ...

February 13, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/13/iss-daily-summary-report-2-13-2023/

Monday, February 13, 2023

Is the heart and soul of our Galaxy located in Cassiopeia? Possibly not, but that is where two bright emission nebulas nicknamed Heart and Soul can be found. The Heart Nebula, officially dubbed IC 1805 and visible in the featured image on the upper right, has a shape reminiscent of a classical heart symbol. The shape is perhaps fitting for Valentine's Day. The Soul Nebula is officially designated IC 1871 and is visible on the lower left. Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen, one of three colors shown in this three-color montage. Light takes about 6,000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years. Studies of stars and clusters like those found in the Heart and Soul nebulas have focused on how massive stars form and how they affect their environment.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230214.html ( February 14, 2023)

Space Station Visits South Padre Island

While the International Space Station orbited over the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 19, 2022, NASA astronaut Bob Hines captured this image of South Padre Island, a barrier island along the coast of Texas.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/space-station-visits-south-padre-island

Sunday, February 12, 2023

No, Comet ZTF is not going to hit Mars. Nicknamed the Green Comet for its bright green coma, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) did, however, pass almost in front of the much-more distant planet a few days ago, very near in time to when the featured picture was taken. The two sky icons were here captured behind a famous Earth icon -- the Matterhorn, a mountain in the Italian Alps with a picturesque peak. Both the foreground and background images were taken on the same evening by the same camera and from the same location. The comet's white dust tail is visible to the right of the green coma, while the light blue ion tail trails towards the top of the image. Orange Mars is well in front of the numerous background stars as well as the dark nebula Barnard 22 to its lower right. Although Mars remains visible in the evening sky for the next few months, Comet ZTF has already begun to fade as it returns to the outer Solar System.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230213.html ( February 13, 2023)

Saturday, February 11, 2023

When do cloud bottoms appear like bubbles? Normally, cloud bottoms are flat. This is because moist warm air that rises and cools will condense into water droplets at a specific temperature, which usually corresponds to a very specific height. As water droplets grow, an opaque cloud forms. Under some conditions, however, cloud pockets can develop that contain large droplets of water or ice that fall into clear air as they evaporate. Such pockets may occur in turbulent air near a thunderstorm. Resulting mammatus clouds can appear especially dramatic if sunlit from the side. The mammatus clouds pictured here were photographed over Hastings, Nebraska during 2004 June.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230212.html ( February 12, 2023)

Friday, February 10, 2023

Magellanic Clouds over Chile

The two prominent clouds in this Chilean Atacama Desert skyscape captured on January 21 actually lie beyond our Milky Way galaxy. Known as the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds they are so named for the 16th century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, leader of the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. Famous jewels of southern hemisphere skies, they are the brightest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. The larger cloud is some 160,000 light-years, and the smaller 210,000 light-years distant. While both are irregular dwarf galaxies in their own right, they exhibit central barred structures in the deep wide-angle view. Wide and deep exposures also reveal faint dusty galactic cirrus nebulae and the imprints of gravitational tidal interactions between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230211.html ( February 11, 2023)

Eagle's Nest

An American bald eagle occupies a nest near Kennedy Parkway North at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 8, 2023.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/eagles-nest

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/09/2023



Payloads: Plasma Kristall-4 (PK-4): The PK-4 system was configured to transfer experiment data for subsequent downlink. PK-4 is a scientific collaboration between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of Complex Plasmas: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The micro-particles become highly … ...

February 09, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/09/iss-daily-summary-report-2-09-2023/

Thursday, February 9, 2023


Fading as it races across planet Earth's northern skies comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) shares this telescopic frame with comet C/2022 U2 (ATLAS). Captured on the night of February 6 from a garden observatory in Germany's Bavarian Forest, the starry field of view toward the constellation Auriga spans about 2.5 degrees. Discovered by sky survey projects in 2022 (the Zwicky Transient Facility and the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) these long-period comets are outbound, reaching perihelion just last month. The much fainter comet ATLAS made its closest approach to our fair planet on January 29 at a distance of about 4.6 light-minutes, compared to a mere 2.4 light-minutes for comet ZTF on February 2. This comet ATLAS lacks the well-developed tails of the formerly naked-eye comet ZTF. But both comets sport greenish tinted comas, emission from diatomic carbon molecules fluorescing in sunlight. Continuing its dash across planet Earth's sky, the good-binocular comet ZTF will appear close to bright planet Mars tonight.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230210.html ( February 10, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/08/2023



Payloads: Cerebral Autoregulation: The crew set up the experiment hardware to support science sessions later this week. 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 … ...

February 08, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/08/iss-daily-summary-report-2-08-2023/

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Nacreous Clouds over Lapland

Vivid and lustrous, wafting iridescent waves of color wash across this skyscape from Kilpisjärvi, Finland. Known as nacreous clouds or mother-of-pearl clouds, they are rare. But their unforgettable appearance was captured looking south at 69 degrees north latitude at sunset on January 24. A type of polar stratospheric cloud, they form when unusually cold temperatures in the usually cloudless lower stratosphere form ice crystals. Still sunlit at altitudes of around 15 to 25 kilometers, the clouds can diffract sunlight even after sunset and just before the dawn.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230209.html ( February 09, 2023)

Bringing More Power to Space Station

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata is pictured in his Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or spacesuit, during his second spacewalk on Feb. 2, 2023.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/bringing-more-power-to-space-station

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Imagine traveling to a star about 100 times as massive as our Sun, a million times more luminous, and with 30 times the surface temperature. Such stars exist, and some are known as Wolf Rayet (WR) stars, named after French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. The central star in this image is WR 40 which is located toward the constellation of Carina. Stars like WR 40 live fast and die young in comparison with the Sun. They quickly exhaust their core hydrogen supply, move on to fusing heavier core elements, and expand while ejecting their outer layers via high stellar winds. In this case, the central star WR 40 ejects the atmosphere at a speed of nearly 100 kilometers per second, and these outer layers have become the expanding oval-shaped nebula RCW 58.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230208.html ( February 08, 2023)

Monday, February 6, 2023

Can you still see the comet? Yes. Even as C/2022 E3 (ZTF) fades, there is still time to see it if you know where and when to look. Geometrically, Comet ZTF has passed its closest to both the Sun and the Earth and is now headed back to the outer Solar System. Its orbit around the Sun has it gliding across the northern sky all month, after passing near Polaris and both the Big and Little Dippers last month. Pictured, Comet ZTF was photographed between the two dippers in late January while sporting an ion tail that extended over 10 degrees. Now below naked-eye visibility, Comet ZTF can be found with binoculars or a small telescope and a good sky map. A good time to see the comet over the next week is after the Sun sets -- but before the Moon rises. The comet will move nearly in front of Mars in a few days

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230207.html ( February 07, 2023)

A Visit to NISAR

Officials from NASA, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and the Indian Embassy visit a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Feb. 3, 2023, to view the scientific instrument payload for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/a-visit-to-nisar

Sunday, February 5, 2023

In the heart of the Rosette Nebula lies a bright cluster of stars that lights up the nebula. The stars of NGC 2244 formed from the surrounding gas only a few million years ago. The featured image taken in mid-January using multiple exposures and very specific colors of Sulfur (shaded red), Hydrogen (green), and Oxygen (blue), captures the central region in tremendous detail. A hot wind of particles streams away from the cluster stars and contributes to an already complex menagerie of gas and dust filaments while slowly evacuating the cluster center. The Rosette Nebula's center measures about 50 light-years across, lies about 5,200 light-years away, and is visible with binoculars towards the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros).

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230206.html ( February 06, 2023)

Saturday, February 4, 2023

This moon is shining by the light of its planet. Specifically, a large portion of Enceladus pictured here is illuminated primarily by sunlight first reflected from the planet Saturn. The result is that the normally snow-white moon appears in the gold color of Saturn's cloud tops. As most of the illumination comes from the image left, a labyrinth of ridges throws notable shadows just to the right of the image center, while the kilometer-deep canyon Labtayt Sulci is visible just below. The bright thin crescent on the far right is the only part of Enceladus directly lit by the Sun. The featured image was taken in 2011 by the robotic Cassini spacecraft during a close pass by by the enigmatic moon. Inspection of the lower left part of this digitally sharpened image reveals plumes of ice crystals thought to originate in a below-surface sea.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230205.html ( February 05, 2023)

Friday, February 3, 2023

NGC 2626 along the Vela Molecular Ridge

Centered in this colorful cosmic canvas, NGC 2626 is a beautiful, bright, blue reflection nebula in the southern Milky Way. Next to an obscuring dust cloud and surrounded by reddish hydrogen emission from large H II region RCW 27 it lies within a complex of dusty molecular clouds known as the Vela Molecular Ridge. NGC 2626 is itself a cloud of interstellar dust reflecting blue light from the young hot embedded star visible within the nebula. But astronomical explorations reveal many other young stars and associated nebulae in the star-forming region. NGC 2626 is about 3,200 light-years away. At that distance this telescopic field of view would span about 30 light-years along the Vela Molecular Ridge.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230204.html ( February 04, 2023)

Spiral Galaxy Spans Space

This Jan. 10, 2013, composite image of the giant barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 combines visible light images from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope with far-ultraviolet data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and infrared data acquired by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/spiral-galaxy-spans-space

ISS Daily Summary Report – 2/02/2023



Payloads: None Systems: USOS EVA 85: ISS Roll Out Solar Array (IROSA) Prep 1A Troubleshooting EVA: Today, ISS crewmembers Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata completed the 85h USOS Extravehicular Activity (EVA). The main goal of this EVA was to troubleshoot interface issues encountered during a previous EVA installation activity that was initiated but not completed. … ...

February 02, 2023 at 11:00AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2023/02/02/iss-daily-summary-report-2-02-2023/

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Polaris and the Trail of Comet ZTF

Stars trace concentric arcs around the North Celestial Pole in this three hour long night sky composite, recorded with a digital camera fixed to a tripod on January 31, near Àger, Lleida, Spain. On that date Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was near its northernmost declination in planet Earth's sky. That put the comet about 10 degrees from Earth's North Celestial Pole making the comet's position circumpolar, always above the horizon, from all locations on planet Earth at more than 10 degrees northern latitude. In the startrail image, the extension of Earth's axis of rotation into space is at the left. North star Polaris traces the short, bright, concentric arc less than a degree from the North Celestial Pole. The trail of Comet ZTF is indicated at the right, its apparent motion mostly reflecting Earth's rotation like the stars. But heading for its closest approach to planet Earth on February 1, the comet is also moving significantly with respect to the background stars. The diffuse greenish trail of Comet ZTF is an almost concentric arc mingled with startrails as it sweeps through the long-necked constellation Camelopardalis.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap230203.html ( February 03, 2023)

Astronauts' View of the Moon

The waxing gibbous Moon stands out in this Jan. 2, 2023, image from the International Space Station as it orbited 269 miles above the southern Indian Ocean.

from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/astronauts-view-of-the-moon