Monday, July 31, 2023

The monsters that live on the Sun are not like us. They are larger than the Earth and made of gas hotter than in any teapot. They have no eyes, but at times, many tentacles. They float. Usually, they slowly change shape and just fade back onto the Sun over about a month. Sometimes, though, they suddenly explode and unleash energetic particles into the Solar System that can attack the Earth.  Pictured is a huge solar prominence imaged almost two weeks ago in the light of hydrogen. Captured by a small telescope in Gilbert, Arizona, USA, the monsteresque plume of gas was held aloft by the ever-present but ever-changing magnetic field near the surface of the Sun. Our active Sun continues to show an unusually high number of prominences, filaments, sunspots, and large active regions as solar maximum approaches in 2025. ( August 01, 2023)

Practicing for Orion’s Second Return

The Crew Module Test Article, a full-scale mockup of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, is seen in the waters of the Pacific Ocean on July 26, 2023.

from NASA

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Why is Phobos so dark? Phobos, the largest and innermost of the two Martian moons, is the darkest moon in the entire Solar System. Its unusual orbit and color indicate that it may be a captured asteroid composed of a mixture of ice and dark rock. The featured assigned-color picture of Phobos near the edge of Mars was captured in late 2021 by ESA's robot spacecraft Mars Express, currently orbiting Mars. Phobos is a heavily cratered and barren moon, with its largest crater located on the far side. From images like this, Phobos has been determined to be covered by perhaps a meter of loose dust. Phobos orbits so close to Mars that from some places it would appear to rise and set twice a day, while from other places it would not be visible at all. Phobos' orbit around Mars is continually decaying -- it will likely break up with pieces crashing to the Martian surface in about 50 million years. ( July 31, 2023)

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Admire the beauty but fear the beast. The beauty is the aurora overhead, here taking the form of a great green spiral, seen between picturesque clouds with the bright Moon to the side and stars in the background. The beast is the wave of charged particles that creates the aurora but might, one day, impair civilization. In 1859, following notable auroras seen all across the globe, a pulse of charged particles from a coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with a solar flare impacted Earth's magnetosphere so forcefully that it created the Carrington Event. This assault from the Sun compressed the Earth's magnetic field so violently that it created high currents and sparks along telegraph wires, shocking many telegraph operators. Were a Carrington-class event to impact the Earth today, speculation holds that damage might occur to global power grids and electronics on a scale never yet experienced. The featured aurora was imaged in 2016 over Thingvallavatn Lake in Iceland, a lake that partly fills a fault that divides Earth's large Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. ( July 30, 2023)

Friday, July 28, 2023

Apollo 11: Catching Some Sun

Bright sunlight glints as long dark shadows mark this image of the surface of the Moon. It was taken fifty-four years ago, July 20, 1969, by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first to walk on the lunar surface. Pictured is the mission's lunar module, the Eagle, and spacesuited lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. Aldrin is unfurling a long sheet of foil also known as the Solar Wind Composition Experiment. Exposed facing the Sun, the foil trapped particles streaming outward in the solar wind, catching a sample of material from the Sun itself. Along with moon rocks and lunar soil samples, the solar wind collector was returned for analysis in earthbound laboratories. ( July 29, 2023)

Hubble Peers at a Tranquil Galaxy

The tranquil spiral galaxy UGC 12295 basks leisurely in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

from NASA

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Young Stars, Stellar Jets

High-speed outflows of molecular gas from a pair of actively forming young stars shine in infrared light, revealing themselves in this NIRcam image from the James Webb Space Telescope. Cataloged as HH (Herbig-Haro) 46/47, the young stars are lodged within a dark nebula that is largely opaque when viewed in visible light. The pair lie at the center of the prominent reddish diffraction spikes in the NIRcam image. Their energetic stellar jets extend for nearly a light-year, burrowing into the dark interstellar material. A tantalizing object to explore with Webb's infrared capabilities, this young star system is relatively nearby, located only some 1,140 light-years distant in the nautical constellation Vela. ( July 28, 2023)

Interns Flying High

NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) interns Dorothy Sue Grimmer and Victoria Tran pose for a photo in front of the Dynamic Aviation B200 ahead of their morning research flight on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

from NASA

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Galaxies in the River

Large galaxies grow by eating small ones. Even our own galaxy engages in a sort of galactic cannibalism, absorbing small galaxies that are too close and are captured by the Milky Way's gravity. In fact, the practice is common in the universe and illustrated by this striking pair of interacting galaxies from the banks of the southern constellation Eridanus, The River. Located over 50 million light years away, the large, distorted spiral NGC 1532 is seen locked in a gravitational struggle with dwarf galaxy NGC 1531, a struggle the smaller galaxy will eventually lose. Seen nearly edge-on, spiral NGC 1532 spans about 100,000 light-years. The merging galaxies are captured in this sharp image from the Dark Energy Camera mounted on the National Science Foundation’s Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The NGC 1532/1531 pair is thought to be similar to the well-studied system of face-on spiral and small companion known as M51. ( July 27, 2023)

Laguna Verde’s Turquoise Waters

Woody Hoburg took this photo of Laguna Verde’s inviting waters as the International Space Station orbited 264 miles (425 km) over South America on July 7, 2023.

from NASA

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

South of Antares, in the tail of the nebula-rich constellation Scorpius, lies emission nebula IC 4628. Nearby hot, massive stars, millions of years young, irradiate the nebula with invisible ultraviolet light, stripping electrons from atoms. The electrons eventually recombine with the atoms to produce the visible nebular glow, dominated by the red emission of hydrogen. At an estimated distance of 6,000 light-years, the region shown is about 250 light-years across, spanning over three full moons on the sky. The nebula is also cataloged as Gum 56 for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum, but seafood-loving deep sky-enthusiasts might know this cosmic cloud as the Prawn Nebula. The graceful color image is a new astronomical composition taken over several nights in April from Rio Hurtado, Chile. ( July 26, 2023)

NASA, Industry Partners Unveil Hybrid Electric Aircraft Paint Schemes

GE Aerospace and magniX have revealed the paint schemes of the hybrid electric aircraft they will fly as part of NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EFPD) project.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 7/24/2023



Payloads: Astrobee: The perching arm was removed from the Astrobee flyer. 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. … ...

July 24, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Monday, July 24, 2023

What do the famous Eagle Nebula star pillars look like in X-ray light? To find out, NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory peered in and through these interstellar mountains of star formation. It was found that in M16 the dust pillars themselves do not emit many X-rays, but a lot of small-but-bright X-ray sources became evident. These sources are shown as bright dots on the featured image which is a composite of exposures from Chandra (X-rays), XMM (X-rays), JWST (infrared), Spitzer (infrared), Hubble (visible), and the VLT (visible). What stars produce these X-rays remains a topic of research, but some are hypothesized to be hot, recently-formed, low-mass stars, while others are thought to be hot, older, high-mass stars. These X-ray hot stars are scattered around the frame -- the previously identified Evaporating Gaseous Globules (EGGS) seen in visible light are not currently hot enough to emit X-rays. ( July 25, 2023)

A Wildflower Close-Up

Elaborate Passiflora incarnata, or purple passionflower, sit pretty in a field at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 13, 2023.

from NASA

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Meteors can be colorful. While the human eye usually cannot discern many colors, cameras often can. Pictured here is a fireball, a disintegrating meteor that was not only one of the brightest the photographer has ever seen, but colorful. The meteor was captured by chance in mid-July with a camera set up on Hochkar Mountain in Austria to photograph the central band of our Milky Way galaxy. The radiant grit, likely cast off by a comet or asteroid long ago, had the misfortune to enter Earth's atmosphere. Colors in meteors usually originate from ionized chemical elements released as the meteor disintegrates, with blue-green typically originating from magnesium, calcium radiating violet, and nickel glowing green. Red, however, typically originates from energized nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. This bright meteoric fireball was gone in a flash -- less than a second -- but it left a wind-blown ionization trail that remained visible for almost a minute. ( July 24, 2023)

Saturday, July 22, 2023

It does what? No one knew that 2,000 years ago, the technology existed to build such a device. The Antikythera mechanism, pictured, is now widely regarded as the first computer. Found at the bottom of the sea aboard a decaying Greek ship, its complexity prompted decades of study, and even today some of its functions likely remain unknown. X-ray images of the device, however, have confirmed that a main function of its numerous clock-like wheels and gears is to create a portable, hand-cranked, Earth-centered, orrery of the sky, predicting future star and planet locations as well as lunar and solar eclipses. The corroded core of the Antikythera mechanism's largest gear is featured, spanning about 13 centimeters, while the entire mechanism was 33 centimeters high, making it similar in size to a large book. Recently, modern computer modeling of missing components is allowing for the creation of a more complete replica of this surprising ancient machine. ( July 23, 2023)

Friday, July 21, 2023

Apollo 11: Armstrong's Lunar Selfie

A photograph of Buzz Aldrin standing on the Moon taken by Neil Armstrong, was digitally reversed to create this lunar selfie. Captured in July 1969 following the Apollo 11 moon landing, Armstrong's original photograph recorded not only the magnificent desolation of an unfamiliar world, but Armstrong himself reflected in Aldrin's curved visor. In the unwrapped image, the spherical distortion of the reflection in Aldrin's helmet has been reversed. The transformed view features Armstrong himself from Aldrin's perspective. Since Armstrong took the original picture, today the image represents a fifty-four year old lunar selfie. Aldrin's visor reflection in the original image appears here on the left. Bright (but distorted) planet Earth hangs in the lunar sky above Armstrong's figure, toward the upper right. A foil-wrapped leg of the Eagle lander and Aldrin's long shadow stretching across the lunar surface are prominently visible. In 2024 NASA's Artemis II mission will return humans to the Moon. ( July 22, 2023)

OSIRIS-REx Rehearsal in the Utah Desert

In preparation for the retrieval of the sample return capsule from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, recovery teams tour the projected landing ellipse in the Utah desert on July 17, 2023.

from NASA

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Galactic Cirrus: Mandel Wilson 9

The combined light of stars along the Milky Way are reflected by these cosmic dust clouds that soar 300 light-years or so above the plane of our galaxy. Known to some as integrated flux nebulae and commonly found at high galactic latitudes, the dusty galactic cirrus clouds are faint. But they can be traced over large regions of the sky toward the North and South Galactic poles. Along with the reflection of starlight, studies indicate the dust clouds produce a faint reddish luminescence as interstellar dust grains convert invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Also capturing nearby Milky Way stars and distant background galaxies, this remarkably deep, wide-field image explores a complex of faint galactic cirrus known as Mandel Wilson 9. It spans over three degrees across planet Earth's skies toward the far southern constellation Apus. ( July 21, 2023)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 7/19/2023



Payloads: Gradient Heating Furnace (GHF): The GHF Material Processing Unit heater insulation was measured for resistance using a multimeter. The GHF is a vacuum furnace that contains three heating blocks. Their positions and temperatures can be independently controlled, and various temperature profiles can be realized. This facility will be mainly used for high quality crystal … ...

July 19, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

54 Years Ago: Apollo 11 Crew Walks on the Moon

AS11-40-5875 (20 July 1969) -- Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible.

from NASA

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

M64: The Black Eye Galaxy

This magnificent spiral galaxy is Messier 64, often called the Black Eye Galaxy or the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy for its dark-lidded appearance in telescopic views. The spiral's central region, about 7,400 light-years across, is pictured in this reprocessed image from the Hubble Space Telescope. M64 lies some 17 million light-years distant in the otherwise well-groomed northern constellation Coma Berenices. The enormous dust clouds partially obscuring M64's central region are laced with young, blue star clusters and the reddish glow of hydrogen associated with star forming regions. But imposing clouds of dust are not this galaxy's only peculiar feature. Observations show that M64 is actually composed of two concentric, counter-rotating systems. While all the stars in M64 rotate in the same direction as the interstellar gas in the galaxy's central region, gas in the outer regions, extending to about 40,000 light-years, rotates in the opposite direction. The dusty eye and bizarre rotation are likely the result of a billion year old merger of two different galaxies. ( July 20, 2023)

Starling Takes Flight

On July 17, 2023, NASA’s four Starling CubeSats successfully deployed after having launched aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, shown in this image.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 7/18/2023



Payloads: Advanced Resistive Exercise Device Kinematics (ARED-K): The acquisition unit was partially set up in Node 3 for a remote ground connection. The ARED-K investigation assesses the current exercise programs to allow for the improvement of exercise prescriptions by conducting a biomechanical analysis of exercise on the ARED onboard the ISS. ISS Ham Radio: An … ...

July 18, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description. Pictured here last week, the Indian Space Research Organization's LVM3 rocket blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island, India. From a standing start, the 600,000+ kilogram rocket ship lifted the massive Chandrayaan-3 off the Earth. The Chandrayaan-3 mission is scheduled to reach the Moon in late August and land a robotic rover near the lunar South Pole. Rockets bound for space are now launched from somewhere on Earth every few days. ( July 19, 2023)

Clouds Form Over North Africa

As the International Space Station orbited 259 miles above North Africa, clouds covered the sky. To the bottom right of the image, one of the station's roll-out solar arrays peeks through.

from NASA

Monday, July 17, 2023

What's happening in the night sky? To help find out, telescopes all over the globe will be pointing into deep space. Investigations will include trying to understand the early universe, finding and tracking Earth-menacing asteroids, searching for planets that might contain extra-terrestrial life, and monitoring stars to help better understand our Sun. The featured composite includes foreground and background images taken in April from a mountaintop on La Palma island in the Canary Islands of Spain. Pictured, several telescopes from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory are shown in front of a dark night sky. Telescopes in the foreground include, left to right, Magic 1, Galileo, Magic 2, Gran Canarian, and LST. Sky highlights in the background include the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the constellations of Sagittarius, Ophiuchus and Scorpius, the red-glowing Eagle and Lagoon Nebulas, and the stars Alrami and Antares. Due to observatories like this, humanity has understood more about our night sky in the past 100 years than ever before in all of human history. ( July 18, 2023)

A Fully Electric Ride for Artemis Crews

One of three specially designed, fully electric, environmentally friendly crew transportation vehicles for Artemis missions sits at Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 11, 2023.

from NASA

Sunday, July 16, 2023

What's happening around this star? No one is sure. CW Leonis is the closest carbon star, a star that appears orange because of atmospheric carbon dispersed from interior nuclear fusion. But CW Leonis also appears engulfed in a gaseous carbon-rich nebula. What causes the nebula's complexity is unknown, but its geometry of shells and arcs are surely intriguing. The featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope details this complexity. The low surface gravity of carbon stars enhances their ability to expel carbon and carbon compounds into space. Some of this carbon ends up forming dark dust that is commonly seen in the nebulas of young star-forming regions and the disks of galaxies. Humans and all Earth-based life are carbon-based, and at least some of our carbon was likely once circulating in the atmospheres of near-death stars like carbon stars. ( July 17, 2023)

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Now this was a view with a thrill. From Mount Tschirgant in the Alps, you can see not only nearby towns and distant Tyrolean peaks, but also, weather permitting, stars, nebulas, and the band of the Milky Way Galaxy. What made the arduous climb worthwhile this night, though, was another peak -- the peak of the 2018 Perseids Meteor Shower. As hoped, dispersing clouds allowed a picturesque sky-gazing session that included many faint meteors, all while a carefully positioned camera took a series of exposures. Suddenly, a thrilling meteor -- bright and colorful -- slashed down right next to the nearly vertical band of the Milky Way. As luck would have it, the camera caught it too. Therefore, a new image in the series was quickly taken with one of the sky-gazers posing on the nearby peak. Later, all of the images were digitally combined. ( July 16, 2023)

Friday, July 14, 2023

Webb's First Deep Field

This stunning infrared image was released one year ago as the James Webb Space Telescope began its exploration of the cosmos. The view of the early Universe toward the southern constellation Volans was achieved in 12.5 hours of exposure with Webb's NIRCam instrument. Of course the stars with six spikes are well within our own Milky Way. Their diffraction pattern is characteristic of Webb's 18 hexagonal mirror segments operating together as a single 6.5 meter diameter primary mirror. The thousands of galaxies flooding the field of view are members of the distant galaxy cluster SMACS0723-73, some 4.6 billion light-years away. Luminous arcs that seem to infest the deep field are even more distant galaxies though. Their images are distorted and magnified by the dark matter dominated mass of the galaxy cluster, an effect known as gravitational lensing. Analyzing light from two separate arcs below the bright spiky star, Webb's NIRISS instrument indicates the arcs are both images of the same background galaxy. And that galaxy's light took about 9.5 billion years to reach the James Webb Space Telescope. ( July 15, 2023)

Three Cheers for NASA Orion Crew Modules for Future Artemis Missions

Work is being done on the Orion spacecraft for NASAs crewed Artemis II, Artemis III, and Artemis IV missions at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 7/13/2023



Payloads: Genes in Space-10: Genes in Space 10 Freeze and Fly Run 1 was initiated using the mini Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analyzer and Genes in Space Fluorescence Viewer to detect Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) lengths. Genes in Space-10 validates a method for measuring and analyzing DNA length aboard the ISS using fluorescent samples that may … ...

July 13, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Comet C 2023 E1 ATLAS near Perihelion

Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) was just spotted in March, another comet found by the NASA funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System. On July 1 this Comet ATLAS reached perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun. Shortly afterwards the telescopic comet was captured in this frame sporting a pretty greenish coma and faint, narrow ion tail against a background of stars in the far northern constellation Ursa Minor. This comet's closest approach to Earth is still to come though. On August 18 this visitor to the inner Solar System will be a mere 3 light-minutes or so from our fair planet. Based on its inclination to the ecliptic plane and orbital period of about 85 years C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) is considered a Halley-type comet. ( July 14, 2023)

The Barchan Dunes of Brazil

Former NASA astronaut Jack Fischer captured this photograph of Lagoa dos Barros and crescent-shaped barchan dunes on the Atlantic coastline of southern Brazil on July 9, 2017, while aboard the International Space Station.

from NASA

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Webb s Rho Ophiuchi

A mere 390 light-years away, Sun-like stars and future planetary systems are forming in the Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud complex, the closest star-forming region to our fair planet. The James Webb Space Telescope's NIRCam peered into the nearby natal chaos to capture this infrared image at an inspiring scale. The spectacular cosmic snapshot was released to celebrate the successful first year of Webb's exploration of the Universe. The frame spans less than a light-year across the Rho Ophiuchi region and contains about 50 young stars. Brighter stars clearly sport Webb's characteristic pattern of diffraction spikes. Huge jets of shocked molecular hydrogen blasting from newborn stars are red in the image, with the large, yellowish dusty cavity carved out by the energetic young star near its center. Near some stars in the stunning image are shadows cast by their protoplanetary disks. ( July 13, 2023)

Webb’s First Deep Field

President Joe Biden unveiled this image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 during a White House event on July 11, 2022.

from NASA

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Why do some spiral galaxies have a ring around the center? Spiral galaxy NGC 1398 not only has a ring of pearly stars, gas and dust around its center, but a bar of stars and gas across its center, and spiral arms that appear like ribbons farther out. The featured deep image from Observatorio El Sauce in Chile shows the grand spiral galaxy in impressive detail. NGC 1398 lies about 65 million light years distant, meaning the light we see today left this galaxy when dinosaurs were disappearing from the Earth. The photogenic galaxy is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Furnace (Fornax). The ring near the center is likely an expanding density wave of star formation, caused either by a gravitational encounter with another galaxy, or by the galaxy's own gravitational asymmetries. ( July 12, 2023)

Wildlife at Armstrong Flight Research Center

A bobcat surveys the landscape at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California in this March 11, 2021, image.

from NASA

Monday, July 10, 2023


Why is our Sun so active now? No one is sure. An increase in surface activity was expected because our Sun is approaching solar maximum in 2025. However, last month our Sun sprouted more sunspots than in any month during the entire previous 11-year solar cycle -- and even dating back to 2002. The featured picture is a composite of images taken every day from January to June by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory. Showing a high abundance of sunspots, large individual spots can be tracked across the Sun's disk, left to right, over about two weeks. As a solar cycle continues, sunspots typically appear closer to the equator. Sunspots are just one way that our Sun displays surface activity -- another is flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that expel particles out into the Solar System. Since these particles can affect astronauts and electronics, tracking surface disturbances is of more than aesthetic value. Conversely, solar activity can have very high aesthetic value -- in the Earth's atmosphere when they trigger aurora. ( July 11, 2023)

New Horizons Infrared View

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Charon, Pluto's largest moon, just before closest approach on July 14, 2015.

from NASA

Sunday, July 9, 2023


When stars form, pandemonium reigns. A textbook case is the star forming region NGC 6559. Visible in the featured image are red glowing emission nebulas of hydrogen, blue reflection nebulas of dust, dark absorption nebulas of dust, and the stars that formed from them. The first massive stars formed from the dense gas will emit energetic light and winds that erode, fragment, and sculpt their birthplace. And then they explode. The resulting morass can be as beautiful as it is complex. After tens of millions of years, the dust boils away, the gas gets swept away, and all that is left is a bare open cluster of stars. ( July 10, 2023)

Saturday, July 8, 2023


Eta Carinae may be about to explode. But no one knows when - it may be next year, it may be one million years from now. Eta Carinae's mass - about 100 times greater than our Sun - makes it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova. Historical records do show that about 170 years ago Eta Carinae underwent an unusual outburst that made it one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Eta Carinae, in the Keyhole Nebula, is the only star currently thought to emit natural LASER light. This featured image brings out details in the unusual nebula that surrounds this rogue star. Diffraction spikes, caused by the telescope, are visible as bright multi-colored streaks emanating from Eta Carinae's center. Two distinct lobes of the Homunculus Nebula encompass the hot central region, while some strange radial streaks are visible in red extending toward the image right. The lobes are filled with lanes of gas and dust which absorb the blue and ultraviolet light emitted near the center. The streaks, however, remain unexplained. ( July 09, 2023)

Friday, July 7, 2023

Stickney Crater

Stickney Crater, the largest crater on the martian moon Phobos, is named for Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, mathematician and wife of astronomer Asaph Hall. Asaph Hall discovered both the Red Planet's moons in 1877. Over 9 kilometers across, Stickney is nearly half the diameter of Phobos itself, so large that the impact that blasted out the crater likely came close to shattering the tiny moon. This enhanced-color image of Stickney and surroundings was recorded by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as it passed within some six thousand kilometers of Phobos in March of 2008. Even though the surface gravity of asteroid-like Phobos is less than 1/1000th Earth's gravity, streaks suggest loose material slid down inside the crater walls over time. Light bluish regions near the crater's rim could indicate a relatively freshly exposed surface. The origin of the curious grooves along the surface is mysterious but may be related to tidal stresses experienced by close-orbiting Phobos or the crater-forming impact itself. ( July 08, 2023)

Prelaunch Processing for Psyche

NASA's Psyche spacecraft is nearly complete as it rests in a clean room on June 26, 2023, at Astrotech Space Operations Facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

from NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report 7/06/2023



Payloads: Combustion Integration Rack (CIR): The crew gained access to the CIR, and replaced the CIR input/output processor (IOP). The current IOP has a failed cooling fan, which is needed to support CIR operations. CIR includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel and oxidizer control, and five different cameras for performing combustion investigations in microgravity. … ...

July 06, 2023 at 12:00PM
From NASA:

Thursday, July 6, 2023

The Double Cluster in Perseus

This pretty starfield spans about three full moons (1.5 degrees) across the heroic northern constellation of Perseus. It holds the famous pair of open star clusters, h and Chi Persei. Also cataloged as NGC 869 (top) and NGC 884, both clusters are about 7,000 light-years away and contain stars much younger and hotter than the Sun. Separated by only a few hundred light-years, the clusters are both 13 million years young based on the ages of their individual stars, evidence that they were likely a product of the same star-forming region. Always a rewarding sight in binoculars, the Double Cluster is even visible to the unaided eye from dark locations. ( July 07, 2023)

The Last Rays of an Orbital Sunset

The last rays of an orbital sunset begin fading in Earth's atmosphere silhouetting the cloud tops.

from NASA

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Fireworks vs Supermoon

On July 4, an almost Full Moon rose in planet Earth's evening skies. Also known as a Buck Moon, the full lunar phase (full on July 3 at 11:39 UTC) was near perigee, the closest point in the Moon's almost monthly orbit around planet Earth. That qualified this July's Full Moon as a supermoon, the first of four supermoons in 2023. Seen from Cocoa Beach along Florida's Space Coast on July 4, any big, bright, beautiful Full Moon would still have to compete for attention though. July's super-moonrise was captured here against a super-colorful fireworks display. ( July 06, 2023)