Tuesday, April 30, 2024

To some, this nebula looks like the head of a fish. However, this colorful cosmic portrait really features glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds in IC 1795, a star forming region in the northern constellation Cassiopeia. The nebula's colors were created by adopting the Hubble color palette for mapping narrowband emissions from oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur atoms to blue, green and red colors, and further blending the data with images of the region recorded through broadband filters. Not far on the sky from the famous Double Star Cluster in Perseus, IC 1795 is itself located next to IC 1805, the Heart Nebula, as part of a complex of star forming regions that lie at the edge of a large molecular cloud. Located just over 6,000 light-years away, the larger star forming complex sprawls along the Perseus spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. At that distance, IC 1795 would span about 70 light-years across.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240501.html ( May 01, 2024)

Monday, April 29, 2024

The star system GK Per is known to be associated with only two of the three nebulas pictured. At 1500 light years distant, Nova Persei 1901 (GK Persei) was the second closest nova yet recorded. At the very center is a white dwarf star, the surviving core of a former Sun-like star. It is surrounded by the circular Firework nebula, gas that was ejected by a thermonuclear explosion on the white dwarf's surface -- a nova -- as recorded in 1901. The red glowing gas surrounding the Firework nebula is the atmosphere that used to surround the central star. This gas was expelled before the nova and appears as a diffuse planetary nebula. The faint gray gas running across is interstellar cirrus that seems to be just passing through coincidently. In 1901, GK Per's nova became brighter than Betelgeuse. Similarly, star system T CrB is expected to erupt in a nova later this year, but we don't know exactly when nor how bright it will become.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240430.html ( April 30, 2024)

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Three bright objects satisfied seasoned stargazers of the western sky just after sunset earlier this month. The most familiar was the Moon, seen on the upper left in a crescent phase. The rest of the Moon was faintly visible by sunlight first reflected by the Earth. The bright planet Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, is seen to the upper left. Most unusual was Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, below the Moon and showing a stubby dust tail on the right but an impressive ion tail extending upwards. The featured image, a composite of several images taken consecutively at the same location and with the same camera, was taken near the village of Llers, in Spain's Girona province. Comet Pons-Brooks passed its closest to the Sun last week and is now dimming as it moves into southern skies and returns to the outer Solar System.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240429.html ( April 29, 2024)

Saturday, April 27, 2024

The Ring Nebula (M57) is more complicated than it appears through a small telescope. The easily visible central ring is about one light-year across, but this remarkably deep exposure - a collaborative effort combining data from three different large telescopes - explores the looping filaments of glowing gas extending much farther from the nebula's central star. This composite image includes red light emitted by hydrogen as well as visible and infrared light. The Ring Nebula is an elongated planetary nebula, a type of nebula created when a Sun-like star evolves to throw off its outer atmosphere and become a white dwarf star. The Ring Nebula is about 2,500 light-years away toward the musical constellation Lyra.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240428.html ( April 28, 2024)

Friday, April 26, 2024

All Sky Moon Shadow

If the Sun is up but the sky is dark and the horizon is bright all around, you might be standing in the Moon's shadow during a total eclipse of the Sun. In fact, the all-sky Moon shadow shown in this composited panoramic view was captured from a farm near Shirley, Arkansas, planet Earth. The exposures were made under clear skies during the April 8 total solar eclipse. For that location near the center line of the Moon's shadow track, totality lasted over 4 minutes. Along with the solar corona surrounding the silhouette of the Moon planets and stars were visible during the total eclipse phase. Easiest to see here are bright planets Venus and Jupiter, to the lower right and upper left of the eclipsed Sun.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240427.html ( April 27, 2024)

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Regulus and the Dwarf Galaxy

In northern hemisphere spring, bright star Regulus is easy to spot above the eastern horizon. The alpha star of the constellation Leo, Regulus is the spiky star centered in this telescopic field of view. A mere 79 light-years distant, Regulus is a hot, rapidly spinning star that is known to be part of a multiple star system. Not quite lost in the glare, the fuzzy patch just below Regulus is diffuse starlight from small galaxy Leo I. Leo I is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, a member of the Local Group of galaxies dominated by our Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). About 800 thousand light-years away, Leo I is thought to be the most distant of the known small satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. But dwarf galaxy Leo I has shown evidence of a supermassive black hole at its center, comparable in mass to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240426.html ( April 26, 2024)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 4/24/2024



Payloads: In-Space Production Application – Pharmaceutical In-space Laboratory – 02 (InSPA-PIL-02): Sample cassettes were removed from Modules B and C and were prepared and stowed for return. A cassette from Module A was removed and installed into Module C. More information on this experiment can be found here. Cardiobreath BioMonitor:  The BioMonitor hardware and garment … ...

April 24, 2024 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2024/04/24/iss-daily-summary-report-4-24-2024/

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NGC 604: Giant Stellar Nursery

Located some 3 million light-years away in the arms of nearby spiral galaxy M33, giant stellar nursery NGC 604 is about 1,300 light-years across. That's nearly 100 times the size of the Milky Way's Orion Nebula, the closest large star forming region to planet Earth. In fact, among the star forming regions within the Local Group of galaxies, NGC 604 is second in size only to 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Cavernous bubbles and cavities in NGC 604 fill this stunning infrared image from the James Webb Space Telescope's NIRCam. They are carved out by energetic stellar winds from the region's more than 200 hot, massive, young stars, all still in early stages of their lives.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240425.html ( April 25, 2024)

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

How did a star form this beautiful nebula? In the middle of emission nebula NGC 6164 is an unusually massive star. The central star has been compared to an oyster's pearl and an egg protected by the mythical sky dragons of Ara. The star, visible in the center of the featured image and catalogued as HD 148937, is so hot that the ultraviolet light it emits heats up gas that surrounds it. That gas was likely thrown off from the star previously, possibly the result of a gravitational interaction with a looping stellar companion. Expelled material might have been channeled by the magnetic field of the massive star, in all creating the symmetric shape of the bipolar nebula. NGC 6164 spans about four light years and is located about 3,600 light years away toward the southern constellation Norma.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240424.html ( April 24, 2024)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 4/22/2024



Payloads: BioFabrication Facility (BFF)-Cardiac: A Media bag and a Bio-Reactor Bag were retrieved from the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS-1 (MELFI-1). More information on this experiment can be found here. Human Brain Organoid Models for Neurodegenerative Disease & Drug Discovery (HBOND): Media was exchanged on two HBOND tissue habitats and the third habitat … ...

April 22, 2024 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2024/04/22/iss-daily-summary-report-4-22-2024/

Monday, April 22, 2024

What created this giant X in the clouds? It was the shadow of contrails illuminated from below. When airplanes fly, humid engine exhaust may form water droplets that might freeze in Earth's cold upper atmosphere. These persistent streams of water and ice scatter light from the Sun above and so appear bright from below. On rare occasions, though, when the Sun is near the horizon, contrails can be lit from below. These contrails cast long shadows upwards, shadows that usually go unseen unless there is a high cloud deck. But that was just the case over Istanbul, Türkiye, earlier this month. Contrails occur all over planet Earth and, generally, warm the Earth when the trap infrared light but cool the Earth when they efficiently reflect sunlight. The image was taken by a surprised photographer in the morning on the way to work.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240423.html ( April 23, 2024)

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Yes, but can your volcano do this? To the surprise of some, Mt. Etna emits, on occasion, smoke rings. Technically known as vortex rings, the walls of the volcano slightly slow the outside of emitted smoke puffs, causing the inside gas to move faster. A circle of low pressure develops so that the emitted puff of volcanic gas and ash loops around in a ring, a familiar geometric structure that can be surprisingly stable as it rises. Smoke rings are quite rare and need a coincidence of the right geometry of the vent, the right speed of ejected smoke, and the relative calmness of the outside atmosphere. In the featured image taken about two weeks ago from Gangi, Sicily, Italy, multiple volcanic smoke rings are visible. The scene is shaded by the red light of a dawn Sun, while a crescent Moon is visible in the background.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240422.html ( April 22, 2024)

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Watch Juno zoom past Jupiter. NASA's robotic spacecraft Juno is continuing on its now month-long, highly-elongated orbits around our Solar System's largest planet. The featured video is from perijove 16, the sixteenth time that Juno passed near Jupiter since it arrived in mid-2016. Each perijove passes near a slightly different part of Jupiter's cloud tops. This color-enhanced video has been digitally composed from 21 JunoCam still images, resulting in a 125-fold time-lapse. The video begins with Jupiter rising as Juno approaches from the north. As Juno reaches its closest view -- from about 3,500 kilometers over Jupiter's cloud tops -- the spacecraft captures the great planet in tremendous detail. Juno passes light zones and dark belts of clouds that circle the planet, as well as numerous swirling circular storms, many of which are larger than hurricanes on Earth. As Juno moves away, the remarkable dolphin-shaped cloud is visible. After the perijove, Jupiter recedes into the distance, now displaying the unusual clouds that appear over Jupiter's south. To get desired science data, Juno swoops so close to Jupiter that its instruments are exposed to very high levels of radiation.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240421.html ( April 21, 2024)

Friday, April 19, 2024

Diamonds in the Sky

When the dark shadow of the Moon raced across North America on April 8, sky watchers along the shadow's narrow central path were treated to a total solar eclipse. During the New Moon's shadow play diamonds glistened twice in the eclipse-darkened skies. The transient celestial jewels appeared immediately before and after the total eclipse phase. That's when the rays of a vanishing and then emerging sliver of solar disk are just visible behind the silhouetted Moon's edge, creating the appearance of a shiny diamond set in a dark ring. This dramatic timelapse composite from north-central Arkansas captures both diamond ring moments of this total solar eclipse. The diamond rings are separated by the ethereal beauty of the solar corona visible during totality.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240420.html ( April 20, 2024)

Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Great Carina Nebula

A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula is more modestly known as NGC 3372. One of our Galaxy's largest star forming regions, it spans over 300 light-years. Like the smaller, more northerly Great Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the unaided eye. But at a distance of 7,500 light-years it lies some 5 times farther away. This stunning telescopic view reveals remarkable details of the region's glowing filaments of interstellar gas and obscuring cosmic dust clouds. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic variable Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Eta Carinae is the bright star above the central dark notch in this field and left of the dusty Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324).

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240419.html ( April 19, 2024)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 4/17/2024



Payloads: ADvanced Space Experiment Processor In-Space Production Application – Pharmaceutical In-space Laboratory – 02(ADSEP PIL 02): The sample cassette (S/N 26275) was removed and a new cassette (S/N 26293) was installed. More information on this experiment (ADSEP-PIL-02)can be found here. Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking (ISAAC): The crew setup the Astrobee flyers and … ...

April 17, 2024 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2024/04/17/iss-daily-summary-report-4-17-2024/

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Facing NGC 1232

From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 1232 face-on. Nearly 200,000 light-years across, the big, beautiful spiral galaxy is located some 47 million light-years away in the flowing southern constellation of Eridanus. This sharp, multi-color, telescopic image of NGC 1232 includes remarkable details of the distant island universe. From the core outward, the galaxy's colors change from the yellowish light of old stars in the center to young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions along the grand, sweeping spiral arms. NGC 1232's apparent, small, barred-spiral companion galaxy is cataloged as NGC 1232A. Distance estimates place it much farther though, around 300 million light-years away, and unlikely to be interacting with NGC 1232. Of course, the prominent bright star with the spiky appearance is much closer than NGC 1232 and lies well within our own Milky Way.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240418.html ( April 18, 2024)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Not one, but two comets appeared near the Sun during last week's total solar eclipse. The expected comet was Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, but it was disappointingly dimmer than many had hoped. However, relatively unknown Comet SOHO-5008 also appeared in long duration camera exposures. This comet was the 5008th comet identified on images taken by ESA & NASA's Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft. Likely much smaller, Comet SOHO-5008 was a sungrazer which disintegrated within hours as it passed too near the Sun. The featured image is not only unusual for capturing two comets during an eclipse, but one of the rare times that a sungrazing comet has been photographed from the Earth's surface. Also visible in the image is the sprawling corona of our Sun and the planets Mercury (left) and Venus (right). Of these planets and comets, only Venus was easily visible to millions of people in the dark shadow of the Moon that crossed North America on April 8.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240417.html ( April 17, 2024)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 4/15/2024



Payloads: BioFabrication Facility (BFF)-Cardiac: Sample Media Bag S/N 23957 and 23958 were retrieved from Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI-3). More information on the current experiment (BFF-Cardiac) can be found here. Cold Atom Lab (CAL): Science Module-3 was partially removed in preparation for installing Module-4. More information on the current experiment (Cold Atom … ...

April 15, 2024 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2024/04/15/iss-daily-summary-report-4-15-2024/

Monday, April 15, 2024

The explosion is over, but the consequences continue. About eleven thousand years ago, a star in the constellation of Vela could be seen to explode, creating a strange point of light briefly visible to humans living near the beginning of recorded history. The outer layers of the star crashed into the interstellar medium, driving a shock wave that is still visible today. The featured image captures some of that filamentary and gigantic shock in visible light. As gas flies away from the detonated star, it decays and reacts with the interstellar medium, producing light in many different colors and energy bands. Remaining at the center of the Vela Supernova Remnant is a pulsar, a star as dense as nuclear matter that spins around more than ten times in a single second.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240416.html ( April 16, 2024)

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Something strange happened to this galaxy, but what? Known as the Cigar Galaxy and cataloged as M82, red glowing gas and dust are being cast out from the center. Although this starburst galaxy was surely stirred up by a recent pass near its neighbor, large spiral galaxy M81, this doesn't fully explain the source of the red-glowing outwardly expanding gas and dust. Evidence indicates that this material is being driven out by the combined emerging particle winds of many stars, together creating a galactic superwind. In the featured images, a Hubble Space Telescope image in visible light is shown on the left, while a James Webb Space Telescope image of the central region in infrared light is shown on the right. Detailed inspection of the new Webb image shows, unexpectedly, that this red-glowing dust is associated with hot plasma. Research into the nature of this strange nearby galaxy will surely continue.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240415.html ( April 15, 2024)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

How does a total solar eclipse end? Yes, the Moon moves out from fully blocking the Sun, but in the first few seconds of transition, interesting things appear. The first is called a diamond ring. Light might stream between mountains or through relative lowlands around the Moon's edge, as seen from your location, making this sudden first light, when combined with the corona that surrounds the Moon, look like a diamond ring. Within seconds other light streams appear that are called, collectively, Bailey's beads. In the featured video, it may seem that the pink triangular prominence on the Sun is somehow related to where the Sun begins to reappear, but it is not. Observers from other locations saw Bailey's beads emerge from different places around the Moon, away from the iconic triangular solar prominence visible to all. The video was captured with specialized equipment from New Boston, Texas, USA on April 8, 2024.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240414.html ( April 14, 2024)

Friday, April 12, 2024

Palm Tree Partial Eclipse

Only those along the narrow track of the Moon's shadow on April 8 saw a total solar eclipse. But most of North America still saw a partial eclipse of the Sun. From Clearwater, Florida, USA this single snapshot captured multiple images of that more widely viewed celestial event without observing the Sun directly. In the shade of a palm tree, criss-crossing fronds are projecting recognizable eclipse images on the ground, pinhole camera style. In Clearwater the maximum eclipse phase was about 53 percent.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240413.html ( April 13, 2024)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Total Totality

Baily's beads often appear at the boundaries of the total phase of an eclipse of the Sun. Pearls of sunlight still beaming through gaps in the rugged terrain along the lunar limb silhouette, their appearance is recorded in this dramatic timelapse composite. The series of images follows the Moon's edge from beginning through the end of totality during April 8's solar eclipse from Durango, Mexico. They also capture pinkish prominences of plasma arcing high above the edge of the active Sun. One of the first places in North America visited by the Moon's shadow on April 8, totality in Durango lasted about 3 minutes and 46 seconds.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240412.html ( April 12, 2024)

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Eclipse in Seven

Start at the upper left above and you can follow the progress of April 8's total eclipse of the Sun in seven sharp, separate exposures. The image sequence was recorded with a telescope and camera located within the narrow path of totality as the Moon's shadow swept across Newport, Vermont, USA. At center is a spectacular view of the solar corona. The tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun is only easily visible to the eye in clear dark skies during the total eclipse phase. Seen from Newport, the total phase for this solar eclipse lasted about 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240411.html ( April 11, 2024)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

What wonders appear when the Moon blocks the Sun? For many eager observers of Monday’s total eclipse of the Sun, the suddenly dark sky included the expected corona and two (perhaps surprise) planets: Venus and Jupiter. Normally, in recent days, Venus is visible only in the morning when the Sun and Jupiter are below the horizon, while Jupiter appears bright only in the evening. On Monday, though, for well-placed observers, both planets became easily visible during the day right in line with the totally eclipsed Sun. This line was captured Monday afternoon in the featured image from Mount Nebo, Arkansas, USA, along with a line of curious observers — and a picturesque tree.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240410.html ( April 10, 2024)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 4/08/2024



PrK Hatch Open: This morning, the crew opened hatches to the PrK and Progress 87P according to the plan. After the hatches were open, the crew completed transfers of gas and water from Progress 87P to the ISS. The PrK hatch will remain open until tomorrow afternoon. Payloads: ADvanced Space Experiment Processor-2 Pharmaceutical In-space Laboratory-02 … ...

April 08, 2024 at 12:00PM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2024/04/08/iss-daily-summary-report-4-08-2024/

Monday, April 8, 2024

Captured in this snapshot, the shadow of the Moon came to Lake Magog, Quebec, North America, planet Earth on April 8. For the lakeside eclipse chasers, the much anticipated total solar eclipse was spectacle to behold in briefly dark, but clear skies. Of course Lake Magog was one of the last places to be visited by the Moon's shadow. The narrow path of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse swept from Mexico's Pacific Coast north and eastward through the US and Canada. But a partial eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240409.html ( April 09, 2024)

ISS Daily Summary Report – 4/03/2024



Payloads: ADvanced Space Experiment Processor-2 Pharmaceutical In-space Laboratory-03 (ADSEP-PIL-03): The crew gained access to the ADSEP-2 facility and exchanged the experiment cassettes in Module C. The crew also took photos of these experiment activities being performed. ADSEP-PIL-03 grows crystals of several commercially relevant small molecules, each having various structures that may be altered by a … ...

April 08, 2024 at 11:10AM
From NASA: https://blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/2024/04/08/iss-daily-summary-report-4-03-2024/

Sunday, April 7, 2024

How does a comet tail change? It depends on the comet. The ion tail of Comet 12P/Pons–Brooks has been changing markedly, as detailed in the featured image sequenced over nine days from March 6 to 14 (top to bottom). On some days, the comet's ion tail was relatively long and complex, but not every day. Reasons for tail changes include the rate of ejection of material from the comet's nucleus, the strength and complexity of the passing solar wind, and the rotation rate of the comet. Over the course of a week, apparent changes even include a change of perspective from the Earth. In general, a comet's ion tail will point away from the Sun, as gas expelled is pushed out by the Sun's wind. Today, Pons-Brooks may become a rare comet suddenly visible in the middle of the day for those able to see the Sun totally eclipsed by the Moon.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240408.html ( April 08, 2024)

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Will the sky be clear enough to see the eclipse? This question is already on the minds of many North Americans hoping to see tomorrow's solar eclipse. This question was also on the mind of many people attempting to see the total solar eclipse that crossed North America in August 2017. Then, the path of total darkness shot across the mainland of the USA from coast to coast, from Oregon to South Carolina -- but, like tomorrow's event, a partial eclipse occurred above most of North America. Unfortunately, in 2017, many locations saw predominantly clouds. One location that did not was a bank of the Green River Lakes, Wyoming. Intermittent clouds were far enough away to allow the center image of the featured composite sequence to be taken, an image that shows the corona of the Sun extending out past the central dark Moon that blocks our familiar Sun. The surrounding images show the partial phases of the solar eclipse both before and after totality.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240407.html ( April 07, 2024)

Friday, April 5, 2024

Unwinding M51

The arms of a grand design spiral galaxy 60,000 light-years across are unwound in this digital transformation of the magnificent 2005 Hubble Space Telescope portrait of M51. In fact, M51 is one of the original spiral nebulae, its winding arms described by a mathematical curve known as a logarithmic spiral, a spiral whose separation grows in a geometric way with increasing distance from the center. Applying logarithms to shift the pixel coordinates in the Hubble image relative to the center of M51 maps the galaxy's spiral arms into diagonal straight lines. The transformed image dramatically shows the arms themselves are traced by star formation, lined with pinkish starforming regions and young blue star clusters. Companion galaxy NGC 5195 (top) seems to alter the track of the arm in front of it though, and itself remains relatively unaffected by this unwinding of M51. Also known as the spira mirabilis, logarthimic spirals can be found in nature on all scales. For example, logarithmic spirals can also describe hurricanes, the tracks of subatomic particles in a bubble chamber and, of course, cauliflower.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240406.html ( April 06, 2024)

Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Solar Corona Unwrapped

Changes in the alluring solar corona are detailed in this creative composite image mapping the dynamic outer atmosphere of the Sun during two separate total solar eclipses. Unwrapped from the complete circle of the eclipsed Sun's edge to a rectangle and mirrored, the entire solar corona is shown during the 2017 eclipse (bottom) seen from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the 2023 eclipse from Exmouth, Western Australia. While the 2017 eclipse was near a minimum in the Sun's 11 year activity cycle, the 2023 eclipse was closer to solar maximum. The 2023 solar corona hints at the dramatically different character of the active Sun, with many streamers and pinkish prominences arising along the solar limb. Of course, the solar corona is only easily visible to the eye while standing in the shadow of the Moon.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240405.html ( April 05, 2024)

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Comet Pons-Brooks at Night

In dark evening skies over June Lake, northern hemisphere, planet Earth, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks stood just above the western horizon on March 30. Its twisted turbulent ion tail and diffuse greenish coma are captured in this two degree wide telescopic field of view along with bright yellowish star Hamal also known as Alpha Arietis. Now Pons-Brooks has moved out of the northern night though, approaching perihelion on April 21. On April 8 you might still spot the comet in daytime skies. But to do it, you will have to stand in the path of totality and look away from the spectacle of an alluring solar corona and totally eclipsed Sun.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240404.html ( April 04, 2024)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

What created this unusual celestial firework? The nebula, dubbed Pa 30, appears in the same sky direction now as a bright "guest star" did in the year 1181. Although Pa 30's filaments look similar to that created by a nova (for example GK Per), and a planetary nebula (for example NGC 6751), some astronomers now propose that it was created by a rare type of supernova: a thermonuclear Type Iax, and so is (also) named SN 1181. In this model, the supernova was not the result of the detonation of a single star, but rather a blast that occurred when two white dwarf stars spiraled together and merged. The blue dot in the center is hypothesized to be a zombie star, the remnant white dwarf that somehow survived this supernova-level explosion. The featured image combines images and data obtained with infrared (WISE), visible (MDM, Pan-STARRS), and X-ray (Chandra, XMM) telescopes. Future observations and analyses may tell us more.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240403.html ( April 03, 2024)

Monday, April 1, 2024

Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona's brightness, although discernible to the eye, are notoriously difficult to photograph. Pictured here, however, using multiple images and digital processing, is a detailed image of the Sun's corona taken during the April 20, 2023 total solar eclipse from Exmouth, Australia. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields. Bright looping prominences appear pink just around the Sun's limb. A similar solar corona might be visible through clear skies in a narrow swath across the North America during the total solar eclipse that occurs just six days from today

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240402.html ( April 02, 2024)