Monday, July 31, 2017

Sunrise Through the Solar Arrays | International Space Station

The International Space Station orbits toward the sun to experience one of the 16 sunrises the crew has every day. | July 31, 2017: On July 26, 2017, a member of the Expedition 52 crew aboard the International Space Station took this photograph of one of the 16 sunrises they experience every day, as the orbiting laboratory travels around Earth. One of the solar panels that provides power to the station is seen in the upper left.

The station's solar arrays produce more power than it needs at one time for station systems and experiments. When the station is in sunlight, about 60 percent of the electricity that the solar arrays generate is used to charge the station's batteries. The batteries power the station when it is not in the Sun.

Credit: NASA

Release Date: July 31, 2017

#NASA #ISS #Earth #Science #Sunrise #MondayMotivation #Solar#SolarPanels #SolarArrays #Renewable #Energy #EarthObservation#Astronauts #Cosmonauts #Human #Spaceflight #Expedition52#UnitedStates #JSC #STEM #Education

Spot the cluster | European Southern Observatory

This image from the Wide-Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope shows the starry skies around a galaxy cluster named PLCKESZ G286.6-31.3. The cluster itself is difficult to spot initially, but shows up as a subtle clustering of yellowish galaxies near the centre of the frame.

PLCKESZ G286.6-31.3 houses up to 1000 galaxies, in addition to large quantities of hot gas and dark matter. As such, the cluster has a total mass of 530 trillion (530 000 000 000 000) times the mass of the Sun.

When viewed from Earth, PLCKESZ G286.6-31.3 is seen through the outer fringes of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)—one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. The LMC hosts over 700 star clusters, in addition to hundreds of thousands of giant and supergiant stars. The majority of the cosmic objects captured in this image are stars and star clusters located inside the LMC.

The MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope has been in operation at ESO’s La Silla Observatory since 1984. The telescope has been utilized for a variety of cutting-edge scientific studies, including ground-breaking research into gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the Universe. The 67-million-pixel Wide Field Imager (WFI)—mounted on the telescope’s Cassegrain focus—has been obtaining detailed views of faint, distant objects since 1999.

The data to create this image was selected from the ESO archive as part of the Hidden Treasures competition.

Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)
Acknowledgements: Flickr user hdahle70
Release Date: July 31, 2017

#ESO #Astronomy #Science #Space #Galaxy #PLCKESZG2866313 #Magellanic #Cloud #LMC #Star #Clusters #Mensa #Cosmos #Universe #LaSilla #Observatory #Chile #Atacama #SouthAmerica #Europe #STEM #Education

The Hockey Stick Galaxy | Hubble

The star of this Hubble Picture of the Week is a galaxy known as NGC 4656, located in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). However, it also has a somewhat more interesting and intriguing name: the Hockey Stick Galaxy! The reason for this is a little unclear from this partial view, which shows the bright central region, but the galaxy is actually shaped like an elongated, warped stick, stretching out through space until it curls around at one end to form a striking imitation of a celestial hockey stick.

This unusual shape is thought to be due to an interaction between NGC 4656 and a couple of near neighbors, NGC 4631 (otherwise known as The Whale Galaxy) and NGC 4627 (a small elliptical). Galactic interactions can completely reshape a celestial object, shifting and warping its constituent gas, stars, and dust into bizarre and beautiful configurations. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has spied a large number of interacting galaxies over the years, from the cosmic rose of Arp 273 to the egg-penguin duo of Arp 142 and the pinwheel swirls of Arp 240. More Hubble images of interacting galaxies can be seen here.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Release Date: July 31, 2017

#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Science #Space #Galaxy #HockeyStick #NGC4656 #CanesVenatici #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #ESA #GSFC #Goddard #STScI #STEM #Education

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jupiter's Great Red Spot in True Color | NASA Juno Mission

July 27, 2017: This image of Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Björn Jónsson using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

This true-color image offers a natural color rendition of what the Great Red Spot and surrounding areas would look like to human eyes from Juno’s position. The tumultuous atmospheric zones in and around the Great Red Spot are clearly visible.

The image was taken on July 10, 2017 at 07:10 p.m. PDT (10:10 p.m. EDT), as the Juno spacecraft performed its seventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 8,648 miles (13,917 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of -32.6 degrees.

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at:

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Björn Jónsson
Release Date: July 27, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Jupiter #Planet #Atmosphere #GreatRedSpot #GRS #Juno #Spacecraft #SwRI #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #CitizenScience

The Orion Nebula Cluster | European Southern Observatory

July 27, 2017: Using new observations from ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope, astronomers have discovered three different populations of young stars within the Orion Nebula Cluster. This unexpected discovery adds very valuable new insights for the understanding of how such clusters form. It suggests that star formation might proceed in bursts, where each burst occurs on a much faster time-scale than previously thought.

OmegaCAM—the wide-field optical camera on ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST)—has captured the spectacular Orion Nebula and its associated cluster of young stars in great detail, producing a beautiful new image. This object is one of the closest stellar nurseries for both low and high-mass stars, at a distance of about 1350 light-years [1].

But this is more than just a pretty picture. A team led by ESO astronomer Giacomo Beccari has used these data of unparallelled quality to precisely measure the brightness and colors of all the stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster. These measurements allowed the astronomers to determine the mass and ages of the stars. To their surprise, the data revealed three different sequences of potentially different ages.

“Looking at the data for the first time was one of those ‘Wow!’ moments that happen only once or twice in an astronomer's lifetime,” says Beccari, lead ­author of the paper presenting the results. “The incredible quality of the OmegaCAM images revealed without any doubt that we were seeing three distinct populations of stars in the central parts of Orion.”

Monika Petr-Gotzens, co-author and also based at ESO Garching, continues, “This is an important result. What we are witnessing is that the stars of a cluster at the beginning of their lives didn’t form altogether simultaneously. This may mean that our understanding of how stars form in clusters needs to be modified.”

The astronomers looked carefully at the possibility that instead of indicating different ages, the different brightnesses and colours of some of the stars were due to hidden companion stars, which would make the stars appear brighter and redder than they really were. But this idea would imply quite unusual properties of the pairs, which have never before been observed. Other measurements of the stars, such as their rotation speeds and spectra, also indicated that they must have different ages [2].

“Although we cannot yet formally disprove the possibility that these stars are binaries, it seems much more natural to accept that what we see are three generations of stars that formed in succession, within less than three million years,” concludes Beccari.

The new results strongly suggest that star formation in the Orion Nebula Cluster is proceeding in bursts, and more quickly than had been previously thought.

[1] The Orion Nebula has been studied by many of ESO’s telescopes, including images in visible light from the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope (eso1103) and infrared images from VISTA (eso1701) and the HAWK-I instrument on the Very Large Telescope (eso1625).

[2] The group also found that each of the three different generations rotate at different speeds — the youngest stars rotate the fastest, and the oldest stars rotate the slowest. In this scenario, the stars would have formed in quick succession, within a time frame of three million years.

Research paper

Credit: ESO/G. Beccari
Release Date: July 27, 2017

#ESO #Astronomy #Science #Space #Nebula #Orion #Star #Cluster #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #VLT #OmegaCAM #STEM #Education

Galactic David and Goliath | Hubble

July 27, 2017: The gravitational dance between two galaxies in our local neighborhood has led to intriguing visual features in both as witnessed in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image. The tiny NGC 1510 and its colossal neighbor NGC 1512 are at the beginning of a lengthy merger, a crucial process in galaxy evolution. Despite its diminutive size, NGC 1510 has had a significant effect on NGC 1512’s structure and amount of star formation.

Galaxies come in a range of shapes and sizes, and astronomers use this fact to classify them based on their appearance. NGC 1512, the large galaxy to the left in this image, is classified as a barred spiral, named after the bar composed of stars, gas and dust slicing through its centre. The tiny NGC 1510 to the right, on the other hand, is a dwarf galaxy. Despite their very different sizes, each galaxy affects the other through gravity, causing slow changes in their appearances.

The bar in NGC 1512 acts as a cosmic funnel, channelling the raw materials required for star formation from the outer ring into the heart of the galaxy. This pipeline of gas and dust in NGC 1512 fuels intense star birth in the bright, blue, shimmering inner disc known as a circumnuclear starburst ring, which spans 2400 light-years.

Both the bar and the starburst ring are thought to be at least in part the result of the cosmic scuffle between the two galaxies—a merger that has been going on for 400 million years.

NGC 1512, which has been observed by Hubble in the past, is also home to a second, more serene, star-forming region in its outer ring. This ring is dotted with dozens of HII regions, where large swathes of hydrogen gas are subject to intense radiation from nearby, newly formed stars. This radiation causes the gas to glow and creates the bright knots of light seen throughout the ring.

Remarkably, NGC 1512 extends even further than we can see in this image—beyond the outer ring—displaying malformed, tendril-like spiral arms enveloping NGC 1510. These huge arms are thought to be warped by strong gravitational interactions with NGC 1510 and the accretion of material from it. But these interactions are not just affecting NGC 1512; they have also taken their toll on the smaller of the pair.

The constant tidal tugging from its neighbor has swirled up the gas and dust in NGC 1510 and kick-started star formation that is even more intense than in NGC 1512. This causes the galaxy to glow with the blue hue that is indicative of hot new stars.

NGC 1510 is not the only galaxy to have experienced the massive gravitational tidal forces of NGC 1512. Observations made in 2015 showed that the outer regions of the spiral arms of NGC 1512 were indeed once part of a separate, older galaxy. This galaxy was ripped apart and absorbed by NGC 1512, just as it is doing now to NGC 1510.

Together, the pair demonstrate how interactions between galaxies, even if they are of very different sizes, can have a significant influence on their structures, changing the dynamics of their constituent gas and dust and even triggering starbursts. Such interactions between galaxies, and galaxy mergers in particular, play a key role in galactic evolution.

Credit: NASA, ESA
Release Date: July 27, 2017

#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Science #Space #Galaxy #NGC1510 #NGC1512 #Galaxies #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #ESA #STScI #Goddard #GSFC #STEM #Education

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Expedition 52 Soyuz Rocket Rollout | NASA

Image: Soyuz spacecraft at launchpad
July 26, 2017: The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft is seen as it is raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Expedition 52 flight engineer Sergei Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, flight engineer Randy Bresnik of NASA, and flight engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday, July 28, at 11:41 a.m. EDT (9:41 p.m. Baikonur time).

Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Release Date: July 26, 2017

#NASA #ISS #Earth #Science #Soyuz #Rocket #SoyuzMS05 #Spacecraft #Cosmonaut #Commander #SergeyRyazanskiy #Astronaut #Astronauts #PaoloNespoli #RandyBresnik #ASI #ESA #Europe #Russia #Россия #Baikonur #Cosmodrome #Kazakhstan #Human #Spaceflight #Expedition52 #UnitedStates #JSC #STEM #Education

Three Up, Three Down – NASA Tests RS-25 Flight Controller

In the heart of baseball season, NASA completed its equivalent of a clean inning, successfully testing the third RS-25 flight controller for use on the new Space Launch System (SLS) deep space rocket. Engineers conducted a 500-second test of RS-25 Engine Controller Unit No. 5 on the A-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, July 25, 2017. The test involved installing the controller unit on an RS-25 development engine and firing it in the same manner, and for the same length of time, as needed during launch.

With this latest test, NASA continues to set the stage for deep-space exploration missions, achieving another milestone toward launch of the first integrated flight of SLS and the Orion spacecraft, known as Exploration Mission-1. SLS will be powered at launch by four RS-25 engines, firing simultaneously to provide 2 million pounds of thrust and working in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters to produce up to 8 million pounds of thrust. The four RS-25 engines for the initial flight are former space shuttle main engines, modified to perform at a higher thrust level and with new controllers. The controller is the key modification to the engines and is characterized as the “brain” that provides precision control of engine operation and internal health diagnostics, and allows communication between the RS-25 engine and the SLS. During launch and flight, the controller communicates with the SLS flight computers, receiving critical commands and returning engine health and status data. Early tests at Stennis provided critical data for development of the new controller by NASA, RS-25 prime contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne and subcontractor Honeywell.

NASA tested the first flight controller on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis in March. The second flight controller was tested in May. Following review of test data, both controllers were designated for use on RS-25 engines that will power the SLS launch. RS-25 tests at Stennis are conducted by a team of NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Syncom Space Services engineers and operators. Aerojet Rocketdyne is the RS-25 prime contractor. Syncom Space Services is the prime contractor for Stennis facilities and operations.

Image Credit: NASA
Release Date: July 25, 2017

#NASA #Space #Rocket #SLS #Engine #RS25 #Mars #SpaceLaunchSystem #JourneyToMars #DeepSpace #Propulsion #Engineering #Technology #Stennis #Mississippi #USA #UnitedStates #Marshall #AerojetRocketdyne #Asteroid #Moon #Lunar #Exploration #STEM #Education

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hurricane Hilary, Eastern Pacific Ocean | NASA Terra Satellite

Hilary is a small but strengthening hurricane, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 10 miles (20 km) from the center. Tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 60 miles (95 km).

Hilary began when Tropical Depression 9E formed on July 21. By July 22 at 11 p.m. EDT, the depression strengthened into a tropical storm and was re-named Hilary. At 5 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 24, 2017, Hilary rapidly intensified into a hurricane.

NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a true color image of Hurricane Hilary on July 24 at 11 a.m. EDT. The image revealed a better organized tropical cyclone. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted "Satellite images indicate that Hilary has a small central core of convection, with both the visible and infrared channels suggesting that an eye is trying to form. Microwave data also show an incomplete eyewall."

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Hilary was located near 14.1 degrees north latitude and 104.2 degrees west longitude. That's about 340 miles (545 km) south of Manzanillo, Mexico. Hilary is moving toward the west-northwest near 8 mph (13 kph), and the National Hurricane Center said this general motion with some increase in forward speed is expected over the next 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph (130 kph) with higher gusts. The estimated minimum central pressure is 989 millibars.

The National Hurricane Center expects Hilary to become a major hurricane on Tuesday, July 25.

For updated forecasts, visit:

Credit: NASA
Release Date: July 24, 2017

#NASA #Earth #Science #Satellite #Space #Hurricane #Hilary #Pacific #Ocean #Mexico #EarthObservation #Aqua #MODIS #Goddard #GSFC #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

The Sun: Kinked Loop and Two Active Regions | NASA SDO

Numerous arches of magnetic field lines danced and swayed above a large active region over about a 30-hour period (July 17-18, 2017). We can also see the magnetic field lines from the large active region reached out and connected with a smaller active region. Those linked lines then strengthened (become brighter), but soon began to develop a kink in them and rather swiftly faded from view. All of this activity is driven by strong magnetic forces associated with the active regions. The images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA
Capture Date: July 17, 2017
Release Date: July 24, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Science #Space #Sun #Solar #Magnetic #Loops #ActiveRegion #Magnetism #Physics #Astrophysics #Ultraviolet #SDO #GSFC #Goddard #STEM #Education

Monday, July 24, 2017

Expedition 52-53: Prime and backup crew members

In the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Expedition 52-53 prime and backup crews pose for pictures in front of the first stage engines of the Soyuz booster rocket July 24 as part of their final fit check dress rehearsal. From left to right are prime crewmembers Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Randy Bresnik of NASA and backup crew members Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Mark Vande Hei of NASA. Nespoli, Bresnik and Ryazanskiy will launch July 28 aboard the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft for a five-month mission on the International Space Station.

Credit: Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
Image Date: July 24, 2017

#NASA #ISS #Earth #Science #Cosmonauts #Soyuz #Commander #SergeyRyazanskiy #AlexanderMisurkin #Astronauts #NorishigeKanai #Japan #日本 #JAXA #MarkVandeHei #PaoloNespoli #RandyBresnik #ASI #ESA #Europe #Russia #Россия #Baikonur #Cosmodrome #Kazakhstan #Human #Spaceflight #Expedition52 #UnitedStates #JSC #STEM #Education

A cosmic atlas | Hubble

This beautiful clump of glowing gas, dark dust, and glittering stars is the spiral galaxy NGC 4248, located about 24 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs).

This image was produced by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope as it embarked upon compiling the first Hubble ultraviolet “atlas”, for which the telescope targeted 50 nearby star-forming galaxies. A sample spanning all kinds of different morphologies, masses, and structures. Studying this sample can help us to piece together the star-formation history of the Universe.

By exploring how massive stars form and evolve within such galaxies, astronomers can learn more about how, when, and where star formation occurs, how star clusters change over time, and how the process of forming new stars is related to the properties of both the host galaxy and the surrounding interstellar medium (the “stuff” that fills the space between individual stars).

This image is formed of observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Release Date: July 24, 2017

#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Science #Space #Galaxy #Spiral #NGC4248 #CanesVenatici #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #Goddard #GSFC #STScI #STEM #Education

Seeing double | European Southern Observatory

Approximately 95 million light-years away, in the southern constellation of Octans (The Octant), lies NGC 7098—an intriguing spiral galaxy with numerous sets of double features. The first of NGC 7098’s double features is a duo of distinct ring-like structures that loop around the galaxy’s hazy heart. These are NGC 7098’s spiral arms, which have wound themselves around the galaxy’s luminous core. This central region hosts a second double feature: a double bar.

NGC 7098 has also developed features known as ansae, visible as small, bright streaks at each end of the central region. Ansae are visible areas of overdensity—they commonly take looping, linear, or circular shapes, and can be found at the extremities of planetary ring systems, in nebulous clouds, and, as is the case with NGC 7098, in parts of galaxies that are packed to the brim with stars.

This image is formed from data gathered by the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph (FORS) instrument, installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope at Paranal Observatory. An array of distant galaxies are also visible throughout the frame, the most prominent being the small, edge-on, spiral galaxy visible to the left of NGC 7098, known as ESO 048-G007.

Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)
Release Date: July 24, 2017

#ESO #Astronomy #Science #Space #Galaxy #Spiral #Ansae #NGC7098 #Octans #Cosmos #Universe #VLT #Telescope #Paranal #Observatory #Chile #SouthAmerica #STEM #Education

Thursday, July 20, 2017

NASA’s Hubble Sees Martian Moon Phobos Orbiting the Red Planet

July 20, 2017: While photographing Mars, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a cameo appearance of the tiny moon Phobos on its trek around the Red Planet. Discovered in 1877, the diminutive, potato-shaped moon is so small that it appears star-like in the Hubble pictures. Phobos orbits Mars in just 7 hours and 39 minutes, which is faster than Mars rotates. The moon’s orbit is very slowly shrinking, meaning it will eventually shatter under Mars’ gravitational pull, or crash into the planet.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)
Release Date: July 20, 2017

#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Science #Mars #Planet #Moon #Phobos #RedPlanet #SolarSystem #Exploration #Space #Telescope #ESA #Goddard #GSFC #STScI #Astrophotography #Timelapse #STEM #Education

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NASA Tracking Weaker Hurricane Fernanda, Eastern Pacific

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Eastern Pacific Ocean's Hurricane Fernanda as it continued to track toward the Central Pacific. The storm continues to move over cooler waters and is on a weakening trend.
The storm's eye is now cloud-filled.

July 18, 2017: On July 17 at 6:10 p.m. EDT (2210 UTC) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible picture of Fernanda. The image revealed strong thunderstorms continued to circle the low-level center of circulation, and the eye of the storm had become filled in from clouds.

At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Fernanda was located near 15.4 degrees north latitude and 132.8 degrees west longitude. That's about 1,495 miles (2,410 km) east of Hilo, Hawaii. Fernanda was moving toward the northwest near 9 mph (15 kph) and this general motion is expected during the next day or so. A turn to the west-northwest is expected on Wednesday. The estimated minimum central pressure is 971 millibars.

Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph (165 kph) with higher gusts. Continued gradual weakening is forecast during the next couple of days.

For updated forecasts, visit:

Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response
Release Date: July 18, 2017

#NASA #Earth #Science #Satellite #Weather #Storm #Hurricane #Pacific #Ocean #Aqua #MODIS #GSFC #Goddard #NOAA #STEM #Education

Bastille Day Solar Flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection | NASA

A flare medium-sized (M2) flare and a coronal mass ejection erupted from the same, large active region (July 14, 2017). The flare lasted almost two hours, quite a long duration. Coronagraphs on the SOHO spacecraft show a substantial cloud of charged particles blasting into space just after the blast. The coils arcing over this active region are particles spiraling along magnetic field lines, which were reorganizing themselves after the magnetic field was disrupted by the blast. Images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA
Image Date: July 14, 2017
Release Date: July 17, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Science #Space #Sun #Solar #Flare #M2 #SolarFlare #CME #Magnetic #Loops #Magnetism #Physics #Astrophysics #Ultraviolet #SDO #SOHO #GSFC #Goddard #STEM #Education #France #BastilleDay

Saturn Close-up | NASA Cassini Mission

Assembled using near-infrared, red, and green filtered images taken of Saturn by Cassini on July 16, 2017.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit: and
The Cassini imaging team homepage is at

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech//Space Science Institute/Kevin M. Gill
Image Date: July 16, 2017
Release Date: July 17, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Science #Space #Saturn #Planet #Rings #Atmosphere #SolarSystem #Exploration #Cassini #Spacecraft #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #ESA #ASI #STEM #Education

Monday, July 17, 2017

NASA Langley, Neil Armstrong and The Space Race

Image: Neil Armstrong in flight suit with lunar module simulator in 1969.
When the United States set a goal of landing a man on the moon, NASA Langley Research Center tackled the many challenges of spaceflight, trained astronauts, managed Project Mercury, and assumed major roles in both the Gemini and Apollo programs. Langley led the Lunar Orbiter initiative, which not only mapped the moon, but chose the spot for the first human landing. Langley aerospace engineer John Houbolt championed the lunar-orbit rendezvous concept, enabling the Apollo 11 moon landing and the safe return of its crew to Earth.

Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the lunar surface, trained at Langley's Lunar Landing Research Facility on equipment that cancelled all but one-sixth of Earth's gravitational force to match that of the moon's. This photograph shows Armstrong at the Lunar Landing Research Facility on Feb. 12, 1969. Twenty-four astronauts practiced touchdowns at the facility, where overhead cables supported five-sixths of the weight of a full-size model lander, and thrust was provided by a working rocket engine.

Part of the landing facility was the Reduced Gravity Simulator, which was attached to an overhead, lightweight trolley track. There, suspended on one side by a network of slings and cables, an astronaut's ability to walk, run, and perform the various tasks required during lunar excursions was evaluated.

Armstrong offered what was perhaps the greatest tribute to the importance of his Langley training in Apollo 11's success. When asked what it was like to land on the moon, he replied: "Like Langley."

Image Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center
Image Date: Feb. 12, 1969
Release Date: July 17, 2017

#NASA #Space #Apollo #Moon #Lunar #Landing #Langley #Research #Astronaut #NeilArmstrong #Apollo11 #History #Centennial #Pioneers #Hampton #Virginia #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) | International Space Station

U.S. Astronaut Jack Fischer: "One recent experiment (ROSA) looked at a new solar array that unfurled like a party horn on New Year’s and it worked!"

ROSA is an experiment to test a new type of solar array that rolls open in space like a party favor and is more compact than current rigid panel designs.

Learn more about this new U.S. technology at:
Deployable Space Systems, Inc. (DSS)

Credit: NASA/JSC
Release Date: July 15, 2017

#NASA #ISS #Earth #Planet #Science #Space #Solar #SolarArray #ROSA #DSS #Testing #Experiment #Renewable #Energy #Engineering #EarthObservation #Astronaut #JackFischer #Expedition52 #Human #Spaceflight #Technology #CSA #Canadarm2 #Dextre #Photography #JSC #UnitedStates #OverviewEffect #OrbitalPerspective #STEM #Education

Friday, July 14, 2017

Jupiter's Great Red Spot (Enhanced Color) | NASA Juno Mission

July 13, 2017: This enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstadt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft.

This image is approximately illumination adjusted and strongly enhanced to draw viewers' eyes to the iconic storm and the turbulence around it.

The image was taken on July 10, 2017 as the Juno spacecraft performed its 7th close flyby of Jupiter.

More information about Juno is online at and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Seán Doran
Release Date: July 13, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Jupiter #Planet #Atmosphere #GreatRedSpot #GRS #Juno #Spacecraft #SwRI #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #CitizenScience

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dragon Scales of Mars | NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

This intriguing surface texture is the result of rock interacting with water. The rock was then eroded and later exposed to the surface. The pinkish, almost dragon-like scaled texture represents Martian bedrock that has specifically altered into a clay-bearing rock.

The nature of the water responsible for the alteration, and how it interacted with the rock to form the clay remains poorly understood. Not surprisingly, the study of such altered rocks on Mars is an area of active investigation by the Mars science community. Understanding such interactions, and how they happened, help scientists to understand the past climate on Mars, and if the red planet ever harbored life.

Recent studies indicate that the early Martian climate may not have been as warm, wet, and Earth-like, as previously suggested. This is not a problem for finding life on Mars as one might think. Ongoing studies of dry and cold environments on Earth shows that life finds ways to adapt to such extremes. Such work provides hope for finding evidence for life on other planets, like Mars, someday.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Caption Credit: Livio L. Tornabene, Jon Kissi, Zach Morse and Gavin Tolometti Release Date: July 11, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Science #Space #Mars #Geology #Geoscience #Clay #Water #Bedrock #MRO #HiRISE #Spacecraft #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #SolarSystem #STEM #Education

Jupiter's Great Red Spot | NASA Juno Mission

July 12, 2017: This color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstadt using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft.

The image was taken on July 10, 2017 as the Juno spacecraft performed its 7th close flyby of Jupiter.

More information about Juno is online at and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt
Release Date: July 12, 2017

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Jupiter #Planet #Atmosphere #GreatRedSpot #GRS #Juno #Spacecraft #SwRI #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #CitizenScience

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft. | July 12, 2017: Images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot reveal a tangle of dark, veinous clouds weaving their way through a massive crimson oval. The JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno mission snapped pics of the most iconic feature of the solar system's largest planetary inhabitant during its Monday (July 10) flyby. The images of the Great Red Spot were downlinked from the spacecraft's memory on Tuesday and placed on the mission's JunoCam website Wednesday morning.

"For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorizing about Jupiter's Great Red Spot," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm. It will take us some time to analyze all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno's eight science instruments, to shed some new light on the past, present and future of the Great Red Spot."

As planned by the Juno team, citizen scientists took the raw images of the flyby from the JunoCam site and processed them, providing a higher level of detail than available in their raw form. The citizen-scientist images, as well as the raw images they used for image processing, can be found at:

"I have been following the Juno mission since it launched," said Jason Major, a JunoCam citizen scientist and a graphic designer from Warwick, Rhode Island. "It is always exciting to see these new raw images of Jupiter as they arrive. But it is even more thrilling to take the raw images and turn them into something that people can appreciate. That is what I live for."

Measuring in at 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) in width (as of April 3, 2017) Jupiter's Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth. The storm has been monitored since 1830 and has possibly existed for more than 350 years. In modern times, the Great Red Spot has appeared to be shrinking.

All of Juno's science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were operating during the flyby, collecting data that are now being returned to Earth. Juno's next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on Sept. 1.

Juno reached perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter's center) on July 10 at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno was about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno had covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers), and was passing directly above the coiling, crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot. The spacecraft passed about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the clouds of this iconic feature.

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet's cloud tops -- as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Early science results from NASA's Juno mission portray the largest planet in our solar system as a turbulent world, with an intriguingly complex interior structure, energetic polar aurora, and huge polar cyclones.

"These highly-anticipated images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot are the 'perfect storm' of art and science. With data from Voyager, Galileo, New Horizons, Hubble and now Juno, we have a better understanding of the composition and evolution of this iconic feature," said Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science. "We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone."

JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena.

More information on the Juno mission is available at:

More information on the Great Red Spot can be found at:

More information on Jupiter can be found at:

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt
Release Date: July 12, 2017

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot | NASA Juno Mission

The Great Red Spot (GRS) in Jupiter's southern hemisphere has delighted and mystified since its discovery in the 17th Century. With its swirl of reddish hues, it is 2-3 times as wide as Earth and is seen by many as a “perpetual hurricane,” with winds peaking at about 400 miles an hour.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

More information about Juno is online at and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI
Processing: Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran
Release Date: July 12, 2017

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NASA's Chandra Peers into a Nurturing Cloud

Image: The giant molecular cloud known as W51 is one of the closest to Earth at a distance of about 17,000 light years.
July 12, 2017: In the context of space, the term ‘cloud’ can mean something rather different from the fluffy white collections of water in the sky or a way to store data or process information. Giant molecular clouds are vast cosmic objects, composed primarily of hydrogen molecules and helium atoms, where new stars and planets are born. These clouds can contain more mass than a million suns, and stretch across hundreds of light years.

The giant molecular cloud known as W51 is one of the closest to Earth at a distance of about 17,000 light years. Because of its relative proximity, W51 provides astronomers with an excellent opportunity to study how stars are forming in our Milky Way galaxy.

A new composite image of W51 shows the high-energy output from this stellar nursery, where X-rays from Chandra are colored blue. In about 20 hours of Chandra exposure time, over 600 young stars were detected as point-like X-ray sources, and diffuse X-ray emission from interstellar gas with a temperature of a million degrees or more was also observed. Infrared light observed with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope appears orange and yellow-green and shows cool gas and stars surrounded by disks of cool material.

W51 contains multiple clusters of young stars. The Chandra data show that the X-ray sources in the field are found in small clumps, with a clear concentration of more than 100 sources in the central cluster, called G49.5−0.4 (pan over the image to find this source.)

Although the W51 giant molecular cloud fills the entire field-of-view of this image, there are large areas where Chandra does not detect any diffuse, low energy X-rays from hot interstellar gas. Presumably dense regions of cooler material have displaced this hot gas or blocked X-rays from it.

One of the massive stars in W51 is a bright X-ray source that is surrounded by a concentration of much fainter X-ray sources, as shown in a close-up view of the Chandra image. This suggests that massive stars can form nearly in isolation, with just a few lower mass stars rather than the full set of hundreds that are expected in typical star clusters.

Another young, massive cluster located near the center of W51 hosts a star system that produces an extraordinarily large fraction of the highest energy X-rays detected by Chandra from W51. Theories for X-ray emission from massive single stars can't explain this mystery, so it likely requires the close interaction of two very young, massive stars. Such intense, energetic radiation must change the chemistry of the molecules surrounding the star system, presenting a hostile environment for planet formation.

A paper describing these results, led by Leisa Townsley (Penn State), appeared in the July 14th 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series and is available online:

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L. Townsley et al
Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date: July 12, 2017

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