Our Sun was caught peaking over Earth’s arch and stretching its glorious light across the South Pacific on Feb. 16. Astronaut Scott Tingle captured this beaming moment while aboard the International Space Station (@iss), which can also be spotted in the glow of daybreak. He posted the moment to social media with the modest caption, “Sunrise over the South Pacific.” The International Space Station and its crew orbit Earth from an altitude of 250 miles, traveling at a speed of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Because the station completes each trip around the globe in about 92 minutes, the crew experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets each day!
Six humans are currently living and working on the International Space Station conducting important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into space than ever before. As of last week, the latest crew members had completed more than 100 hours of science, breaking the record for hours of research conducted.
Credit: NASA/Scott Tingle
Sunrise on Mars: Our Opportunity rover was built to last 90 sols, or Martian days. The intrepid rover has survived to see 5,000 sols of exploration and counting. A sol lasts about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day.
Here we see sunrise as a new day breaks over the Red Planet on sol 4,999, Feb. 15, 2018. This view looking across Endeavour Crater was taken with Opportunity’s Panoramic Camera (Pancam), yielding this processed, approximately true-color scene. This view combines three separate exposures taken and was processed to correct for some of the oversaturation and glare, though it still includes some artifacts from pointing a camera with a dusty lens at the Sun.
Opportunity has driven a little over 28.02 miles (45.1 km) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars in January 2004.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ./Texas A&M
It's eclipse season for our Sun-watching observatory. During this three-week period that comes twice a year near the equinoxes, Earth blocks the Solar Dynamic Observatory's view of the Sun for a short while each day. The eclipses are fairly short near the beginning and end of the season but ramp up to 72 minutes in the middle.
Seen here in extreme ultraviolet light is the eclipsed view on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 when Earth crossed the observatory's view of the Sun. Also known as a transit, Earth’s passage was brief, lasting from 2:10 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. EST and covering the entire face of the Sun. Most spacecraft observing the Sun from an orbit around Earth have to contend with such eclipses. The mission's orbit is designed to maximize the amount of data the spacecraft can send back to Earth. This year, the spring eclipse season began on Feb. 10 with a partial eclipse and concludes March 5, 2018.
Credits: NASA/SDO/Joy Ng
Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies!
Over many years, astronomers have gathered data on the formation of stars in galaxies and the growth of supermassive black holes (that is, those with millions or billions the mass of the Sun) in their centers. These data suggested that the black holes and the stars in their host galaxies grow in tandem with each other. Now, findings from two independent groups of researchers indicate that the black holes in massive galaxies have grown much faster than in the less massive ones.
Using large amounts of data from our Chandra X-ray Observatory (@nasachandraxray), the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) and other observatories, scientists studied the growth rate of black holes in galaxies at distances of 4.3 to 12.2 billion light years from Earth. They calculated the ratio between a supermassive black hole's growth rate and the growth rate of stars in its host galaxy.
A common idea is that this ratio is approximately constant for all galaxies. Instead, the researchers found that this ratio is much higher for more massive galaxies. For galaxies containing about 100 billion solar masses worth of stars, the ratio is about ten times higher than it is for galaxies containing about 10 billion solar masses worth of stars.
This image shows data from the Chandra Deep Field-South in optical and infrared light from the Hubble, and X-ray light from Chandra.
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn. State/G. Yang et al & NASA/CXC/ICE/M. Mezcua et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
Not feeling the Valentine’s Day love today? That's okay. We think you're nICE anyway. Here's an icy heart-shaped glacier calving from northwest Greenland seen by our Operation IceBridge.
Operation IceBridge is our aerial survey of the state of polar ice. For the first time in the mission's nine-year history, IceBridge carried out seven field campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic in a single year. In total, researchers flew more than 214,000 miles, the equivalent of orbiting the Earth 8.6 times at the equator. IceBridge aims to close the gap between two of our satellite campaigns that study changes in the height of polar ice.
Learn more at nasa.gov/icebridge
Credit: NASA/Maria-Jose Viñas
Saturn’s moon Enceladus drifts before the rings and the tiny moon Pandora in this view that our Cassini spacecraft captured on Nov. 1, 2009. The entire scene is backlit by the Sun, providing striking illumination for the icy particles that make up both the rings and the jets emanating from the south pole of Enceladus.
Pandora was on the opposite side of the rings from Cassini and Enceladus when the image was taken. This view looks toward the night side on Pandora as well, which is lit by dim golden light reflected from Saturn.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Exploration is a tradition at NASA. As we work to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind, our acting Administrator shared plans for the future during the #StateOfNASA address today, February 12, 2018 which highlights the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal.
Acting Administrator Lightfoot says “This budget focuses NASA on its core exploration mission and reinforces the many ways that we return value to the U.S. through knowledge and discoveries, strengthening our economy and security, deepening partnerships with other nations, providing solutions to tough problems, and inspiring the next generation. It places NASA and the U.S. once again at the forefront of leading a global effort to advance humanity’s future in space, and draws on our nation’s great industrial base and capacity for innovation and exploration.” Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot is seen here during delivery of today's State of NASA address at our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Chock-full of star formation, this spiral galaxy contains the mass of around ten billion suns – while this may sound like a lot, it is over 20 times less massive than our own Milky Way.
Roughly 50 million light-years away, this galaxy seen by our Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) is receding from us at a speed of about 808 miles per second (1,300 kilometers per second). Although it appears in the sky near one of our closest galaxy neighbors, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), this is just a trick of perspective. In reality, this galaxy is physically nowhere near the LMC in space — in fact, it truly is a loner, lacking the company of any nearby galaxies or membership of any galaxy cluster.
Despite its lack of cosmic companions, when this lonely galaxy has a telescope pointed in its direction, it puts on quite a show. It has hosted a variety of spectacular exploding stars called supernovae, four of which we have observed. This galaxy may be alone in space, but we are watching and admiring from far away.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Many aspects of the Caspian Sea are in flux: water levels rise and fall, while ice cover and algae blooms come and go as seasons change. But along the sea’s southeastern side, one feature shows up year-round. Tendrils of colorful swirling sediment can regularly be seen by our satellites in the perpetually turbid seawater.
Captured here on January 9, 2018 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on our Terra satellite, we see a stretch of coastal Turkmenistan. Part of Iran is also visible at the bottom of the image. Surface winds help mix the water and stir up bottom sediments that impart a milky color.
Satellite data are key for the long-term monitoring of the Caspian. The lake stretches about 600 miles (1,000 km) from Kazakhstan to Iran, across which there is tremendous variability. Satellites measure turbidity levels across the lake, while also collecting data on salinity, temperature, water levels, and oil pollution.
Credit: NASA and LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response
Jupiter’s vibrant bands of light belts and dark regions appear primed for their close-up during our Juno spacecraft’s 10th flyby on Feb. 7. This flyby was a gravity science positioned pass. During orbits that highlight gravity experiments, Juno is positioned toward Earth in a way that allows both transmitters to downlink data in real-time to one of the antennas of our Deep Space Network. All of Juno’s science instruments and the spacecraft’s JunoCam were in operation during the flyby, collecting data that is now being returned to Earth. The science behind this beautifully choreographed image will help us understand the origin and structure of the planet beneath those lush, swirling clouds.
Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager. All of JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products! Just visitwww.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt
Observing images of craters on Mars provides scientists insight into the water that carved them and the Red Planet's history of water activity. What do you think this tadpole-shaped impact crater says about the water that used to fill it?
Based on the terrain-height information and knowing that water always flows downhill, scientists were able to infer that the water in the tadpole crater was flowing down, and outward.
The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
#nasa#space mars #earth#moon#redplanet#orbiter#hirise#mro#nasabeyond#science#tadpole
Darker, cooler areas on the Sun – known as sunspots – have been mostly absent for almost two weeks, as of Feb. 1. A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features.
This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle.
This edge-on view of a galaxy located about 45 million light-years away, showcases its beautiful arms, which swirl like a whirlpool around its bright central region. Astronomers took this image as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star – a supernova – near the galaxy’s central yellow core!
The star rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars.
By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Perdue University)
On Feb. 1, we fired up one of the four RS-25 engines that will power our Space Launch System rocket to destinations like the Moon and Mars. Did you see that start up!? Fun Fact: Hot gases exit the nozzle at 13X the speed of sound!
The full-duration, 365-second test helped verify that the flight controller – the engine’s “brain” – can properly communicate with the rocket. This test also used a 3D-printed component on the engine as an ongoing effort to use advanced manufacturing techniques as a means of reducing engine construction costs.
Distant interacting galaxies – located 23 million light-years away – bear an uncanny resemblance to a penguin guarding an egg.
The “penguin” part of the pair was probably once a relatively normal-looking spiral galaxy, flattened like a pancake with smoothly symmetric spiral arms. Rich with newly-formed hot stars, seen in visible light as bluish filaments, its shape has now been twisted and distorted as it responds to the gravitational tugs of its neighbor.
The “egg” of the pair is distinctly different with its greenish glow, which tells the story of a population of much older stars. The absence of glowing red dust features informs us that it has long since lost its reservoir of gas and dust from which new stars can form.
Eventually these two galaxies will merge to form a single object, with their two populations of stars, gas and dust intermingling. This kind of merger was likely a significant step in the history of most large galaxies we see around us in the nearby universe, including our own Milky Way.
Data from our Spitzer and Hubble (@NASAHubble) space telescopes have been combined to show these dramatic galaxies in light that spans the visible and infrared parts of the spectrum.
Much of the western United States began the morning with the view of a super blue blood moon total lunar eclipse. This Jan. 31 full moon was special for three reasons: it was the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit – known as perigee – and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It was also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.” Swipe to explore views from NASA photographers, starting with the Moon hanging over Langley Research Center in Virginia. Next is the Moon photographed from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The next three images show various scenes at our Armstrong Flight Research Center's such as over the aircraft hangar that houses our jets and other aircraft, a communications facility with radar dish and antennas showing and lastly seen over Trona Pinnacles near Armstrong. Trona Pinnacles is an unusual geological feature of California’s Desert National Conservation.
Credits: NASA Langley/David C. Bowman, NASA Johnson/Robert Markowitz, NASA Armstrong