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Keyword: astronomy

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Jupiter and Io

    11/28/2012 6:28:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | November 28, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On December 3 (UT), Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, will be at opposition, opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky, shining brightly and rising as the Sun sets. That configuration results in Jupiter's almost annual closest approach to planet Earth. So, near opposition the gas giant offers earthbound telescopes stunning views of its stormy, banded atmosphere and large Galilean moons. For example, this sharp series was recorded on the night of November 16/17 from the island of Sardinia near Dolianova, Italy. North is up in the images that show off Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot, and planet girdling...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Bright Jupiter in Taurus

    11/27/2012 3:22:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | November 27, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That bright star you've recently noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all. It's Jupiter, the solar system's ruling gas giant. Bright Jupiter is nearing its December 3rd opposition when it will stand in Taurus, opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Clearly outshining yellowish Aldebaran, alpha star of Taurus, Jupiter is centered in this skyview from November 14th, also featuring the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters, familiar celestial sights as the northern hemisphere winter approaches. Sliding your cursor over the image will label the scene and identify two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Wisps of the Veil Nebula

    11/26/2012 7:28:18 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | November 26, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Wisps like this are all that remain visible of a Milky Way star. About 9,000 years ago that star exploded in a supernova leaving the Veil Nebula, also known as the Cygnus Loop. At the time, the expanding cloud was likely as bright as a crescent Moon, remaining visible for weeks to people living at the dawn of recorded history. Today, the resulting supernova remnant has faded and is now visible only through a small telescope directed toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). The remaining Veil Nebula is physically huge, however, and even though it lies about 1,400...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dark Sand Cascades on Mars

    11/26/2012 7:25:19 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | November 25, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: They might look like trees on Mars, but they're not. Groups of dark brown streaks have been photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on melting pinkish sand dunes covered with light frost. The above image was taken in 2008 April near the North Pole of Mars. At that time, dark sand on the interior of Martian sand dunes became more and more visible as the spring Sun melted the lighter carbon dioxide ice. When occurring near the top of a dune, dark sand may cascade down the dune leaving dark surface streaks -- streaks that might appear at first...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 1365: Majestic Spiral with Supernova

    11/24/2012 4:51:09 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | November 24, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Pipe Nebula

    11/23/2012 12:44:51 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | November 23, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: East of Antares, dark markings sprawl through crowded star fields toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Cataloged in the early 20th century by astronomer E. E. Barnard, the obscuring interstellar dust clouds include B59, B72, B77 and B78, seen in silhouette against the starry background. Here, their combined shape suggests a pipe stem and bowl, and so the dark nebula's popular name is the Pipe Nebula. The deep and expansive view was represents nearly 24 hours of exposure time recorded in very dark skies of the Chilean Atacama desert. It covers a full 10 by 10 degree...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Night of the Long Leonid

    11/23/2012 12:40:23 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | November 22, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A cosmic grain of sand left the long and colorful trail across this all-sky view. Its grazing impact with planet Earth's atmosphere began at 71 kilometers per second. With the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon, the scene was captured on the night of November 17 from the astronomically popular high plateau at Champ du Feu in Alsace, France. Of course, the earthgrazer meteor belongs to this month's Leonid meteor shower, produced as our fair planet annually sweeps through dust from the tail of periodic Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The shower's radiant point in the constellation Leo is very close...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Diamond Ring and Shadow Bands

    11/21/2012 4:13:51 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | November 21, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As the total phase of last week's solar eclipse came to an end, sunlight streaming past the edge of the Moon created the fleeting appearance of a glistening diamond ring in the sky. And while most eclipse watchers did not consider clouds a welcome sight, a view through thin clouds north of Cairns in Queensland, Australia also revealed these remarkable flickering shadow bands. Projected onto the cloud layer, the bands are parallel to the sliver of emerging sunlight. Caused by turbulence in Earth's atmosphere refracting the sliver of sunlight, the narrow bands were captured in this brief, 1/1000th second...
  • Mars Mystery: What HAS Curiosity Discovered?

    11/20/2012 1:45:34 PM PST · by Red Badger · 90 replies
    Discovery.com ^ | Tue Nov 20, 2012 02:13 PM ET | Analysis by Ian O'Neill
    Science isn't something that just happens overnight. It takes many measurements, oodles of analysis, re-testing and re-analysis before any groundbreaking announcement can be made. So, on the surface of Mars, inside Gale Crater on a plain called Aeolis Palus, our tenacious six-wheeled Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is doing cutting-edge laboratory work on an alien world and mission scientists are itching to announce a "historic" discovery. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," John Grotzinger, lead scientist of the MSL mission, said in an interview with NPR. But what is he referring to and...
  • Lonely planet: Orphan world spotted in deep space

    11/20/2012 6:33:42 AM PST · by Red Badger · 18 replies
    Space Daily ^ | 14 NOV 2012 | by Staff Writers
    Astronomers on Wednesday reported they had detected a planet that had strayed from its star system and was wandering alone in deep space. Object CFBDSIR2149 is believed to be a cold, young world that for unknown reasons has pulled free of the gravitational pull of its mother star, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said. It is not the first time that a "free-floating" planet has been found, but this one is the closest that has ever been spotted, at over 100 light years from Earth. Initial observations sketched the object as either a homeless planet or a tiny failed star...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Halo Around the Moon

    11/20/2012 3:27:14 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | November 20, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon? This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens. Because most of the crystals have a similar elongated hexagonal shape, light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the Moon Halo. A similar Sun Halo may be visible during the day. The setting of the above picture is Athens San Sebastian, Greece. The distant planet Jupiter appears by chance...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Leonids Over Monument Valley

    11/19/2012 3:41:20 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | November 19, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening in the sky over Monument Valley? A meteor shower. Over the past weekend the Leonid meteor shower has been peaking. The image -- actually a composite of six exposures of about 30 seconds each -- was taken in 2001, a year when there was a much more active Leonids shower. At that time, Earth was moving through a particularly dense swarm of sand-sized debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, so that meteor rates approached one visible streak per second. The meteors appear parallel because they all fall to Earth from the meteor shower radiant -- a point on the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6357's Cathedral to Massive Stars

    11/18/2012 6:13:47 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | November 18, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How massive can a normal star be? Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had given one star in the open cluster Pismis 24 over 200 times the mass of our Sun, nearly making it the record holder. This star is the brightest object located just above the gas front in the above image. Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from three at least. Component stars would still remain near 100 solar masses, making them among the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Like a Diamond in the Sky

    11/16/2012 9:40:40 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | November 17, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A dark Sun hung over Queensland, Australia on Wednesday morning during a much anticipated total solar eclipse. Storm clouds threatened to spoil the view along the northern coast, but minutes before totality the clouds parted. Streaming past the Moon's edge, the last direct rays of sunlight produced a gorgeous diamond ring effect in this scene from Ellis Beach between Cairns and Port Douglas. Winking out in a moment, the diamond didn't last forever though. The area was plunged into darkness for nearly 2 minutes as the Moon's shadow swept off shore toward Australia's Great Barrier Reef and out into...
  • JPL Solar System Simulator

    11/16/2012 4:38:31 AM PST · by lbryce · 3 replies
    JPL ^ | Staff
    This is one of the most interesting,complex of the Solar System Simulators by JPL. It lists all the planets with every one of its moons, plus many numerous missions including the Voyager I and II. You can program the simulator to view every object from any location. There are lots of ways to configure it and you can spend hours playing around with all its features, Lots of fun for the desktop astronomer. The graphics are somewhat dated but are still very good at providing the thrill of viewing Titan from Saturn or any one planetary body to another.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moon Shadow Sequence

    11/16/2012 3:17:24 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | November 16, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On the morning of November 14, the Moon's umbral shadow tracked across northern Australia before heading into the southern Pacific. Captured from a hilltop some 30 miles west of the outback town of Mount Carbine, Queensland, a series of exposures follows the progress of the total solar eclipse in this dramatic composite image. The sequence begins near the horizon. The Moon steadily encroaches on the on the reddened face of the Sun, rising as the eclipse progresses. At the total phase, lasting about 2 minutes for that location, an otherwise faint solar corona shimmers around the eclipsed disk. Recorded...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solar Eclipse over Queensland

    11/15/2012 7:19:35 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | November 15, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This month's New Moon brought a total solar eclipse to parts of planet Earth on November 13 (UT). Most of the total eclipse track fell across the southern Pacific, but the Moon's dark umbral shadow began its journey in northern Australia on Wednesday morning, local time. From along the track, this telescopic snapshot captures the Moon's silhouette in skies over Queensland along the Mulligan highway west of Port Douglas. Almost completely covered, the Sun's disk is seen still surrounded by a hint of the faint solar corona. Planet-sized prominences stretch above the active Sun's edge. Sunlight streaming through gaps...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Our Story in One Minute

    11/14/2012 6:20:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | November 14, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Could you tell the story of human existence in a minute? This thrilling video culls together multiple teasing snippets in an attempt to do just that. And sets it to music. Briefly depicted, from start to finish, is an artistic animation of the Big Bang, a trip across the early universe, the formation of the Earth and Moon, the emergence of multi-celled life and plants, the rise of reptiles and dinosaurs, a devastating meteor strike, the rise of mammals and humans, and finally the rise of modern civilization. The minute movie ends with a flyover of the modern skyscraper...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Solar Eclipse Quilt

    11/13/2012 3:34:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | November 13, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Some people are so inspired by solar eclipses that they quilt. Pictured above is a resulting textile from one such inspiration. The 38x38 inch quilt offers impressions of a total annular eclipse, when the Moon is too far from the Earth to cover the entire Sun, witnessed in Spain in October of 2005. Today, however, a full total solar eclipse will occur, although it will only be visible to eclipse chasers and those who live in a thin swath of Australia. For a few minutes, those near the center of the eclipse path will see the entire Sun blocked...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Meteor and Moonbow over Wallaman Falls

    11/12/2012 7:49:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | November 12, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Which feature takes your breath away first in this encompassing panorama of land and sky? The competition is strong with a waterfall, meteor, starfield, and even a moonbow all vying for attention. It is interesting to first note, though, what can't be seen -- a rising moon on the other side of the camera. The bright moon not only illuminated this beautiful landscape in Queensland, Australia last June, but also created the beautiful moonbow seen in front of Wallaman Falls. Just above the ridge in the above image is the horizontal streak of an airplane. Toward the top of...