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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - DART: Impact on Asteroid Dimorphos

    09/27/2022 1:13:52 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 30 replies ^ | 27 Sep, 2022 | Video Credit: NASA, JHUAPL, DART
    Explanation: Could humanity deflect an asteroid headed for Earth? Yes. Deadly impacts from large asteroids have happened before in Earth's past, sometimes causing mass extinctions of life. To help protect our Earth from some potential future impacts, NASA tested a new planetary defense mechanism yesterday by crashing the robotic Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft into Dimorphos, a small asteroid spanning about 170-meters across. As shown in the featured video, the impact was a success. Ideally, if impacted early enough, even the kick from a small spacecraft can deflect a large asteroid enough to miss the Earth. In the video,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Star Trails and Lightning over the Pyrenees

    09/19/2022 3:09:03 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies ^ | 19 Sep, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Marc Sellés Llimós
    Explanation: The beauty in this image comes in layers. On the bottom layer is the picturesque village of Manlleu in Barcelona, Spain. The six-minute exposure makes car lights into streaks. The next layer is a mountain -- Serra de Bellmunt -- of Europe's famous Pyrenees. Next up is a tremendous lightning storm emanating from a classically-shaped anvil cloud. The long exposure allowed for the capture of many intricate lightning bolts. Finally, at the top and furthest in the distance are stars. Here, the multi-minute exposure made stars into trails. The trailing effect is caused by the rotation of the Earth,...
  • JWST Gazed Into The Heart of The Orion Nebula, And The View Is Sublime

    09/13/2022 7:53:08 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 24 replies
    Science Alert ^ | 13 September 2022 | MICHELLE STARR
    The Orion Bar and the bright triple star θ2 Orionis A. (NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team, S. Fuenmayor & O. Berné) The Orion nebula is one of the most studied regions of our sky. It sits amidst the constellation of Orion, between the stars, and is so large, close, and bright it can be seen with the naked eye: a vast cloud complex giving birth to and nurturing baby stars. Because it is relatively close, at 1,344 light-years away, it's one of the most important observation targets in the sky for understanding star formation. Although we've been staring at...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Planets of the Solar System: Tilts and Spins

    09/11/2022 2:09:24 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 16 replies ^ | 11 Sep, 2022 | Video Credit: NASA, Animation: James O'Donoghue (JAXA)
    Explanation: How does your favorite planet spin? Does it spin rapidly around a nearly vertical axis, or horizontally, or backwards? The featured video animates NASA images of all eight planets in our Solar System to show them spinning side-by-side for an easy comparison. In the time-lapse video, a day on Earth -- one Earth rotation -- takes just a few seconds. Jupiter rotates the fastest, while Venus spins not only the slowest (can you see it?), but backwards. The inner rocky planets across the top underwent dramatic spin-altering collisions during the early days of the Solar System. Why planets spin...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Galaxy by the Lake

    09/10/2022 2:25:31 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 10 Sep, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Gerardo Ferrarino
    Explanation: This 180 degree panoramic night skyscape captures our Milky Way Galaxy as it arcs above the horizon on a winter's night in August. Near midnight, the galactic center is close to the zenith with the clear waters of Lake Traful, Neuquen, Argentina, South America, planet Earth below. Zodiacal light, dust reflected sunlight along the Solar System's ecliptic plane, is also visible in the region's very dark night sky. The faint band of light reaches up from the distant snowy peaks toward the galaxy's center. Follow the arc of the Milky Way to the left to find the southern hemisphere...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Jupiter from the Webb Space Telescope

    08/30/2022 1:19:06 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 9 replies ^ | 30 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; Processing: Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) & Judy Schmidt
    Explanation: This new view of Jupiter is illuminating. High-resolution infrared images of Jupiter from the new James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) reveal, for example, previously unknown differences between high-floating bright clouds -- including the Great Red Spot -- and low-lying dark clouds. Also clearly visible in the featured Webb image are Jupiter's dust ring, bright auroras at the poles, and Jupiter's moons Amalthea and Adrastea. Large volcanic moon Io's magnetic funneling of charged particles onto Jupiter is also visible in the southern aurora. Some objects are so bright that light noticeably diffracts around Webb's optics creating streaks. Webb, which orbits...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Little Planet South Pole

    08/26/2022 1:43:25 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 16 replies ^ | 26 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Aman Chokshi
    Explanation: Lights play around the horizon of this snowy little planet as it drifts through a starry night sky. Of course the little planet is actually planet Earth. Recorded on August 21, the digitally warped, nadir centered panorama covers nearly 360x180 degrees outside the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. The southernmost research outpost is near the horizon at the top where the light of dawn is approaching after nearly six months of darkness. Along the bottom is the ceremonial pole marker surrounded by the 12 flags of the original signatories of the Antarctic treaty, with a wild display of the...
  • 'Ridiculously Detailed' New Image of The Moon Is A Masterpiece of Space Photography

    08/24/2022 7:17:37 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 14 replies
    Science Alert ^ | 24 August 2022 | CLARE WATSON
    Detailed image of the Moon tinged red and gunmetal blue, with craters and on the black backdrop of space. The "ridiculously detailed" image. (Andrew McCarthy/Connor Matherne) Time to upgrade your wallpapers, people. Two astrophotographers have just dropped what they call "the most ridiculously detailed picture" of the Moon – the result of a painstaking, neck-craning effort roughly two years and over 200,000 frames in the making. For millennia, humans have looked up and seen the same silver orb traversing the night sky – but never quite like this. As space photography enthusiast Andrew McCarthy says of his collaboration with planetary...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Full Moon Perseids

    08/18/2022 3:22:42 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies ^ | 18 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (Starry Earth, TWAN)
    Explanation: The annual Perseid meteor shower was near its peak on August 13. As planet Earth crossed through streams of debris left by periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle meteors rained in northern summer night skies. But even that night's nearly Full Moon shining near the top of this composited view couldn't hide all of the popular shower's meteor streaks. The image captures some of the brightest perseid meteors in many short exposures recorded over more than two hours before the dawn. It places the shower's radiant in the heroic constellation of Perseus just behind a well-lit medieval tower in the village of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - A Meteor Wind over Tunisia

    08/16/2022 4:12:51 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 20 replies ^ | 16 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Makrem Larnaout
    Explanation: Does the Earth ever pass through a wind of meteors? Yes, and they are frequently visible as meteor showers. Almost all meteors are sand-sized debris that escaped from a Sun-orbiting comet or asteroid, debris that continues in an elongated orbit around the Sun. Circling the same Sun, our Earth can move through an orbiting debris stream, where it can appear, over time, as a meteor wind. The meteors that light up in Earth's atmosphere, however, are usually destroyed. Their streaks, though, can all be traced back to a single point on the sky called the radiant. The featured image...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Cygnus Wall of Star Formation

    08/15/2022 2:03:29 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies ^ | 15 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Johan Bogaerts
    Explanation: The North America nebula on the sky can do what the North America continent on Earth cannot -- form stars. Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall. The featured image shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark dust they have created. The part of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) shown spans about 15 light years and lies about 1,500 light...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - 4000 Exoplanets

    08/14/2022 3:59:34 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 16 replies ^ | 14 Aug, 2022 | Video Credit: SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida); Data: NASA Exoplanet Archive
    Explanation: Over 4000 planets are now known to exist outside our Solar System. Known as exoplanets, this milestone was passed last month, as recorded by NASA's Exoplanet Archive. The featured video highlights these exoplanets in sound and light, starting chronologically from the first confirmed detection in 1992 and continuing into 2019. The entire night sky is first shown compressed with the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy making a giant U. Exoplanets detected by slight jiggles in their parents-star's colors (radial velocity) appear in pink, while those detected by slight dips in their parent star's brightness (transit) are shown...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Meteor before Galaxy

    08/07/2022 4:47:19 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 11 replies ^ | 7 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich
    Explanation: What's that green streak in front of the Andromeda galaxy? A meteor. While photographing the Andromeda galaxy in 2016, near the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower, a small pebble from deep space crossed right in front of our Milky Way Galaxy's far-distant companion. The small meteor took only a fraction of a second to pass through this 10-degree field. The meteor flared several times while braking violently upon entering Earth's atmosphere. The green color was created, at least in part, by the meteor's gas glowing as it vaporized. Although the exposure was timed to catch a Perseid meteor,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - A Moon Dressed Like Saturn

    08/02/2022 5:38:03 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies ^ | 2 Aug, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Francisco Sojuel
    Explanation: Why does Saturn appear so big? It doesn't -- what is pictured are foreground clouds on Earth crossing in front of the Moon. The Moon shows a slight crescent phase with most of its surface visible by reflected Earthlight known as ashen glow. The Sun directly illuminates the brightly lit lunar crescent from the bottom, which means that the Sun must be below the horizon and so the image was taken before sunrise. This double take-inducing picture was captured on 2019 December 24, two days before the Moon slid in front of the Sun to create a solar eclipse....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - SOFIA's Southern Lights

    07/29/2022 4:07:31 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 13 replies ^ | 29 Jul, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Ian Griffin (Otago Museum)
    Explanation: SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a large reflecting telescope into the stratosphere. The ability of the airborne facility to climb above about 99 percent of Earth's infrared-blocking atmosphere has allowed researchers to observe from almost anywhere over the planet. On a science mission flying deep into the southern auroral oval, astronomer Ian Griffin, director of New Zealand’s Otago Museum, captured this view from the observatory's south facing starboard side on July 17. Bright star Canopus shines in the southern night above curtains of aurora australis, or southern lights. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Messier 10 and Comet

    07/21/2022 3:14:10 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies ^ | 21 Jul, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: German Penelas Perez
    Explanation: Imaged on July 15 2022, comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) had a Messier moment, sharing this wide telescopic field of view with globular star cluster Messier 10. Of course M10 was cataloged by 18th century comet hunter Charles Messier as the 10th object on his list of things that were definitely not comets. While M10 is about 14 thousand light-years distant, this comet PanSTARRS was about 15 light-minutes from our fair planet following its July 14 closest approach. Its greenish coma and dust tail entertaining 21st century comet watchers, C/2017 K2 is expected to remain a fine telescopic comet in...
  • The James Webb Space Telescope May Have Already Found The Oldest Galaxy Ever Seen

    07/21/2022 9:25:30 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 48 replies ^ | 21 JULY 2022 | ISSAM AHMED
    The GLASS-z13 galaxy imaged by JWST. (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI/AFP) Just a week after its first images were shown to the world, the James Webb Space Telescope may have found a galaxy that existed 13.5 billion years ago, a scientist who analyzed the data said Wednesday. Known as GLASS-z13, the galaxy dates back to 300 million years after the Big Bang, about 100 million years earlier than anything previously identified, Rohan Naidu of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics told AFP. "We're potentially looking at the most distant starlight that anyone has ever seen," he said. The more distant objects...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Europa and Jupiter from Voyager 1

    07/17/2022 2:08:10 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 17 Jul, 2022 | Image Credit: NASA, Voyager 1, JPL, Caltech; Processing & License: Alexis Tranchandon / Solaris
    Explanation: What are those spots on Jupiter? Largest and furthest, just right of center, is the Great Red Spot -- a huge storm system that has been raging on Jupiter possibly since Giovanni Cassini's likely notation of it 357 years ago. It is not yet known why this Great Spot is red. The spot toward the lower left is one of Jupiter's largest moons: Europa. Images from Voyager in 1979 bolster the modern hypothesis that Europa has an underground ocean and is therefore a good place to look for extraterrestrial life. But what about the dark spot on the upper...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Roots in a Rotating Planet

    07/07/2022 1:50:35 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 7 replies ^ | Image Credit & Copyright: Marcella Giulia Pace
    Explanation: With roots in a rotating planet, an old tree is centered in this sequence of 137 exposures each 20 seconds long, recorded one night in northern Sicily. Digital camera and fisheye lens were fixed to a tripod to capture the dramatic timelapse, so the stars trailed through the region's dark sky. Of course that makes it easy to spot the planet's north celestial pole. The extension of Earth's axis of rotation into space is toward the upper left, at the center of the concentric star trail arcs. The Milky Way is there too. The plane of our galaxy stretches...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Phobos: Doomed Moon of Mars

    07/03/2022 3:49:50 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 34 replies ^ | 3 Jul, 2022 | Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA
    Explanation: This moon is doomed. Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These martian moons may well be captured asteroids originating in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter or perhaps from even more distant reaches of our Solar System. The larger moon, Phobos, is indeed seen to be a cratered, asteroid-like object in this stunning color image from the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with objects as small as 10 meters visible. But Phobos orbits so close...