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  • "I'll Do It Myself": The Greatest Feat of Piloting in Space

    10/25/2021 11:02:14 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    YouTube ^ | March 16, 2021 | Simon Whistler -- Highlight History
    On April 9, 1959, the newly-formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, introduced the world to a new breed of heroes: the Mercury Seven, America’s first astronauts. Se-lected from a pool of over 500 military test pilots, these men represented the best the nation had to offer, and its best hope in the intensifying Space Race against the Soviets. Almost immediately, the Mercury Seven became national heroes: on May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard would became the first American in space, while on February 20, 1962, John Glenn would become the first American to orbit the earth, a feat which...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula

    10/24/2021 3:03:31 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies ^ | 24 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit: Mohammad Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris) et al., ESA, NASA
    Explanation: Halloween's origin is ancient and astronomical. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day / maximum night in the northern hemisphere). With a modern calendar however, even though Halloween occurs next week, the real cross-quarter day will occur the week after. Another cross-quarter day is Groundhog Day. Halloween's modern celebration retains historic roots in dressing to scare away the spirits of the dead. Perhaps a fitting tribute to this ancient holiday is this view of the Ghost Head...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - 3D Bennu

    10/23/2021 3:15:31 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies ^ | 23 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit: NASA, GSFC, U. Arizona - Stereo Image Copyright: Patrick Vantuyne
    Explanation: Put on your red/blue glasses and float next to asteroid 101955 Bennu. Shaped like a spinning toy top with boulders littering its rough surface, the tiny Solar System world is about one Empire State Building (less than 500 meters) across. Frames used to construct this 3D anaglyph were taken by PolyCam on the OSIRIS_REx spacecraft on December 3, 2018 from a distance of about 80 kilometers. With a sample from the asteroid's rocky surface on board, OSIRIS_REx departed Bennu's vicinity this May and is now enroute to planet Earth. The robotic spacecraft is scheduled to return the sample to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - A Comet and a Crab

    10/22/2021 3:10:48 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 4 replies ^ | 22 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Jose Mtanous
    Explanation: This pretty field of view spans over 2 degrees or 4 full moons on the sky, filled with stars toward the constellation Taurus, the Bull. Above and right of center in the frame you can spot the faint fuzzy reddish appearance of Messier 1 (M1), also known as the Crab Nebula. M1 is the first object in 18th century comet hunter Charles Messier's famous catalog of things which are definitely not comets. Made from image data captured this October 11, there is a comet in the picture though. Below center and left lies the faint greenish coma and dusty...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - SH2-308: The Dolphin-head Nebula

    10/21/2021 3:50:54 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 15 replies ^ | 21 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Nik Szymanek
    Explanation: Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon. That corresponds to a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance. The massive star that created the bubble, a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright one near the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sun and are thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova phase of massive...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Lucy Launches to Eight Asteroids

    10/20/2021 4:07:20 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 20 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: John Kraus
    Explanation: Why would this mission go out as far as Jupiter -- but then not visit Jupiter? Lucy's plan is to follow different leads about the origin of our Solar System than can be found at Jupiter -- where Juno now orbits. Jupiter is such a massive planet that its gravity captures numerous asteroids that orbit the Sun ahead of it -- and behind. These trojan asteroids formed all over our Solar System and some may have been trapped there for billions of years. Flying by these trojan asteroids enables studying them as fossils that likely hold unique clues about...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Palomar 6: Globular Star Cluster

    10/19/2021 4:11:57 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 19 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, R. Cohen
    Explanation: Where did this big ball of stars come from? Palomar 6 is one of about 200 globular clusters of stars that survive in our Milky Way Galaxy. These spherical star-balls are older than our Sun as well as older than most stars that orbit in our galaxy's disk. Palomar 6 itself is estimated to be about 12.5 billion years old, so old that it is close to -- and so constrains -- the age of the entire universe. Containing about 500,000 stars, Palomar 6 lies about 25,000 light years away, but not very far from our galaxy's center. At...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Earthshine Moon over Sicily

    10/18/2021 3:45:54 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies ^ | 18 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Dario Giannobile
    Explanation: Why can we see the entire face of this Moon? When the Moon is in a crescent phase, only part of it appears directly illuminated by the Sun. The answer is earthshine, also known as earthlight and the da Vinci glow. The reason is that the rest of the Earth-facing Moon is slightly illuminated by sunlight first reflected from the Earth. Since the Earth appears near full phase from the Moon -- when the Moon appears as a slight crescent from the Earth -- earthshine is then near its brightest. Featured here in combined, consecutively-taken, HDR images taken earlier...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens

    10/17/2021 2:16:06 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 17 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & License: J. Rhoads (Arizona State U.) et al., WIYN, AURA, NOIRLab, NSF
    Explanation: Most galaxies have a single nucleus -- does this galaxy have four? The strange answer leads astronomers to conclude that the nucleus of the surrounding galaxy is not even visible in this image. The central cloverleaf is rather light emitted from a background quasar. The gravitational field of the visible foreground galaxy breaks light from this distant quasar into four distinct images. The quasar must be properly aligned behind the center of a massive galaxy for a mirage like this to be evident. The general effect is known as gravitational lensing, and this specific case is known as the...
  • Former officer and NASA exec found guilty of murdering neighbor after years of disputes over loud music and dog poop

    10/17/2021 7:28:31 AM PDT · by Eddie01 · 72 replies
    msn ^ | 10/17/2021 | Yelena Dzhanova
    A jury on Thursday found a Virginia man, accused of shooting his next-door neighbor, guilty of first-degree murder. Michael Hetle, a 52-year-old former police officer and NASA executive, shot 24-year-old Javon Prather seven times, a video of which was caught by a Ring doorbell camera, local news outlet WTOP reported. Hetle and Prather had feuded for years, arguing over mundane things like dog poop and loud music, according to local news outlets. Since 2016, Hetle has called the police to complain about barking dog noises coming from Prather's house, WTOP said. Before the jury, Hetle's attorney argued that he acted...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Moona Lisa

    10/16/2021 2:26:07 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 5 replies ^ | 16 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Gianni Sarcone and Marcella Giulia Pace
    Explanation: Only natural colors of the Moon in planet Earth's sky appear in this creative visual presentation. Arranged as pixels in a framed image, the lunar disks were photographed at different times. Their varying hues are ultimately due to reflected sunlight affected by changing atmospheric conditions and the alignment geometry of Moon, Earth, and Sun. Here, the darkest lunar disks are the colors of earthshine. A description of earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth's oceans illuminating the Moon's dark surface, was written over 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci. But stand farther back from your monitor or...
  • A Russian spacecraft pushed the space station out of position and sent astronauts into emergency mode — again

    10/16/2021 1:12:32 AM PDT · by blueplum · 14 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 15 October 2021 | Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Aylin Woodward
    A Russian spacecraft pushed the International Space Station out of position on Friday morning, prompting astronauts to go into emergency mode. It's the second time Russian hardware has caused such an incident since July. Cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky was conducting engine tests on the Soyuz spaceship, which is docked to the ISS, on Friday morning when its thrusters fired too aggressively
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - NGC 289: Swirl in the Southern Sky

    10/15/2021 3:56:25 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 7 replies ^ | 15 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Selby
    Explanation: About 70 million light-years distant, gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 289 is larger than our own Milky Way. Seen nearly face-on, its bright core and colorful central disk give way to remarkably faint, bluish spiral arms. The extensive arms sweep well over 100 thousand light-years from the galaxy's center. At the lower right in this sharp, telescopic galaxy portrait the main spiral arm seems to encounter a small, fuzzy elliptical companion galaxy interacting with enormous NGC 289. Of course spiky stars are in the foreground of the scene. They lie within the Milky Way toward the southern constellation Sculptor.
  • NASA Releases Climate Action Plan

    10/15/2021 12:39:20 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 17 replies ^ | 15 OCTOBER 2021 | By NASA
    NASA released a climate action plan on October 7, 2021, aimed at averting mission impacts due to climate change, ensuring the resiliency of facilities and assets, and providing the nation and world unique climate observations, analysis, and modeling through scientific research. The plan is part of President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis. Federal agencies face rising maintenance and repair costs due to more frequent and extreme weather events, health and safety challenges to employees for work outside, and potential issues with program effectiveness. To address these and other challenges, President Biden prioritized federal agency climate adaptation and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - NGC 7293: The Helix Nebula

    10/14/2021 4:06:13 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 16 replies ^ | 14 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo
    Explanation: A mere seven hundred light years from Earth, toward the constellation Aquarius, a sun-like star is dying. Its last few thousand years have produced the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of a Planetary Nebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution. A total of 90 hours of exposure time have gone in to creating this expansive view of the nebula. Combining narrow band image data from emission lines of hydrogen atoms in red and oxygen atoms in blue-green hues, it shows remarkable details of the Helix's brighter inner region about 3 light-years across....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - NGC 7822: Cosmic Question Mark

    10/13/2021 3:51:21 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies ^ | 13 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Yizhou Zhang
    Explanation: It may look like a huge cosmic question mark, but the big question really is how does the bright gas and dark dust tell this nebula's history of star formation. At the edge of a giant molecular cloud toward the northern constellation Cepheus, the glowing star forming region NGC 7822 lies about 3,000 light-years away. Within the nebula, bright edges and dark shapes stand out in this colorful and detailed skyscape. The 9-panel mosaic, taken over 28 nights with a small telescope in Texas, includes data from narrowband filters, mapping emission from atomic oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur into blue,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Fireball over Lake Louise

    10/12/2021 3:40:21 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 17 replies ^ | 12 Oct, 2021 | Image Credit & Copyright: Hao Qin
    Explanation: What makes a meteor a fireball? First of all, everyone agrees that a fireball is an exceptionally bright meteor. Past that, the International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as a meteor brighter than apparent magnitude -4, which corresponds (roughly) to being brighter than any planet -- as well as bright enough to cast a human-noticeable shadow. Pictured, an astrophotographer taking a long-duration sky image captured by accident the brightest meteor he had ever seen. Clearly a fireball, the disintegrating space-rock created a trail so bright it turned night into day for about two seconds earlier this month. The fireball...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Juno Flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter

    10/11/2021 2:36:40 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 9 replies ^ | 11 Oct, 2021 | Video Credit: Images: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SWRI, MSSS; Animation: Koji Kuramura, Gerald Eichstädt, Mik
    Explanation: What would it be like to fly over the largest moon in the Solar System? In June, the robotic Juno spacecraft flew past Jupiter's huge moon Ganymede and took images that have been digitally constructed into a detailed flyby. As the featured video begins, Juno swoops over the two-toned surface of the 2,000-km wide moon, revealing an icy alien landscape filled with grooves and craters. The grooves are likely caused by shifting surface plates, while the craters are caused by violent impacts. Continuing on in its orbit, Juno then performed its 34th close pass over Jupiter's clouds. The digitally-constructed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Full Moon Silhouettes

    10/10/2021 3:28:23 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 15 replies ^ | 10 Oct, 2021 | Video Credit & Copyright: Mark Gee; Music: Tenderness (Dan Phillipson)
    Explanation: Have you ever watched the Moon rise? The slow rise of a nearly full moon over a clear horizon can be an impressive sight. One impressive moonrise was imaged in early 2013 over Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across the lookout to where the Moon would surely soon be making its nightly debut. The featured single shot sequence is unedited and shown in real time -- it is not a time lapse. People on Mount Victoria Lookout can be seen in...
  • NASA's Low-Noise Supersonic Plane Has No Front Window. Here's How They See Through

    10/10/2021 9:57:24 AM PDT · by American Number 181269513 · 36 replies
    Interesting Engineering ^ | Oct 09, 2021 | Loukia Papadopoulos
    Supersonic planes might be speedy but they have one distinct problem: They generate an unbearably loud sound. When an aircraft travels faster than the speed of sound, shockwaves form and travel away from the aircraft, merging and generating sonic booms heard on the ground for miles. NASA is now working with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to transform aviation through its faster-than-sound X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft that reduces sonic booms to a barely-audible sonic thump. The new single-seat plane X-59 will be 99.7 feet long, 29.5 feet wide (30 m by 9 m), and will cruise at an altitude...