Pavlof Volcano From Station
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) photographed this striking view of Pavlof Volcano on May 18, 2013. The oblique perspective from the ISS reveals the three dimensional structure of the ash plume, which is often obscured by the top-down view of most remote sensing satellites.
Situated in the Aleutian Arc about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, Pavlof began erupting on May 13, 2013. The volcano jetted lava into the air and spewed an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) high. When photograph ISS036-E-2105 (top) was taken, the space station was about 475 miles south-southeast of the volcano (49.1° North latitude, 157.4° West longitude). The volcanic plume extended southeastward over the North Pacific Ocean.
› Additional information/larger images.
Image Credit: NASA
I don’t know why this rings a bell…
LAGEOS I, 1976
The LAGEOS I, Laser Geodynamics Satellite, was launched on May 4, 1976 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The two-foot diameter, 900-pound satellite orbited the Earth from pole to pole and measured the movements of the Earth’s surface relative to earthquakes, continental drift, and other geophysical phenomena.
The mirrored surface of the satellite precisely reflected laser beams from ground stations for accurate ranging measurements. Scientists at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. came up with the idea for the satellite and built it at the Marshall Center.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC
Of course NASA launched Earth’s disco ball in 1976.
Of course they did.
Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who has been living aboard the International Space Station since December, on Saturday tweeted another stunning photo of the Windy City from above.
Holy crap, it’s a beautiful night in Chicago!
Powerful Nor’easter Coming Together
A massive winter storm is coming together as two low pressure systems are merging over the U.S. East Coast. A satellite image from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on Feb. 8 shows a western frontal system approaching the coastal low pressure area.
The satellite image, captured at 9:01 a.m. EST, shows clouds associated with the western frontal system stretching from Canada through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, into the Gulf of Mexico. The comma-shaped low pressure system located over the Atlantic, east of Virginia, is forecast to merge with the front and create a powerful nor’easter. The National Weather Service expects the merged storm to move northeast and drop between two to three feet of snow in parts of New England.
This is one of my favorite space pictures.
NASA pointed the Hubble telescope at a tiny area of dark, apparently starless space for 48 hours and found out that it is JAM-PACKED with galaxies.
I haven’t heard much from the Hubble Space Telescope folks since it was refurbished earlier in the year. Maybe that’s because they’ve been busily working on putting together an incredible image, the deepest ever taken in the near infrared. Feast upon this.
[Oh yes, you want to click to embiggen that, or grab yourself a gorgeous
4.6 Mpixel version.]
Holy Haleakala! This picture is incredible. They pointed Hubble at a fairly empty region of space, one where very few stars are seen. Then they unleashed the new Wide Field Camera 3 (called WFC3 for short) on it, taking images in infrared wavelengths just outside what the human eye can see… and they let it stare at that spot for a solid 48 hours.
The result? This picture, showing galaxies flippin’ everywhere, some seen a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang itself. Because the Universe is expanding, distant galaxies appear to recede from us, and their light gets stretched out. This Doppler Effect — the same thing that makes the sound of a car engine drop in pitch when it passes you at high speed — changes the colors we see from these far-flung galaxies, so their ultraviolet light, for example, gets stretched into visible and even infrared wavelengths. What you are seeing here is actually more energetic light emitted by galaxies that’s lost energy traveling across the expanding Universe, so by the time it gets here it’s infrared.
So the colors are not “real” in this image; they’ve been translated into red, green, and blue so we can see them. The reddest objects in the image are most likely the farthest away, and may be as much as 13 billion light years away.
Thirteen billion. With a B.
Let me point out something: here is a zoom in on one part of this ultra deep field, from the upper left. I’ve marked three objects. The one in the middle is a star; even with Hubble stars are point-like sources. The light from the star gets bent a bit (diffracted) around the metal support structure holding one of Hubble’s mirrors in place, giving it that crosshairs feature (we astronomers in the know call them diffraction spikes).
But look, the object on the left, clearly a galaxy, has crosshairs too! And they’re centered right on the galaxy’s nucleus, meaning that galaxy has a very bright, star-like core. We see this a lot in galaxies, when the supermassive black hole that lurks at the heart of every galaxy happens to be actively and voraciously eating matter. As this material spirals in, it gets very, very hot, and emits vast amounts of light. We call theseactive galaxies, and they were common in the early Universe. Studying them gives us insight into what galaxies were like when they were young, how that monster black hole forms and changes over time, and how galaxies themselves are born, age, and evolve over time. How many active galaxies can you find in the bigger picture?
And that little red dot all the way on the right? It’s not possible to say for sure, but given its reddish color in the picture and the fact that it’s a tiny dot makes me think this is one of those extremely distant galaxies, an object whose light has been traveling for roughly 95% of the age of the Universe itself. Those photons have hiked for billions of light years, seen the Universe change drastically, slammed through dust and gas clouds, curved around gravitationally-warped space, all to finally fall into the waiting glass mirror of our eyes’ orbiting proxy in space.
And there are dozens of those red dots in this image, all full galaxies in their own right, shrunk in apparent size and stature by their mind-numbing distance. And there are thousands of other galaxies, too… and yet this image is small, covering an area of the sky only 1/15th the width of the full Moon — it would take
800030 million images like this to cover the whole sky!
That means that everywhere you look, any direction you may choose, there are thousands, millions, billions of galaxies lurking there, hidden by nearby stars, gas, dust, other galaxies, and the terrible scale of space and time of our ancient Universe.
Everywhere we look, there are treasures to unveil. That’s what science tells us. And that’s why I love it.
So… have Pluto removed by laser? Or add Ceres, Eris, Sedna, and Quaoar? Discuss.
I’m sorry, did you say something?
I couldn’t hear you over the gorgeous, curly-redhead, tattooed space-fan.
Centaur - A NASA Workhorse
Workers at the Propulsion Systems Laboratory at Lewis Research Center, now John H. Glenn Research Center, develop the Centaur upper stage rocket. The Centaur was an ambitious rocket using liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. It was the first rocket to ever use hydrogen as a propulsion fuel and underwent a difficult development period. It later became a highly successful upper stage used for hundreds of NASA, commercial and military payloads.
On Nov. 27, 1963, NASA had a successful launch of the first Atlas/Centaur. No payload was carried, but the powerful rocket scored a significant milestone: first in-flight burn of a liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine. Major successes followed rapidly.
Image Credit: NASA
This image was captured just before George said “How ‘bout some fresh air?” and pulled the lever that sprayed Ralph in the face with 57 kilograms of liquid oxygen at 3,000 psi.
Good times. Good times.
Double Prominence Eruptions
The Sun erupted with two prominence eruptions, one after the other over a four-hour period on Nov. 16, 2012. The action was captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. It seems possible that the disruption to the Sun’s magnetic field might have triggered the second event since they were in relatively close proximity to each other. The expanding particle clouds heading into space do not appear to be Earth-directed.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO/Steele Hill
DOUBLE PROMINENCE ALL THE WAY!!
VOOOOTIIIINNNG IIINNNN SSSPAAAACCCE…
The guy who lied about building a Moon base is out.
So that leaves the guy who was manufactured thanks to the advances made in the space program, but who nevertheless wants space exploration to be left up to the states and thinks he’ll get his own planet when he dies, and the guy who understands and loves science.
Go vote, space cowboy!
Election Day 2012
The American flag patch pictured here is from the left arm on Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 suit. This image was taken in April 2006 at the National Air and Space Museum’s Garber Facility in Suitland, Md.
NASA astronauts Leroy Chiao, Edward Michael Fincke and Greg Chamitoff have all voted while aboard the International Space Station thanks to a bill passed in 1997 by Texas legislatures. The bill sets up a technical procedure for astronauts — nearly all of whom live in Houston — to vote from space.
Current station Commander Suni Williams, a Florida resident, voted via absentee ballot before departing for her duties as part of Expedition 32 on the International Space Station.
Image Credit: NASA
Members of the IceBridge team visited a colony of Magellanic penguins near Punta Arenas on a no-flight day.
NASA’s Operation IceBridge is an airborne science mission to study Earth’s polar ice. For more information about IceBridge, visit:www.nasa.gov/icebridge
Image Credit: NASA/ Maria-Jose Vinas
On other no-flight days, do they visit emus, ostriches, and the Big Bird ancestor exhibit?
LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: The International Space Station is not really floating in space. It is, in reality, being held in place by a gigantic Russian guy in a Members Only jumpsuit, and the solar panels are powered by fluorescent lights.
Twelve Years and Counting Aboard the Station
Twelve years ago, Bill Shepherd, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev made history by becoming the first crew to live and work on the International Space Station. On Nov. 2, 2000, Expedition 1 docked with the station. From the moment the hatch of their Soyuz spacecraft opened and they entered the fledgling space station, there have been people living and working in orbit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
In this photo, Expedition 1 crew members (from left to right) Commander Bill Shepherd, and Flight Engineers Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev pose with a model of their home away from home.
Image Credit: NASA
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Expedition 33 crew share a playful moment Oct. 10, 2012 during the first of two so-called “fit check” dress rehearsal sessions. The crew hoists their Russian Sokol launch-and-entry suits over their heads as they prepare for the scheduled Oct. 23 launch in their Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft. The crew will begin a five-month mission on the International Space Station.
From left to right are Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy, Flight Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin and NASA Flight Engineer Kevin Ford.
Image Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov
See zero G. Hear zero G. Speak zero G.
The space shuttle is such a gorgeous work of engineering that every machine gets a boner when it goes by.
Endeavour Makes Its Final Journey
Cable technicians raise their cherry pickers to watch and photograph the space shuttle Endeavour as it is maneuvered through the streets of Inglewood on its way to its new home at the California Science Center, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Endeavour, built as a replacement for space shuttle Challenger, completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles. Beginning Oct. 30, the shuttle will be on display at the science center, embarking on its new mission to commemorate past achievements in space and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls