Double Prominence Eruptions
November 20th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

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."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Expedition 33 Lands
November 19th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

Expedition 33 Lands

"The Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft is seen shortly after it landed with Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko in a remote area of Kazakhstan, on Nov. 19, 2012. Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko returned from four months onboard the International Space Station."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Happy little crater on Mercury
November 9th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Happy little crater on Mercury

Here's today's NASA image of the day:

"It looks like even the craters on Mercury have heard of Bob Ross! The central peaks of this complex crater have formed in such a way that it resembles a smiling face. This image taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft is oriented so north is toward the bottom.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals."


Filed under: Light up the screen
Dragon in its Nest
October 29th, 2012
10:19 AM ET

Dragon in its Nest

"A Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 3:22 p.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. The splashdown successfully ended the first contracted cargo delivery flight contracted by NASA to resupply the International Space Station.

The Dragon capsule will be taken by boat to a port near Los Angeles, where it will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing. Returning with the Dragon capsule was 1,673 pounds of cargo, including 866 pounds of scientific research. Not since the space shuttle have NASA and its international partners been able to return considerable amounts of research and samples for analysis."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Hubble Sees Violent Star Formation Episodes in Dwarf Galaxies
October 29th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Hubble Sees Violent Star Formation Episodes in Dwarf Galaxies

"The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has imaged the faint irregular galaxy NGC 3738, a starburst galaxy. The galaxy is in the midst of a violent episode of star formation, during which it is converting reservoirs of hydrogen gas located in the galaxy’s center into stars. Hubble spots this gas glowing red around NGC 3738, one of the most distinctive signs of ongoing star formation.

Lying in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear), NGC 3738 is located about 12 million light-years from the sun, and belongs to the Messier 81 group of galaxies. This galaxy — first observed by astronomer William Herschel back in 1789 — is a nearby example of a blue compact dwarf, the faintest type of starburst galaxy. Blue compact dwarfs are small compared to large spiral galaxies — NGC 3738 is around 10,000 light-years across, just one tenth of the size of the Milky Way.

This type of galaxy is blue in appearance by virtue of containing large clusters of hot, massive stars, which ionize the surrounding interstellar gas with their intense ultraviolet radiation. They are relatively faint and appear to be irregular in shape. Unlike spirals or elliptical galaxies, irregular galaxies do not have any distinctive features, such as a nuclear bulge or spiral arms. Rather, they are extremely chaotic in appearance. These galaxies are thought to resemble some of the earliest that formed in the Universe and may provide clues as to how stars appeared shortly after the Big Bang.

This image was created by combining visual and infrared images taken with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. The field of view of the Wide Field Channel is approximately 3.4 by 3.4 arcminutes wide."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Expedition 33 Crew Waves Farewell
October 23rd, 2012
11:22 AM ET

Expedition 33 Crew Waves Farewell

"Expedition 33/34 crew members, Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy, bottom, Flight Engineer Kevin Ford of NASA, and Flight Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin of ROSCOSMOS, top, wave farewell before boarding their Soyuz rocket just a few hours before their launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Launch of a Soyuz rocket later in the afternoon will send Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin on a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Rocket Rollout
October 22nd, 2012
02:05 PM ET

Rocket Rollout

"The Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23. The rocket will send Expedition 33/34 Flight Engineer Kevin Ford of NASA, Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy and Flight Engineer Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin of ROSCOSMOS on a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Endeavour's last trip
October 12th, 2012
12:25 PM ET
View of Curiosity's First Scoop Also Shows Bright Object
October 9th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

View of Curiosity's First Scoop Also Shows Bright Object

"This image from the right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows a scoop full of sand and dust lifted by the rover's first use of the scoop on its robotic arm. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, a bright object is visible on the ground. The object might be a piece of rover hardware.

This image was taken during the mission's 61st Martian day, or sol (Oct. 7, 2012), the same sol as the first scooping. After examining Sol 61 imaging, the rover team decided to refrain from using the arm on Sol 62 (Oct. 8). Instead, the rover was instructed to acquire additional imaging of the bright object, on Sol 62, to aid the team in assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling activities.

For scale, the scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
The Seagull Nebula
September 26th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

The Seagull Nebula

This image, taken by the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) La Silla Observatory shows the gas cloud Sharpless 2-292, part of the stellar nursery nicknamed the Seagull Nebula.

This image shows the 'head' of the Seagull Nebula. The overall nebula spans about 100 light-years, and is about 3700 light-years from Earth.


Filed under: In Space • Light up the screen
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