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Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 13

User Thread
 39yrs • F •
22 February 2013

Curiosity Self-Portrait Panorama
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS - Panorama by Andrew Bodrov
quote:
This remarkable self-portrait of NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover includes a sweeping panoramic view of its current location in the Yellowknife Bay region of the Red Planet's Gale Crater. The rover's flat, rocky perch, known as "John Klein", served as the site for Curiosity's first rock drilling activity. At the foot of the proud looking rover, a shallow drill test hole and a sample collection hole are 1.6 centimeters in diameter. The impressive mosaic was constructed using frames from the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Mastcam. Used to take in the panoramic landscape frames, the Mastcam is standing high above the rover's deck. But MAHLI, intended for close-up work, is mounted at the end of the rover's robotic arm. The MAHLI frames used to create Curiosity's self-portrait exclude sections that show the arm itself and so MAHLI and the robotic arm are not seen. Check out this spectacular interactive version of Curiosity's self-portrait panorama.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
23 February 2013

Chelyabinsk Meteor Flash
Image Credit & Copyright: Marat Ahmetvaleev
quote:
A meteoroid fell to Earth on February 15, streaking some 20 to 30 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia at 9:20am local time. Initially traveling at about 20 kilometers per second, its explosive deceleration after impact with the lower atmosphere created a flash brighter than the Sun. This picture of the brilliant bolide (and others of its persistent trail) was captured by photographer Marat Ametvaleev, surprised during his morning sunrise session creating panoramic images of the nearby frosty landscape. An estimated 500 kilotons of energy was released by the explosion of the 17 meter wide space rock with a mass of 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Actually expected to occur on average once every 100 years, the magnitude of the Chelyabinsk event is the largest known since the Tunguska impact in 1908.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
24 February 2013

M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy in Dust and Stars
Image Credit: N. Scoville (Caltech), T. Rector (U. Alaska, NOAO) et al., Hubble Heritage Team, NASA
quote:
The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. The above image is a digital combination of a ground-based image from the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and a space-based image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting sharp features normally too red to be seen. Anyone with a good pair of binoculars, however, can see this Whirlpool toward the constellation of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici. M51 is a spiral galaxy of type Sc and is the dominant member of a whole group of galaxies. Astronomers speculate that M51's spiral structure is primarily due to its gravitational interaction with a smaller galaxy just off the top of the image.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
25 February 2013

Fly Me to the Moons
Image Credit & Copyright: Greg Gibbs (Capturing the Night
quote:
Sometimes the Moon is a busy direction. Last week, for example, our very Moon passed in front of the planet Jupiter. While capturing this unusual spectacle from New South Wales, Australia, a quick-thinking astrophotographer realized that a nearby plane might itself pass in front of the Moon, and so quickly reset his camera to take a continuous series of short duration shots. As hoped, for a brief instant, that airplane, the Moon, and Jupiter were all visible in a single exposure, which is shown above. But the project was not complete -- a longer exposure was then taken to bring up three of the Jupiter's own moons: Io, Calisto, and Europa (from left to right). Unfortunately, this triple spectacle soon disappeared. Less than a second later, the plane flew away from the Moon. A few seconds after that, the Moon moved to cover all of Jupiter. A few minutes after that, Jupiter reappeared on the other side of the Moon, and even a few minutes after that the Moon moved completely away from Jupiter. Although hard to catch, planes cross in front of the Moon quite frequently, but the Moon won't eclipse Jupiter again for another three years.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
26 February 2013

Coronal Rain on the Sun
Video Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, SVS, GSFC, NASA; Music: Thunderbolt by Lars Leonhard
quote:
Does it rain on the Sun? Yes, although what falls is not water but extremely hot plasma. An example occurred in mid-July 2012 after an eruption on the Sun that produced both a Coronal Mass Ejection and a moderate solar flare. What was more unusual, however, was what happened next. Plasma in the nearby solar corona was imaged cooling and falling back, a phenomenon known as coronal rain. Because they are electrically charged, electrons, protons, and ions in the rain were gracefully channeled along existing magnetic loops near the Sun's surface, making the scene appear as a surreal three-dimensional sourceless waterfall. The resulting surprisingly-serene spectacle is shown in ultraviolet light and highlights matter glowing at a temperature of about 50,000 Kelvin. Each second in the above time lapse video takes about 6 minutes in real time, so that the entire coronal rain sequence lasted about 10 hours.
This video appears to have been removed



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
27 February 2013

Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand
Image Credit & Copyright: Witta Priester
quote:
What kind of clouds are these? Although their cause is presently unknown, such unusual atmospheric structures, as menacing as they might seem, do not appear to be harbingers of meteorological doom. Known informally as Undulatus asperatus clouds, they can be stunning in appearance, unusual in occurrence, are relatively unstudied, and have even been suggested as a new type of cloud. Whereas most low cloud decks are flat bottomed, asperatus clouds appear to have significant vertical structure underneath. Speculation therefore holds that asperatus clouds might be related to lenticular clouds that form near mountains, or mammatus clouds associated with thunderstorms, or perhaps a foehn wind -- a type of dry downward wind that flows off mountains. Such a wind called the Canterbury arch streams toward the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. The above image, taken above Hanmer Springs in Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2005, shows great detail partly because sunlight illuminates the undulating clouds from the side.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
28 February 2013

Snow Moon for a Snowy Planet
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand
quote:
The alarmingly tall inhabitants of this small, snowy planet cast long shadows in bright moonlight. Of course, the snowy planet is actually planet Earth and the wide-angle mosaic, shown as a little planet projection, was recorded on February 25 during the long northern night of the Full Snow Moon. The second brightest celestial beacon is Jupiter, on the right above the little planet's horizon. Lights near Östersund, Sweden glow along the horizon, surrounding the snow covered lake Storsjön. The photographer reports that the journey out onto the frozen lake by sled to capture the evocative Full Snow Moon scene was accompanied by ice sounds, biting cold, and a moonlit mist.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
1 March 2013

Colors of Mercury
Image Credit: NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington
quote:
The colors of the solar system's innermost planet are enhanced in this tantalizing view, based on global image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. Human eyes would not discern the clear color differences but they are real none the less, indicating distinct chemical, mineralogical, and physical regions across the cratered surface. Notable at the upper right, Mercury's large, circular, tan colored feature known as the Caloris basin was created by an impacting comet or asteroid during the solar system's early years. The ancient basin was subsequently flooded with lava from volcanic activity, analogous to the formation of the lunar maria. Color contrasts also make the light blue and white young crater rays, material blasted out by recent impacts, easy to follow as they extend across a darker blue, low reflectance terrain.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
2 March 2013

Miass River Sunrise
Image Credit & Copyright: Marat Ahmetvaleev
quote:
Each day on planet Earth can have a serene beginning at sunrise as the sky gently grows bright over a golden eastern horizon. This sunrise panorama seems to show such a moment on the winter morning of February 15. In the mist, a calm, mirror-like stretch of the Miass River flows through the foreground along a frosty landscape near Chelyabinsk, Russia. But the long cloud wafting through the blue sky above is the evolving persistent train of the Chelyabinsk Meteor. The vapor trail was left by the space rock that exploded over the city only 18 minutes earlier, causing extensive damage and injuring over 1,000 people. A well-documented event, the numerous webcam and dashcam video captures from the region soon contributed to a reconstruction of the meteor's trajectory and an initial orbit determination. Preliminary findings indicate the parent meteoriod belonged to the Apollo class of Earth crossing asteroids.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
3 March 2013

Grand Canyon Star Trails
Image Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)
quote:
One of the natural wonders of planet Earth, the Grand Canyon in the American southwest stretches across this early evening skyscape. The digitally stacked sequence reveals the canyon's layers of sedimentary rock in bright moonlight. Exposed sedimentary rock layers range in age from about 200 million to 2 billion years old, a window to history on a geological timescale. A recent study has found evidence that the canyon itself may have been carved by erosion as much as 70 million years ago. With the camera fixed to a tripod while Earth rotates, each star above carves a graceful arc through the night sky. The concentric arcs are centered on the north celestial pole, the extension of Earth's rotation axis into space, presently near the bright star Polaris.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
4 March 2013

IC 1805: The Heart Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Terry Hancock
quote:
Sprawling across almost 200 light-years, emission nebula IC 1805 is a mix of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds. Derived from its Valentine's-Day-approved shape, its nickname is the Heart Nebula. About 7,500 light-years away in the Perseus spiral arm of our galaxy, stars were born in IC 1805. In fact, near the cosmic heart's center are the massive hot stars of a newborn star cluster also known as Melotte 15, about 1.5 million years young. A little ironically, the Heart Nebula is located in the constellation of the mythical Queen of Aethiopia (Cassiopeia). This deep view of the region around the Heart Nebula spans about two degrees on the sky or about four times the diameter of the Full Moon.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
5 March 2013

Comets Lemmon and PanSTARRS Peaking
Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (ESO)
quote:
Two impressive comets will both reach their peak brightness during the next two weeks. Taking advantage of a rare imaging opportunity, both of these comets were captured in the sky together last week over the Atacama desert in South America. Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), visible on the upper left of the above image, is sporting a long tail dominated by glowing green ions. Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), visible near the horizon on the lower right, is showing a bright tail dominated by dust reflecting sunlight. The tails of both comets point approximately toward the recently set Sun. Comet Lemmon will be just barely visible to the unaided eye before sunset in southern skies for the next week, and then best viewed with binoculars as it fades and moves slowly north. Comet PanSTARRS, however, will remain visible in southern skies for only a few more days, after which it will remain bright enough to be locatable with the unaided eye as it moves into northern skies. To find the giant melting snowball PanSTARRS, sky enthusiasts should look toward the western horizon just after sunset. Deep sky observers are also monitoring the brightening of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), which may become one of the brightest objects in the entire night sky toward the end of 2013.





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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
6 March 2013

Tardigrade in Moss
Image Credit & Copyright: Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes / Eye of Science / Science Source Images
quote:
Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That's because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations. The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent. Some of these miniature water-bears almost became extraterrestrials recently when they were launched toward to the Martian moon Phobos on board the Russian mission Fobos-Grunt, but stayed terrestrial when a rocket failed and the capsule remained in Earth orbit. Tardigrades are more common than humans across most of the Earth. Pictured above in a color-enhanced electron micrograph, a millimeter-long tardigrade crawls on moss.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
7 March 2013

Thor's Helmet
Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Rusterholz (CXIELO Observatory)
quote:
This helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages is popularly called Thor's Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor's Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is actually more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble's center sweeps through a surrounding molecular cloud. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the nebula is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. The sharp image, made using broadband and narrowband filters, captures striking details of the nebula's filamentary structures. It shows off a blue-green color from strong emission due to oxygen atoms in the glowing gas.



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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 39yrs • F •
8 March 2013

Looking Through Abell 68
Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage/ESA-Hubble Collaboration - Acknowledgment: Nick Rose
quote:
Want to use a cluster of galaxies as a telescope? It's easier than you might think as distant galaxy clusters naturally act as strong gravitional lenses. In accordance with Einstein's theory of general relativity, the cluster gravitational mass, dominated by dark matter, bends light and creates magnified, distorted images of even more distant background galaxies. This sharp infrared Hubble image illustrates the case for galaxy cluster Abell 68 as a gravitational telescope, explored by amateur astronomer Nick Rose during the ESA-Hubble Hidden Treasures image processing competition. Putting your cursor over the picture will label highlights in the scene. Labels 1 and 2 show two lensed images of the same background galaxy. The distorted galaxy image labeled 2 resembles a vintage space invader! Label 3 marks a cluster member galaxy, not gravitationally lensed, stripped of its own gas as it plows through the denser intergalactic medium. Label 4 includes many background galaxies imaged as elongated streaks and arcs. Abell 68 itself is some 2.1 billion light-years distant toward the constellation Vulpecula. The central region of the cluster covered in the Hubble view spans over 1.2 million light-years.





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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Astronomy Picture Of The Day - Page 13
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