Liftoff of science and supplies! This morning at 10:36 a.m. EST, a SpaceX #Dragon cargo spacecraft left Earth carrying more than 4,800 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the International Space Station (@iss). This super science-heavy flight will deliver experiments and equipment that will study phenomena on the Sun, materials in microgravity, space junk and more.
NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Dragon when it arrives at the station early Sunday morning.
Welcome to Earth! Three people landed back on planet Earth this morning after spending more than four months in space. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade), European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy landed in their Soyuz spacecraft in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 at 3:37 a.m. EST.
Together, the crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, as well as Earth and other physical sciences aboard the International Space Station (@iss). Their time aboard marked the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment of the International Space Station from three to four, allowing us to maximize time dedicated to research on the station.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls #nasa#space#spacecraft#touchdown#landing#astronauts#crew#earth#home#return#souyz#microgravity#laboratory#trip#travel#esa#roscosmos#planetearth#science
Did you know that stellar explosions and their remains -- “supernova remnants” -- are a source of chemical elements essential for life here on Earth? A new Chandra X-ray Observatory image captures the location of several vital elements like silicon (red), sulfur (yellow), calcium (green) and iron (purple), located on Cassiopeia A -- a supernova remnant ~11,000 light years from Earth.
Chandra’s sharp X-ray vision allows astronomers to gather detailed information about the elements that objects like Cas A produce. For example, they are not only able to identify many of the elements that are present, but how much of each are being expelled into interstellar space.
Oxygen is the most abundant element in the human body (about 65% by mass), calcium helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, and iron is a vital part of red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body. All of the oxygen in the Solar System comes from exploding massive stars. About half of the calcium and about 40% of the iron also come from these explosions, with the balance of these elements being supplied by explosions of smaller mass, white dwarf stars.
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO #nasa#space#chandra#supernova#explosion#remnants#oxygen#carbon#chemical#elements#beautiful#pictureoftheday#picoftheday#universe#solarsystem#calcium#stars#earth#xray#observatory#astronomy#astronomers
Don’t be fooled! The cosmic swirl of stars in this Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) image may seem tranquil and unassuming, but this spiral galaxy actually displays some explosive tendencies.
In October of 2011, a cataclysmic burst of high-energy gamma-ray radiation — known as a gamma-ray burst — was detected coming from the region of sky containing this galaxy. Astronomers believe that the galaxy was the host of the burst, given that the chance of a coincidental alignment between the two is roughly 1 in 10 million. At a distance of around 185 million light-years from Earth, it was the second-closest gamma-ray burst ever detected.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasa#space#hubble#spothubble#galaxy#spiral#astrophysics#solarsystem#universe#stars#formation#picoftheday#photooftheday#science#astronomy#beautiful
Heads-up, Earthlings! The annual Geminid meteor shower has arrived, peaking overnight Dec. 13-14. It's a good time to bundle up! Then, go outside and let the universe blow your mind!
The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth's atmosphere in a flurry of "shooting stars." The Geminids can be seen with the naked eye under clear, dark skies over most of the world, though the best view is from the Northern Hemisphere. Observers will see fewer Geminids in the Southern Hemisphere, where the radiant doesn't climb very high over the horizon.
Skywatching is easy. Just get away from bright lights and look up in any direction! Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. Meteors appear all over the sky.
As massive wildfires continue to rage in southern California, our satellites, people in space and aircraft are keeping an eye on the blazes from above. This data and imagery not only gives us a better view of the activity, but also helps first responders plan their course of action.
A prolonged spell of dry weather primed the area for major fires. Powerful Santa Ana winds fanned the flames and forecasters with the LA office of the National Weather Service warned that the region is in the midst of its strongest and longest Santa Ana wind event of the year. These winds are hot, dry and ferocious. They can whip a small brush fire into a raging inferno in just hours.
A spectacular spacecraft departure. At 8:11 a.m. EST this morning, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle was released from the International Space Station (@iss). Cygnus is currently filled with more than 6,200 pounds of trash and other items that will burn up over the Pacific Ocean as the spacecraft re-enters Earth’s atmosphere on Dec. 18. Today, before its re-entry later this month, Cygnus will deploy 14 CubeSats to conduct science.
Cygnus arrived at the space station on Nov. 14 and delivered almost 7,400 pounds of science and supplies to the crew onboard. These experiments included studies in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.
Credit: NASA/@AstroKomrade #nasa#space#spacestation#orbitalatk#cygnus#spacecraft#cargo#supplies#science#cubesats#reentry#earth#orbit#deliver#depart#canadarm2#roboticarm
The six people living and working in space had a front row seat from the International Space Station (@iss) during yesterday’s #supermoon. This image, captured by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) shows off their unique vantage point from 250 miles above our home planet.
A supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest to Earth at the same time it is full. Two other supermoons will take the celestial stage on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. To learn more about our Moon, explore historic landing sites and discover its wondrous features, visit moon.nasa.gov.
Credit: NASA/@AstroKomrade #nasa#space#moon#supermoon#spacestation#astronauts#science#fullmoon#earth#solarsystem#astronomy
Space station supermoon. This composite image made from six frames shows the International Space Station (@iss), with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Moon at roughly five miles per second on Dec. 2. The microgravity laboratory orbits our planet at 17,500 mph and is home to important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into the solar system than ever before.
This Moon also happens to be a supermoon, which is when a full Moon is also at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth.
Jupiter, you’re bluetiful ! Churning swirls of Jupiter’s clouds are seen in striking shades of blue in this new view taken by our Juno spacecraft (@NASAJuno). The color-enhanced image was taken when the spacecraft was only 11,747 miles from the tops of the planet’s clouds.
This color-enhanced image, which captures a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, was taken on Oct. 24 when Juno was performing its ninth close flyby of the gas giant planet.
Because of the Juno-Jupiter-Sun angle when the spacecraft captured this image, the higher-altitude clouds can be seen casting shadows on their surroundings. The behavior is most easily observable in the whitest regions in the image, but also in a few isolated spots in both the bottom and right areas of the image.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/ Seán Doran #nasa#space#art#science#juno#jupiter#planet#gasgiant#solarsystem#spacecraft#picoftheday#swirls#blue#beautiful
An office with a view…this video, captured by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, shows off the spectacular view during a recent spacewalk. He posted the footage on social media saying: “Sometimes on a #spacewalk, you just have to take a moment to enjoy the beauty of our planet Earth.
This Go-Pro footage is from our spacewalk where Joe Acaba and I refurbished the Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Dextre robotic arm extension.” Currently, six humans are living and working on the International Space Station (@iss), which orbits our planet at 17,500 mph. Located 250 miles above Earth, the crew conducts important science and research that will help send us deeper into the solar system than ever before.
Credit: NASA/@AstroKomrade #nasa#space#spacestation#science#gopro#spacewalk#earth#crew#view#repair#astronauts#spacesuit
Don’t worry, that’s not a shoebox being ejected from the International Space Station (@iss). But…it is a shoebox-sized satellite that will study space weather and was designed to show how reliable CubeSats can be.
Small satellites like these provide a cost-effective and reliable method of gathering highly robust science. Dellingr, named after the mythological Norse god of the dawn, was designed to not only demonstrate the vigor of its design, but also gather high-quality data about the Sun’s influence on Earth’s upper atmosphere using a suite of miniaturized instruments and components.
Credit: Nanoracks/Larry Kepko #nasa#space#science#spacestation#smallsat#cubesat#satellite#earth#research#sun#spaceweather#weather
An epic journey to Saturn. These two images (swipe to see both!) illustrate just how far our Cassini spacecraft traveled to get to the ringed planet. The first image, taken in 2001, was acquired at a distance of approximately 317 million miles from Saturn during the long voyage from the inner solar system. The second image was taken just one day before the mission’s end, and shows the site where Cassini would enter the planet’s atmosphere.
The first image looks toward Saturn in wavelengths of infrared light, while the second image was taken in visible light.
The Cassini spacecraft ended its more than 13 years at Saturn with a dive into the planet’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute #nasa#space#science#cassini#saturn#planets#planet#solarsystem#distance#voyage#journey#picoftheday#miles#exploration#discovery#rings#astronomy
We’re closing out our #BlackHoleFriday with a black hole that’s close to home, on a cosmic scale. At the center of our own Milky Way galaxy lies a supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A*. Located about 26,000 light years from Earth, this black hole contains around 4.5 million times the mass of our Sun!
Once a controversial claim, this astounding conclusion is now virtually inescapable and based on observations of stars orbiting very near the galactic center. Astronomers patiently followed the orbit of a particular star. Their results showed that the star was moving under the influence of the enormous gravity of an unseen object which must be extremely compact, and contain huge amounts of matter – a supermassive black hole.
This Chandra X-ray telescope image shows the X-ray light from a region of space a few light years across. The black hole is invisible, but is near the center of this image. The gas near the center produces X-ray light as it is heated. Many of the ‘stars’ in the field probably have much smaller black holes near them that are producing the X-ray light from the gas they are consuming.
Thanks for joining us for our 5th annual #BlackHoleFriday!
Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/Frederick K. Baganoff et al. #nasa#space#blackhole#chandra#galaxy#milkyway#sagittariusa#lightyears#observations#telescope#xray#blackfriday
What happens when two supermassive black holes collide? Until last year, we weren’t quite sure. Gravitational waves!
Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time originally predicted by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago, but confirmed for the first time in 2016 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). To date, LIGO has made four detections of gravitational waves emanating from the mergers of black holes. Einstein pictured these waves as ripples in the fabric of space-time produced by massive, accelerating bodies, such as black holes orbiting each other.
Credit: SXS #nasa#space#gravitationalwaves#gravity#spacetime#einstein#waves#ripples#blackfriday#blackholes#blackhole#blackholefriday#collide
Do the #BlackFriday lines suck? We’re asking the same question about black holes...why do they suck...or do they?
There are many cultural myths concerning black holes. They have been portrayed as time-traveling tunnels to another dimension, or as cosmic vacuum cleaners sucking up everything in sight. Black holes are really just the evolutionary end points of massive stars. At a distance, black holes really don’t have more gravity than normal objects, so at a distance they really won’t suck things in any more than a normal object at the same mass.
Credit: NASA/Dana Berry/Sky Works Digital #nasa#space#blackfriday#blackholefriday#friday#blackhole#blackholes#light#star#explosion#mass#annual#facts
Devouring the crazy #BlackFriday deals? This supermassive black hole is devouring a glowing stream of material from a star! Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects. When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole, the stellar material gets stretched and compressed -- or “spaghettified” -- as the black hole swallows it.
A black hole destroying a star, an event called “stellar tidal disruption,” releases an enormous amount of energy, brightening the surroundings in an event called a flare. Thanks to our Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), we now have new insights into these flares.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech #nasa#space#blackhole#blackholefriday#friday#blackhole#blackholes#light#star#explosion#mass#annual#facts#wise#stellar#tidal#disruption
It’s #BlackFriday, but we don’t do much shopping in space. Instead, join us for our 5th annual #BlackHoleFriday where we’ll share awesome images and facts about black holes! A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out.
The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. Black holes are formed when giant stars explode at the end of their lifecycle. If the star has enough mass, it will collapse on itself down to a very small size. Because no light can get out, people cannot see black holes...they’re invisible! Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes by seeing how stars that are very close to them act differently than other stars.
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#blackfriday#blackholefriday#friday#blackhole#blackholes#light#star#explosion#mass#annual#facts
Happy Thanksgiving from space! This timelapse video from 2015 shows what a family dinner looks like 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station (@iss). While the crew living and working in space aren’t able to step outside to fire up the turkey frier, they do have the option to float on the ceiling while they eat their mashed potatoes.
Currently, there are six people living and working on the space station. During their time on the microgravity laboratory they are conducting important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will also help us send humans deeper into space than ever before.
Today, we’re thankful to live on the only known planet capable of supporting and nourishing life as we know it. Happy Thanksgiving!
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#thanksgiving#happythanksgiving#dinner#family#familydinner#friends#meal#thankful#grateful#earth#spacestation#astronauts#internationalspacestation
A developing filament near the edge of the Sun churned and twisted as the rotating Sun brought it into clearer view Nov. 16-17. Filaments are cooler and often unstable clouds of particles floating above the Sun’s surface, which are tethered by magnetic forces.
In extreme ultraviolet light, they appear darker than the Sun’s surface. The bright area to the right of the filament is an active region. The loop that appears behind the filament in the middle of the clip is made of charged particles tracing magnetic field lines.
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#sun#sdo#solardynamicsobservatory#solarobservatory#observatory#solar#churn#twist#filaments#active#solarsystem#star
An interstellar visitor…scientists have confirmed that an intriguing asteroid that zipped through our solar system in October is the first confirmed object from another star! New data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. Observations suggest that this unusual object had been wandering through the Milky Way, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system.
The asteroid is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated—perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed.
Two of our space telescopes (@NASAHubble and Spitzer) are tracking the object the week of Nov. 20. As of Monday, the asteroid is travelling about 85,700 miles per hour (38.3 kilometers per second) relative to the Sun.
Credit: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser #nasa#space#interstellar#rocky#asteroid#solarsystem#milkyway#discovery#firstever#first#picoftheday#scientists
See that swirling cloud that looks like cream in coffee? It’s actually a massive, raging storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. The bright clouds and their shadows range from approximately 4 to 8 miles in both widths and lengths. These appear similar to the small clouds in the other bright regions our Juno spacecraft (@NASAJuno) has detected and are expcted to be updrafts of ammonia ice crystals possibly mixed with water ice.
This image was captured on Oct. 24 at 10:32 a.m. EDT by our Juno spacecraft during its ninth close flyby of the gas giant planet.
The 3rd time was a charm for @NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1)! It lifted off on a @Ulalaunch Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 4:47 a.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Approximately 63 minutes after launch, the solar arrays on JPSS-1 deployed and the spacecraft was operating on its own power and was on its own orbit.
JPSS-1 is equipped with five instruments, each of which is significantly upgraded from the instruments on NOAA’s previous polar-orbiting satellites. The more-detailed observations provided by JPSS-1 will allow forecasters to make more accurate predictions. JPSS-1 data will also improve recognition of climate patterns that influence the weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.
The JPSS program is a partnership between NOAA and NASA.
Credit: @ULALaunch #nasa#spacecraft#satellite#jpss1#weather#liftoff#launch#rocket#orbit#space#rocketlaunch
A cosmic search for a missing arm… This image shows a dwarf galaxy, located about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). Taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble), the picture reveals the single major spiral arm of the galaxy, which gives it an asymmetric appearance.
But why is there only one such spiral arm, when spiral galaxies normally have at least two? Observations in the ultraviolet provided the first hint: in ultraviolet light the disk of the galaxy appears four times larger than on the image depicted here. An indication that there are a large number of very young and hot stars forming in the outer regions of the galaxy – only visible in the ultraviolet.
At first, astronomers assumed that this high star formation rate was being triggered by the interaction with another, nearby dwarf galaxy. They speculated this galactic neighbor may be the culprit, causing it to lose all but one spiral arm. In 2004 astronomers found proof for this claim. The gas in the outermost regions of the neighboring dwarf galaxy has been strongly affected by the galaxy in this image.
Can you identify this river? This image, taken by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei shows the beauty of planet Earth from his unique vantage point on the International Space Station (@iss). He posted this to social media saying, “Can you identify this river? The views up here never get old, especially sun glinting off the water!”. Currently, there are six humans living and working on the orbiting laboratory where they conduct important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us send humans deeper into the solar system than ever before.
One of eight massive rotating storms that appear as white ovals, christened the "String of Pearls," was recently captured on Oct. 24 in this stunning Juno spacecraft image of Jupiter. It shows the southern hemisphere of the gas giant planet. Since 1986, these colossal white ovals have varied in number from six to nine.
Since arriving at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, Juno has been on a mission of exploration where it soars low over the planet's cloud tops -- as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 km). During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/ Seán Doran #nasa#space#jupiter#juno#spacecraft#storm#planet#cloudscape#stringofpearls#solarsystem#astronomy#science