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From 250 miles above Earth, orbiting the planet at 17,500 mph aboard the International Space Station (@iss), astronaut Ricky Arnold (@Astro_Ricky) captured this photograph of changing landscape in the heart of Madagascar. You can see drainage into the sea in the Betsiboka Estuary due to decimation of rainforests and coastal mangroves.
Currently six humans are living and working on the orbiting lab, where important research and science is being conducted. Benefits of this work will not only advance life here on Earth, but will also help our efforts to send people deeper into the solar system than ever before.
Glowing warmly against the dark backdrop of the universe, this irregular galaxy seen by our Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) contains bright pockets of star formation. Located approximately 70 million light-years away, it’s host to a particularly interesting exploded star, also known as a supernova.
In November 2008, 14-year-old Caroline Moore from New York discovered this supernova, which made her the youngest person at the time to have discovered one. Follow-up observations by professional astronomers showed that it was peculiarly interesting in many different ways.
First, its host galaxy rarely produces supernovae. It is also one of the faintest supernovae ever observed and after the explosion it expanded very slowly, suggesting that the explosion did not release copious amounts of energy as usually expected. Astronomers have now classified it as a subclass of a Type Ia supernova, which is the explosion of a white dwarf that hungrily accretes matter from a companion star. It may have may have been the result of a partially failed supernova, explaining why the explosion failed to decimate the whole star.
A room with Earth views! Earlier this week, astronaut Ricky Arnold (@astro_ricky) captured this spectacular view of our home planet while he was orbiting at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour. If you’re wondering where in the world this video was taken, it starts as the International Space Station (@ISS) is above San Francisco and moving southward through the Americas. Each day, the station completes 16 orbits of our home planet as the six humans living and working aboard our orbiting laboratory conduct important science and research. Their work will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into space than ever before.
This animation shows a supermassive black hole billions of times the mass of the Sun. This particular black hole anchors a type of galaxy called a blazar, which produces two jets of particles moving at nearly the speed of light — one of which points almost directly at Earth.
On September 22, our Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope saw a powerful flare of high-energy light from this blazar. At the same time, the National Science Foundation’s (@nsfgov) IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole detected a neutrino — a high-energy cosmic particle — from the same direction.
The neutrino was the first we’ve ever detected from a source outside our galactic neighborhood, and this discovery is also the first time we’ve seen light and a neutrino from the same black hole source. Fermi and IceCube’s work represents a new chapter in multimessenger astronomy – viewing the same event using different messengers like light, particles and gravitational waves. #nasa#space#science#astronomy#blackhole#galaxy#light#particles#gammaray#blazar#neutrino
Did you know that craters left by asteroids that previously impacted Earth can be seen from space? NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (@Astro_Ricky) snapped these images from his vantage point 250 miles above our planet on the International Space Station (@iss). He posted them to his social media accounts saying, “Visitors from deep space have visited Earth before and will again. Impact craters in #Quebec#Namibia#Arizona.” Six humans are currently orbiting Earth at 17,500 mph as they live and work on the orbiting laboratory. During their time in space, they conduct important science and research that not only benefits life here at home, but will also help send humans deeper into the solar system than ever before.
Credit: @Astro_Ricky #nasa#space#asteroid#crater#spacestation#impact#deepspace#imageoftheday#beatuiful#astronaut#photography
How did Uranus get tilted so much that it spins on its side? This question has made many a scientist wonder. New research looking back at the planet’s early formation points to a young proto-planet of rock and ice colliding with Uranus, causing its extreme tilt. Instead of rotating like a top spinning nearly upright, as Earth does, the planet “rolls” on its side as it circles the Sun.
While it is the butt of many jokes, Uranus is actually a fascinating world to study. It is about four times wider than Earth orbiting our Sun at a distance of about 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion kilometers). Uranus takes about 17 hours to rotate once (a Uranian day), and about 84 Earth years to complete an orbit of the Sun (a Uranian year). Uranus has 27 known moons, and they are named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. With 13 known rings, we've seen that the inner rings are narrow and dark and the outer rings are brightly colored.
A new study using data from our NuSTAR space telescope suggests that Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years, is accelerating particles to high energies — some of which may reach Earth as cosmic rays, subatomic particles from outside our planet’s atmosphere.
Eta Carinae's great eruption in the 1840s created the billowing Homunculus Nebula, imaged here by our Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble). Now about a light-year long, the expanding cloud contains enough material to make at least 10 copies of our Sun. Astronomers cannot yet explain what caused this eruption.
Credit: NASA/@EuropeanSpaceAgency/@NASAHubble/SM4 ERO Team
A treasure trove of wonders! With bright stars from the Milky Way sparkling in the foreground to the magnificent swirls of several spiral galaxies and a glowing assortment of objects at the center, take a look at all that makes up this massive galaxy cluster in this new image from the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble). Such clusters are the biggest objects in the universe that are held together by gravity and can contain thousands of galaxies of all shapes and sizes. Typically, they have a mass of about one million billion times the mass of the Sun — unimaginably huge! Their incredible mass makes clusters very useful natural tools to test theories in astronomy, such as Einstein’s theory of general relativity. This tells us that objects with mass warp the fabric of space-time around them; the more massive the object, the greater the distortion. An enormous galaxy cluster like this one therefore has a huge influence on the space-time around it, even distorting the light from more distant galaxies to change a galaxy’s apparent shape, creating multiple images, and amplifying the galaxy’s light — a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.
Happy Independence Day, America! With red, white and blue LED lights to mark the occasion, the Advanced Plant Habitat is one subtle way our astronauts can celebrate the holiday aboard the orbiting laboratory.
So far, this recent addition to the International Space Station (@ISS) has been used to grow and study Arabidopsis, small flowering plants related to cabbage and mustard, and Dwarf Wheat.
Because gravity is a constant downward force on Earth, researchers take advantage of the microgravity environment of the space station to achieve a clearer perspective of plant growth habits. Gravity is one of the major cues plants use to guide their growth, but microgravity can act as a kind of mute button that suppresses the role of gravity, enabling researchers to see what other cues take charge. A monitoring system equipped with 180 sensors, including water usage, carbon dioxide levels, light levels, temperature, humidity and oxygen in the growth chamber, and temperature, humidity and oxygen levels in the plant root systems, allows us to constantly analyze how plants grow in space.
Celestial Fireworks! Like a Fourth of July fireworks display, this glittering collection of stars located 20,000 light-years away from Earth looks like a red, white & blue aerial burst.
Spotted in 2009 by our @NASAHubble Space Telescope as colorful and serene sight, this environment is anything but that! Ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds have blown out an enormous cavity in the gas and dust enveloping the cluster of huge, hot stars. Most of the stars in the cluster were born around the same time but differ in size, mass, temperature and color.
The course of a star's life is determined by its mass, so a cluster of a given age will contain stars in various stages of their lives, giving an opportunity for detailed analyses of stellar life cycles. The cluster seen here contains some of the most massive stars known. These huge stars live fast and die young, burning through their hydrogen fuel quickly and ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions.
Star clusters provide astronomers with important clues to understand the origin of massive star formation in the early, distant universe.
Capturing a #Dragon! While the International Space Station (@ISS) was traveling more than 250 miles over the Earth, astronauts Ricky Arnold (@Astro_Ricky) and Drew Feustel (@Astro_Feustel) captured SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft this morning using the space station’s #Canadarm2 robotic arm. Following that, SpaceX's #Dragon cargo craft was bolted into place and is now attached to the International Space Station where it will be for the next month delivering more than 5,900 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.
Astronaut Ricky Arnold (@Astro_Ricky) shared this view of the Dragon cargo spacecraft as it traversed Italy en route to the space station earlier today.