Rose-Colored Jupiter: Our Juno spacecraft captured this close-up view from February 7 of a storm with bright cloud tops in the northern hemisphere of Jupiter.
Taken during the 11th close flyby of the gas giant planet, the spacecraft was 7,578 miles (12,195 kilometers) from the tops of Jupiter’s clouds. Citizen scientist Matt Brealey processed the image using data from the JunoCam imager. Citizen scientist Gustavo B C then adjusted colors and embossed Matt Brealey's processing of this storm.
Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Matt Brealey/Gustavo B C #nasa#space#juno#jupiter#gasgiant#planet#clouds#swirling#pattern#solarsystem#science#spacecraft#pictureoftheday#astronomy#storm
A crab walks through time - this new composite image of the Crab Nebula uses data from our Hubble (@NASAHubble), Chandra (@chandraxray) and Spitzer space telescopes and gives new insights to this celestial object. We've learned a lot over the years about this intriguing exploded star and its pulsating core. It was one of the first objects that our Chandra X-Ray Observatory examined with its sharp X-ray vision, and it has been a frequent target of the telescope ever since.
There are many reasons that the Crab Nebula is such a well-studied object. For example, it is one of a handful of cases where there is strong historical evidence for when the star exploded. Having this definitive timeline helps astronomers understand the details of the explosion and its aftermath.
In the case of the Crab, observers in several countries reported the appearance of a “new star” in 1054 A.D. in the direction of the constellation Taurus. Much has been learned about the Crab in the centuries since then. Today, astronomers know that the Crab Nebula is powered by a quickly spinning, highly magnetized neutron star called a pulsar, which was formed when a massive star ran out of its nuclear fuel and collapsed.
The latest image of the Crab is a composite with X-rays from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (blue and white), Hubble Space Telescope (purple) and Spitzer Space Telescope (pink). The extent of the X-rays in this image is smaller than the others because extremely energetic electrons emitting X-rays radiate away their energy more quickly than the lower-energy electrons emitting optical and infrared light.
Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA-JPL-Caltech #crabnebula#chandra#hubble#spitzer#telescope#astronomy#xray#nebula#space#nasa#astronomy#science#picoftheday#pictureoftheday
Have you seen STEVE? Glowing in purple & green colors, a new celestial phenomenon, known as STEVE, is caused by charged particles from the Sun colliding with Earth's magnetic field.
The display was initially discovered by a group of citizen scientists who took pictures of the unusual lights and playfully named them "Steve." Scientists have since learned more about the purples and greens, and have given it a more accurate name: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, which can still can be shortened to STEVE.
A citizen science project called Aurorasaurus, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation (@nsfgov), wants your help gathering photos so they can learn more about this mysterious phenomenon. Aurorasaurus tracks appearances of auroras — and now STEVE — around the world through users submitting reports and photographs directly on its mobile app and on aurorasaurus.org.
There's always pi! Craters can tell scientists a lot about the surfaces of planets, moons and other bodies. Just by determining how circular a given crater is – using pi and the crater’s perimeter and area – planetary geologists can reveal clues about how the crater was formed and the surface that was impacted.
Each year across the globe, people celebrate Pi Day. On March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format), since 3, 1, and 4, or 3.14, are the first three significant digits of π, we sing the praises of this mathematical constant. Here at NASA, whether it's sending spacecraft to other planets, driving rovers on Mars, finding out what planets are made of or how deep alien oceans are, pi takes us far. Happy Pi Day!
The March morning sky offers some dazzling views of Mars and Saturn all month long. Through a telescope, you can almost make out some of the surface features on the Red Planet.
Look a little farther into Mars’ future and circle May 5 on your calendars – that’s when our InSight lander will launch to the Red Planet on a 6 month journey. During that time, Mars will be easily visible in the sky.
Keep watching Mars as it travels closer to Earth. It will be closest in late July, when the Red Planet will appear larger in apparent diameter than it has since 2003.
Credit: NASA #credit#nasa#space#astronomy#whatsup#nightsky#sky#stargazing#solarsystem#universe#planets#stars#moon#mars#insight#lander#journey
Imprints on the surface of Mars reveal a history of flowing water. In this Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image, old stream channels, possibly more resistant to erosion because of their composition, now stand above fan-shaped deposits, each affirming the Red Planet's complex geologic past.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
This view of Saturn’s dramatic, icy moon Dione, aptly named for a Titaness in Greek mythology, was eyed by our Cassini spacecraft on July 23, 2012 at a distance of approximately 260,000 miles.
Dione, measuring about 698 miles across, has a density that suggests that almost a third of the moon is made up of a solid core (probably silicate rock) with the remainder of its material being water ice. At Dione's average temperature of -304 degrees Fahrenheit, ice is so hard it behaves like rock.
Astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini discovered Dione (1684) and three of Saturn’s other moons — lapetus (1671), Rhea (1672) and Tethys — as well as the large gap in Saturn's rings, now called the Cassini division. His namesake, our Cassini spacecraft, ended its more than 13 years exploring his findings and making many more with a dive into Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017.
This enchanting, star-studded galaxy captured by our Hubble telescope (@NASAHubble) lies about 65 million light-years away from Earth, which means that the light that we see now left it 65 million years ago, just when dinosaurs became extinct.
This galaxy has had its fair share of dramatic events. In 2011, astronomers observed the explosion of a supernova in the galaxy (not visible in this image) and have observed many pulsating stars called Cepheid variables. These stars change their brightness at a rate matched closely to their intrinsic luminosity, making them ideal cosmic points for measuring accurate distances to relatively nearby galaxies.
What a view! Before its graceful farewell, our Cassini spacecraft offered us a virtual window seat to different worlds.
This image shows a "passenger perspective” of luminous Saturn & its signature rings through a haze of Sun glare on the camera lens. If you could travel to Saturn in person and look out the window of your spacecraft when the Sun was at a certain angle, you might see a view very similar to this one. It was taken during a June 23, 2013 flyby from ~491,200 miles away.
Water is crucial for life, but how do you make water?
A molecular cloud is an interstellar cloud of dust, gas, and a variety of molecules. Molecular clouds hold most of the water in the universe, and serve as nurseries for newborn stars and their planets. Within these clouds, on the surfaces of tiny dust grains, hydrogen atoms link with oxygen to form water. Carbon joins with hydrogen to make methane. Nitrogen bonds with hydrogen to create ammonia. All of these molecules stick to the surface of dust specks, accumulating icy layers over millions of years. The result is a vast collection of “snowflakes” that are swept up by infant planets, delivering materials needed for life as we know it.
Once launched, our Webb Space Telescope (@nasawebb) will peer into these cosmic clouds of dust, gas and molecules to gain new insights into the origin and evolution of water and other key building blocks for habitable planets.
Pictured here is blue light from a newborn star lighting up the reflection nebula IC 2631. This nebula is part of the Chamaeleon star-forming region, which Webb Space Telescope will study to learn more about the formation of water and other cosmic ices.
This galaxy – composed of a busy cloud of bright stars – has an irregular and chaotic appearance, as seen here by our Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble). Roughly 25 million light-years away, this galaxy contains bright pockets that indicate bursts of new star formation.
It is thought that irregular galaxies may once have been spirals or ellipticals, but became distorted over time through external gravitational forces during interactions or mergers with other galaxies. Dwarf irregulars in particular are important to our overall understanding of galactic evolution, as they are thought to be similar to the first galaxies that formed in the universe.
With unearthly jet-streams, many massive swirling cyclones and winds running deep into its atmosphere - new data from our Juno Mission to Jupiter unveils discoveries and clues about the gas-giant planet.
This composite image, derived from data collected by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard our Juno spacecraft, shows the central cyclone at the planet's north pole and the eight cyclones that encircle it.
However, as tightly spaced as the cyclones are, they have remained distinct, with individual morphologies over the seven months of observations. The question is, why do they not merge? We are beginning to realize that not all gas giants are created equal.