Look up in the sky tonight and see Saturn!
This month Saturn is the only prominent evening planet low in the southwest sky. Look for it near the constellation Sagittarius. Above and below Saturn--from a dark sky--you can't miss the summer Milky Way spanning the sky from northeast to southwest!
Grab a pair of binoculars and scan the teapot-shaped Sagittarius, where stars and some brighter clumps appear as steam from the teapot. Those bright clumps are near the center of our galaxy, which is full of gas, dust and stars.
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#astronomy#september#whatsup#night#nightsky#stars#stargazing#saturn#planet
Far, far away…55 million light-years to be exact, lies this galaxy containing a massive star-forming cloud. This large cloud composed of ionized hydrogen is the only massive star-forming complex in the entire galaxy.
Imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble), this barred spiral galaxy is famous for containing an especially extensive HII region, a large cloud composed of ionized hydrogen (or HII, pronounced “H=two,” with H being the chemical symbol for hydrogen and the “II” indicating that the atoms have lost an electron to become ionized). This cloud sits at the lower left end of the galaxy’s central “bar” of stars, a structure that cuts through the galactic core and funnels material inwards to maintain the star formation occurring there.
After two decades in space, our Cassini spacecraft has ended its journey of exploration. Having expended almost every bit of the rocket propellant it carried to Saturn, operators deliberately plunged Cassini into the planet to ensure Saturn's moons will remain pristine for future exploration—in particular, the ice-covered, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus, but also Titan, with its intriguing pre-biotic chemistry.
Swipe to explore some of Cassini’s final images that were sent to Earth in the hours before its final plunge. As the spacecraft made its fateful dive into the planet's atmosphere, it sent home additional data in real time. Key measurements came from its mass spectrometer, which sampled Saturn's atmosphere, telling us about its composition until contact was lost.
While it's always sad when a mission comes to an end, Cassini's finale plunge is a truly spectacular end for one of the most scientifically rich voyages yet undertaken in our solar system. To truly reveal the wonders of Saturn, we had to go there.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute #NASA#Cassini#GrandFinale#GoodbyeCassini#space#science#photography#astronomy#picoftheday
Get up close and see Jupiter in this new series of enhanced-color images from our Juno spacecraft. It recently performed its eighth flyby of the gas giant planet and captured this sequence of images taken on Sept. 1 from 6:03 p.m. to 6:11 p.m. EDT. At the times the images were taken, the spacecraft ranged from 7,545 to 14,234 miles (12,143 to 22,908 km) from the tops of the clouds of the planet.
Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. Juno is working to unlock Jupiter's secrets, increasing our understanding of the origin and evolution of the planet. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.
LIFTOFF! NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, left Earth at 5:17 p.m. EDT to head toward the International Space Station (@iss) for a five-month stay. They will arrive at their new home in space at 10:57 p.m.
There are currently three people living on the space station, soon to be joined by the three crew members that launched today. While living on this unique orbiting platform, they conduct important research and science that will not only help us travel deeper into space, but also benefits life here on Earth.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls #nasa#space#spacestation#liftoff#launch#rocket#crew#astronaut#spacecraft#orbit#earth#research#science
Like firecrackers lighting up the sky on New Year’s Eve, the majestic spiral arms of this galaxy are alight with new stars being born. The Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) saw this spiral galaxy, NGC 5559, with spiral arms filled with gas and dust sweeping out around the bright galactic bulge. These arms are a rich environment for star formation, dotted with a festive array of colors including the newborn stars glowing blue as a result of their immensely high temperatures.
NGC 5559 was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1785 and lies approximately 240 million light-years away in the northern constellation of Boötes (the herdsman). Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Astronaut Randy 'Komrade' Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) shared this image of Hurricane Irma this evening saying "The tentacles of the bow wave of #Irma clawing its way up Florida." Bresnik is currently living and working in space on the International Space Station (@ISS). Hurricane Irma formed in the Atlantic Ocean and has affected the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, before impacting the United States. Our fleet of satellites have been continually providing forecasters with data on Hurricane Irma. That includes satellite imagery for Irma, plus trajectory, force and precipitation tracking to inform the National Hurricane Center.
Explore Saturn's rings like never before with the highest-resolution color images ever taken by our Cassini mission. This image shows a portion of the inner-central part of the planet's B Ring and is a mosaic of two images that show a region that lies between 61,300 and 65,600 miles (98,600 and 105,500 km) from Saturn's center.
This image is a natural color composite, created using images taken with red, green and blue spectral filters. The pale tan color is generally not perceptible with the naked eye in telescope views, especially given that Saturn has a similar hue.
The material responsible for bestowing this color on the rings -- which are mostly water ice and would otherwise appear white -- is a matter of intense debate among ring scientists that will hopefully be settled by new in-situ observations before the end of Cassini's mission.
We're using our unique vantage point in space to provide observations and data of Hurricane Irma. Satellite imagery from our Aqua satellite and the Suomi NPP satellite have provided different data on the still Category 5 Hurricane Irma as it headed for the Turks and Caicos Islands. We continue to provide satellite imagery for Irma, tracking its trajectory, force and precipitation to inform forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.
As the category 5 storm approaches the Bahamas and Florida in the coming days, it will be passing over waters that are warmer than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit)—hot enough to sustain a category 5 storm. Warm oceans, along with low wind shear, are two key ingredients that fuel and sustain hurricanes.
Learn more at www.nasa.gov/hurricane
As part of the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), our scientists are flying over Alaska and Canada, measuring the elevation of rivers and lakes to study how thawing permafrost affects hydrology in the landscape. This view of one of the great Arctic rivers, the Yukon, meandering through Yukon Flats, Alaska, was taken from our DC-8 “flying laboratory” as part of the Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days and Seasons (ASCENDS) experiment.
Scientists on the Air Surface, Water and Ocean Topography (AirSWOT) mission have been flying over the same location, investigating how water levels in the Arctic landscape change as permafrost thaws. Under typical conditions, the frozen layer of soil keeps water from sinking into the ground and percolating away. As permafrost thaws, the water has new ways to move between rivers and lakes, which can raise or lower the elevation of the bodies of water. These changes in water levels will have effects on Arctic life— plants, animals, and humans—in the near future.
Today we celebrate the Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft and their 40 years in space. These two spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Launched two weeks apart in 1977, these two spacecraft took some of the very first up-close images we have of the planets in our solar system.
Their primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there – such as active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and intricacies of Saturn’s rings – the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets.
Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between the stars, in 2012.
Carried on both spacecraft are an ambitious message, a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.
Swipe to see more about Voyager and some iconic images from this mission!
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#voyager#voyager40#exploration#interstellar#spacecraft#goldenrecord#mission#planets#solarsystem#discovery#science
Saturday, at 9:21 p.m. EDT, three humans landed safely home on Earth after months of living and working on the International Space Station (@iss). Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson was returning from a 288 day stay in space, bringing her cumulative time in space to 665 days, maintaining the record for U.S. astronauts. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer (@astro2fish) and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin were returning from 136 days in space.
The International Space Station is a unique microgravity laboratory where important research is conducted that not will not only help us travel deeper into the solar system, but also benefits life here on Earth.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls #nasa#space#crew#spacestation#landing#parachute#capsule#astronauts#record#microgravity
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who set multiple U.S. space records during her mission aboard the International Space Station, along with crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, safely landed on Earth Saturday at 9:21 p.m. EDT (7:21 a.m. Kazakhstan time, Sept. 3), southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
While living and working aboard the world’s only orbiting laboratory, Whitson and Fischer contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, welcomed several cargo spacecraft delivering tons of supplies and research experiments, and conducted a combined six spacewalks to perform maintenance and upgrades to the station.
One of the two galaxies seen here by the Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) is emitting the same microwaves as your kitchen appliance. Microwaves are actually produced by a multitude of astrophysical sources, including strong emitters known as masers (microwave lasers), even stronger emitters with the somewhat villainous name of megamasers and the centers of some galaxies.
The lower, blue-tinted galaxy is a special kind of megamaser. The galaxy’s active galaxtic nucleus pumps out huge amounts of energy, which stimulates clouds of surrounding water. Water’s constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are able to absorb some of this energy and re-emit it at specific wavelengths, one of which falls within the microwave regime.
Blue skies over Houston. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik (@astrokomrade) posted this image to his social accounts Aug. 30 saying, “Houston is reporting blue sky for the first time in many days! May this sunrise start the healing process.” Bresnik is living with @astro2fish on the International Space Station, who took the photo.
There are currently six people living and working on the space station, which is locasted 250 miles above Earth. While there, they conduct important research and science in the unique microgravity laboratory.
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#harvey#spacestation#sun#earth#sunrise#houston#bluesky
Top of the world!
These turbulent clouds are on top of the world at Saturn. Our Cassini spacecraft captured this view of Saturn’s north pole on April 26 – the day it began its Grand Finale – as it approached the planet for its first daring dive through the gap between the planet and its rings.
Although the pole is still bathed in sunlight at present, northern summer solstice on Saturn occurred on May 24, bringing the maximum solar illumination to the north polar region. Now the Sun begins its slow descent in the northern sky, which eventually will plunge the north pole into Earth-years of darkness.
After almost 20 years at Saturn, our Cassini mission is expectedly coming to an end on Sept. 15. Hear from mission experts today, Aug. 29 at 2 p.m. EDT on nasa.gov/live.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute #nasa#space#saturn#cassini#mission#spacecraft#planet#solarsystem#rings#clouds#pole#orbit#sunlight#world
Snowy dunes on Mars. Over the winter, snow and ice cover Martian dunes…and unlike on Earth, this snow and ice is carbon dioxide… a.k.a. dry ice. When the Sun starts shining on it in the spring, the ice on the smooth surface of the dunes cracks and escaping gas carries dark sand out from the dune below, often creating beautiful patterns.
On the rough surface between the dunes, frost is trapped behind small sheltered ridges. Seen by our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this image was taken over the Northern hemisphere of the Red Planet.
From his vantage point on the International Space Station, 250 miles above Earth, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer captured these images of Hurricane Harvey on Friday, Aug. 25. Residents along the coast of Texas and northeast Mexico are bracing for a potent hurricane to make landfall late Friday.
Forecasters believe the storm will be at major intensity (category 3 or higher) and will be the strongest to make landfall in the United States in 12 years.
For information on making preparations for Harvey, visit the FEMA website at: ready.gov/hurricanes
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#hurricane#spacestation#hurricaneharvey#harvey#storm#rain#wind#clouds#astronaut
From the vantage point of space, our Earth-observing satellites capture images of storms like Harvey, which is currently intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico. When Hurricane Harvey blows ashore over coastal Texas on Friday, it will likely be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on our Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of the rapidly intensifying storm at 12:24 p.m. EDT on Aug. 24.
For information on making preparations for Harvey, visit the FEMA website at: ready.gov/hurricanes
Credit: NASA #nasa#space#earth#hurricane#hurricaneharvey#harvey#texas#rain#wind#safety
Our Cassini spacecraft gazes across the icy rings of Saturn toward the icy moon Tethys, whose night side is illuminated by Saturnshine, or sunlight reflected by the planet. Tethys was on the far side of Saturn with respect to Cassini here; an observer looking upward from the moon's surface toward Cassini would see Saturn's illuminated disk filling the sky. This image was taken in visible light on May 13, 2017.
Now 20 years since launching from Earth, and after 13 years orbiting the ringed planet and its moons, our Cassini mission is in its ‘Grand Finale’ leading to September 15, when the mission will end with a purposeful plunge into Saturn this year in order to protect and preserve the planet's moons for future exploration – especially the potentially habitable Enceladus. The Cassini spacecraft recently entered new territory in this final mission phase, embarking on a set of ultra-close passes through Saturn’s upper atmosphere with its final five orbits around the planet.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute #nasa#cassini#saturn#clouds#spaceexploration#solarsystem#science#astronomy#picoftheday#planet
While many in the U.S. experienced a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, our satellites were hard at work observing the Sun from orbit, affording missions like our Solar Dynamics Observatory views of the eclipse. This movie, created from images taken by SDO, shows the Sun first in visible light, and then in 171-angstrom extreme ultraviolet light. The apparent slight movement of the Sun is because SDO has a hard time keeping the Sun centered in its images during eclipses, with so much light being blocked by the Moon. The fine guidance systems on SDO's instruments need to see the whole Sun in order keep the images centered from one exposure to the next. Once the transit was over, the fine guidance systems started back up, once again providing steady images of the Sun.
Swipe to see a far out view of the eclipse -- From a million miles out in space! NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) captured 12 natural color images of the moon’s shadow crossing over North America on Aug. 21, 2017. EPIC is aboard NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), where it photographs the full sunlit side of Earth every day, giving it a unique view of total solar eclipses. EPIC normally takes about 20 to 22 images of Earth per day, so this animation appears to speed up the progression of the eclipse.
Lastly, swipe and see this composite image showing the Sun's atmosphere, the corona (as seen by the SOHO satellite) and a ground-based image of the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse at totality. During a total solar eclipse, ground-based telescopes can observe the lowest part of the solar corona in a way that can’t be done at any other time, as the dim corona is normally obscured by the bright light of the Sun.
EPIC Earth Image Credit: NASA EPIC Team
SDO Video Credit: NASA/SDO
SOHO Image Credits: Innermost image credit: NASA/SDO; Ground-based eclipse image credit: Jay Pasachoff, Ron Dantowitz, Christian Lockwood and the Williams College Eclipse Expedition/NSF/National Geographic; Outer image credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO
Total(lit)y awesome! This beautiful image depicts a total solar eclipse that was seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. The eclipse revealed the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, which is otherwise too dim to see next to the bright Sun. Sweeping across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States, the total solar eclipse gave scientists a unique opportunity to study the Sun. Swipe to see other stages of the total solar eclipse!
The Bailey’s Beads effect is visible in image two, as the Moon makes its final move over the Sun. Bailey’s Beads occur when the rugged lunar geography allows beads of sunlight to shine through in some places but not others.
Image three depicts the Diamond Ring effect, which is created when rays of sunlight shine through edge-on lunar valleys creating the fleeting appearance of a single glistening diamond set in a bright ring around the Moon's silhouette.
Because Earth’s surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all. This year’s eclipse was different – its path stretched over land for nearly 90 minutes, giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to make scientific mesurements from the ground.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani #nasa#space#eclipse#eclipse2017#solareclipse2017#solareclipse#totality#partialeclipse#totaleclipse#sun#earth#moon#planet#solarsystem#astronomy#corona#science
In this video captured at 1,500 frames per second with a high-speed camera, the International Space Station (@ISS), with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming. Onboard as part of the crew are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer (@Astro2Fish), and Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade); Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy (@SergeyISS); and ESA (@EuropeanSpaceAgency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli (@Astro_Paolo). A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe.
Behold! This progression of the partial solar eclipse took place over Ross Lake, in Northern Cascades National Park, Washington on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse swept across the path of totality, a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe.
Today, the Sun disappeared, seemingly swallowed by our Moon–at least for a while. The August 21 solar eclipse cut through a swath of North America from coast to coast and those along the path of totality, that is where the Moon completely covered the Sun, were faced with a sight unseen in the U.S. in 99 years. Elsewhere across the country, many were able to view at least a partial eclipse. This series of images shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse near Banner, Wyoming.
Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky) #sun#solareclipse#Totalsolareclipse#partialsolareclipse#eclipse2017#science#research#astronomy#heliophysics#sun#moon#nasa#eclipse
Today, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America. Throughout the continent, the Moon will cover part – or all – of the Sun’s super-bright face for part of the day. For those within the narrow path of totality, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, that partial eclipse will become total for a few brief moments.
Make sure you’re using proper solar filters (not sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method if you plan to watch the eclipse in person.
Wherever you are, you can also watch today’s eclipse online with us at http://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive. Starting at noon ET, our show will feature views from our research aircraft, high-altitude balloons, satellites and specially modified telescopes, as well as live reports from cities across the country and the International Space Station.
On Aug. 21, all of North America will experience a solar eclipse. If skies are clear, eclipse-watchers will be able to see a partial solar eclipse over several hours, and some people – within the narrow path of totality – will see a total solar eclipse for a few moments.
It’s never safe to look at the Sun, and an eclipse is no exception. During a partial eclipse (or on any regular day) you must use special solar filters or an indirect viewing method to watch the Sun. Make sure you’re using proper solar filters (not sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method if you plan to watch the eclipse in person.
You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to watch one of the sky’s most awesome shows: a solar eclipse. With just a few simple supplies, you can make a pinhole camera that allows you to view the event safely and easily.
Learn all how to safety view #Eclipse2017 at http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety. #nasa#sun#eclipse2017#totalsolareclipse#partialsolareclipse#moon#astronomy#science#eclipsesafety#eclipse
On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America. Throughout the continent, the Moon will cover part – or all – of the Sun’s super-bright face for part of the day. For those within the narrow path of totality, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, that partial eclipse will become total for a few brief moments.
Make sure you’re using proper solar filters (not sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method if you plan to watch the eclipse in person.
Wherever you are, you can also watch Monday’s eclipse online with us at http://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive. Starting Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at noon ET, our show will feature views from our research aircraft, high-altitude balloons, satellites and specially modified telescopes, as well as live reports from cities across the country and the International Space Station.