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When galaxies collide — a common event in the universe — a fresh burst of star formation typically takes place as gas clouds mash together. At this point, the galaxy has a blue hue, but the color does not mean it is cold: it is a result of the intense heat of newly formed blue–white stars. Those stars do not last long, and after a few billion years the reddish hues of aging, smaller stars dominate an elliptical galaxy's spectrum.
Our Hubble Space Telescope ( @NASAHubble) caught sight of a soft, diffuse-looking galaxy, perhaps the aftermath of a long-ago galactic collision when two spiral galaxies, each perhaps much like the Milky Way, swirled together for millions of years.
In such mergers, the original galaxies are often stretched and pulled apart as they wrap around a common center of gravity. After a few back-and-forths, this starry tempest settles down into a new, round object. The now subdued celestial body is technically known as an elliptical galaxy.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
107 26,84212 minutes ago
This animation blinks between two images of our Mars Phoenix Lander. The first – dark smudges on the planet’s surface. The second – the same Martian terrain nearly a decade later, covered in dust. Our Mars orbiter captured this shot as it surveyed the planet from orbit: the first in 2008. The second: late 2017.
In August 2008, Phoenix completed its three-month mission studying Martian ice, soil and atmosphere. The lander worked for two additional months before reduced sunlight caused energy to become insufficient to keep the lander functioning. The solar-powered robot was not designed to survive through the dark and cold conditions of a Martian arctic winter.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
725 128,7922 days ago
Our Sun was caught peaking over Earth’s arch and stretching its glorious light across the South Pacific on Feb. 16. Astronaut Scott Tingle captured this beaming moment while aboard the International Space Station ( @iss), which can also be spotted in the glow of daybreak. He posted the moment to social media with the modest caption, “Sunrise over the South Pacific.” The International Space Station and its crew orbit Earth from an altitude of 250 miles, traveling at a speed of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Because the station completes each trip around the globe in about 92 minutes, the crew experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets each day!
Six humans are currently living and working on the International Space Station conducting important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into space than ever before. As of last week, the latest crew members had completed more than 100 hours of science, breaking the record for hours of research conducted.
Credit: NASA/Scott Tingle
It's eclipse season for our Sun-watching observatory. During this three-week period that comes twice a year near the equinoxes, Earth blocks the Solar Dynamic Observatory's view of the Sun for a short while each day. The eclipses are fairly short near the beginning and end of the season but ramp up to 72 minutes in the middle.
Seen here in extreme ultraviolet light is the eclipsed view on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 when Earth crossed the observatory's view of the Sun. Also known as a transit, Earth’s passage was brief, lasting from 2:10 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. EST and covering the entire face of the Sun. Most spacecraft observing the Sun from an orbit around Earth have to contend with such eclipses. The mission's orbit is designed to maximize the amount of data the spacecraft can send back to Earth. This year, the spring eclipse season began on Feb. 10 with a partial eclipse and concludes March 5, 2018.
Credits: NASA/SDO/Joy Ng
976 285,8891 week ago
Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies!
Over many years, astronomers have gathered data on the formation of stars in galaxies and the growth of supermassive black holes (that is, those with millions or billions the mass of the Sun) in their centers. These data suggested that the black holes and the stars in their host galaxies grow in tandem with each other. Now, findings from two independent groups of researchers indicate that the black holes in massive galaxies have grown much faster than in the less massive ones.
Using large amounts of data from our Chandra X-ray Observatory ( @nasachandraxray), the Hubble Space Telescope ( @NASAHubble) and other observatories, scientists studied the growth rate of black holes in galaxies at distances of 4.3 to 12.2 billion light years from Earth. They calculated the ratio between a supermassive black hole's growth rate and the growth rate of stars in its host galaxy.
A common idea is that this ratio is approximately constant for all galaxies. Instead, the researchers found that this ratio is much higher for more massive galaxies. For galaxies containing about 100 billion solar masses worth of stars, the ratio is about ten times higher than it is for galaxies containing about 10 billion solar masses worth of stars.
This image shows data from the Chandra Deep Field-South in optical and infrared light from the Hubble, and X-ray light from Chandra.
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn. State/G. Yang et al & NASA/CXC/ICE/M. Mezcua et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
3,015 639,4601 week ago
Not feeling the Valentine’s Day love today? That's okay. We think you're nICE anyway. Here's an icy heart-shaped glacier calving from northwest Greenland seen by our Operation IceBridge.
Operation IceBridge is our aerial survey of the state of polar ice. For the first time in the mission's nine-year history, IceBridge carried out seven field campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic in a single year. In total, researchers flew more than 214,000 miles, the equivalent of orbiting the Earth 8.6 times at the equator. IceBridge aims to close the gap between two of our satellite campaigns that study changes in the height of polar ice.
Learn more at nasa.gov/icebridge
Credit: NASA/Maria-Jose Viñas
1,857 546,4651 week ago
Saturn’s moon Enceladus drifts before the rings and the tiny moon Pandora in this view that our Cassini spacecraft captured on Nov. 1, 2009. The entire scene is backlit by the Sun, providing striking illumination for the icy particles that make up both the rings and the jets emanating from the south pole of Enceladus.
Pandora was on the opposite side of the rings from Cassini and Enceladus when the image was taken. This view looks toward the night side on Pandora as well, which is lit by dim golden light reflected from Saturn.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
1,423 388,0532 weeks ago
Exploration is a tradition at NASA. As we work to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind, our acting Administrator shared plans for the future during the #StateOfNASA address today, February 12, 2018 which highlights the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal.
Acting Administrator Lightfoot says “This budget focuses NASA on its core exploration mission and reinforces the many ways that we return value to the U.S. through knowledge and discoveries, strengthening our economy and security, deepening partnerships with other nations, providing solutions to tough problems, and inspiring the next generation. It places NASA and the U.S. once again at the forefront of leading a global effort to advance humanity’s future in space, and draws on our nation’s great industrial base and capacity for innovation and exploration.” Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot is seen here during delivery of today's State of NASA address at our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Chock-full of star formation, this spiral galaxy contains the mass of around ten billion suns – while this may sound like a lot, it is over 20 times less massive than our own Milky Way.
Roughly 50 million light-years away, this galaxy seen by our Hubble Space Telescope ( @NASAHubble) is receding from us at a speed of about 808 miles per second (1,300 kilometers per second). Although it appears in the sky near one of our closest galaxy neighbors, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), this is just a trick of perspective. In reality, this galaxy is physically nowhere near the LMC in space — in fact, it truly is a loner, lacking the company of any nearby galaxies or membership of any galaxy cluster.
Despite its lack of cosmic companions, when this lonely galaxy has a telescope pointed in its direction, it puts on quite a show. It has hosted a variety of spectacular exploding stars called supernovae, four of which we have observed. This galaxy may be alone in space, but we are watching and admiring from far away.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
2,424 672,1342 weeks ago
Many aspects of the Caspian Sea are in flux: water levels rise and fall, while ice cover and algae blooms come and go as seasons change. But along the sea’s southeastern side, one feature shows up year-round. Tendrils of colorful swirling sediment can regularly be seen by our satellites in the perpetually turbid seawater.
Captured here on January 9, 2018 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on our Terra satellite, we see a stretch of coastal Turkmenistan. Part of Iran is also visible at the bottom of the image. Surface winds help mix the water and stir up bottom sediments that impart a milky color.
Satellite data are key for the long-term monitoring of the Caspian. The lake stretches about 600 miles (1,000 km) from Kazakhstan to Iran, across which there is tremendous variability. Satellites measure turbidity levels across the lake, while also collecting data on salinity, temperature, water levels, and oil pollution.
Credit: NASA and LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response
1,255 520,0232 weeks ago
Jupiter’s vibrant bands of light belts and dark regions appear primed for their close-up during our Juno spacecraft’s 10th flyby on Feb. 7. This flyby was a gravity science positioned pass. During orbits that highlight gravity experiments, Juno is positioned toward Earth in a way that allows both transmitters to downlink data in real-time to one of the antennas of our Deep Space Network. All of Juno’s science instruments and the spacecraft’s JunoCam were in operation during the flyby, collecting data that is now being returned to Earth. The science behind this beautifully choreographed image will help us understand the origin and structure of the planet beneath those lush, swirling clouds.
Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager. All of JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products! Just visitwww.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt
3,274 774,0132 weeks ago
Observing images of craters on Mars provides scientists insight into the water that carved them and the Red Planet's history of water activity. What do you think this tadpole-shaped impact crater says about the water that used to fill it?
Based on the terrain-height information and knowing that water always flows downhill, scientists were able to infer that the water in the tadpole crater was flowing down, and outward.
The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
#nasa#space mars #earth#moon#redplanet#orbiter#hirise#mro#nasabeyond#science#tadpole
5,142 567,9642 weeks ago
Darker, cooler areas on the Sun – known as sunspots – have been mostly absent for almost two weeks, as of Feb. 1. A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features.
This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle.
This edge-on view of a galaxy located about 45 million light-years away, showcases its beautiful arms, which swirl like a whirlpool around its bright central region. Astronomers took this image as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star – a supernova – near the galaxy’s central yellow core!
The star rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars.
By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Perdue University)
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