"When… I look up… many people feel small, cause they’re small when the universe is big… but I feel BIG because my atoms came from those stars.” - Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson
This would be more impressive if he weren’t being held by a large Canadian space arm
Out on a Limb
Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, astronaut Rick Linnehan participates in the mission’s first scheduled spacewalk. During the seven-hour spacewalk, Linnehan and Expedition 16 flight engineer Garrett Reisman prepared the Japanese logistics module-pressurized section for removal from Endeavour’s payload bay and installed the tool change out mechanisms on the Canadian-built Dextre robotic system, the final element of the station’s Mobile Servicing System.
Image Credit: NASA
WooT! Space diamond!!
Dying Star Sculpts Rungs of Gas and Dust
This intriguing image of the intriguing ladder-like structures surrounding a dying star reveals startling new details of one of the most unusual nebulae known in our Milky Way. Cataloged as HD 44179, this nebula is more commonly called the “Red Rectangle” because of its unique shape and color as seen with ground-based telescopes.
This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a wealth of new features in the Red Rectangle that cannot be seen with ground-based telescopes looking through the Earth’s turbulent atmosphere.
Hubble’s sharp pictures show that the Red Rectangle is not really rectangular, but has an overall X-shaped structure, which arises from outflows of gas and dust from the star in the center. The outflows are ejected from the star in two opposing directions, producing its peculiar shape. Also remarkable are straight features that appear like rungs on a ladder, making the Red Rectangle look similar to a spider web, a shape unlike that of any other known nebula.
The star in the center of the Red Rectangle is one that began its life as a star similar to our sun. It is now nearing the end of its lifetime, and is in the process of ejecting its outer layers to produce the visible nebula. The shedding of the outer layers began about 14,000 years ago. Eventually, the star will have become smaller and hotter and begin to release a flood of ultraviolet light into the surrounding nebula; at that time, gas in the nebula will begin to fluoresce, producing what astronomers call a planetary nebula.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hans Van Winckel (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium), and Martin Cohen (University of California, Berkeley)
sometimes i see something in space
that I can’t put any words too and
I look at it for a while thinking
i exist in the same universe as this
Light Echoes From a Red Supergiant
This Hubble Space Telescope image of the star V838 Monocerotis reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, unveiled never-before-seen dust patterns when the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002.
A light echo is light from a stellar explosion echoing off dust surrounding the star that produces enough energy in a brief flash to illuminate surrounding dust. The star presumably ejected the illuminated dust shells in previous outbursts. Light from the latest outburst travels to the dust and then is reflected to Earth.
The phenomena is similar to that of a nova. A typical nova is a normal star that dumps hydrogen onto a compact white-dwarf companion star. The hydrogen piles up until it spontaneously explodes by nuclear fusion — like a titanic hydrogen bomb — exposing a searing stellar core with a temperature of hundreds of thousands of degrees Fahrenheit.
By contrast, V838 Monocerotis did not expel its outer layers. Instead, it grew enormously in size. Its surface temperature dropped to temperatures that were not much hotter than a light bulb. This behavior of ballooning to an immense size, but not losing its outer layers, is very unusual and completely unlike an ordinary nova explosion.
The outburst may represent a transitory stage in a star’s evolution that is rarely seen. The star has some similarities to highly unstable aging stars called eruptive variables, which suddenly and unpredictably increase in brightness.
V838 Monocerotis is located about 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros, placing the star at the outer edge of our Milky Way galaxy.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god. - Napoleon Bonaparte
From the Sun
Hinode, a collaborative mission of the space agencies of Japan, the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, captured these very dynamic pictures of our sun’s chromosphere on Jan. 12, 2007. Taken by Hinode’s Solar Optical Telescope, this image of the sun reveals the filamentary nature of the plasma connecting regions of different magnetic polarity. The chromosphere is a thin layer of solar atmosphere sandwiched between the visible surface, photosphere and corona.
Image credit: JAXA/NASA
The Atypical on Mars
How did this unusual Martian rock form? This atypical two-toned rock was photographed in March 2007 by Mar Exploration Rover Spirit as it continued its mission of discovery on the red planet. Finding unusual rocks is not unusual for Spirit or its twin rover Opportunity. Having investigated alien terrain and found clear evidence that part of Mars had a wet past, the Earth-launched rovers are now entering their third spectacular year exploring the red planet.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
Um… that’s what she said.
A History of Human Spaceflight
On April 12, 1961, the era of human spaceflight began when the Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth in his Vostock I spacecraft. The flight lasted 108 minutes.
Twenty years later, on the morning of April 12, 1981, two astronauts sat strapped into their seats on the flight deck of Columbia, a radically new spacecraft known as the space shuttle.
Astronaut John Young, a veteran of four previous spaceflights including a walk on the moon in 1972, commanded the mission. Navy test pilot Bob Crippen piloted the mission and would go on to command three future shuttle missions.
Space Shuttle astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen (in tan space suits) are greeted by members of the ground crew moments after stepping off the shuttle Columbia following its maiden flight.
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For more information on the STS-1, NASA first shuttle flight, visit www.nasa.gov/sts1.
Image Credit: NASA
and I’m expected to believe that any of this is real.
The Seven Sisters
The Seven Sisters, also known as the Pleiades, seem to float on a bed of feathers in a new infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Clouds of dust sweep around the stars, swaddling them in a cushiony veil.
The view is quite different from the usual observation of these stars in the western sky. Right now, the famous family of stars is “stepping out” in the evening skies with a very bright and dazzling Venus. During the period from around April 10 to 13, the Pleiades shine like a cluster of diamonds just above Venus. On April 19, the crescent moon will join the party, sliding between Venus and the Pleiades for a special viewing.
For more information, read The Seven Sisters Pose for Spitzer - and for You!
Image credit: NASA
we walked on the god damn moon
think about that for a minute
we walked on the moon
the mother fucking moon
damn that’s awesome
On the Crater’s Edge
Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., Apollo 16 Lunar Module pilot, is photographed collecting lunar samples at Station No. 1 during the mission’s first extravehicular activity at the Descartes landing site. This picture, looking eastward, was taken by Commander John W. Young. Duke is standing at the rim of Plum crater, which is 40 meters (131 feet) in diameter and 10 meters (about 33 feet) deep. The lunar rover can be seen in the background.
Apollo 16, the fifth mission in which humans walked on the lunar surface, launched 35 years ago today on April 16, 1972.
Image credit: NASA