Daily Space & Astronomy Photos


Diamond Rings and Baily s Beads

Near the March 20 equinox the cold clear sky over Longyearbyen, Near the March 20 equinox the cold clear sky over Longyearbyen,

Hubble picture of the day
Hubble and Chandra Discover Dark Matter Is Not as Sticky as Once Thought
26 Mar 2015

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In particle physics labs, like the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, scientists smash atoms together to study the underpinnings of matter and energy. On the scale of the macrocosm, nature provides a similar experiment by crashing clusters of galaxies together. Besides galaxies and gas, the galaxy clusters contain huge amounts of dark matter. Dark matter is a transparent form of matter that makes up most of the mass in the universe. During collisions, the clouds of gas enveloping the galaxies crash into each other and slow down or stop. Astronomers found that the dark matter continued straight through the violent collisions, without slowing down relative to the galaxies. Their best explanation is that the dark matter did not interact with visible particles, and it also interacted less frequently with other dark matter than previously thought. Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory to study 72 large galaxy cluster collisions. Chandra traced the hot gas, and Hubble saw how the invisible dark matter warps space and distorts the images of background stars. This allowed for the distribution of dark matter in the collision to be mapped. The finding narrows down the options for what this dark matter might be.

RedOrbit Images Of The Day - Earth

Shipping Superhighways
6 Mar 2015
Shipping Superhighways
The oceans may be vast, yet they still can grow crowded. Some congested areas have enough ship traffic that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other groups maintain traffic separation schemes?the equivalent of highways for ships?to reduce the risk of collisions.
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this view of northbound and southbound shipping lanes off the coast of China?s Shandong Peninsula on February 24, 2015. The lanes form one of the main routes from the Yellow Sea into the Bohai Sea and the Chinese ports of Dalian and Tianjin, two of the busiest in the world. As shown by this map, several lanes of traffic intersect northeast of the Shandong Peninsula.
The vessels in this image are most likely cargo ships, though some may be ferries or fishing boats. The ships appear as small gray and white specks. (Click on the image for a closer view.) In the shallow coastal waters, their propellers kick up long, brown sediment plumes. Most of the northbound ships make a turn to the northwest as they round the tip of Shangdong.
According to the IMO, the practice of following predetermined routes for shipping originated in 1898. It was first adopted by shipping companies operating passenger ships across the North Atlantic. Since then, traffic separation schemes have been established in most congested areas, causing the number of ship collisions and groundings to drop dramatically.
But with upwards of 86,000 merchant ships on the world?s sea, accidents still happen. On May 2, 2010, the Bright Century, a cargo ship loaded with 170,000 tons of iron ore, sank after it collided with a freighter about 37 kilometers (23 miles) east of Shandong Peninsula. In December 2012, a fishing boat collided with a cargo ship near the peninsula and sank with 11 fisherman on board.
Credit: NASA

RedOrbit Images Of The Day - Mars

A Possible Landing Site for the 2020 Mission: Jezero Crater
6 Mar 2015
A Possible Landing Site for the 2020 Mission: Jezero Crater
It?s not only when trying to find a scientifically interesting place to land that the high-resolution images from HiRISE come in handy: it?s also to identify potential hazards within a landing ellipse.

This is one of the trickier aspects of selecting landing sites on Mars: a place to do good science but also where the risks of landing are low. Jezero Crater is an ancient crater where clay minerals have been detected, and with a delta deposit indicating that water was once flowing into a lake. Since clays form the in presence of water, this crater would be a very good candidate for a lander to explore and build on what we?ve learned from the Mars Science Laboratory. Could some form of ancient life have existed here and for how long?
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

RedOrbit Images Of The Day - Universe

Enhanced Color Caloris
6 Mar 2015
Enhanced Color Caloris
The sprawling Caloris basin on Mercury is one of the solar system\'s largest impact basins, created during the early history of the solar system by the impact of a large asteroid-sized body. The multi-featured, fractured basin spans about 1,500 kilometers in this enhanced color mosaic based on image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. Mercury\'s youngest large impact basin, Caloris was subsequently filled in by lavas that appear orange in the mosaic. Craters made after the flooding have excavated material from beneath the surface lavas. Seen as contrasting blue hues, they likely offer a glimpse of the original basin floor material. Analysis of these craters suggests the thickness of the covering volcanic lava to be 2.5-3.5 kilometers. Orange splotches around the basin\'s perimeter are thought to be volcanic vents.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins/Arizona State University

NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day

Snowmelt Has Been Coming Earlier in Wyoming
28 Mar 2015

Snowmelt Has Been Coming Earlier in Wyoming
Snow is melting an average of 16 days earlier in the Wild River Range, which may require some adjustments in water management.

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News Photos
News and Features - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

It's 'Full Spin Ahead' for NASA Soil Moisture Mapper
27 Mar 2015

SMAP will produce global maps of soil moisture

The rotating "golden lasso" reflector antenna on NASA's new soil moisture mapping mission is now fully spun up to its design rate in preparation for science operations.

Rover Amnesia Event Follows Latest Memory Reformatting
27 Mar 2015

Mars Rover Opportunity Examines Bright 'Athens'

The team operating the Mars Rover Opportunity learned that it experienced a brief amnesia event related to its flash memory, the first since a reformatting a week earlier.

Scars on Mars from 2012 Rover Landing Fade -- Usually
27 Mar 2015

Changes in Scars From 2012 Mars Landing

A series of observations from Mars orbit show how dark blast zones that were created during the August 2012 landing of NASA's Curiosity rover have faded inconsistently.

Take a Spin With NASA Cutting-edge Mars Landing Technology
26 Mar 2015

LDSD's Rocket-powered Test Vehicle

Tune in to a live, interactive broadcast from JPL where a test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project is being prepped for its next test flight in June.

NASA Asteroid Hunter Spacecraft Data Available to Public
26 Mar 2015

NEOWISE Hearts Comet Lovejoy

Millions of images of celestial objects, including asteroids, observed by NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft now are available online to the public.

Astronomers Upgrade Their Cosmic Light Bulbs
26 Mar 2015

After the Explosion: Investigating Supernova Sites

A new report identifies top-of-the-line tools for studying the fabric of space.

ESA Top Multimedia

Inside fairing
25 Mar 2015

The seventh and eighth Galileo satellites were enclosed within their protective Soyuz fairing on Friday, 20 March 2015, ahead of their launch a week later.