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Soaring over Titan

What would it look like to fly over Titan? What would it look like to fly over Titan?





Hubble picture of the day
STScI Astronomer Margaret Meixner Elected AAAS Fellow
24 Nov 2014

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council has elected Margaret Meixner of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and 401 other AAAS members as Fellows of AAAS. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.




RedOrbit Images Of The Day - Earth

China\'s Megadunes
24 Nov 2014
China\'s Megadunes
In China\'s Badain Jaran Desert, dozens of lakes mingle with the tallest sand dunes in the world. Researchers have long studied these features, yet mystery continues to enshroud them. What is the source of lake water? How do the megadunes develop and evolve?

The Badain Jaran spans about 50,000 square kilometers (19,300 square miles) of the Alxa Desert region of Inner Mongolia. About half of that area gives rise to megadunes that tower between 200 to 300 meters (660 to 980 feet) tall. The tallest measures 460 meters (1500 feet), or about the same height as New York?s Empire State Building. On October 5, 2014, the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of Badain Jaran?s dunes.

To explain how Earth\'s tallest dunes formed, scientists previously focused on wind conditions and sand characteristics. Recent research by Xiaoping Yang suggested that a more complicated process is at work. By combining Landsat images that show variation in dune morphology (shape and size) with gravity measurements of the hilly bedrock below, Yang and colleagues showed that dune height is significantly influenced by local geology.

Another enigma is the source of water for the approximately 100 lakes standing amidst the megadunes. Scientists are have been analyzing the relative contributions from local precipitation, groundwater, precipitation and snowmelt in remote areas, and paleowater from a previous period with a wet climate. Regardless of the source, research published in 2013 suggests that some of the lakes have shrunk or even disappeared in recent decades. The authors suggest the change can be attributed to a regional reduction in groundwater brought about by urbanization, irrigation, water diversion, and an increase in population.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Kathryn Hansen.

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RedOrbit Images Of The Day - Mars

Seasonal Fans
24 Nov 2014
Seasonal Fans
At certain times in spring, fans take on a gray or blue appearance. This is the time in Inca City when this phenomenon happens.

On the ridge at the top of the image fans have lengthened and now look more gray than the blotches on the araneiforms. At the bottom of the image they are distinctly blue in color.

Two theories have been suggested: perhaps fine particles sink into the seasonal layer of ice so they no longer appear dark. Or, maybe the gas that is released from under the ice condenses and falls to the surface as a bright fresh layer of frost. It is quite likely that both of these theories are correct.

Written by: Candy Hansen

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona



RedOrbit Images Of The Day - Universe

Mysterious Alignment
24 Nov 2014
Mysterious Alignment
This artist\'s impression shows schematically the mysterious alignments between the spin axes of quasars and the large-scale structures that they inhabit that observations with ESO?s Very Large Telescope have revealed. These alignments are over billions of light-years and are the largest known in the Universe.

The large-scale structure is shown in blue and quasars are marked in white with the rotation axes of their black holes indicated with a line.

This picture is for illustration only and does not depict the real distribution of galaxies and quasars.

Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

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NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day

Anvil on the Horizon
24 Nov 2014

Anvil on the Horizon
As moisture-filled thunderhead clouds expand upward through the atmosphere, they can hit a more stable layer and flatten into an anvil shape.





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Daily Space Wallpaper

Blue planets W3wallpapers.com
24 Nov 2014





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News and Features - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Rosetta Comet Landing in 'Thud' and 3D
21 Nov 2014

This 3D image shows what it would look like to fly over the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The initial descent of the Rosetta mission's comet lander Philae was captured in a 3D image and in sound by instruments aboard the spacecraft.





ESA Top Multimedia

Expedition 42/43 crew members dressed in their Russian Sokol suit
24 Nov 2014

Expedition 42/43 crew members Terry Virts of NASA, Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti before having their Russian Sokol suit pressure checked in preparation for the launch, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 23 November 2014.

On this mission, Samantha is flying as an ESA astronaut for Italy?s ASI space agency under a special agreement between ASI and NASA.



Samantha Cristoforetti waves farewell to family and friends
24 Nov 2014

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti waves farewell to family and friends, as she departs the Cosmonaut Hotel to suit-up for the Soyuz launch to the International Space Station, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 23 November 2014.

With Samantha are Russian Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov and NASA astronaut Terry Virts. All three are part of the Station?s Expedition 42/43 crew.

On this mission, Samantha is flying as an ESA astronaut for Italy?s ASI space agency under a special agreement between ASI and NASA.



Expedition 42/43 crew members wave farewell to family and friends
24 Nov 2014

Expedition 42/43 crew members Terry Virts of NASA, Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti wave farewell to family and friends, as they depart the Cosmonaut Hotel to suit-up for the Soyuz launch to the International Space Station, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 23 November 2014.

On this mission, Samantha is flying as an ESA astronaut for Italy?s ASI space agency under a special agreement between ASI and NASA.



Expedition 42/43 crew members receive the traditional blessing from a Russian...
24 Nov 2014

Expedition 42/43 crew members Terry Virts of NASA, Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti receive the traditional blessing from a Russian Orthodox priest at the Cosmonaut Hotel prior to their launch on the Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 23 November 2014.

On this mission, Samantha is flying as an ESA astronaut for Italy?s ASI space agency under a special agreement between ASI and NASA.



Samantha Cristoforetti performs the traditional door signing at the Cosmonaut...
24 Nov 2014

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti performs the traditional door signing at the Cosmonaut Hotel prior to departing the hotel for launch in a Soyuz rocket, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 23 November 2014.

With Samantha are Russian Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov and NASA astronaut Terry Virts. All three are part of the Station?s Expedition 42/43 crew.

On this mission, Samantha is flying as an ESA astronaut for Italy?s ASI space agency under a special agreement between ASI and NASA.



The Egg Nebula
24 Nov 2014

This colourful image shows a cosmic lighthouse known as the Egg Nebula, which lies around 3000 light-years from Earth. The image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, has captured a brief but dramatic phase in the life of a Sun-like star.

The Egg Nebula is a ?preplanetary nebula?. These objects occur as a dying star?s hot remains briefly illuminates material it has expelled, lighting up the gas and dust that surrounds it.

These objects will one day develop into planetary nebulas which, despite the name, have nothing at all to do with planets. They gained their rather misleading title because when they were discovered in the 18th century they resembled planets in our Solar System when viewed through a telescope.

Although the dying star is hidden behind the thick dust lane that streaks down the centre of this image, it is revealed by the four lighthouse-like beams clearly visible through the veil of dust that lies beyond the central lane.

The light beams were able to penetrate the central dust lane due to paths carved out of the thick cloud by powerful jets of material expelled from the star, although the cause of these jets is not yet known.

The concentric rings seen in the less dense cloud surrounding the star are due to the star ejecting material at regular intervals ? typically every hundred years ? during a phase of the star?s evolution just prior to this preplanetary nebula phase. These dusty shells are not usually visible in these nebulas, but when they are it provides astronomers with a rare opportunity to study their formation and evolution.

The fleeting nature of this phase in a star?s life ? which occupies only a few thousand of the star?s few billion years of existence ? and the fact that they are fairly faint make it rare to capture them in action. In fact, the Egg Nebula, the first of its kind to be identified, was discovered only 40 years ago.

This image was taken with Hubble?s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Artificial colours are used to represent how the light from the star reflects off the dust ? this can tell scientists about the physical properties of the dust.

The image combines observations with three different polarising filters, each showing light vibrating at a specific orientation. The three filters have been coloured red, blue and green, and all three observations were made at a wavelength of 0.606 microns. The image spans 1.2 light-years.  North is to the right and east is up.

This image was previously published on the NASA Hubble Heritage website.



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