понедельник, 11 ноября 2019 г.

Ten Suns for 10 years








ESA - Proba-2 logo.

Nov. 11, 2019


Last week marked a milestone for ESA’s Proba-2 satellite: 10 years of operation in orbit around the Earth. Since its launch on 2 November 2009, Proba-2 (PRoject for OnBoard Autonomy) has probed the intricacies of the Sun and its connection to our planet, imaging and observing our star and investigating how it drives all manner of complex cosmic phenomena: from solar eruptions and flares to closer-to-home space weather effects.

This image shows 10 different views of the Sun captured throughout Proba-2’s lifetime, processed to highlight the extended solar atmosphere – the part of the atmosphere that is visible around the main circular disc of the star.

Characterising this part of the Sun is a key element of Proba-2’s solar science observations. Solar activity is closely tied to the space weather we experience closer to Earth. Understanding more about how the Sun behaves – and how this behaviour changes over time, including whether it may be predictable – is crucial in our efforts to prepare for space weather events capable of damaging both space-based and terrestrial communications systems.

The Sun’s activity has a cycle of about 11 years, with the presence and strength of phenomena such as flares, coronal mass ejections, dark ‘coronal holes’ and bright ‘active regions’ fluctuating accordingly. These images were taken by Proba-2’s extreme-ultraviolet SWAP (Sun watcher using APS detectors and image processing) instrument, and show a snapshot of the Sun in January or February of each year from 2010 to 2019 (with the oldest frame on the top left, and the most recent to the bottom right). This mosaic thus neatly shows the variability in the solar atmosphere in beautiful detail, demonstrating how this cycle affects the Sun. The Sun begins in a phase of low activity (solar minimum: top left) in 2010; enters a phase of increasing activity and then shows highest activity in 2014 (solar maximum: top right). It slowly calms down again to enter a low-activity phase in 2019 (another minimum: bottom right).

ESA’s Proba-2 satellite

As its name suggests, Proba-2 is the second satellite launched under ESA’s ‘Project for Onboard Autonomy’ umbrella: a series of small, low-cost missions that are testing a wide array of advanced technologies in space. These missions are helping us understand and develop everything from solar monitoring to vegetation mapping to autonomous Earth observation. Future members of the Proba family will also be equipped to create artificial eclipses by flying two satellites together in formation to block the bright disc of the Sun for hours at a time, so that scientists can better observe fainter regions that are usually outshone.

For now, Proba-2 will continue to monitor the Sun, including an upcoming celestial event: the satellite’s SWAP camera will observe Mercury today as it transits across the face of the Sun, an event that only takes place around 13 times per century and will not occur again until 2032.

The individual frames of the image shown here were captured on (top row, left to right): 20 February 2010, 1 February 2011, 20 January 2020, 5 February 2013, 28 January 2014, and (bottom row, left to right) 19 January 2015, 5 February 2016, 22 January 2017, 2 February 2018, and 1 February 2019.

ESA’s Proba-2 satellite: http://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Operations/A_decade_probing_the_Sun

Proba-2: http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Missions/Proba-2/

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/Royal Observatory of Belgium.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

O_o  When we peer deep into space, we don’t expect to find...



O_o  When we peer deep into space, we don’t expect to find something staring back at us…

This galactic ghoul, captured by our Hubble Space Telescope, is actually a titanic head-on collision between two galaxies. Each “eye” is the bright core of a galaxy, one of which slammed into another. The outline of the face is a ring of young blue stars. Other clumps of new stars form a nose and mouth.

Although galaxy collisions are common most of them are not head-on smashups like this Arp-Madore system. Get spooked & find out what lies inside this ghostly apparition, here

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

2019 November 11 Lunar Craters Langrenus and Petavius Image...



2019 November 11

Lunar Craters Langrenus and Petavius
Image Credit & Copyright: Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau

Explanation: The history of the Moon is partly written in its craters. Pictured here is a lunar panorama taken from Earth featuring the large craters Langrenus, toward the left, and Petavius, toward the right. The craters formed in separate impacts. Langrenus spans about 130 km, has a terraced rim, and sports a central peak rising about 3 km. Petavius is slightly larger with a 180 km diameter and has a distinctive fracture that runs out from its center. Although it is known that Petravius crater is about 3.9 billion years old, the origin of its large fracture is unknown. The craters are best visible a few days after a new Moon, when shadows most greatly accentuate vertical walls and hills. The featured image is a composite of the best of thousands of high-resolution, infrared, video images taken through a small telescope. Although mountains on Earth will likely erode into soil over a billion years, lunar craters Langrenus and Petavius will likely survive many billions more years, possibly until the Sun expands and engulfs both the Earth and Moon.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191111.html

Castlerigg Prehistoric Stone Circle, Keswick, Lake District, 10.11.19.A low, late autumn sun and...

Castlerigg Prehistoric Stone Circle, Keswick, Lake District, 10.11.19.

A low, late autumn sun and snowy peaks made this a beautiful visit today.



* This article was originally published here

What Does Two Decades of Rain and Snow Show Us?

You are seeing the culmination of almost twenty years of rain and snow, all at once.

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For the first time, we have combined and remastered the satellite measurements from two of our precipitation spacecraft to create our most detailed picture of our planet’s rain and snowfall. This new record will help scientists better understand normal and extreme rain and snowfall around the world and how these weather events may change in a warming climate. 

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The Most Extreme Places on Earth

Using this new two-decade record, we can see the most extreme places on Earth. 

The wettest places on our planet occur over oceans. These extremely wet locations tend to be very concentrated and over small regions.

A region off the coast of Indonesia receives on average 279 inches of rain per year.

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An area off the coast of Colombia sees on average 360 inches of rain per year.

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The driest places on Earth are more widespread. Two of the driest places on Earth are also next to cold ocean waters. In these parts of the ocean, it rains as little as it does in the desert – they’re also known as ocean deserts! 

Just two thousand miles to the south of Colombia is one of the driest areas, the Atacama Desert in Chile that receives on average 0.64 inches of rain per year.

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Across the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia experiences on average 0.49 inches of rain a year and Egypt gets on average 0.04 inches of rain per year.

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Global Patterns

As we move from January to December, we can see the seasons shift across the world.

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During the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, massive monsoons move over India and Southeast Asia.

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We can also see dynamic swirling patterns in the Southern Ocean, which scientists consider one of our planet’s last great unknowns.

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Close-up Patterns

This new record also reveals typical patterns of rain and snow at different times of the day – a pattern known as the diurnal cycle. 

As the Sun heats up Earth’s surface during the day, rainfall occurs over land. In Florida, sea breezes from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean feed the storms causing them to peak in the afternoon. At night, storms move over the ocean.

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In the winter months in the U.S. west coast, the coastal regions generally receive similar amounts of rain and snow throughout the day. Here, precipitation is driven less from the daily heating of the Sun and more from the Pacific Ocean bringing in atmospheric rivers – corridors of intense water vapor in the atmosphere.

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This new record marks a major milestone in the effort to generate a long-term record of rain and snow. Not only does this long record improve our understanding of rain and snow as our planet changes, but it is a vital tool for other agencies and researchers to understand and predict floods, landslides, disease outbreaks and agricultural production.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ Prehistoric Stone Circle Night Photography, Keswick, Lake...

‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ Prehistoric Stone Circle Night Photography, Keswick, Lake District, 10.11.19.



* This article was originally published here

Galactic Ghouls and Stellar Screams

A quiet, starry night sky might not seem like a very spooky spectacle, but space can be a creepy place! Monsters lurk in the shadowy depths of the universe, sometimes hidden in plain sight. Many of them are invisible to our eyes, so we have to use special telescopes to see them. Read on to discover some of these strange cosmic beasts, but beware — sometimes fact is scarier than fiction.

Monster Black Holes ⚫

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You know those nightmares where no matter how fast you try to run you never seem to get anywhere? Black holes are a sinister possible version of that dream — especially because they’re real! If you get too close to a black hole, there is no possibility of escape.

Just last year our Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope traced an otherworldly ghost particle back to one of these monster black holes, providing additional insight into the many signals we’re picking up from some of the most feared creatures in the cosmic deep.

But it gets worse. Our Hubble Space Telescope revealed that these things are hidden in the hearts of nearly every galaxy in the universe. That means supermassive black holes lurk in the shadows of the night sky in every direction you look!

A Hazy Specter 👻

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This fiendish specter lives in the center of the Milky Way, haunting our galaxy’s supermassive black hole. But it’s not as scary as it looks! Our SOFIA observatory captured streamlines tracing a magnetic field that appears to be luring most of the material quietly into orbit around the black hole. In other galaxies, magnetic fields seem to be feeding material into hungry black holes — beware! Magnetic fields might be the answer to why some black holes are starving while others are feasting.

Bats in the Belfry 🦇

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The universe has bats in the attic! Hubble spotted the shadow of a giant cosmic bat in the Serpens Nebula. Newborn stars like the one at the center of the bat, called HBC 672, are surrounded by disks of material, which are hard to study directly. The shadows they cast, like the bat, can clue scientists in on things like the disk’s size and density. Our solar system formed from the same type of disk of material, but we can only see the end result of planet building here — we want to learn more about the process!

Jack-o-lantern Sun 🎃

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A jack-o-lantern in space?! Our Solar Dynamics Observatory watches the Sun at all times, keeping a close eye on space weather. In October 2014, the observatory captured a chilling image of the Sun with a Halloweenish face!

Skull Comet 💀

On Halloween a few years ago, an eerie-looking object known as 2015 TB145 sped across the night sky. Scientists observing it with our Infrared Telescope Facility determined that it was most likely a dead comet. It’s important to study objects like comets and asteroids because they’re dangerous if they cross Earth’s path — just ask the dinosaurs!

Halloween Treat 🍬

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Trick-or-treat! Add a piece of glowing cosmic candy to your Halloween haul, courtesy of Hubble! This image shows the Saturn Nebula, formed from the outer layers ejected by a dying star, destined to be recycled into later generations of stars and planets. Our Sun will experience a similar fate in around five billion years.

Witch’s Broom Nebula 🧹

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Massive stars are in for a more fiery fate, as the Witch’s Broom Nebula shows. Hubble’s close-up look reveals wisps of gas — shrapnel leftover from a supernova explosion. Astronomers believe that a couple of supernovae occur each century in galaxies like our own Milky Way.

Zombie Stars 🧟

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Supernovae usually herald the death of a star, but on a few occasions astronomers have found “zombie stars” left behind after unusually weak supernovae. Our Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has even spotted a mysterious glow of high-energy X-rays that could be the “howls” of dead stars as they feed on their neighbors.

Intergalactic Ghost Towns 🏚️

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The universe is brimming with galaxies, but it’s also speckled with some enormous empty pockets of space, too. These giant ghost towns, called voids, may be some of the largest things in the cosmos, and since the universe is expanding, galaxies are racing even farther away from each other all the time! Be grateful for your place in space — the shadowy patches of the universe are dreadful lonely scenes.

Mysterious Invisible Force 🕵️‍♀️

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Some forces are a lot spookier than floorboards creaking or a door slamming shut unexpectedly when you’re home alone. Dark energy is a mysterious antigravity pressure that our Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is going to help us understand. All we know so far is that it’s present everywhere in the cosmos (even in the room with you as you read this) and it controls the fate of the universe, but WFIRST will study hundreds of millions of galaxies to figure out just what dark energy is up to.

Want to learn some fun ways to celebrate Halloween in (NASA) style? Check out this link!

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

2019 October 30 M42: Inside the Orion Nebula Image Credit &...



2019 October 30

M42: Inside the Orion Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Josep M. Drudis & Don Goldman

Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the featured deep image in assigned colors highlighted by emission in oxygen and hydrogen, wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. In addition to housing a bright open cluster of stars known as the Trapezium, the Orion Nebula contains many stellar nurseries. These nurseries contain much hydrogen gas, hot young stars, proplyds, and stellar jets spewing material at high speeds. Also known as M42, the Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191030.html

‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ Prehistoric Stone Circle Cup and Ring Art Night...

‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ Prehistoric Stone Circle Cup and Ring Art Night Photography, Keswick, Lake District, 10.11.19.



* This article was originally published here

Happy Halloween From The Space Place!

In a dark conference room, a pumpkin gently landed on the Moon, its retrorockets smoldering, while across the room, a flying saucer pumpkin hovered above Area 51 as a pumpkin alien wreaked havoc.

Suffice to say that when the scientists and engineers at our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, compete in a pumpkin-carving contest, the solar system’s the limit. Now in its ninth year, the contest gives teams only one hour to carve (off the clock, on their lunch break), though they can prepare non-pumpkin materials — like backgrounds, sound effects and motorized parts — ahead of time. 

Enjoy! 

Looking for more pumpkin fun? Check out the full gallery, here

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

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