viernes, 24 de octubre de 2014

APOD - AR 2192: Giant on the Sun

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2014 October 24
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AR 2192: Giant on the Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Randall Shivak and Alan Friedman (Averted Imagination)

Explanation: As you (safely!) watched the progress of yesterday's partial solar eclipse, you probably also spotted a giant sunspot group. Captured in this sharp telescopic image from October 22nd the complex AR 2192 is beautiful to see, a sprawling solar active region comparable in size to the diameter of Jupiter. Like other smaller sunspot groups, AR 2192 is now crossing the Earth-facing side of the Sun and appears dark in visible light because it is cooler than the surrounding surface. Still, the energy stored in the region's twisted magnetic fields is enormous and has already generated powerful explosions, including two X-class solar flares this week. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) associated with the flares have not affected planet Earth, so far. The forecast for further activity from AR 2192 is still significant though, as it swings across the center of the solar disk and Earth-directed CMEs become possible.

Tomorrow's picture: the day after


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jueves, 23 de octubre de 2014

APOD - Galaxies in Pegasus

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2014 October 23
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Galaxies in Pegasus
Image Credit & Copyright: Alessandro Benedetti and Daniele Ceniti (AeW Observatory)

Explanation: This wide, sharp telescopic view reveals galaxies scattered beyond the stars and faint dust nebulae of the Milky Way at the northern boundary of the high-flying constellation Pegasus. Prominent at the upper right is NGC 7331. A mere 50 million light-years away, the large spiral is one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. The disturbed looking group of galaxies at the lower left is well-known as Stephan's Quintet. About 300 million light-years distant, the quintet dramatically illustrates a multiple galaxy collision, its powerful, ongoing interactions posed for a brief cosmic snapshot. On the sky, the quintet and NGC 7331 are separated by about half a degree.

Today: Partial Solar Eclipse | Webcast | Webcast | Webcast
Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2014

APOD - Sunspot Group AR 2192 Crackles

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2014 October 22

Sunspot Group AR 2192 Crackles
Image Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA

Explanation: One of the largest sunspot groups in recent years is now crossing the Sun. Labelled Active Region 2192, it has already thrown a powerful solar flare and has the potential to produce more. The featured video shows a time lapse sequence of the Sun in visible and ultraviolet light taken yesterday and incorporating the previous 48 hours. AR 2192, rotating in from the left, rivals Jupiter in size and is literally crackling with magnetic energy. The active Sun has caused some spectacular auroras in recent days, and energetic particles originating from AR 2192 may help continue them over the next week. Tomorrow, the Sun will appear unusual for even another reason: a partial solar eclipse will be visible before sunset from much of North America.

Tomorrow's picture: open space


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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martes, 21 de octubre de 2014

APOD - Mimas: Small Moon with a Big Crater

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2014 October 21
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Mimas: Small Moon with a Big Crater
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA; Digital Processing: Supportstorm

Explanation: Whatever hit Mimas nearly destroyed it. What remains is one of the largest impact craters on one of Saturn's smallest moons. The crater, named Herschel after the 1789 discoverer of Mimas, Sir William Herschel, spans about 130 kilometers and is pictured above. Mimas' low mass produces a surface gravity just strong enough to create a spherical body but weak enough to allow such relatively large surface features. Mimas is made of mostly water ice with a smattering of rock - so it is accurately described as a big dirty snowball. The above image was taken during the 2005 August flyby of the robot spacecraft Cassini now in orbit around Saturn. A recent analysis of Mimas's unusual wobble indicates that it might house a liquid water interior ocean.

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Tomorrow's picture: open space


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lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

APOD - Comet Siding Spring Passes Mars

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2014 October 20
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Comet Siding Spring Passes Mars
Image Credit & Copyright: SEN/Damian Peach

Explanation: Yesterday, a comet passed very close to Mars. In fact, Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed closer to the red planet than any comet has ever passed to Earth in recorded history. To take advantage of this unique opportunity to study the close interaction of a comet and a planet, humanity currently has five active spacecraft orbiting Mars: NASA's MAVEN, MRO, Mars Odyssey, as well as ESA's Mars Express, and India's Mars Orbiter. Most of these spacecraft have now sent back information that they have not been damaged by small pieces of the passing comet. These spacecraft, as well as the two active rovers on the Martian surface -- NASA's Opportunity and Curiosity -- have taken data and images that will be downloaded to Earth for weeks to come and likely studied for years to come. The featured image taken yesterday, however, was not taken from Mars but from Earth and shows Comet Siding Spring on the lower left as it passed Mars, on the upper right.

NASA Updates : Comet Siding Spring from Mars
Tomorrow's picture: yes, that is a moon


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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& Michigan Tech. U.


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