martes, 28 de marzo de 2017

APOD - King of Wings Hoodoo under the Milky Way

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 March 28
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

King of Wings Hoodoo under the Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Wayne Pinkston (LightCrafter Photography

Explanation: This rock structure is not only surreal -- it's real. The reason it's not more famous is that it is, perhaps, smaller than one might guess: the capstone rock overhangs only a few meters. Even so, the King of Wings outcrop, located in New Mexico, USA, is a fascinating example of an unusual type of rock structure called a hoodoo. Hoodoos may form when a layer of hard rock overlays a layer of eroding softer rock. Figuring out the details of incorporating this hoodoo into a night-sky photoshoot took over a year. Besides waiting for a suitably picturesque night behind a sky with few clouds, the foreground had to be artificially lit just right relative to the natural glow of the background. After much planning and waiting, the final shot, featured here, was taken in May 2016. Mimicking the horizontal bar, the background sky features the band of our Milky Way Galaxy stretching overhead.

Tomorrow's picture: shooting stars


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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lunes, 27 de marzo de 2017

APOD - Black Hole Accreting with Jet

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 March 27
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Black Hole Accreting with Jet
Illustration Credit: NASA, Swift, Aurore Simonnet (Sonoma State U.)

Explanation: What happens when a black hole devours a star? Many details remain unknown, but recent observations are providing new clues. In 2014, a powerful explosion was recorded by the ground-based robotic telescopes of the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) project, and followed up by instruments including NASA's Earth-orbiting Swift satellite. Computer modeling of these emissions fit a star being ripped apart by a distant supermassive black hole. The results of such a collision are portrayed in the featured artistic illustration. The black hole itself is a depicted as a tiny black dot in the center. As matter falls toward the hole, it collides with other matter and heats up. Surrounding the black hole is an accretion disk of hot matter that used to be the star, with a jet emanating from the black hole's spin axis.

Tomorrow's picture: rock and sky


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.


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domingo, 26 de marzo de 2017

APOD - Tardigrade in Moss

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 March 26
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Tardigrade in Moss
Image Credit & Copyright: Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes / Eye of Science / Science Source Images

Explanation: Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That's because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations. The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent. Some of these miniature water-bears almost became extraterrestrials recently when they were launched toward to the Martian moon Phobos on board the Russian mission Fobos-Grunt, but stayed terrestrial when a rocket failed and the capsule remained in Earth orbit. Tardigrades are more common than humans across most of the Earth. Pictured here in a color-enhanced electron micrograph, a millimeter-long tardigrade crawls on moss.

Tomorrow's picture: black hole swirling


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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sábado, 25 de marzo de 2017

APOD - Ganymede's Shadow

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 March 25
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

Ganymede's Shadow
Image Credit & Copyright: Damian Peach, Chilescope

Explanation: Approaching opposition early next month, Jupiter is offering some of its best telescopic views from planet Earth. On March 17, this impressively sharp image of the solar system's ruling gas giant was taken from a remote observatory in Chile. Bounded by planet girdling winds, familiar dark belts and light zones span the giant planet spotted with rotating oval storms. The solar system's largest moon Ganymede is above and left in the frame, its shadow seen in transit across the northern Jovian cloud tops. Ganymede itself is seen in remarkable detail along with bright surface features on fellow Galilean moon Io, right of Jupiter's looming disk.


Tomorrow's picture: Tardigrade in Moss


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
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viernes, 24 de marzo de 2017

APOD - The Comet, the Owl, and the Galaxy

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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2017 March 24
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download   the highest resolution version available.

The Comet, the Owl, and the Galaxy
Image Credit & Copyright: Barry Riu

Explanation: Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak poses for a Messier moment in this telescopic snapshot from March 21. In fact it shares the 1 degree wide field-of-view with two well-known entries in the 18th century comet-hunting astronomer's famous catalog. Sweeping through northern springtime skies just below the Big Dipper, the faint greenish comet was about 75 light-seconds from our fair planet. Dusty, edge-on spiral galaxy Messier 108 (bottom center) is more like 45 million light-years away. At upper right, the planetary nebula with an aging but intensely hot central star, the owlish Messier 97 is only about 12 thousand light-years distant though, still well within our own Milky Way galaxy. Named for its discoverer and re-discoverers, this faint periodic comet was first sighted in 1858 and not again until 1907 and 1951. Matching orbit calculations indicated that the same comet had been observed at widely separated times. Nearing its best apparition and closest approach to Earth in over 100 years on April 1, comet 41P orbits the Sun with a period of about 5.4 years.


Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.


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