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🚀 🌎 Exploring the universe and our home planet.
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Posted 3/22/2023
Shining, shimmering, splendid✨ This image of Earth at night provides a clear view of the patterns of human settlements across our planet. Satellite images of Earth at night – often referred to as “night lights” – provide a broad beautiful picture showing how humans shaped the planet and lit up the darkness. The image shows Earth’s night lights as observed in 2016; it is drawn from a compositing technique that selected the best cloud-free nights in each month over each land mass in 2016. (Note that clouds and sunlight are added for aesthetic effect.) “Using this data, we can monitor short-term changes caused by disturbances in power delivery, such as conflict, storms, earthquakes, and brownouts. We can monitor cyclical changes driven by reoccurring human activities such as holiday lighting and seasonal migrations. We can also monitor gradual changes driven by urbanization, out-migration, economic changes, and electrification. The fact that we can track all these different aspects at the heart of what defines a city is simply mind-boggling.” – former @NASAEarth scientist, Miguel Román. Image Description: The outline of Earth glows in light blue, while the city lights of Europe and northern Africa shine bright. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA GSFC. #NASA #NASAEarth #Earth #EarthAtNight #NightLights #CityLights #Glow #Space
Posted 3/21/2023
When the Moon is away, the stars take the stage. ⁣ ⁣ Take a step outside tonight (Tuesday, March 21, 2023) for a new appreciation for the night sky with a new moon. The best time to observe the stars, with regard to the Moon's brightness, is the two weeks before and after the new moon phase. On these evenings the Moon is either absent from the sky all night, or sets within a couple of hours after sunset, or doesn't rise until the pre-dawn hours.⁣ ⁣ Other stargazing tips: ⁣ - Look for dark skies away from city lights to see more stars. This is especially true if you want to be able to see the Milky Way. There are many more faint stars in the sky than bright ones, and only the brightest stars and planets are brilliant enough to see in bright, urban skies.⁣ - Being at higher altitude helps, because you'll be above the dense air at low altitudes that contains hazes, fog, and smoke that mask your view of the stars. If you can safely get to a viewing location a couple thousand feet above the surrounding area, it can make for clearer skies.⁣ - Finally, allow time for your eyes to become dark adapted. It can take half an hour or more for your vision to become fully sensitive to the low-light environment. Be especially careful about stumbling around in the dark when you first arrive, or after you turn on a light, even briefly. Protect your night vision by minimizing the use of bright mobile devices and flashlights and use only ultra-dim light sources if you can.⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Image description: A 30-second exposure taken with a circular fish-eye lens, a meteor streaks across the sky as a photographer wipes moisture from the camera lens. The bright band of the Milky Way runs vertically through the image, and the curved horizon is punctuated by pine silhouettes.⁣ ⁣ Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls⁣ ⁣ #NASA #Stargazing #Tips #SkyWatchers #Astronomy #LookUp #Nightsky #Stars #Space #ThingsToDo #OutdoorActivities⁣
Posted 3/20/2023
Rocket flying high, You know how I feel; Sun in the sky, You know how I feel ☀️⁣ ⁣ Known as the March equinox, the vernal equinox brings the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. During the equinox (Latin for “equal night”), the Sun passes directly over the equator bringing nearly equal amounts of day and night on all parts of Earth.⁣ ⁣ The reason for the seasons, scientists believe, occurred when our planet was young. A large object, about the size of Mars, collided with Earth, causing it to tilt off-kilter relative to the position of the Sun, creating four seasons, and the debris formed our Moon. As we plan future missions to the Moon with #Artemis, we may gain a better understanding of how our cosmic neighbor formed by studying its lunar geology.⁣ ⁣ Image description: Green grass and wildflowers dominate the bottom of this image, which shows the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and mobile launcher at @NASAKennedy’s Launch pad 39B. The sky is blue, the SLS is butterscotch with two white boosters, and the Orion spacecraft is white atop the rocket. Two lightning control towers are to the left of the rocket in gray.⁣ ⁣ Credit: @NASA/Ben Smegelsky⁣ ⁣ #Moon #Spring #Autumn #Seasons #NASA
Posted 3/19/2023
Scientists have long suspected Jupiter's moon, Europa, of having a massive ocean swirling around its rocky interior under its icy shell. New research may indicate why the icy shell rotates at a different rate than its interior. Using computer modeling, astronomers believe the water may be pushing the ice shell at different rates speeding up and slowing down the icy shell over time. The ebb and flow of the ocean may also explain the geology seen on the moon's surface, creating cracks, ridges, and cliffs as seen here by our Juno spacecraft. Scientists hope to learn more about Europa's unique make-up with our Europa-Clipper set to launch in October 2024, which will study the moon in-depth. Image description: Partially illuminated, Europa's surface is marred and cracked with brown-gray streaks creating patterns across its icy shell, which appears white and blue. Credit: Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Image processing: Kevin M. Gill CC BY 3.0 #Moon #Jupiter #Space #Europa #NASA #SolarSystem
Posted 3/16/2023
Recent volcanic activity has been observed on Venus for the first time.⁣ ⁣ After scouring archival radar images taken by our Magellan mission more than 30 years ago, the @uaf.gi and @nasajpl team found direct geological evidence of an active volcano on the surface of Earth’s twin planet. The images revealed a volcanic vent changing shape and increasing significantly in size in less than a year.⁣ ⁣ The volcanic vent studied appeared nearly circular, covering an area of less than 1 square mile (2.2 square kilometers). It had steep interior sides and showed signs of drained lava down its exterior slopes, factors that hinted at activity. In radar images captured eight months later, the same vent had doubled in size and become misshapen. It also appeared to be filled to the rim with a lava lake.⁣ ⁣ Scientists study active volcanoes to understand how a planet’s interior can shape its crust, drive its evolution, and affect its habitability. The new findings set the stage for our upcoming orbiter mission VERITAS – short for Venus Emissivity, Radio science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy – which will do just that when it launches within a decade.⁣ ⁣ Image description:⁣ ⁣ A computer-generated 3D image shows the entirety of Venus in a bright yellow color. There are patches of darker yellows that illustrate differences in the surface. The large circular planet has a black square to the middle-right section marking where volcanic activity was spotted in archival radar images from NASA's Magellan mission.⁣ ⁣ A computer-generated 3D model image shows Venus’ surface and the summit of Maat Mons, a volcano exhibiting signs of activity. A new study found one of Maat Mons’ vents became enlarged and changed shape over an eight-month period in 1991, indicating an eruptive event occurred. The 3D rendering shows a yellow-covered surface and a black background. The slope of the volcano isn't very steep, and appears more like a hill than a mountain.⁣ ⁣ Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech⁣ ⁣ #NASA #Venus #SolarSystem #Volcano #Magellan #Planet #Research #Geology #LPSC
Posted 3/14/2023
It’s @NASAWebb’s world, and now we can all live in it.⁣ ⁣ Let us take you to space with our new AR effect. Step into a portal, immerse yourself in stunning Webb imagery, and explore the telescope.⁣ ⁣ To find it, head to our account and tap on the sparkles icon. ✨And check out Webb’s latest image, unveiled at #SXSW, at the link in @NASAWebb’s bio.⁣ ⁣ Credit: NASA/ Sonnet Apple / (Music) Universal Production⁣ ⁣ #NASA #JWST #JamesWebbSpaceTelescope #Space #UnfoldTheUniverse #Galaxies #Stars #AugmentedReality
Posted 3/14/2023
Sakura to Supernova⁣ ⁣ This rare sight is a super-bright, massive Wolf-Rayet star. Calling forth the ephemeral nature of cherry blossoms, the Wolf-Rayet phase is a fleeting stage that only some stars go through soon before they explode.⁣ ⁣ The star, WR 124, is 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It is 30 times the mass of the Sun and has shed 10 Suns worth of material – so far. As the ejected gas moves away from the star and cools, cosmic dust forms and glows in the infrared light detectable by @NASAWebb.⁣ ⁣ The origin of cosmic dust that can survive a supernova blast is of great interest to astronomers for multiple reasons. Dust shelters forming stars, gathers together to help form planets, and serves as a platform for molecules to form and clump together, including the building blocks of life on Earth. The James Webb Space Telescope opens up new possibilities for studying details in cosmic dust, which is best observed in infrared wavelengths of light.⁣ ⁣ Immerse yourself in this image and other @NASAWebb favorites with our new AR effect. To find it, head to our page and tap on the sparkles icon. ✨⁣ ⁣ Image description: A large 8-pointed star shines in bright white at the center. A clumpy cloud of material surrounds this star, in some places allowing background stars to peek through. The cloud is a dark yellow closer to the star, and turns a pinkish purple at its outer edges. Combined, the central star and its cloud resemble a cherry blossom. The black background features many smaller white stars scattered throughout.⁣ Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team⁣ ⁣ #NASA #astronomy #photography #astrophotography #space #star #SXSW #universe #spacecore
Posted 3/13/2023
Welcome home, Crew-5! 🚀 After five months on the @ISS, the four members of NASA's @SpaceX #Crew5 mission—including @NASAAstronauts Nicole Mann and @astro_cassada—safely returned to Earth last weekend. Crew-5 and their Dragon Endurance spacecraft splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at 9:02 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 11 (0202 UTC March 12). Over their 157 days in space, Crew-5 orbited the Earth more than 2,500 times, went on five spacewalks, and contributed to more than 100 scientific experiments and scientific demonstrations. Our astronauts grew protein crystals for medical research, tended our "space garden" to prepare for distant long-term missions, talked with children (and adults) around the world, and helped prep a new set of roll-up solar arrays to boost the power of our orbiting laboratory. After being retrieved by recovery teams from SpaceX and NASA, Crew-5 arrived in Houston earlier today (March 13). Our Crew-6 astronauts, who lifted off from @NASAKennedy earlier this month, have taken their place on the ISS, starting our latest science expedition to help humanity reach new heights. Image description 1: The Dragon Endurance spacecraft and its four parachutes descend through the night sky, lit up by a blue spotlight coming from the ground. Image description 2: A person in a black wet suit jumps from the Dragon Endurance spacecraft after helping secure it to its recovery ship, which is in the process of lifting it from the water. Image description 3: Astronaut Josh Cassada, wearing his white flight suit and sitting on his recovery stretcher, waves with a smile on his face as SpaceX and NASA staff check him post-splashdown. Image description 4: Astronaut Nicole Mann (the first Indigenous woman astronaut to visit space), wearing her white flight suit and lying on her recovery stretcher, gives a thumbs-up to the camera. Image description 5: The four members of Crew-5, sitting in their seats on Dragon Endurance, give thumbs-ups and smiles to the camera immediately after being recovered from the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber #NASA #Space #SpaceX #SpaceStation #InternationalSpaceStation #Dragon #Astronaut #JAXA
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