First Image from ESO's Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Observatory
Monday, October 3, 2011: The most complex ground-based astronomy observatory, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), has officially …Read More »
href=" http://www.space.com/13146-alma-radio-telescope-1st-image-released.html">opened for astronomers on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile. The first image released shows the Antennae Galaxies in a way that cannot be seen by visible-light and infrared telescopes. The galaxies, seen here, consist of a pair of colliding galaxies with distorted shapes. ALMA's new view reveals things that we cannot see in visible light: clouds of dense cold gas from which new stars form. Presently, only around a third of ALMA's planned 66 radio antennas operate, yet still this represents the best submillimetre-wavelength image ever made of the Antennae Galaxies.
Where Have All the Shuttle Payload Canisters Gone?
Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
Tuesday, October 4, 2011: At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, payload canister #1 reflects in the water beside the road to the Reutilization, Recycling…Read More »
and Marketing Facility. The two payload canisters that transported space shuttle payloads to the launch pad are being decommissioned following the end of the Space Shuttle Program. Each canister weighs 110,000 pounds, and stretches 65 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high. The canisters were considered as possible artifacts, but their size makes them difficult to transport to off-site locations. Federal and state agencies now will be given the opportunity to screen the canisters for potential use before a final decision is made on their disposition.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011: Strange structures appear in a galaxy cluster around an object called LRG-4-606. LRG stands for Luminous Red Galaxy, a name…Read More »
applied to a large collection of bright red galaxies, mostly massive elliptical galaxies containing huge numbers of old stars. At left, blue galaxies in the background appear to stretch and warp out of shape into pale blue arcs. An effect called gravitational lensing causes this visual anomaly. The galaxy cluster has such a strong gravitational field that it curves the fabric of space and amplifies the starlight from much more distant galaxies. Here, coincidentally, the alignment of the galaxies has made the separate arcs combine to form a half-circle.
Thursday, October 6, 2011: NGC 4874 shines brightly at the right of the frame, with a bright star-like core surrounded by a hazy halo. It is a giant elliptical…Read More »
galaxy, about ten times larger than the Milky Way. A few of the galaxies of Coma Galaxy Cluster appear to float like Frisbees around NGC 4874. Amazingly, most of the point-like objects around NGC 4874 are actually clusters of stars belonging to the galaxy. Each of these globular star clusters contains many hundreds of thousands of stars.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Tuesday, October 11, 2011: The MESSENGER spacecraft has spent its first six months orbiting Mercury (one solar day). Among its activities, the Mercury…Read More »
Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) obtained over one million spectra of the surface from near one pole to the other and spanning all longitudes. Seen here are individual MASCS observations mapped over a mosaic of images obtained with MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS). The various colors correspond to measurements of spectral variations, of which the ultraviolet variations may contain clues about iron content and the types of rocks that hold it.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and Q.D. Wang (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011: This NASA Hubble Space Telescope infrared mosaic image represents the sharpest survey of the Galactic Center to date. It reveals…Read More »
a new population of massive stars and new details in the central 300 x 115 light-years. The lower left region shows pillars of gas sculpted by winds from hot massive stars in the Quintuplet cluster. At the center of the image, ionized gas surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy is confined to a bright spiral. A filter that reveals the glow of hot hydrogen in space was used to produce the false-color image.
Friday, October 14, 2011: NASA's mobile launcher (ML) support structure stands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to supporting the future human spaceflight…Read More »
program. The structure will serve as a launch platform for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, which will take astronauts into deep space on missions to asteroids, the moon or Mars. It took about two years to construct the 355-foot-tall ML structure. A media event to detail us of the ML was held on top of the structure on October 11, 2011, where NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Center Director Bob Cabana were in attendance.
Monday, October 17, 2011: The shadows of Saturn's ring upon the planet's surface clearly mark changing seasons. In 2009, during Saturn's last equinox,…Read More »
the rings threw only a narrow shadow of Saturn. In this Cassini image taken August 2011, the sun rays shine through the rings, the vertical band at right, casting shadows on the southern hemisphere at left.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011: Soyuz VS01 will mark the first launch of a Russian Soyuz ST-B rocket from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. The space vehicle…Read More »
moved into position on October 14, 2011. The vehicle rolled out horizontally on its erector from the preparation building to the launch zone, then raised into the vertical position. Technicians then added the "upper composite," comprising the Fregat upper stage, payload and fairing, onto the vehicle from above. Soyuz VS01 will launch on 20 October 2011, carrying the first two satellites of Europe's Galileo navigation system into orbit.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011: The Carina Nebula, a star-forming region in the Sagittarius-Carina arm of the Milky Way, lies 7,500 light years from Earth.…Read More »
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has detected more than 14,000 stars in the region. Chandra's X-ray vision provides strong evidence that massive stars have self-destructed in this nearby star-forming region. Researchers have observed a deficit of bright X-ray sources. Also, the detection of six possible neutron stars, the dense cores often left behind after stars explode in supernovas, gives additional evidence of increasing supernova activity in Carina. Previous observations had only detected one neutron star there.
Friday, October 21, 2011: NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission aeroshell hangs over the heads of technicians in the Payload Hazardous Servicing…Read More »
Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The aeroshell, which has been mated to the cruise stage, contains the newest Mars rover, Curiosity, comparable in size to a compact car. (Note Curiosity's black wheels protruding from the underside of the aeroshell.) Curiosity will search Mars for evidence that it once possessed environments favorable to microbial life. NASA plans to launch MSL aboard a Atlas V rocket on November 25, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
All the Stars Are Spinning—They're Spinning Around in Heaven Above
Credit: F. Char/ESO
Monday, October 24, 2011: Stars appear to trail through the night sky above ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) array on Cerro Paranal in Chile. Farid Char,…Read More »
a student at Chile’s Universidad Católica del Norte, created the image from 450 individual 20-second exposures taken over 2-1/2 hours, creating the dotted star trails that appear to circle the southern celestial pole. The Unit Telescopes also seem to whirl as they rotate to observe different subjects. Even a shooting star passes by, seen as a small trail above the Auxiliary Telescope in the bottom left of the image.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011: Happy birthday, STEREO! NASA's twin spacecraft of the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) launched five years ago…Read More »
on October 25, 2006. On February 6, 2011, the two spacecraft had moved into positions almost exactly on opposite sides of the sun, allowing them to see the entire sun at once. STEREO captured this picture, the first complete image of the solar far side, on June 1, 2011. Solar north lies at the top of the photograph.
Friday, October 27, 2011: Spiral galaxy Messier 96 doesn't possess the classic appearance of a spiral galaxy: It has a core displaced from the center,…Read More »
gas and dust distributed asymmetrically and ill-defined spiral arms. Messier 96, also known as NGC 3368, lies in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). This image was processed by ESO using the observational data found by Oleg Maliy from Ukraine, who participated in ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition using astronomical data obtained with professional telescopes.
Monday, October 31, 2011: Happy Halloween from SPACE.com! This spider, a female Nephila clavipes (golden orb spider), shown here in her web, is of the…Read More »
same type as two spiders who flew to the International Space Station in May 2011. Those two arachnids, dubbed Gladys and Esmeralda by astronaut Cady Coleman, were part of a scientific investigation called Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert-05, or CSI-05, followed by students the world over. Intriguingly, the golden orb spider usually spins a three dimensional, asymmetric web on Earth, but in space they spin more circular webs.