Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013: New Yorkers may have had a dazzling crystal ball to drop at midnight, but that's nothing compared to Saturn. Happy New Year from…Read More »
NASA's Cassini spacecraft and all of us here at SPACE.com! Less «
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Can You See Me?
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013: Galaxy IC 239 lies 30-40 million light years from Earth, not a great distance by universal standards. It possess a low (surface)…Read More »
brightness that suggests it is not as massive as others of a similar type, such as M101. Bright stars of our own galaxy in the foreground make detecting the structure of this face-on spiral difficult. It vaguely shows bluish spiral arms and many pink nebulae (star-forming regions).
Credit: J. M. Lecleire, S. Koutchmy, CNRS/CNES, Proba-2/SWAP, SOHO/LASCO, ESA & NASA
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013: This unique portrayal of the total solar eclipse of November 13-14, 2012, combines ground-based images (blue ring) with views…Read More »
from ESA’s Proba-2 (false-color central disc) and ESA/NASA’s SOHO satellites (background). Magnetic field lines and streamers glow in the ground-based white-light images, carrying over into the wide-field view from SOHO as the solar wind blows these features out into space. The connection between the ground- and space-based images allows researchers to correlate difficult-to-see regions of the Sun’s atmosphere, visible only during a total solar eclipse.
Friday, Jan. 4, 2013: The antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) sit under the stars of the southern sky as they appear to…Read More »
whirl overhead. Babak Tafreshi took the long-exposure photograph on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. When ALMA construction is completed in 2013, the telescope will possess 54 of these 12-meter diameter antennas, and twelve 7-meter antennas. Image released Dec. 31, 2012.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: E. Sturdivant
Monday, Jan. 7, 2013: A bright star-forming ring surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. The face-on galaxy lies 45 million light-years…Read More »
away in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace). At the center of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun sucks in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the infalling material. The ring around the black hole bursts with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. NCG 1097 also possesses two satellite galaxies, NGC 1097A, an elliptical galaxy orbiting 42,000 light-years from the center of NGC 1097, and a small dwarf galaxy named NGC 1097B. Neither can be seen in this image.
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013: The Canadian Space Agency's AuroraMAX automated camera photographed this aurora over Yellowknife on Jan. 10, 2013.
— Tom Chao
11 of 24
Break, Eject, Eject, Eject
Monday, Jan. 14, 2013: Planetary nebula NGC 5189 consists of a dying star the size of our sun surrounded by material it has ejected from its outer envelope.…Read More »
The radiation of the stellar remnant heats the material, causing it to radiate, forming glowing clouds of gas in complex structures. In this case, NGC 5189 has created two structures expanding from the center in different directions. (The term "planetary nebula" is a misnomer. Early astronomers mistook the celestial objects for planets, but no planets are involved.) Image released Dec. 20, 2012.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013: Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space, performs test actions in the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory on…Read More »
Jan. 2, 2013. Ground teams remotely commanded it to operate valves on a task board. Robonaut’s form and dexterity should allow it to use the same tools and control panels as its human counterparts do aboard the station.
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013: Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, successfully completed its 100th test flight on October 4, 2012. That date…Read More »
marked the eighth anniversary of the X-Prize-winning flight of SpaceShipOne, the world’s first privately built manned space vehicle. Workers are now fitting tanks and other elements of the propulsion system of SpaceShipTwo in preparation for supersonic, powered flight. Virgin Galactic is currently taking deposits from space tourists to hold seats on their planned future suborbital flights.
Monday, Jan. 21, 2013: Saturn's small moons Atlas, Prometheus, and Epimetheus faintly keep each other company in this image of the planet's night side.…Read More »
It’s a bit of a family reunion, since they were named after brothers in Greek mythology. Prometheus lies just inside the F ring at the top center of this image, while Epimetheus is farther from the rings, due right of Prometheus in this image. Atlas is between the A and F rings almost right below Epimetheus. All three are so small that they barely appear in this image. The image was taken by Cassini spacecraft on Sep. 19, 2012.
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013: NASA astronauts Lee Morin, Alvin Drew, Kjell Lindgren, Serena Aunon, Kate Rubins, and Mike Massimino escort the Orion space capsule…Read More »
as they pass the presidential viewing stand and President Barack Obama. The White House stands in the background. The parade was part of the festivities surrounding the second inuaguration of President Obama on Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington, DC.
When You Get Caught Between the Moon and New York City
Credit: David Rodgers
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013: David Rodgers sent in his photo of the moon and Jupiter as he saw them in New York City on Jan 22, 2013. He wrote: “What makes…Read More »
the occasion so very special, truly once in a lifetime, is that the George Washington Bridge is only lit up on occasional holidays, perhaps 3 times a year. In this case, the conjunction took place on Monday, January 21, which also had the impossibly rare coincidence of being not only the Martin Luther King Day holiday, but also the Inauguration Day for President Obama's second term, hence the lighting being turned on. Usually the towers are dark!... [The picture was] taken from northern Manhattan, looking west over the Hudson River toward Ft. Lee, New Jersey. The George Washington Bridge is to the left, 12 blocks to the south. Time was between 2:50 and 3:00 AM on Tuesday morning, January 22. By this time, the moon had moved noticeably away from its closest point, when I first observed around 11:30 PM.... Jupiter is to the right of the moon. The bright star to the left of the moon is Aldebaran, in Taurus.... The constellation Orion is visible over the bridge on the left.”
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013: One of the Unit Telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) stands beneath bright star trails appearing to circle the south celestial…Read More »
pole, lying in the southern constellation of Octans (The Octant). Many exposures were taken over time and combined to give the final appearance of circular tracks. Four Unit Telescopes (UTs) make up the VLT at Paranal, Chile. Each UT possesses a name in the language of the native Mapuche tribe. The names of the UTs — Antu, Kueyen, Melipal, and Yepun — represent celestial objects: the sun, moon, the Southern Cross constellation and Venus, respectively. The UT in this photograph is Yepun, also known as UT4. Image released Jan. 7, 2013.
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013: Enormous supercluster Abell 901/902 contains three separate main galaxy clusters enhanced with filaments of galaxies, Abell 901a…Read More »
cluster lies above and just to the right of the prominent red foreground star near the middle of the image. Abell 901b sits further to the right of Abell 901a, and slightly lower. Abell 902 floats directly below the red star, towards the bottom of the image. Abell 901/902 supercluster is positioned a little over two billion light-years from Earth, and contains hundreds of galaxies in a region about 16 million light-years across. By comparison, the Local Group of galaxies, which includes our Milky Way among more than 50 others, measures roughly ten million light-years across.
Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013: Andromeda galaxy (M31) shines as the closest major galaxy to our Milky Way, lying at a distance of 2.5 million light years. ESA’s…Read More »
Herschel space observatory shows Andromeda’s cool lanes of forming stars in the finest detail yet. Clouds of cool dust mixed with gas, here colored red, contains some of the coldest dust in the galaxy, only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. The densely populated central bulge, a warmer region, appears blue. The 200,000 light year-wide galaxy shows star-formation zones organized in spiral arms and at least five concentric rings, interspersed with dark gaps where no stars are forming.
Tom Chao has contributed to SPACE.com as a producer and writer since 2000. As a writer and editor, he has worked for the Voyager Company, Time Inc. New Media, HarperCollins and Worth Publishers. He has a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tom on Google+.