Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/N. Schneider, Ph. André, V. Könyves (CEA Saclay, France) for the “Gould Belt survey” Key Programme
Wednesday, May 1, 2013: A new view shows the Horsehead Nebula in the context of its surroundings. The nebula resides in the constellation Orion, about…Read More »
1300 light-years away, which makes up part of the vast Orion Molecular Cloud complex. The nebula appears to poke its horse’s head shape above the surrounding gas and dust at the far right-hand side, pointing towards the Flame Nebula. Intense radiation streaming away from newborn stars heats up the surrounding dust and gas (pink and white). To the left lie two other star formation sites, NGC 2068 and NGC 2071. Cool gas and dust networks weave throughout the scene as red and yellow filaments. Some of these may host newly forming low-mass stars.
Thursday, May 2, 2013: Astrophotographer Marisha Sharma of New Delhi, India, sent in a photograph of the penumbral lunar eclipse on April 25, 2013. Sharma…Read More »
writes: “I learnt in the evening of [the] 25th that there will be an eclipse that night. Never having seen an eclipse before, I wasn't sure what to expect. Then I googled and read about it, coming across your site too. I wasn't sure whether I will be able to click it as I only have a 200mm lens. But it turned out to be quite OK when viewed from my balcony.”
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/E. Nardini et al; Optical: NASA/STScI
Monday, May 6, 2013: An enormous cloud of hot gas envelopes two large, colliding galaxies. The system called NGC 6240, called a "halo," contains two merging…Read More »
spiral galaxies, each similar in size to our own Milky Way. The two galaxies both contain a supermassive black hole at their centers, which spiral toward each other. The gas contained in each individual galaxy, violently agitated by the collision, created a baby boom of new stars that has lasted for at least 200 million years.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013: One of the two ALMA transporters, Lore, carries one of the 7-meter-diameter antennas of ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter…Read More »
Array. Lore and her twin, Otto, two bright yellow 28-wheeled vehicles, move ALMA's antennas around on the Chajnantor Plateau at an elevation of 16,400 feet (5000 meters). The transporters reconfigure the telescope array to make the most useful observations, and also move the antennas for maintenance. Image released May 6, 2013.
Friday, May 10, 2013: Looking a bit like a Paul Klee canvas, red and white vapor clouds floated over the Marshall Islands as part of NASA’s Equatorial…Read More »
Vortex Experiment (EVEX). The release of lithium vapor formted the red cloud, and released trimethyl aluminum (TMA) formed the white tracer clouds. Scientists used these clouds to observe the neutral winds in the ionosphere. The experiment took place early on May 7, 2013 (EDT), at Roi Namur, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Two rockets flew the EVEX experiment, and another two carried up the Metal Oxide Space Cloud experiment (MOSC).
Tuesday, May 14, 2013: This image shows a wintry La Silla Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert sitting beneath the Milky Way. Despite the telescopes’…Read More »
location in one of the best areas for astronomical observation, at an altitude of 7800 feet (2400 meters), the desert cannot completely escape winter weather, including snow blanketing the mountain peak and telescope domes. The high altitude sites operated by European Southern Observatory can experience both hot and cold temperatures through the year, including sometimes harsh conditions. Image released May 13, 2013.
Friday, May 17, 2013: Astrophotographer Peter Öberg sent in a photo of the moon over Timrå on the central eastern coast of Sweden, taken on the morning of April 30, 2013.
— Tom Chao
15 of 24
Monday, May 20, 2013: Auroramax automated camera photographed this auroral display in Canada's Northwest Territories on April 26, 2013.
— Tom Chao
16 of 24
Open Your Eyes; Look Up to the Skies
Credit: ESO/A. Fitzsimmons
Tuesday, May 21, 2013: Astronomer Alan Fitzsimmons took a shot of himself with the galactic center in the background at the European Southern Observatory's…Read More »
La Silla facility in the Atacama Desert of Chile. The center of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, glows majestically overhead in the photo. Image released May 20, 2013. [See our gallery of skywatching photos.]
Thursday, May 23, 2013: A very energetic active region on the sun produced four X-flares (largest class) in just two days (May 13 & 15, 2013). Each also…Read More »
was associated with a fast coronal mass ejection (CME), seen in views from SOHO's LASCO C3 coronagraph. This active region possessed a very tangled magnetic field structure. The sun (represented by the central, white circle) does not appear, blocked out by an occulting disk, to make visible fainter structures beyond the sun's corona. The extended white line just to the sun’s left represents Mercury, whose brightness causes artifacts of the technology.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Friday, May 24, 2013: Messenger spacecraft obtained this image of Mercury on Feb. 12, 2013. This close-up of Praxiteles crater shows several potential…Read More »
volcanic vents. One possible vent, in the bottom left of this image, holds particular interest because it also hosts many hollows. A crater chain on the bottom right of the image altered by the formation of hollows. Researchers need further data to fully understand the relationship between hollows and the materials in which they form.
Monday, May 27, 2013: At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Lockheed Martin crew members uncover the Orion ground test vehicle in the Launch Equipment…Read More »
Test Facility (LETF). After a move from the Operations and Checkout Facility to the LETF, the ground test vehicle will undergo a series of pyrotechnic bolt tests. Launching atop NASA's heavy-lift Space Launch System, also under development, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle MPCV will carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit and back. It will also provide emergency abort capabilities. Image released May 13, 2013.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013: The new Proba-V satellite acquired its first raw image over France’s west coast on May 15, 2013. The image uses the three VNIR bands,…Read More »
blue, red and near-infrared (NIR) superposed, green replaced by the NIR. Researchers have not radiometrically or geometrically corrected the image yet. Proba-V, the miniaturized ESA satellite less than a cubic meter in volume, will map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013: A policeman patrolled alongside the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft as it rolled out on a train to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad,…Read More »
Kazakhstan, Sunday, May 26, 2013. The Soyuz rocket launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 29, 2013 (Kazakh time). The rocket carried Expedition 36/37 Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and flight engineers Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Karen Nyberg of NASA.
Thursday, May 30, 2013: Stars appear to move through the sky above Cerro Armazones, a mountain peak 10,000 feet (3060 meters) above sea level, lying in…Read More »
the central part of the Atacama Desert of Chile. Many shorter exposures combine to form the final image, showing the apparent motion of the stars through the southern sky, as the Earth rotated underneath. The very wide-angle lens used shows the celestial pole to the right, and the equator (straight trails) just above the short tower. The large number of star trails in this picture shows why this mountain will host the future world’s biggest optical/near-infrared telescope, the upcoming European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
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+.