Tuesday, June 4, 2013: Syzygy occurs when three or more celestial bodies nearly align themselves in the sky, and one has been occurring recently. Since…Read More »
the celestial bodies involved lie at similar ecliptic longitude currently, this event is also known as a triple near-conjunction. Planets appear over ESO's La Silla Observatory in northern Chile on May 26, 2013. Above the round domes of the telescopes, three of our solar system neighbors appear after sunset: Jupiter (top), Venus (lower left), and Mercury (lower right). An alignment like this happens infrequently. The last one took place in May 2011, and the next one will not occur until October 2015..
Thursday, June 6, 2013: A 30-second exposure shows a Soyuz rocket after it was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International…Read More »
Space Station, May 29, 2013 (Kazakh time). The rocket carried Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), with Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Karen Nyberg of NASA. Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano will remain aboard the station until mid-November.
Friday, June 7, 2013: An extensive coronal hole on the sun rotated towards the Earth during the week of May 28-31, 2013. The massive coronal area represents…Read More »
one of the largest in a year or more. Coronal holes produce strong solar wind gusts that carry solar particles out to the Earth’s magnetosphere and beyond. These holes appear darker in extreme ultraviolet light images (as in this photo, which combines three wavelengths of UV light) because less matter exists at the temperatures observed. The coronal hole may generate some auroral displays on Earth.
Monday, June 10, 2013: An Ariane 5 VA213 rocket lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana with ESA's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert…Read More »
Einstein, sending cargo to the International Space Station on June 5, 2013. ATV Albert Einstein carried 44,000 lbs. (20,190 kg), the most weight of any spacecraft ever launched by Ariane, beating predecessor ATV Edoardo Amaldi by 330 lbs. (150 kg.).
Tuesday, June 11, 2013: This contorted object, IRAS 22491-1808, also goes by the name of the South America Galaxy. It represents an ultraluminous infrared…Read More »
galaxy (ULIRG) that emits a huge amount of light at infrared wavelengths. The intense infrared emission stems from an episode of strong star formation activity, set off by a collision between two interacting galaxies. In the central, disturbed region, scientists have distinguished two nuclei, remains of two different galaxies currently colliding to form a new one.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013: Karen Nyberg, Expedition 36 flight engineer, takes a floating break in the Unity node aboard the International Space Station, on June 3, 2013.
— Tom Chao
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Simple Twist of Fate
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Thursday, June 13, 2013: Astronomer Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter (University of Arizona) sent in a photo of spiral galaxy NGC 5529, which appears…Read More »
edgewise to observers on Earth. He writes that NGC 5529 is: “significantly larger than our galaxy (perhaps twice as large), and displays a bit of a warped disk towards its wings.” He adds, “What adds to this vista are the numerous galaxies that float both near and far in this field.”
Friday, June 14, 2013: Two or three times a year, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft observes the moon traveling across the sun. On this SDO…Read More »
image from Oct. 7, 2010, NASA visualizers have added a 3-dimensional model of the moon, using Lunar Reconnaissance Observatory data, over the outline of the moon in the original image. The visualizers had to carefully match data from the correct time and viewpoint for the two separate instruments to create the composite image.
Monday, June 17, 2013: The Russian Progress 51 cargo spacecraft, now filled with trash, separated from the aft-end port of the Zvezda service module of…Read More »
the International Space Station on June 11, 2013. The Progress 51 will orbit Earth for a few days while controllers in Moscow perform engineering tests. Then, the cargo craft will re-enter the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, and burn up.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgements: G. Chapdelaine, L. Limatola, and R. Gendler
Tuesday, June 18, 2013: Nearby spiral galaxy Messier 61 (NGC 4303) faces Earth, as it glows 55 million light-years away. The galaxy has a diameter of around…Read More »
100,000 light years, making it about the size of the Milky Way. Notably, six observed supernovae exist within Messier 61, placing it in a group of galaxies which includes Messier 83, also with six supernovae observed, and NGC 6946, having nine observed supernovae. Messier 61 makes up part of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, a massive group of galaxies in the constellation of Virgo (the Virgin). Less «
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The Night Visitors
Credit: Declan O'Doherty
Wednesday, June 19, 2013: Astrophotographer Declan O'Doherty sent in a photo of noctilucent clouds (NLC) taken in County Derry, N. Ireland, on the evening of June 5-6, 2013.
— Tom Chao
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Draw the Lines
Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory
Thursday, June 20, 2013: Different images of the sun taken about the same time on June 7, 2013, reveal the underlying magnetic structure of the sun and…Read More »
its appearance above the surface. A magnetic image of the sun contains darker and lighter tones indicating the stronger north and south polarity of active regions. An extreme ultraviolet image shows arcs of magnetic field lines rising out of and returning to the same active regions. Further, scientists illustrate the magnetic field lines, providing a visual lesson in solar magnetism.
Friday, June 21, 2013: A thunderstorm discharges rare lightning over Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The vast lightning bolts dwarf…Read More »
the four VLT Unit Telescopes, despite each one standing as tall as an eight-story building. Where normally the entire southern sky shines with stars at night, here only one star peeks out (at left), Procyon, a bright binary star in the constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog). Clouds over ESO’s Paranal Observatory rarely appear, as on average, the site experiences 330 clear days every year. Lightning flashes even more rarely, as the observatory is located in one of the driest places in the world. At 8500 feet (2600 meters) above sea level, if clouds form, the observatory stands above them most of the time.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013: ESO’s longest-serving observatory, La Silla, floats high above the clouds in northern Chile, just after sunset. Light from a…Read More »
moon that lies outside the frame bathes the observatory and reflects from the clouds below. The very faint band of golden light above the clouds still illuminated by the sunset represents zodiacal light. This phenomenon occurs when sunlight strikes dust particles between the sun and the planets. Image released June 24, 2013.
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+.