Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014: This still image from a new NASA movie of the sun shows the wide range of wavelengths – invisible to the naked eye – that NASA's…Read More »
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) telescope can view. SDO converts the wavelengths into an image humans can see, and researchers colorize the light into a rainbow of hues. Yellow light of 5800 Angstroms generally emanates from material of about 10,000 degrees F (5700 degrees C), representing the surface of the sun. Extreme ultraviolet light of 94 Angstroms, typically colorized in green in SDO images, comes from atoms that are about 11 million degrees F (6,300,000 degrees C), serves as a good wavelength for looking at solar flares, which can reach such high temperatures. By examining pictures of the sun in a variety of wavelengths, scientists can track how particles and heat move through the sun's atmosphere.
Friday, Jan. 3, 2014: Moonlight fills the sky over ESO's Paranal Observatory in the Chilean Atacama Desert, far away from city lights. The Milky Way appears…Read More »
stretching across the sky, as seen from the platform of the Very Large Telescope. The four VLT Unit Telescopes appear as the four massive blocks in the bottom of the image. Also the VLT's Auxiliary Telescopes stand nearby, featuring round, white domes. The moon, at left, appears in this photo to shine as brightly as the sun. To the right, the shadow of the photographer, ESO photo ambassador Gabriel Brammer, falls on the ground, as he waves with outstretched arms. A fisheye lens captures the entire sky, creating this circular effect with the ground bordering the frame.
Monday, Jan. 6, 2014: A dark clump of plasma rose above the sun, then twisted and spun before breaking away and dissipating on Dec. 16-17, 2013. (The clump…Read More »
appears in the center of the image below the bright loops.) This image comes from a 12-hour video clip which showed magnetic forces pulling the clump in different directions before a coronal mass ejection thrust it into space. The large loops emerging from the sun north of the small mass trace magnetic field lines above several active regions. Solar Dynamics Observatory took the image in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light revealing ionized iron heated to a million degrees.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Nick Rose
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014: A new Hubble image shows an ethereal object, known officially as [SBW2007] 1 but sometimes nicknamed SBW1, a nebula with a giant…Read More »
star at its center. The star originally held twenty times more mass than our sun, but now floats encased in a swirling ring of purple gas, the remains of the distant era when it blew off its outer layers. But the star hides a secret: Scientists say that it will go supernova! 26 years ago, a star with striking similarities went supernova — SN 1987A. Early Hubble images of SN 1987A show similarities to SBW1, which gives a snapshot of SN1987a's appearance before it exploded. At a distance of more than 20,000 light-years, the supernova will pose no danger to us when goes off. It may even happen in our own lifetimes. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble's Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Nick Rose.
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014: NASA's Cassini spacecraft provided a view showing how Saturn’s moon, Titan, interacts with the planet’s rings. This image focuses…Read More »
on two separate locations in the rings where the rhythms of the rings operate in synchrony with different aspects of Titan's 16-day orbit, creating effects that point back towards Titan. The Titan Ringlet, embedded within the Colombo Gap at the center of this image, has a slightly oval shape, and always points its long axis towards Titan. The ringlet’s motion is controlled by a gravitational resonance between Titan's 16-day orbit and the precession of the ring particles’ paths around the planet. Just inside the gap lies a narrow feature that transitions from bright at the top of the image to dark at the bottom. This bending or vertical wave appears owing to a similar resonance with Titan. Cassini spacecraft took the image on Sept. 20, 2009, obtained at a distance of approximately 288,000 miles (463,000 kilometers) from Saturn. [For more Cassini images, see Latest Saturn Photos From NASA's Cassini Orbiter.]
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014: Astrophotographer Jeff Dai sent in a photo of the night sky over southwestern China. He writes: "The arc of winter Milky Way is…Read More »
photographed in this panoramic photo from Yunnan Astronomical Observatory in southwestern China. The dome, housing a 2.4 meter diameter telescope, is [illuminated] by the moonrise alpenglow." [For more amazing images by SPACE.com readers, see Amazing Night Sky Photos by Stargazers: January 2014.]
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014: A photograph taken by an Expedition 38 crew member shows the sun shining through a truss-based radiator panel and a primary solar…Read More »
array panel on the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit around the Earth. At the time this photo was taken on Jan. 2, 2014, the crew of the ISS awaited the arrival of the Orbital Sciences’ resupply mission, Orbital-1. The unpiloted Cygnus cargo ship arrived on Jan. 12, 2014, carrying supplies and ants. [See full story.]
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014: The antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) stand under a twilight sky on the Chajnantor Plateau,…Read More »
16400 feet (5000 meters) above sea level, in Chile. Between the two groups of antennas lie the "Earth's shadow" and "Belt of Venus" phenomena, visible as the dark blue and light pink bands stretching across the sky. The planet Jupiter hangs above the mountain in the background. (Click image to see full panorama larger.) Image released January 13, 2014.
Credit: Koichi Wakata (via Twitter as @Astro_Wakata)
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014: On Jan. 9, 2014, Dr. Koichi Wakata tweeted this image of clouds taken aboard the ISS. He wrote: “Space #haiku: Shadows of winter…Read More »
clouds/run over the ocean/just before sunset. Tweet your haiku!” Wakata represents the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a Flight Engineer on International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 38 and the Commander of Expedition 39. [See our gallery of Expedition 37/38 images.]
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Monday, Jan. 20, 2014: On Feb. 4, 2012, MESSENGER spacecraft obtained this image of Terror Rupes, the long, cliff-like landform visible at the center of…Read More »
the scene. Terror Rupes represents one of Mercury's most prominent lobate scarps, a geological feature that forms when a portion of Mercury's crust thrusts up over another as its interior cools. This scarp takes its name from HMS Terror, an eighteenth-century warship that later participated in scientific polar explorations.
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014: At the left, spiral galaxy NGC 2276, in the constellation of Cepheus, shows an asymmetrical appearance. To its right, we see elliptical…Read More »
galaxy NGC 2300, together with NGC 2276 forming galaxy pair Arp 114. Researchers believe that interaction with NGC 2300 does not cause the deformation of NGC 2276. The galaxies float in a preponderance of gas, which may slow NGC 2276’s motion and cause the alteration in its form. Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter at the University of Arizona captured this image in December 2013.
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014: This new Hubble image shows two bright objects, seemingly identical. In fact, only one object exists — the double image comes…Read More »
from the effect of gravitational lensing. The pair of images form a double quasar known as QSO 0957+561, also called the "Twin Quasar," which lies just under 14 billion light-years from Earth. Quasars represent the intensely powerful centers of distant galaxies. The huge galaxy YGKOW G1 lies roughly 4 billion light-years from Earth, directly between us and QSO 0957+561. This galaxy possesses a mass so great that it bends the light from objects lying behind it. In this case, it also allows us to see the quasar twice. Einstein's theory of general relativity first suggested this phenomenon could arise.
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014: Cassini spacecraft took this infrared image of Saturn’s rings using a special filter that only admits light polarized in one direction.…Read More »
These images can help scientists learn more about the nature of the particles that make up the famous rings. The bright spot in the rings marks the "opposition surge" where the Sun-Ring-Spacecraft angle passes through zero degrees. Ring scientists can also use the size and magnitude of this bright spot to gain information about the surface properties of the ring particles. Cassini acquired the image at a distance of approximately 712,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Saturn.
Credit: Rick Mastracchio (via Twitter as @AstroRM)
Friday, Jan. 24, 2014: Astronaut Rick Mastracchio aboard the International Space Staion tweeted this photo on Jan. 21, 2014. He wrote: "The ants get together…Read More »
with the Travel Bug here on board the station. Maybe I should call an exterminator? pic.twitter.com/nyLnI19rVu." The ants reside inside an experiment devised by BioServe, a University of Colorado Boulder research center. [See full story.] The "Travel Bug" rectangular metal tag makes up part of a geocaching outdoor treasure hunting game. [See full story.]
Monday, Jan. 27, 2014: A large active region on the sun spouted enormous coils of magnetic field lines many times the size of Earth during Jan. 14-15,…Read More »
2014. Particles spinning along the field lines reveal them, when viewed in extreme ultraviolet light. Some of the lines connect with another active region that just rotated out of view of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captured this image. The close-up also shows darker (cooler) plasma, just above the surface, caught in a back-and-forth tug of war between magnetic forces. [For more solar activity images, please see Biggest Solar Flares of 2014: Sun Storm Photos.]
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2013: The WISE spacecraft launched in December 2009, with a goal of scanning the entire celestial sky in infrared light. NASA deactivated…Read More »
most of WISE's electronics when it completed its primary mission in February 2011. The story had not ended, however. In August of 2013, the hibernating spacecraft received the signal to hunt more asteroids, and acquired the new name of NEOWISE. This view containes more than 100 asteroids captured by NEOWISE during its primary all-sky survey. Not all of the asteroids are easy to see, but some stand out as a series of dots. Each dot in a track shows one asteroid, captured at different times. At center left flies an asteroid called (2415) Ganesa. Clusters of stars dot the view including NGC 2158 which glitters at center right. About 2,500 stars fill this view, which stretches about 30 light-years across. Clouds of gas and dust surround the region, only visible in infrared light.
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014: Astrophotographer Jim Reynolds sent in a photo of the night sky. He writes in an e-mail message to SPACE.com: “This shot is a…Read More »
30-second exposure taken one hour after sunset looking west from the California coast. Venus, a meteor and the Milky Way are evident over the Pacific Ocean. The reflection of Venus is genuine.” Image submitted Jan. 25, 2014.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014: MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury obtained this image of the limb of the planet on Nov. 21, 2013. The Tolstoj basin…Read More »
(220 miles or 355 km in diameter) lies at the bottom edge of the frame, its center filled with smooth plains. A large region of low-reflectance ejecta surrounds it. The image also shows the fresh, bright-rayed crater Nureyev visible near the limb. This image was acquired as part of MDIS's limb imaging campaign. Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb, with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. These limb images provide information about Mercury's shape and complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of Mercury's northern hemisphere. See more MESSENGER images of Mercury.
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014: The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope captured this image of the Andromeda galaxy (Messier 31), a giant spiral galaxy. It lies only…Read More »
two million light years away from our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Andromeda and the Milky Way match each other roughly in size, and both exceed the dimensions of the few dozens of irregular and dwarf galaxies than make up the rest of our local group of galaxies.