Thursday, May 1, 2014: Astrophotographer James Corker sent in a photo of the partial solar eclipse taken at a satellite farm at Perth International Telecommunications…Read More »
Centre located in Gnangara, north of Perth in Western Australia, on April 29, 2014. He writes in an email to Space.com: "The weather gods really had it in for this eclipse…. It was almost half an hour into the eclipse before the first break in the clouds. Until then I couldn’t even locate where to point the camera ... but I was ... finally rewarded. [The eclipse] was rarely visible for more than a few seconds at a time … "
Friday, May 2, 2014: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) examined the edge of impact ejecta from a crater to the northwest of this area (north is up, west…Read More »
to the left). The ejecta visible in the top left of this image seems to sit lower than the surrounding surface, an unusual occurrence because impact ejecta falls on top of existing ground. The ejecta also seems to show pits. Could the hot ejecta have fallen on frozen ground and melted the underlying ice? Image released April 30, 2014.
Monday, May 5, 2014: Hubble Space Telescope provides the sharpest image of the core of spiral galaxy Messier 61. The High Resolution Channel of Hubble's…Read More »
Advanced Camera for Surveys shows the central part of the galaxy in striking detail. This galaxy, also known as NGC 4303, stretches about 100 000 light-years across, similar in size to our galaxy, the Milky Way. Astronomers consider Messier 61 as a type of galaxy called a starburst galaxy. Starburst galaxies display an incredibly high rate of star formation, using up their reservoir of gas in a very short period of time (astronomically speaking). Also a supermassive black hole violently spewing out radiation may lie at the heart of the galaxy.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts) and the LEGUS Team
Tuesday, May 6, 2014: A dwarf spiral galaxy known as NGC 4605 lies about 16 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear).…Read More »
NGC 4605 doensn’t show its spiral structure clearly, but astronomers classify the galaxy as an SBc type meaning that it possesses sprawling, loosely wound arms and a bright bar of stars cutting through its center.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Astrophotographer Amit Ashok Kamble sent in a photo of the Milky Way and its reflection in a pool, taken in Pakiri, New Zealand.…Read More »
Kamble writes in an email message to Space.com: " … out at Pakiri Beach shooting the Milky Way, I came across this pool which was unusually quiet and calm. The sky at Pakiri is so dark that the Milky Way was reflected so brilliantly in the pool. This image is a 60-sec. exposure untracked, and hence the small trails."
Thursday, May 8, 2014: A large field of sand dunes surrounding Mars' North Polar ice cap makes up Olympia Undae. The high latitude of the dunes causes…Read More »
water and carbon dioxide frost to cover them in the winter, and then the dunes have poor illumination. Best viewing comes in the summer, when features such as ripples on the dunes' surface stand out in detail. (The cap probably covers over some dunes, but we can't see them directly.) This image shows the dunes in early summer of this year. The dark material consists of sand that makes up the dunes. Between the dunes, bright bedrock and some lingering patches of frost that have not yet sublimated remain visible.
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/K.Getman, E.Feigelson, M.Kuhn & the MYStIX team; Infrared:NASA/JPL-Caltech
Friday, May 9, 2014: Astronomers who studied two star clusters using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and infrared telescopes discovered that the simplest…Read More »
ideas for the birth of star clusters cannot work. This composite image shows one of the clusters, NGC 2024, which lies in the center of the “Flame Nebula,” about 1,400 light years from Earth. In this image, X-rays from Chandra appear purple, while infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope appear red, green and blue. A study of NGC 2024 and the Orion Nebula Cluster, another region where many stars currently form, suggest that the stars on the outskirts of these clusters have an older age than those in the central regions. This finding differs from what the simplest idea of star formation predicts, where stars manifest first in the center of a collapsing cloud of gas and dust when the density grows large enough.
Monday, May 12, 2014: A still frame from a video taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft on April 29, 2014, shows a small, hovering mass of…Read More »
twisted strands of plasma as it shifted back and forth before erupting into space. The plasma appears darker only because it has a lower temperature than the surrounding material when viewed in extreme ultraviolet light. Competing magnetic forces pulls and stretches the suspended plasma until something triggers the breakaway. This kind of activity happens fairly commonly on the sun, but this level of detail has only been available to observers since SDO began operations just four years ago.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014: Astrophotographer Rob Dickinson sent in an image of the night sky that might seem disorienting at first. The photo shows a 180-degree…Read More »
panorama of the of the night sky, taken at Castle Hill limestone rock formations in New Zealand on May 3, 2014. This location lies in the Canterbury High Country west of the city of Christchurch in the island nation. Dickinson writes in an email message to Space.com that the image represents a "180-degree vertical panoramic stitch."
Wednesday, May 14, 2014: Astrophotographer John Chumack sent in a photo of the waxing gibbous moon taken May 10, 2014, from his backyard observatory in…Read More »
Dayton, Ohio. He reminds everyone that the moon will get closer to Saturn on the evening of May 13-14. He says in an email message to Space.com: “Despite the bright moonlight, there are still many cool happenings to watch in the night sky!”
Goin’ Round and Round and Round and Round and Round
Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi
Thursday, May 15, 2014: Stars trail over cacti in the Atacama Desert of Chile. Long-exposure shots capture the stars as the Earth rotates, making the starry…Read More »
lights appear to circle around the South Celestial Pole. The photographer superimposed a final deeper exposure over the trails, revealing many fainter stars. Also the southern Milky Way rises just above the horizon, with patches of dark dust and the well-known pinkish glow of the Carina Nebula. Towards the right, the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, the Large Magellanic Cloud (top center) and Small Magellanic Cloud (bottom right), also shine.
Friday, May 16, 2014: An active region on the sun ejected at least half a dozen bursts of plasma. Several clouds of the plasma spread across parts of the…Read More »
solar surface over two days (Apr. 19-21, 2014). Here the active region is seen as the bright white areas at left of center on the sun. These coronal mass ejections (CMEs) headed out into space as well. This still from a movie taken by the ultraviolet imager on the STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft shows the CMEs spread out like a curtain above the surface of the sun. Since STEREO’s current position observes the far side of the sun, these bursts do not head towards Earth.
Monday, May 19, 2014: NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover examined and even drilled into the rock target "Windjana" and its immediate surroundings after inspection…Read More »
of the site by the rover. The drilling of a test hole and a sample collection hole produced the mounds of drill cuttings that appear less reddish in color than the other visible surfaces. This represents material that the drill pulled up from the interior of the rock. This view came from the 627th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (May 12, 2014). The open hole from sample collection measures 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter. Curiosity drilled it on Sol 621 (May 5, 2014).
Tuesday, May 20, 2014: At ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, a small crowd gathers by the telescopes, not at the end of the work day, as the sunset might…Read More »
suggest, but rather before the night’s activities commence. The domes to the left house the four 1.8-meter-diameter Auxiliary Telescopes that make up part of the Very Large Telescope array (VLT). At the far left stands the VLT Unit Telescope, looming over the Auxiliary Telescopes. The VLT has four 8.2-meter telescopes like this, some of the largest telescopes on the planet. Bigger still, the forthcoming European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will feature a mirror spanning an incredible128 feet (39 meters) in diameter. The European Southern Observatory plans for E-ELT to see first light in the early 2020s.
Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Wednesday, May 21, 2014: Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter produced an image of this bizarre-looking item in April 2014. Arp 184, as it is classified…Read More »
in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, also goes by the name of Mayall’s Object. The strange entity lies 500 million light years away within the constellation of Ursa Major. The unusual shape of Arp 148 may have resulted from the collision of two galaxies, which created the new object consisting of a ring-shaped galaxy with a tail.
Thursday, May 22, 2014: Astrophotographer Rogelio Bernal Andreo sent in a photo of the Milky Way over McWay Falls, Big Sur, California. He indicates in…Read More »
an email message to Space.com that: “It's a composite that includes a dozen of images shot at 140mm and a "tracked" sky at 70mm." The falls appear as a narrow stream of water falling onto the beach just slightly left and below the center of the image. Andreo captured the image during the weekend of May 10-11, 2014.
Friday, May 23, 2014: Astronomers have found dark, dense and dusty cosmic clumps that throw the deepest shadows ever recorded. The clumps lie within a…Read More »
huge cosmic cloud of gas and dust (center). NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has made infrared observations of these regions in the cloud that provide a way to understand how the brightest stars form. The large cloud sits in the center of the galactic plane. A new study takes advantage of the shadows cast by the dark clumps to measure the cloud's overall structure and mass. The dense, clumpy pockets of star-forming material within the cloud consist of such thick dust that they scatter and block not only visible light, but almost all background infrared light as well. The study's results suggest that the dusty cloud will likely evolve into one of the most massive young clusters of stars in our galaxy.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014: Astrophotographer Shreenivasan Manievannan sent in a photo of the Milky Way and Andromeda over Mono Lake, California. Manievannan…Read More »
writes in an email message to Space.com: “It is a single exposure photograph of the Mono Lake south tufas [limestone columns precipitating out of the water] in the night in front of Milky Way and Andromeda in the [upper] left extreme of the photo. The tufas were light painted to be visible with the reflections seen in the shallow waters.” Image submitted May 15, 2014.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014: Astrophotographer Miguel Claro sent in a photo of the Milky Way above Lagoa do Fogo, the "Lake of Fire," on the island of São…Read More »
Miguel in the Azores, located in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Azores represent one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. Light from Vila Franca do Campo, a small town at the southern shore of the island, illuminates the clouds near the horizon. Above, in the sky, from left to right shines Cygnus (The Swan) constellation, the North America nebula (NGC 7000) below the star Deneb. Down and to the right of it lies Aquila constellation. Constellation Scorpius and star Antares glows near the right edge, while Saturn, in Libra, is all the way at the right side.
Thursday, May 29, 2014: Stars appear to trail over the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. Astrophotographer Gianluca Lombardi combined many long-exposure…Read More »
images to create the photograph of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and its Auxiliary Telescopes appearing blurred as they moved to different positions. Overhead, the stars seem to arc through the sky as the Earth rotates beneath. The VLT represents the European Southern Observatory's flagship facility.
Friday, May 30, 2014: Stars form within nebula NGC 2170, which lies in the constellation of Monoceros (The Unicorn). A dark nebula, such as this one, provides…Read More »
raw material for the star formation going on inside them. The newly formed, massive blue stars seen here continue to push away traces of the dust that previously hid them from view. The material that remains will eventually disperse in the interstellar medium.
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+.