Image of the Day: January 2011

Silent Hill


Monday, January 3, 2011 Spirit — the first of two NASA Mars Exploration Rovers — landed on Mars Jan. 4, 2004. This image shows the path the rover traveled on its way to the "Columbia Hills." Since March 22, 2010, however, Spirit has not responded to commands from Earth.

When the Sun Hits Your Eye Like a Partially Eaten Pizza Pie

Gianluca Masi

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 The moon blocked about 61 percent of the sun over Rome, where this image was taken. In Sweden, where the eclipse was at its maximum, the moon blocked about 80 percent of the sun's disk. This was the first of four partial solar eclipses in 2011

I'm Your Venus, I'm Your Fire


Wednesday, January 5, 2011 Researchers created this hemispheric view of Venus using more than a decade's worth of radar investigations culminating in the 1990-1994 Magellan mission. The planet's North Pole centers the image, color-coded to represent elevation.

Watcher of the Skies

ESO/José Francisco Salgado

Thursday, January 6, 2011 The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) stands on a mountaintop in the Chilean Atacama Desert. The plane of the Milky Way appears to cut between two of the four Unit Telescopes of the VLT.

Sky Like an Eagle

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Friday, January 7, 2011 This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a section of the Eagle Nebula, specifically NGC 6611, an open star cluster that formed about 5.5 million years ago, and lies approximately 6500 light-years from Earth. It is a young cluster containing many hot, blue stars which cause the surrounding Eagle Nebula to glow brightly. The cluster and nebula together are also known as Messier 16.

Wild Youth

Jean-Charles Cuillandre (CFHT) & Giovanni Anselmi (Coelum)

Monday, January 10, 2011: SH2-140, a region of spent star formation, lies 2,700 light years away from Earth. The young star cluster has freed itself from its natal shroud. Massive blue stars in the cluster indicate it is less than 10 million years old.

Just My Imagination

NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry

Tuesday, January 11, 2011: This artist's conception imagines the view from Kepler-10b, a planet newly discovered by the Kepler spacecraft in January 2011. Kepler-10b orbits a star 560 light years from our solar system, is a rocky planet with a mass 4.6 times that of Earth, and has a diameter 1.4 times that of Earth. Unlike Earth, Kepler-10b's daytime temperature may exceed 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Snowy Day

NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Wednesday, January 12, 2011: The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of the winter storm over the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada on December 28, 2010, that brought up to 32 inches (80 centimeters) of snow. Clouds appear as areas of smooth whiteness, while snow on the ground has a mottled texture.

The Line Begins to Blur

Iztok Boncina/ESO

Thursday, January 13, 2011: Stars appear to rotate around the southern celestial pole at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. The fuzziness in the trails on the right is caused by the Magellanic Clouds, two small galaxies neighboring the Milky Way. The dome at lower left houses ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope and HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher). The rectangular building at lower right contains the 0.25-meter TAROT telescope.

Is There Anything Good Inside of You?

NASA/Frank Michaux

Friday, January 14, 2011: Workers have set up platforms to examine the intertank of space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank in December 2010, inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The intertank connects the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks.

Laughing All the Way


Monday, January 17, 2011: Guion S. Bluford, Jr. (b. 1942) became the first African-American to fly in space onboard space shuttle Challenger in 1983, on mission STS-8. Of that first launch, he recalled: "When the clock counted down and we took off, I just laughed, it was so much fun." Here, Bluford excrcises on a treadmill. Interestingly, actress Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek's Lt. Uhura, recruited him into NASA's astronaut ranks.

--Tom Chao

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