Image of the Day: February 2011

Remembering Columbia

NASA

Tuesday, February 1, 2011: During the STS-107 mission, the crew appears to fly toward the camera in a group photo aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. On the bottom row (L to R) are astronauts Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. In the top row (L to R) are astronauts David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot; and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander. On February 1, 2003, during re-entry, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over northern Texas with all seven crewmembers aboard. This picture survived on a roll of unprocessed film recovered by searchers from the debris.

On the Catwalk

CFHT

Wednesday, February 2, 2011: The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope now features a Cloud Camera attached to its catwalk. Researchers need the high-sensitivity camera to determine the weather conditions when operating the telescope remotely. Even when present, astronomers may find the summit of Mauna Kea too dark to see anything. When no moon is present, the only light illuminating the clouds from above is starlight. (Lights from the city of Hilo far below are visible in the distance.)

--Tom Chao

Reach Out and Take It

NASA

Thursday, February 3, 2011: The Japanese Kounotori2 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV2) nears the International Space Station on January 27, 2011, carrying over four tons of food and supplies to the space station. The station's Canadarm2 reaches out to attach the HTV2 to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node.

--Tom Chao

Needs More Lens Flare!

NASA

Friday, February 4, 2011: On February 5, 1971, the Apollo 14 Lunar Module touched down on the moon's Fra Mauro highlands, with Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell onboard. (Stuart Roosa piloted the command module.) Liftoff occurred 33 hours later. Famously, Alan Shepard hit two golf balls on the moon at the end of the last EVA.

--Tom Chao

Return I Will to Old Brazil

NASA

Monday, February 7, 2011: An Expedition 26 crew member on the International Space Station took this image of Brasilia, Brazil at night. City lights outline in unmistakable fashion the capital city of Brazil. Brasilia sits on a plateau, the Planalto Central, in the west-central part of the country.

--Tom Chao

Come Back in Two Halves

NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Tuesday, February 8, 2011: NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) shows a colorful view of supernova remnant IC 443, also known as the Jellyfish Nebula. IC 443 formed from the remains of a star that exploded into a supernova between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. Unusually, IC 443 has two shell-like halves with different radii, structures and emissions, colored violet on the top left and cyan at the bottom (representing different wavelengths of infrared emission).

--Tom Chao

S-pecially for You

ESO

Wednesday, February 9, 2011: In this image of galaxy NGC 157, the spiral arms appear to form a giant "S". The HAWK-I instrument (High-Acuity Wide-field K-band Imager) on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile produced this picture of the galaxy. NCG 157 lies distantly in the constellation of Cetus (the Sea Monster).

--Tom Chao

Watch Your Speed

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Thursday, February 10, 2011: This image of galaxy NGC2903 includes a box that indicates the field of view of the new VIRUS-W spectrograph. The new observing instrument VIRUS-W saw "first light" on November 10, 2010, at the Harlan J. Smith Telescope of the McDonald Observatory in Texas. The VIRUS-W's first images of this spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away confirmed the capabilities of the instrument, which can determine the velocity of stars in nearby galaxies to within a few kilometers per second. VIRUS-W can do so because it uniquely combines a large field of view (about 1x2 arcminutes) with a relatively high spectral resolution.

--Tom Chao

Do the Funky Chicken

NASA Goddard/Stanford University

Friday, February 11, 2011: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) launched one year ago on February 11, 2010, from Cape Canaveral, on a mission to study the sun's atmosphere. Camilla Corona SDO (pictured) serves as the mission mascot for SDO. Says Camilla: "I actively help with Education and Public Outreach, visit class rooms, science festivals, fairs and space exhibits and teach about the Sun, space weather and space exploration." Here, Camilla is pictured at Cape Canaveral for the launch attempt of Discovery (in the background), December 2010. You can follow Camilla's adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

--Tom Chao

Isle Be Your Valentine

JAXA, ESA

Monday, February 14, 2011: Tourists seeking a romantic locale have requested visits to an uninhabited, heart-shaped island off the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea – precisely because of satellite images such as this one. Japan's Earth observation satellite, ALOS, took this image of the small island called Galešnjak on March 19, 2010. The island measures 130,000 square yards.

--Tom Chao

I Got Arms That Long to Hold You

NASA

Tuesday, February 15, 2011: Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed telemanipulator, sits outside the International Space Station, ready to perform delicate operations with its array of power tools. Dextre passed its "final exam" in December 2010, and recently performed its first real job of unpacking two pieces of equipment delivered by the Japanese HTV2 spacecraft. An Expedition 26 crew member photographed Dextre on Feb. 3, 2011.

--Tom Chao

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