Image of the Day: March 2012

Safe European Home


Friday, March 16, 2012: ESA astronaut André Kuipers of the Netherlands took this photo of Earth while aboard the International Space Station. Looking down on a nighttime Europe, Portugal lies at the right of the image, while Paris lives up to its nickname of “the city of light” as the brightly glowing area at left. Airglow shines above the Earth’s surface.

— Tom Chao

Shiny Shiny


Monday, March 19, 2012: Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Don Pettit photographed this 4-inch diameter polished metal sphere, providing an unusual view of the US laboratory, “Destiny.” In the background stands equipment for the Capillary Flow Experiment-2 (CFE-2) Vane Gap 1 Experiment.

— Tom Chao

Put on the Red Light

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Tuesday, March 20, 2012: NGC 1579 nebula lies about 2,100 light-years away in the constellation of Perseus. The red glow of NGC 1579 comes from a young, massive star emitting red light embedded in the nebula, which contains dust that diminishes, reddens, and scatters the light.

— Tom Chao

The Fabric of the Cosmos

Shadowplay NYC

Wednesday, March 21, 2012: High fashion goes out of this world in this clothing line bedecked with real space imagery. This skirt by Shadowplay NYC features a Hubble Space Telescope image. Designers Ximena Chouza and Ali Bennaim hand-craft this skirt and other clothing items such as dresses and women’s tops adorned with actual photographs of the universe taken by the HST. [See full article.]

— Tom Chao

Draw Me a Map


Thursday, March 22, 2012: The U.S. Geological Survey used data collected by Voyager and Galileo spacecraft to produce the first global geologic map of Jupiter's moon, Io. The small area of the map shown here offers a sampling of the many terrain features on the Jovian moon, the most volcanically active object in the solar system. Image released March 19, 2012. [Full story.]

— Tom Chao

Big Light in Sky

Shawn Malone

Friday, March 23, 2012: Skywatcher Shawn Malone took this photo of the aurora March 15-16, 2012. She writes: "[A] glow low on the horizon illuminates the shoreline of Lake Superior, Alger County, MI."

— Tom Chao

Delivering the Goods

ESA/S. Corvaja

Monday, March 26, 2012: On Friday March 23, 2012, an Ariane 5 VA205 rocket carrying the third Automated Transfer Vehicle, named Edoardo Amaldi, lifted off from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. The ATV-3, as it is called, will ferry cargo to the International Space Station. The unmanned ATV-3 transports the heaviest load of cargo ever delivered to the station by a robotic spacecraft, the ESA reported.

— Tom Chao

Roberto Porto

Tuesday, March 27, 2012: Skywatcher Roberto Porto caught this amazing scene of the Jupiter, Venus and moon conjunction over a spinning carousel in Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain, on March 26, 2012.

— Tom Chao

Spread Your Wings

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Planetary nebula NGC 6881 lies in the constellation of Cygnus. Its "wings" spread across about one light-year. A dying star about 60% of the mass of the sun lies at the core of the NGC 6881. A planetary nebula arises when a dying star, a red giant, flings off its outer layers. Planetary nebulas were misnamed by early discoverers, who thought the objects were giant planets.

— Tom Chao

All That Remains


Thursday, March 29, 2012: NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows the hot dust and gas glowing brightly in an ultraviolet image of the Cygnus Loop Nebula. The nebula lies about 1,500 light-years away, and represents a supernova remnant from an exploded star some 5,000-8,000 years ago. The original supernova could have been seen clearly from Earth unaided. Image released March 22, 2012. [Full Story]

— Tom Chao

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