Image of the Day: August 2012


Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

Wednesday, August 15, 2012: The balloon carrying the Red Bull Stratos capsule rises during the second manned test flight in Roswell, New Mexico, USA on July 25, 2012. In this mission, Austrian pilot Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the record for freefall from highest altitude with a planned jump from 120,000 feet, now scheduled for fall 2012.

— Tom Chao

Rock(et) Me on the Water

Thomas Pedersen/Copenhagen Suborbitals

Thursday, August 16, 2012: Copenhagen Suborbitals private spaceflight company began the test of their Launch Escape System and the Tycho Deep Space capsule at 6 AM local time on Sunday, August 12, 2012. Here, the rocket and capsule (left of center) are seen sailing out on the Baltic Sea at sunrise, on the sea launch platform called Sputnik. Unfortunately, the test flight didn't end as planned, and instead the capsule splashed down hard and experienced damage.

— Tom Chao

Sword of Orion

ESO/A. Russell

Friday, August 17, 2012: Orion, the Hunter, shines high in the Chilean night sky over the antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Taken in the southern hemisphere, this image shows Orion in upside-down orientation as opposed to the usual northern hemisphere view. However, the three stars of Orion’s Belt are still clearly recognizable at center. In this photograph, the antennas were being tested at ALMA’s Operations Support Facility, located at the slightly lower altitude of 9500 feet (2900 meters) before being moved to the Chajnantor Plateau at 16,400 feet (5000 meters) elevation.

— Tom Chao

Face to Face


Monday, August 20, 2012: NASA's retired space shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis switched locations at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 16, 2012, during processing for the departure of each to their final destinations. Endeavour will end up in Los Angeles at the California Science Center, and Atlantis will move to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

— Tom Chao

Dusty Skies

ISS Crew Earth Observations Experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center

Tuesday, August 21, 2012: Hazy air bearing dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa reaches the island of Hispaniola, containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic (center), and the Turks and Caicos Islands (at left by patch of turquoise water). The eastern tip of Cuba (foreground) remains clear. The dust in the image is almost 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) from its likely source in northern Mali. This image was taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) in July 2012.

— Tom Chao

One More Night, The Stars Are in Sight

NASA & ESA; Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine

Wednesday, August 22, 2012: Hubble Space Telescope produced this image of the globular cluster Messier 56 (M 56 or NGC 6779), which lies about 33,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Lyra, the Lyre. The cluster consists of many stars bound to each other by gravity.

— Tom Chao

Sun Zoom Arc


Thursday, August 23, 2012: Huge loops of magnetic particles leapt out of the sun on arcing magnetic field lines, August 14-15, 2012. The Solar Dynamics Observatory caught this solar activity in the AIA 171 wavelength (but colorized red). An active region at left shows its own loops, in addition to streams of plasma jumping back and forth. Earth could easily fit inside any of these loops.

— Tom Chao

Magic Fingers

Robotnaut (via Facebook)

Friday, August 24, 2012: Robonaut posted this photo on Facebook while working on the International Space Station August 23, 2012. The robot, a joint project of NASA and General Motors, wrote: “Switch cover has been opened by my dexterous fingers." [See our full Robonaut gallery.]

— Tom Chao

Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012


Monday, August 27, 2012: This photo from the historic Apollo 11 moon mission shows astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, mission commander, standing on the moon, July 20, 1969. Armstrong was using a clothesline device to transport a contingency lunar sample into the Lunar Module (LM), nicknamed "Eagle," on the surface of the moon. Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. was in the Eagle to receive the sample. Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, passed away on August 25, 2012, at the age of 82. [See our gallery of Neil Armstrong photos.]

— Tom Chao

Fast and Bulbous


Tuesday, August 28, 2012: The Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO ) caught the sun throwing off coronal mass ejections August 20-22, 2012. This particular image shows one CME looking much like a light bulb. This frame was taken by SOHO's LASCO C3 instrument.

— Tom Chao

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