Image of the Day: November 2012

Time for Flying Rockets


Thursday, November 15, 2012: An Ariane 5 rocket launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana with two telecommunications satellites, Eutelsat 21B and Star One C3, on November 10, 2012. Flight VA210 represented Ariane 5’s 52nd successful launch since December 2002.

— Tom Chao

The Color Purple

Herschel: Q. Nguyen Luong & F. Motte, HOBYS Key Program consortium, Herschel SPIRE/PACS/ESA consortia. XMM-Newton: ESA/XMM-Newton

Friday, November 16, 2012: Supernova remnant W44 glows in space, seen here as the vast purple sphere on the left side of this image. W44 measures about 100 light-years across. This new image combines data from ESA's Herschel and XMM-Newton space observatories.

— Tom Chao

The Joshua Tree

Jason Hullinger

Monday, November 19, 2012: Astrophotographer Jason Hullinger took some photos of the Leonid meteor shower on November 17, 2012, in Joshua Tree National Park, CA. [See full gallery.]

— Tom Chao

Get in the Ring

Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA

Tuesday, November 20, 2012: The Gemini North telescope obtained this image of the polar ring galaxy NGC 660 in August 2012. NGC 660 lies 20 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces. Polar ring galaxies appear rarely, with stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings over their poles. Such galaxies may have formed when two galaxies merged at right angles, or when a host galaxy stripped material from a smaller galaxy.

— Tom Chao.

Ghost World

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Wednesday, November 21, 2012: Reflection nebula vdB4 is a associated with young open star cluster NGC 225, often called the Sailboat Cluster, in constellation Leo Minor. Image obtained in October 2012.

— Tom Chao.

Down on the Ground

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Thursday, November 22, 2012: Happy Thanksgiving from! The three Expedition 33 spaceflyers who returned in a Soyuz capsule on Nov. 19, 2012, likely gave many thanks for their safe return from the International Space Station. Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Yuri Malenchenko of ROSCOSMOS (Russian Federal Space Agency) landed in a remote area near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, during darkness, after spending four months in space. Vehicle headlights and an inflatable light tower illuminate the landing area.

— Tom Chao

Strange Lights


Friday, November 23, 2012: AuroraMAX automated camera tweeted this photo and wrote: "AURORAMAX GALLERY • Latest image of aurora borealis above Yellowknife, NWT taken at 01:36 MST on November 16, 2012." [More Amazing Aurora Photos of Nov. 2012]

— Tom Chao.

Things Behind the Sun


Monday, November 26, 2012: Several coronal mass ejections (CME) erupted out of the sun in just over a day on Nov. 8-9, 2012, the largest of which was a halo CME. This CME appears to have originated from an active region out of view on the left side of the sun, headed behind the sun. In a halo CME, ejected material appears to form a roughly circular shape around the sun, as it is moving directly toward or away from the observer (not because it is surrounding the sun). SDO's video of the sun in gold in extreme UV light is superimposed on a view of the corona from SOHO's LASCO instrument in red.

— Tom Chao


ESA/Hubble & NASA

Tuesday, November 27, 2012: Spiral galaxy ESO 499-G37 has faint, loose spiral arms seen here as bluish features swirling around the galaxy’s nucleus. A bright elongated nucleus represents the galaxy’s most characteristic feature. Recent studies indicate that ESO 499-G37’s nucleus sits within a small bar that stretches up to a few hundreds of light-years, however that is only about a tenth the size of a typical galactic bar.

— Tom Chao

Looking for Clues

ESO/A. Santerne

Wednesday, November 28, 2012: The ESO 3.6-metre telescope with the HARPS spectrograph and the space telescope CoRoT have been captured in the same shot. The High Accuracy Radial velocity Planetary Search (HARPS) spectrograph, an exoplanet hunter, is an instrument on ESO’s 3.6-meter telescope at the left of the photo. The light trail above is not a meteor but rather CoRoT, the Convection Rotation and planetary Transits space telescope. CoRoT searches for planets by stars that dim when planets pass in front of them — the transit method. On the night that this photograph was taken, HARPS was being used to follow up exoplanet candidates detected by CoRoT.

— Tom Chao

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