Below is the caption released with the image, you can get a full-res version here:
The destructive results of a mighty supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate blend of infrared and X-ray light, as seen in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton.
The bubbly cloud is an irregular shock wave, generated by a supernova that would have been witnessed on Earth 3,700 years ago. The remnant itself, called Puppis A, is around 7,000 light-years away, and the shock wave is about 10 light-years across.
The pastel hues in this image reveal that the infrared and X-ray structures trace each other closely. Warm dust particles are responsible for most of the infrared light wavelengths, assigned red and green colors in this view. Material heated by the supernova’s shock wave emits X-rays, which are colored blue. Regions where the infrared and X-ray emissions blend together take on brighter, more pastel tones.
The shock wave appears to light up as it slams into surrounding clouds of dust and gas that fill the interstellar space in this region.
From the infrared glow, astronomers have found a total quantity of dust in the region equal to about a quarter of the mass of our sun. Data collected from Spitzer’s infrared spectrograph reveal how the shock wave is breaking apart the fragile dust grains that fill the surrounding space.
Supernova explosions forge the heavy elements that can provide the raw material from which future generations of stars and planets will form. Studying how supernova remnants expand into the galaxy and interact with other material provides critical clues into our own origins.
Infrared data from Spitzer’s multiband imaging photometer (MIPS) at wavelengths of 24 and 70 microns are rendered in green and red. X-ray data from XMM-Newton spanning an energy range of 0.3 to 8 kiloelectron volts are shown in blue.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
A great image of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft. Click the image above to see some of the detail in the atmosphere. Saturn’s atmospheric zones resemble the ones on Jupiter but thanks to lower surface gravity the clouds are more spread out, so are less defined. Saturn’s atmosphere is also colder than Jupiter as you might expect.
Like Jupiter, Saturn radiates more energy into space than it receives from the sun. What you might not expect is when size is taken into account, Saturn radiates more energy into space from its interior than Jupiter – by about 25 percent.
NASA calls this release The Ring King and for good reason:
Saturn reigns supreme, encircled by its retinue of rings. Although all four giant planets have ring systems, Saturn’s is by far the most massive and impressive. Scientists are trying to understand why by studying how the rings have formed and how they have evolved over time. Also seen in this image is Saturn’s famous north polar vortex and hexagon. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 37 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 4, 2014 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2 million miles (3 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 110 miles (180 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
The view of 67P/G-C or “the duck” as some are calling it. Rosetta was just 84 km away from the comet when this was taken. Lobes, so much for comets to be nice round dirty snowballs. Rosetta is redefining how a lot of us think about comets.
I just marvel at how good this really is. Rosetta is orbiting comet 67/G-c about 412,000,000 km (~256 million miles) away from Earth and 527,000,000 km (~327 million miles) from the Sun and the comet is moving 15.7 km/s (35,120 mph). The numbers I show here are rounded and if you would like to see the actual numbers from ESA go the the very cool Where is Rosetta site and click on the Where is Rosetta today link at the bottom of the page. If you have not been at that site before you can watch the whole journey depicted in an animation – it’s really quite good.
There are a number of instruments on Rosetta and one of them, COSIMA is trying to capture dust particles coming from 67P. At the moment very little dust is coming from the comet so the plates used to catch the dust is being checked weekly during an initial exposure of a month. As the pair near the Sun more and more particles will be emitted.
One of the big questions is: what is this thing made of? We will find out if things go as planned. Yes, this IS going to be fun!
The Mars Science Laboratory – Curiosity, recently passed its second anniversary (in Earth years) on Mars. The rover is making its way to Mount Sharp. The base of Mount Sharp is about 3 km from Curiosity’s current location. The mission managers are using “softer” valleys to get there, the idea being to save on the wheel tread of the rover which readers here will know show a bit of wear.
There is an update on the journey in the form of a video from JPL / NASA. In the video they mention interesting sites would be examined on the way. One of those interesting sites is called Bonanza King and thanks to it looking different from the sandstone they have been seeing for a few months. If chosen Bonanza King would be the fourth drilling site. See the video.
For those into weather, we do get some data on Martian weather: on 14 August 2014 the:
Air temp was
Soil temp was
Mean Pressure 758 Pa
The Max temperatures are actually not too bad. The lows though are downright cold. Interesting the minimum soil temperature is colder than the minimum air temperature.
If I did the conversion correctly for comparison, 1-Earth atmosphere is about 101,325 Pa, little wonder there is no water on Mars.
About the image above of Bonanza King from NASA:
In this image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover looking up the ramp at the northeastern end of “Hidden Valley,” a pale outcrop including drilling target “Bonanza King” is at the center of the scene.
Curiosity used its Navigation Camera (Navcam) to capture this northward view during the 709th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (Aug. 4, 2014). At that time, Curiosity was on the sand-covered floor of Hidden Valley. Due to unexpectedly high wheel slippage in the sand, the rover team subsequently decided to drive Curiosity out of the valley, up this ramp, to a higher location for examining a possible alternative route.
The ramp area holds several clusters of pale rocks resembling paving stones up to about the size of dinner plates. The team chose one, dubbed Bonanza King, as a candidate for the mission’s fourth drilling into a rock to collect a rock-powder sample for onboard analysis. The candidate target is in the patch of bright rocks between parallel wheel tracks in this image. For scale, the distance between the two tracks is about 9 feet (2.7 meters).
A map showing Hidden Valley is at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18408
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project’s Curiosity rover and the rover’s Navcam.
The New Horizons spacecraft captured this “movie” consisting of 12 images showing Pluto and the moon Charon. Those 12 images, taken between 19 and 24 July so almost one full orbit of Pluto and Charon, from 429 million to 422 million km / 267 million to 262 million miles using the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI). This set of images was taken with the New Horizons spacecraft 10 times closer to Pluto than we are here on Earth.
Notice the wobble? Pluto and Charon are binary, really a binary planet system and they orbit each other around the center of mass (called the barycenter) which is between the two. The LORRI is set to the barycenter.
Charon is orbiting about 18,000 km / 11,200 miles from Pluto.
New Horizons will cross the Neptune orbit in just over a week and will fly by the Pluto system in less than a year with approach operations to begin in just a few months.
Visit the New Horizons site for the original images.
Rosetta has been eclipsing most of the news lately, as it should. NASA is also staying busy as always and the first data is coming in from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2.
Part of the update is about the Cygnus spacecraft leaving the ISS laden with trash. The Cygnus is about to re-enter the atmosphere and will burn up. This should occur at 13:11 UTC / 0911 EDT, today (Sunday). The atmospheric interface will occur between New Zealand and South America and is timed so the ISS crew can observe the fiery demise of the spacecraft.
Where the Philae lander this coming November is a very important decision. ESA naturally wants to land in the spot where they are going to get to learn the most possible.
This is a great video for getting a feel for the mission and what it means:
For additional languages and video source – click here
And then some. Wow what a shot! The Rosetta spacecraft used the orange filter on the narrow-angle OSIRIS camera from 103 km / 64 miles away.
This particular image is part of an anaglyph and that is just stunning. This non-3D version is pretty good for those without the 3D glasses. If you do have a pair of glasses or can do what I did and use blue and red plastic wrap (blue on the right eye and red on the left), just WOW! I kept moving the screen to try and get a look over the edge.
You know, there’s a dozen good looking spots to put a lander. No pressure ESA
Check it out — a boulder track on Mars. No speculation on what dislodged the boulder. Perhaps a close meteor strike making one of the larger craters shook it loose or it could even be ejecta from an impact like some of the ones we see on our moon. If you follow the track to the origin there almost looks like a small pit at the beginning.
We are seeing this track thanks to the HiRISE image on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
A path resembling a dotted line from the upper left to middle right of this image is the track left by an irregularly shaped, oblong boulder as it tumbled down a slope on Mars before coming to rest in an upright attitude at the downhill end of the track. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded this view on July 14, 2014.
The boulder’s trail down the slope is about one-third of a mile (about 500 meters) long. The trail has an odd repeating pattern, suggesting the boulder could not roll straight due to its shape.
Calculated from the length of the shadow cast by the rock and the known angle of sunlight during this afternoon exposure, the height of the boulder is about 20 feet (6 meters). Its width as seen from overhead is only about 11.5 feet (3.5 meters), so it indeed has an irregular shape. It came to rest with its long axis pointed up.
What a great look at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta. The view is from 102 km / 63 miles away on 11 Aug 2014.
If it (what I call the top) would just rotate a wee bit more we could get a look inside that crater on the end. Is there a central peak or any signs of melting in there? That would be composition dependent, good clues.
The MESSENGER spacecraft shows us a relatively young crater on the planet Mercury. We can infer it is “young” by evidenced by the bright white rays which
are made from soils exposed by the impact.
The crater in the center of the white imapact zone and the one beside it are rather small. The larger crater to the right, it’s soil matches the surrounding terrain, is about 16 km / 10 miles across.
The image was taken by MESSENGER’s Wide Angle Camera and is part of a program to aquire high resolution images in 11-colors.
My favorite meteor shower of the year is here, actually it will peak 12 to 13 August. We are usually treated to a great show thanks to the debris from comet Swift-Tuttle. I’ve seen activity in the hundreds of meteors per hour in the past.
This year we have the Supermoon so skies will be pretty bright, if I have good clear skies I’ll be out looking anyway, who knows perhaps a fireball will happen by – I’d see that! Too bad it is going to rain on me and to think I arraigned the next two days off from work and everything.
Here’s hoping YOU have better luck and if nothing else you can see the moon!
Here’s the latest image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta (09 August 2014). Rosetta was about 99 km / 62 miles from the comet’s surface.
I wonder if anybody at ESA knew 67P/C-G was so complex? I bet they didn’t plan on finding the best place to put the little Philae lander to be almost as difficult as getting there.
Don’t forget the Supermoon coming up. The moon will be pretty close to full tonight.
As if getting Rosetta to comet 67 G-C and then successfully entering an orbit. ESA is going to land on the comet with the little Philae. I am waiting to hear where though.
Want to hear something kind of sad? Mind that I don’t watch much television, but I’ve not heard one mention of this mission here in the states on any of the main “news media” outlets. One of, if not the coolest missions in years and years and nothing, except for NASA TV but that doesn’t count.
Anyway, ESA/ATG medialab have created this extended version of Philae touchdown animation to include visualisations of some of the science experiments on on the lander.
The animation begins with the deployment of Philae from Rosetta at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014. Rosetta will come to within about 10 km of the nucleus to deploy Philae, which will take several hours to reach the surface. Because of the comet’s extremely low gravity, landing gear will absorb the small forces of landing while ice screws in the probe’s feet and a harpoon system will lock the probe to the surface. At the same time a thruster on top of the lander will push it down to counteract the impulse of the harpoon imparted in the opposite direction. Once it is anchored to the comet, the lander will begin its primary science mission, based on its 64-hour initial battery lifetime. The animation then shows five of Philae’s 10 instruments in action: CIVA, ROLIS, SD2, MUPUS and APXS.
Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI.
Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
ESA presented information of Rosetta arrival and orbit entry and first arrival images, science results and and upcoming highlights from comet 67P/C-G.
The video here is the first arrival images, science results and upcoming highlights part. This is about an hour long but it goes quick, a very good presentation. They need a podcast of this IMHO, perhaps they have one, I have to look around.
Want to see the arrival and orbit entry portion? See it here, I’ve not had a chance to look at it yet, that portion is a bit over one and half hours and I just started the one shown above for the second time.
The orbital insertion process began this morning as Rosetta started the first leg of a series of three-legged triangular paths about the comet. The legs will be about 100 km long and it will take Rosetta between three and four days to complete each one.
The result? WOW! Look at this! 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from just 130 km / 81 miles. This is my favorite so far, the diversity of terrain is incredible.
Here’s ESA’s description:
Stunning close up detail focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and downloaded today, 6 August. The image clearly shows a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs.
The image was taken from a distance of 130 km and the image resolution is 2.4 metres per pixel.
If you thought a comet was a smooth snowball, well, not so much:
Volcanic outbursts on the Moon Io witnessed by the W. M. Keck and Gemini Observatories on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The images are amazing especially when you consider this moon is 3,700 km / 2,300 miles in diameter and it is the inner most moon of Jupiter.
While Io is known to be volcanic, this seems to be a bit unusual because three outbursts inside of two weeks is more then generally is anticipated in a year or even two. Not just that, but these are huge outbursts:
De Pater’s long-time colleague and coauthor Ashley Davies, a volcanologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., said that the recent eruptions resemble past events that spewed tens of cubic miles of lava over hundreds of square miles in a short period of time.
“These new events are in a relatively rare class of eruptions on Io because of their size and astonishingly high thermal emission,” he said. “The amount of energy being emitted by these eruptions implies lava fountains gushing out of fissures at a very large volume per second, forming lava flows that quickly spread over the surface of Io.”
Read the Keck press release here, very interesting.
Rosetta will fire its thrusters for 6 minutes and 26 seconds at 09:00 UTC TODAY! This is the first step in putting Rosetta in orbit around the comet — It all comes down to this!.
EDIT: ESA has some video coverage too, hope my connection holds up!
The fuzzy craters on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are nice and clear in this Rosetta NavCam image from just 234 km / 145 miles.
Taken in 04 August, the comet is low in the image frame because of a trajectory adjustment after a rendezvous burn the previous day.
Not really an eye of course, but it kind of looks like one. This is a close up view of the northern polar vortex on Saturn taken from the Cassini spacecraft. I enlarged the image and enhanced it a little to bring out the details a little more. You can see the original here.
That “eye” is 2,000 km / 1,240 miles across, you can see clouds as them move some 150 meters per sec / 330 miles per hour.
Cassini was 2.2 million km / 1.4 million miles from Saturn at the time the image was taken.