NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has radar vision that allows it to peer through the haze that surrounds Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. This video focuses on Shangri-la, a large, dark area on Titan filled with dunes. The long, linear dunes are thought to be comprised of grains derived from hydrocarbons that have settled out of Titan’s atmosphere. Cassini has shown that dunes of this sort encircle most of Titan’s equator. Scientists can use the dunes to learn about winds, the sands they’re composed of, and highs and lows in the landscape.
The radar image was obtained by the Cassini Synthetic Aperture radar (SAR) on July 25, 2016, during the mission’s 122nd targeted Titan encounter.
ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
Peering deep into the core of the Crab Nebula, this close-up image reveals the beating heart of one of the most historic and intensively studied remnants of a supernova, an exploding star. The inner region sends out clock-like pulses of radiation and tsunamis of charged particles embedded in magnetic fields.
The neutron star at the very center of the Crab Nebula has about the same mass as the sun but compressed into an incredibly dense sphere that is only a few miles across. Spinning 30 times a second, the neutron star shoots out detectable beams of energy that make it look like it’s pulsating.
The NASA Hubble Space Telescope snapshot is centered on the region around the neutron star (the rightmost of the two bright stars near the center of this image) and the expanding, tattered, filamentary debris surrounding it. Hubble’s sharp view captures the intricate details of glowing gas, shown in red, that forms a swirling medley of cavities and filaments. Inside this shell is a ghostly blue glow that is radiation given off by electrons spiraling at nearly the speed of light in the powerful magnetic field around the crushed stellar core.
The neutron star is a showcase for extreme physical processes and unimaginable cosmic violence. Bright wisps are moving outward from the neutron star at half the speed of light to form an expanding ring. It is thought that these wisps originate from a shock wave that turns the high-speed wind from the neutron star into extremely energetic particles.
When this “heartbeat” radiation signature was first discovered in 1968, astronomers realized they had discovered a new type of astronomical object. Now astronomers know it’s the archetype of a class of supernova remnants called pulsars — or rapidly spinning neutron stars. These interstellar “lighthouse beacons” are invaluable for doing observational experiments on a variety of astronomical phenomena, including measuring gravity waves.
Observations of the Crab supernova were recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054 A.D. The nebula, bright enough to be visible in amateur telescopes, is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.
Where to look in the night sky this month for Jupiter, Mars, the Lyrid meteor shower and 2016’s best views of Mercury. Jane from NASA JPL explains.
Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams of NASA and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) discussed life and research on the orbital outpost during a pair of in-flight interviews March 22 with online technology media outlets Gizmodo and The Verge. Williams arrived on the station on March 19 for a six-month mission, his record-breaking third long duration flight on the complex. Kopra and Peake are more than halfway through their six-month stay on the station.
After launching earlier in their Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 47-48 Soyuz Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and Jeff Williams of NASA arrived at the International Space Station on Mar. 19. The new crewmembers will join station Commander Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos and Tim Peake of the European Space Agency, already onboard the station.
Expedition 47-48 Soyuz Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and Jeff Williams of NASA launched on the Russian Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft on March 19, Kazakh time, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station and the start of a six-month mission on the ISS.
Take a flight over dwarf planet Ceres in this video made with images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The simulated flyover was made by the mission’s camera team at Germany’s national aeronautics and space research center (DLR).
Thousands of planets are now known outside our solar system, from rocky worlds to “hot Jupiters” to planets orbiting not one, but two stars. So where did all this diversity come from? In this lecture by Dr. Neil Turner of NASA JPL we find out about how planets form, complete with data from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, as well as ground-based scopes. See new images and 3-D computer models astronomers are using to try to learn how planets are born into such diversity.
NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft is about to make a daring plunge through one of the plumes emerging from Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
To celebrate the 100th episode of What’s Up, here are the top ten favorite celestial targets you can view this month from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft were used to create this flyover video of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The “flight” starts with the informally named Mordor (dark) region near Charon’s north pole. The camera then moves south to a vast chasm, descending from 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) to just 40 miles (60 kilometers) above the surface to fly through the canyon system. From there it’s a turn to the south to view the plains and “moat mountain,” informally named Kubrick Mons, a prominent peak surrounded by a topographic depression.
New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) photographs showing details at up to 400 meters per pixel were used to create the basemap for this animation. Those images, along with pictures taken from a slightly different vantage point by the spacecraft’s Ralph/ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), were used to create a preliminary digital terrain (elevation) model. The images and model were combined and super-sampled to create this animation.
During a news conference at NASA headquarters, agency scientists and officials discussed new findings from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water.
On September 27th, 2015 there will be a very rare event in the night sky – a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse. Watch this animated feature from NASA to learn more.
The flight structure of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was standing tall in the cleanroom at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Year of Pluto – NASA New Horizons is a one hour documentary which takes on the hard science and gives us answers to how the mission came about and why it matters. Interviews with Dr. James Green, John Spencer, Fran Bagenal, Mark Showalter and others share how New Horizons will answer many questions. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
NASA announced on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, the selection of science instruments for a mission to Europa, to investigate whether Jupiter’s icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life. NASA received 33 proposals for science instruments to fly onboard a Europa mission, which would conduct repeated close flybys of the small moon during a three-year period.
Participants in the announcement were:
John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters
Curt Niebur, Europa program scientist, NASA Headquarters
Venus and Mercury grace the west-northwest sky an hour past sunset while the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn rule the sky this month.
On March 20th, 2015, the Moon’s shadow will create a total solar eclipse. This video presents several visualizations of what this shadow would look like from space, and highlights the areas of the world in the path of the umbra and penumbra. The visualizations were created by calculating the position of the Earth, Moon, and Sun on this date, and by using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global photo mosaics and elevation maps.
On this day (2nd March) in 1972 Pioneer 10 was launched towards Jupiter. Pioneer 10 is an American space probe, that completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity from the Solar System.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland participated in a news conference Feb. 3 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to discuss the status of the agency’s flagship science project, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Bolden and Mikulski congratulated the JWST team for the integration at Goddard of all the telescope’s flight instruments and primary mirrors.
The most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb will be the premiere observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, including the first luminous glows after the big bang, the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets similar to Earth, and the evolution of our own solar system.
Scientists believe there is an ocean hidden beneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. NASA-JPL astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains why scientists are so excited about the potential of this ice-covered world to answer one of humanity’s most profound questions.
Undersea footage provided by John Delaney, University of Washington
To learn more about Europa, visit: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/europa/overview.cfm
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