The Colima Volcano (Volcán de Colima) pictured on March 29, 2015 with lightning arcing through the ash plume. Credit and copyright: César Cantú.
The Colima volcano in Mexico is active again, and has been spewing out large plumes of ash nearly 3 kilometers into the air. Astrophotographer César Cantú captured this spectacular picture of lightning slicing through the cloud of ash.
How can lightning strike in an ash cloud? Through friction, particles of the ash can charge each other by rubbing against each other during the eruption. When the energy is discharged, it can create lightning bolts. [click to continue…]
A misshapen crescent Ceres as seen from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech/UCLA/DLR/IDA
A little world is making big headlines in 2015. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around 1 Ceres on March 6th, 2015, gaving us the first stunning images of the ~900 kilometre diameter world. But whether you refer to Ceres as a dwarf planet, minor planet, or the king of the asteroid belt, this corner of the solar system’s terra incognita is finally open for exploration. It has been a long time coming, as Ceres has appeared as little more than a wandering, star-like dot in the telescopes of astronomers for over two centuries since discovery. [click to continue…]
As the Moon slips into Earth’s shadow it will undergo a total eclipse early Saturday morning April 4. The partial phases will span some 3 1/2 hours, but totality lasts less than five minutes. Credit: Keith Burns / NASA
Get ready for one awesome total lunar eclipse early Saturday morning April 4th. For the third time in less than a year, the Moon dips into Earth’s shadow, its dazzling white globe turning sunset red right before your eyes. All eclipses are not-to-miss events, but Saturday’s totality will be the shortest in a century. Brief but beautiful – just like life. Read on to find out how to make the most of it. [click to continue…]
It might be only March of 2015, but the race (slog?) is on to be the next president of the United States. Only 589 days to go! It’s a race that some believe will cost the nation upwards of five billion dollars; that’s about 7.5 Mars missions for those of you out there counting. The campaign, though, is more than just a vehicle for terrible campaign ads and embarrassing debate gaffes; it’s also one of the few opportunities for the country to have a discussion about its national priorities in the coming years. So, what are the chances that the exploration of space will be in that discussion? [click to continue…]
It seems like the good times will go on forever, so feel free to keep on wasting energy. But entropy is patient, and eventually, it’ll make sure there’s no usable energy left in the Universe. [click to continue…]
The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is seen as it launches to the International Space Station with Expedition 43’s NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) onboard Friday, March 27 (Saturday, March 28 Kazakh time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The first ever ‘One-Year Mission’ to the International Space Station (ISS) started with a bang today, March 27, with the spectacular night time launch of the Russian/American crew from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday (1:42 a.m., March 28 in Baikonur and culminated with a flawless docking this evening.
Soyuz Spacecraft Rolled Out For Launch of One-Year Crew
The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is seen after having rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in the Soyuz at 3:42 p.m. EDT, Friday, March 27 (March 28, Kazakh time). Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls Watch live on NASA TV link below
At long last, the first ever crew embarking on a 1 year mission to the International Space Station (ISS) – comprising NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko (both veterans) – is slated for blastoff just hours from now aboard a Soyuz capsule from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. [click to continue…]