OK, Artemis. Now You’re Just Showing Off. A Stunning View of the Moon Eclipsing Earth From the Orion Spacecraft

Screenshot of the Moon eclipsing Earth, via NASA's livestream from Orion.

Have you ever seen a lunar eclipse of the Earth from the far side of the Moon? Now we have.

On Monday (November 28, 2022) NASA’s Orion spacecraft streamed back live video showing the Earth and Moon right next to each other, followed by a stunning view of the Moon eclipsing the Earth.

What a time to be alive! Image editor Kevin Gill might have said it best:

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Gaze Slack-jawed at the Haunting Beauty of Galaxy NGC 1566, Captured by JWST, Processed by Judy Schmidt

NGC 1566, as seen by the James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-Infrared Instrument. Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/Judy Schmidt.

Here’s an absolutely stunning new view from the James Webb Space Telescope of a dusty spiral galaxy, NGC 1566. Amateur (but expert!) image editor Judy Schmidt took the raw data from JWST’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and teased out this eerie, spider-web-like view of this distant galaxy. The swirling and symmetrical arms are so full of dust that not many stars are visible.

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A New Instrument Gives the Very Large Telescope an Even Sharper View of the Cosmos

ERIS, the Very Large Telescope’s newest infrared eye on the sky, reveals the inner ring of the galaxy NGC 1097 in stunning detail, in this comparison view. Credit: ESO/ERIS team.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in northern Chile, is undoubtedly one of the premier ground-based observatories. But a new infrared instrument recently installed on the telescope has made the VLT even better.

The Enhanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph (ERIS) was delivered to Chile in December, 2021 and the first test observations were carried out beginning in February of this year. ESO, the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, an international organization which coordinates the use of VLT and several other observatories, says this infrared instrument “will be able to see further and in finer detail, leading the way in Solar System, exoplanet and galaxy observations.”

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Artemis I has Completed its First Flyby of the Moon

A portion of the far side of the Moon looms large just beyond the Orion spacecraft in this image taken on the sixth day of the Artemis I mission by a camera on the tip of one of Orion s solar arrays. Credit: NASA.

The Orion spacecraft made its first close flyby of the Moon on Monday, November 21, coming as close as 81 statute miles (130 km) from the lunar surface. As the Artemis 1 mission’s uncrewed spacecraft flew past the far side of the Moon, Orion’s orbital maneuvering system engine fired for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to successfully put the capsule into the desired orbit for the mission, called a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon.

“This burn is setting Orion up to orbit the Moon, and is largest propulsive event so far, as Artemis is hunting the Moon,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis Mission Manager at a briefing on Monday.

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NASA has a Plan to Minimize Future Micrometeoroid Impacts on JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope inside a cleanroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Credit: NASA/JSC

Micrometeoroid strikes are an unavoidable part of operating a spacecraft. But after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was hit with a larger than expected piece of space dust earlier this year, engineers are making changes to the way the telescope will be pointed in an attempt to avoid excess or larger impacts from space dust.

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Artemis I is On Its Way to the Moon

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft launches on the Artemis I flight test, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, from Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

It really, finally, actually happened. The long-waited Space Launch System (SLS) rocket carrying the Orion capsule launched successfully and is now on its way to the Moon. After years of delays — and then two scrubbed launch attempts and a rollback of the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building this fall  — this is the first time in 50 years that a human capable spacecraft is going to the Moon. In a way, it is fitting that Artemis launched in the dark, as the last human-rated spacecraft that launched to the Moon – Apollo 17 – also had liftoff at night.

“It’s taken a lot to get here, but Orion is now on its way to the Moon,” said Jim Free, NASA deputy associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. “This successful launch means NASA and our partners are on a path to explore farther in space than ever before for the benefit of humanity.”

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NASA and ULA Successfully Test a Giant Inflatable Heat Shield That Could Land Heavier Payloads on Mars

Illustration of Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID). Credit: NASA

A new type of heat shield was successfully tested last week, with the hopes this type of inflatable decelerator could be used in the future to land humans and large payloads on Mars or for atmospheric entry on other planets on moons.

The Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on November 10 from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. LOFTID was a secondary payload on the launch of the Joint Polar Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) weather satellite.

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A New View of the Cone Nebula From the Very Large Telescope

The Cone Nebula is part of a star-forming region of space, NGC 2264, about 2500 light-years away. This image was released on the occasion of ESO’s 60th anniversary. Credit: ESO

Here’s a dramatic and spectacular new view of the Cone Nebula, as seen by the Very Large Telescope (VLT). This nebula is part of a distant star-forming region called NGC 2264, which about 2,500 light-years away. Its pillar-like appearance is a perfect example of the shapes that can develop in giant clouds of cold molecular gas and dust, known for creating new stars.

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Woohoo! JWST's Mid-Infrared Instrument is Fully Operational Again

pillars of creation
The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope’s mid-infrared view of the Pillars of Creation. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Pagan (STScI)

Engineers with the James Webb Space Telescope have figured out a way to work around a friction issue that arose with the telescopes’ Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The team is now planning to resume observations with the instrument’s medium resolution spectrometry (MRS) mode, which has not been used since August.

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One Total Lunar Eclipse Photo to Rule Them All

A composite image from the November 8, 2022 total lunar eclipse showing the moon in various stages throughout the night. Credit and copyright: Andrew McCarthy.

We’ve seen some great images from the total lunar eclipse this week. But this one might top them all. Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy created this incredible composite image, showing the Moon in various stages of the eclipse throughout the night.

“The size and shape of Earth’s shadow is clearly visible here,” McCarthy said on Twitter. “These events are absolutely magical to witness and quite surreal.”

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