Those lucky few who have the incredible opportunity to see the Earth from space often report the view gives them a sense of awe, unity and clarity. This perspective-altering experience has come to be known as the Overview Effect, from a book by the same name published 1987 by space philosopher Frank White.Continue reading “This is the View You Get Staring out of the Space Station’s Cupola Module”
It was like the opening scene from a movie: cars pulled over on a busy freeway, with everyone gawking in disbelief at what they were seeing.
Drivers in New Jersey this week thought a flying saucer was hovering above them. But in reality, it was just another day in 2020 and the UFO was an aircraft from planet Earth: the Goodyear Blimp.Continue reading “Thousands Saw a UFO in New Jersey. It was the Goodyear Blimp”
Scientists have learned a lot about the atmospheres on various worlds in our Solar System simply from planetary sunrises or sunsets. Sunlight streaming through the haze of an atmosphere can be separated into its component colors to create spectra, just as prisms do with sunlight. From the spectra, astronomers can interpret the measurements of light to reveal the chemical makeup of an atmosphere.Continue reading “Sunrises Across the Solar System”
As soon as the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, there was a big surprise. Scientists expected Bennu’s surface would consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach. But take a look at that surface: Bennu is a jumbled mess.
Here’s a closer view:Continue reading “Bennu is Constantly Getting Sandblasted by Tiny Meteoroids”
Californians woke up to an alien-looking sky this morning, Wednesday, September 9, 2020.Continue reading “Can you tell the difference between California, Venus, Titan and Mars? Hint: California is the one with buildings.”
This summer, the European Space Agency’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre (NEOCC) started posting “riddles” or challenges on their website. These riddles provide a look at how difficult it is for astronomers to find faint, near Earth objects (NEO). Try it for yourself by looking at the animation below:Continue reading “There are Three Asteroids Hiding in this Animation, See If You Can Find Them”
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you may think the above image portrays the “Nexus” from the movie Star Trek: Generations. In the film, the Nexus was a ribbon-like extra-dimensional realm that exists outside of normal space-time.
But this is actually a real image from the venerable Hubble Space Telescope, of the Cygnus Loop. This stunning picture from space shows just a small portion of a blast wave left over from a supernova that took place, from our vantage point, in the northern constellation Cygnus the Swan.Continue reading “Hubble’s Photo of the Cygnus Loop is, Of Course, Incredible”
Earlier this week, we shared an image of Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. And now, here are a group of images from the 8.1-metre Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. Like Hubble, Gemini North focused in on the comet’s nucleus and coma, instead of its stunning, gossamer tails. But Gemini zoomed in and caught something Hubble didn’t: Comet NEOWISE was rotating, which created a spiraling stream of molecular gas.Continue reading “Comet NEOWISE Was Spiraling and Spinning as it Passed by Earth”
Figuring out the ancient climate on Mars has been tricky. While evidence gathered from orbit and on the surface seems to indicate there must have been a lot more water on Mars early in its history, questions remain on how much water and in what form.
A new study has now quantified the amount of precipitation needed to create many of the landforms visible today on Mars surface. The paper, published in the journal Geology says there was enough rainfall and snowmelt to fill lakebeds and river valleys 3.5 to 4 billion years ago on the Red Planet, and that precip must have occurred worldwide.Continue reading “It Rained So Hard on Ancient Mars that Craters Filled Up and Overflowed”
This summer we were (finally) treated to a spectacular, naked-eye comet, C/2020 F3 NEOWISE. And while seeing it with our own eyes was a joy, it was incredible to see the varied photos of NEOWISE taken by people around the world, showing the comet’s long gossamer tails, filled with detail and color. (See our gallery of images here.)
Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has released a high-resolution image of NEOWISE. However, it might not be the view you may have expected.Continue reading “Everyone Took Pictures of Comet NEOWISE, Including Hubble”