Gaze Into the Heart of NGC 1365, Captured by Webb

Close up of the NGC 1365 galaxy, based on data obtained by JWST. Credit: Schmidt, J./JWST

Astrophotographer Judy Schmidt (aka. Geckzilla, SpaceGeck) is at it again! Earlier this month, she released a processed image of the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy (NGC 1365). The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently observed this iconic double-barred spiral galaxy, which resulted in the most-detailed look at this galaxy to date. This time, Schmidt shared a series of images via Twitter that provide a closer look at NGC 1365’s core region, a widefield view that shows the galaxy’s long arms, and lovely animation that shows the galaxy in near- and mid-infrared wavelengths.

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Here’s M74 Like You’ve Never Seen it Before, Thanks to Judy Schmidt and JWST

The JWST recently imaged NGC628, also knows an M74. Well-known astronomy image processor Judy Schmidt reworked the image to show more detail. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/STSCI/JUDY SCHMIDT CC BY 2.0

The JWST is grabbing headlines and eyeballs as its mission gains momentum. The telescope recently imaged M74 (NGC 628) with its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI.) Judy Schmidt, a well-known amateur astronomy image processor, has worked on the image to bring out more detail.

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A New Map of Mars, Made From 51,000 Orbital Images

Seen are six views of the Nili Fossae region of Mars captured by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, or CRISM, one of the instruments aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The varying colors represent minerals on the Martian surface seen in different wavelengths of light. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHU-APL

When NASA sent the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to the red planet in 2006, the spacecraft took an instrument with it called CRISM—Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars. CRISM’s job is to produce maps of Mars’ surface mineralogy. It’s been an enormous success, but unfortunately, the loss of its last cryocooler in 2017 means the spectrometer can only undertake limited observations.

But CRISM is going out with a bang, creating one final image of the surface of Mars that NASA will release in batches over the next six months.

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A Geologic map of the Entire Moon has Been Released at 1:2,500,000-Scale

Chinese scientists took 10 years to create the most detailed map yet of the Moon. Image Credit: Jinzhu Ji et al. 2022.

Chinese scientists have created the most detailed map of the Moon yet. It took them 10 years and involved hundreds of researchers. The new map will be a boon to lunar exploration and for anyone who just wants to study our natural satellite in more detail.

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Just a Few Pixels Would let Astronomers Map Surface Features on an Exoplanet Like Oceans and Deserts

Direct images of exoplanets are rare and lack detail. Future observatories might change that, but for now, exoplanet images don’t tell researchers very much. They merely show the presence of the planets as blobs of light.

But a new study shows that only a few pixels can help us understand an exoplanet’s surface features.

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What a Feat! Ingenuity Photographed From Space

It seems like only months ago that the Perseverance Rover landed in Jezero Crater on Mars. But in fact, it’s been there longer than a year. Perseverance has had company during this time; its sidekick, the Ingenuity helicopter, completed 23 flights in Mars’ thin atmosphere so far.

The HiRISE camera on the MRO has captured an image of the rover and the tiny helicopter on Mars as it rests on the surface.

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Stunning Image of ISS Taken From the Ground Shows two Spacewalking Astronauts

During the spacewalk of the two astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer the International Space Station appeared shortly after sunset in the bright evening sky over Germany. Image Credit: Sebastian Voltmer

In our age, we’ve grown accustomed to pictures of astronauts inside the International Space Station, as they float in zero-G and tend their science experiments. We’re even getting used to images of spacewalking astronauts. But this is something new.

An image of two astronauts on a spacewalk, taken from the ground.

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This is Where the Mars Sample Return Mission Could be Landing

This image was acquired based on a hopeful scenario in which the Perseverance rover has an extended mission or two and travels outside of Jezero Crater to explore terrains to the west. In this scenario, the decision could be made to land the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission here to pick up samples collected by Perseverance. MSR will probably not land here, but acquisition of a HiRISE stereo pair provides the data needed to assess the risk of landing. The cutout shows that there are diverse colors and textures, so this would be an interesting region to explore. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/UArizona

NASA’s Perseverance Rover is busy exploring Jezero Crater on Mars. Part of its mission is to collect samples for retrieval by a future mission. NASA and the ESA haven’t determined where the sample return mission will land yet.

That depends on the Perseverance mission and how it spends the rest of its time on Mars. But we know of one possible—albeit ambitious—landing spot: just west of Jezero Crater.

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These are Star Dunes on Mars, Formed When the Wind Comes From Many Different Directions

An amazing aspect of Mars that is captured in many HiRISE images is geologic diversity within a small area. This image, of a crater in the Tyrrhena Terra region, was targeted to look at the geologic aspects of possible clays detected with the CRISM instrument. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/UArizona

Missions to Mars are expensive, even orbiters. They’re there to do science, not take pretty pictures. But sometimes Mars’ beauty is captured inadvertently, usually with some science mixed in.

That’s the case with this picture of star dunes captured by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Wondering About the 6 Rays Coming out of JWST's Test Image? Here's why They Happen

At the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) in Baltimore, Maryland, NASA engineers are busy aligning the mirrors and instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). In the meantime, the mission team has provided us with another glimpse of what this observatory – a successor to the venerable Hubble Space Telescope – will see once it is fully operational. The latest teaser is a “telescope alignment evaluation image” of a distant star that looks red and spiked!

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