The Vera C. Rubin Observatory has taken another step towards first light, projected for some time in 2022. Its enormous 3200 megapixel camera just took its first picture during lab testing at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The camera is the largest ever built, and its unprecedented power is the driving force behind the Observatory’s ten year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).Continue reading “Vera Rubin’s Monster 3200-Megapixel Camera Takes its First Picture (in the Lab)”
Neptune & Triton – August 31, 1989.
Image-processor extraordinaire Kevin Gill has reached back in time to give us a new image of Neptune and its moon Triton.
When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past Neptune and Triton in August 1989, its cameras were very busy. Kevin has taken separate color-filtered images from that visit and calibrated and combined them to give us a new, almost haunting look at the planet and its largest moon.Continue reading “Neptune & Triton – August 31, 1989.”
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Wow! An Actual Picture of Multiple Planets Orbiting a Sunlike Star
We’ve detected thousands of exoplanets, but for the most part, nobody’s ever seen them. They’re really just data, and graphs of light curves. The exoplanet images you see here at Universe Today and other space websites are the creations of very skilled illustrators, equal parts data and creative license. But that’s starting to change.
The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has captured images of two exoplanets orbiting a young, Sun-like star.Continue reading “Wow! An Actual Picture of Multiple Planets Orbiting a Sunlike Star”
Parker Solar Probe Gives a Unique Perspective on Comet NEOWISE
Comet watchers have enjoying the newly-discovered NEOWISE comet since it was first spotted in March 2020. Now that it’s visible with the naked eye, in dark sky conditions, all kinds of Earthly observers are checking the visitor out.
But NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has another view of the comet, one denied to Earth-bound observers.Continue reading “Parker Solar Probe Gives a Unique Perspective on Comet NEOWISE”
Last Year’s Total Solar Eclipse on Earth, Seen From the Moon
On July 2, 2019, the Moon cast its shadow on the surface of the Earth. This time, the shadow’s path travelled across the South Pacific Ocean. It also passed over some of Argentina and Chile. For surface dwellers in the path, the Moon briefly blocked the Sun, turning night into day.
But for one “eye” in orbit around the Moon, the view was different. A camera on a tiny satellite watched as the circular shadow of the Moon moved over the Earth’s surface.Continue reading “Last Year’s Total Solar Eclipse on Earth, Seen From the Moon”
Amazing View of How Dust Storms Grow on Mars
In 2018, Mars experienced one of its global dust storms, a phenomenon seen nowhere else. As science would have it, there were no fewer than six spacecraft in orbit around Mars at the time, and two surface rovers. This was an unprecedented opportunity to watch and study the storm.Continue reading “Amazing View of How Dust Storms Grow on Mars”
Sediments on Mars, Created By Blowing Wind or Flowing Water
The HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has given us a steady stream of images of the Martian surface. It’s been in orbit around Mars since March 2006, and has greatly outlived its intended mission length.
One of the latest Hi-PODs, or HiRISE Pictures of the Day, is this one, of sedimentary rock on Mars being eroded away.Continue reading “Sediments on Mars, Created By Blowing Wind or Flowing Water”
This “All Terminator” Image of the Moon isn’t Actually Possible to See. But it Sure is Beautiful
“This moon might look a little funny to you, and that’s because it is an impossible scene,” wrote photographer Andrew McCarthy on Instagram.
He was talking about his other-wordly, almost Shakesperean image of the Moon. And that’s because this is an ‘all-terminator’ image.Continue reading “This “All Terminator” Image of the Moon isn’t Actually Possible to See. But it Sure is Beautiful”
Here are the First Pictures from CHEOPS
The CHEOPS spacecraft is taking the first tentative steps in its mission. Back on January 29th, the spacecraft opened the cover on its lens. Now, we have the first images from CHEOPS.Continue reading “Here are the First Pictures from CHEOPS”
Mars Express Takes Photos of Phobos as it Flies Past
The ESA’s Mars Express Orbiter is no stranger to the Martian moon Phobos. The spacecraft was launched in June 2003 and has been in orbit around Mars for 16 years. During its long time at Mars, it’s captured detailed images of Phobos, and helped unlocked some of that Moon’s secrets.
In a new sequence of 41 images captured during a recent fly-by, the Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera imaged Phobos from different angles, capturing images of the moon’s surface features, including the Stickney crater.Continue reading “Mars Express Takes Photos of Phobos as it Flies Past”