The Family that Went to the Moon

[/caption]

Well, the family photo, anyway.

On April 23, 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts Charlie Duke and John Young embarked on the third and final EVA of the mission, exploring the Descartes Highlands via Lunar Roving Vehicle. During the EVA, before setting up a Solar Wind Collector, Duke placed a small family photo he had brought along onto the lunar surface and snapped a few photos of  it with his Hasselblad film camera. This is one of the photos.

The portrait shows Charlie, his wife Dorothy, and their two sons Charles and Thomas. It looks like they are sitting on a bench in the summertime.

The family photo, gingerly wrapped in clear plastic and slightly crumpled from being stashed in the pocket of a space suit, was left on the Moon. It presumably still sits there today, just inches away from Charlie’s boot print — which, presumably, is also there.

The Duke family photo.

At the time of this writing it’s been exactly 40 years to the day that this photo was taken.

Image: NASA/JSC scan

I came across this image while looking through the Project Apollo Image Archive for some relevant images from the Apollo 16 mission. Amid scans of Hasselblad photos showing lunar samples, experiments and scenes from LRV jaunts, which are all fascinating in their own right, I came across this poignant image and couldn’t resist sharing it. To know that a family photo is resting upon the surface of another world is nothing short of amazing… while the missions to the Moon were a testament to human endeavor, it’s small things like this that remind us of the people that made it all possible.

Nebula Pictures

Here are some cool nebula pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

[/caption]

This is a cool picture of the Omega Nebula, which is also known as the Swan Nebula, or M 17. It’s located in the constellation Sagittarius, located about 5,000 light-years from Earth.


Cat's Eye Nebula
Cat's Eye Nebula

This is picture of the Cat’s Eye Nebula, a planetary nebula in the constellation Draco. This used to be a star similar to our Sun, but then it died and became a white dwarf, puffing off its outer layers into space.


Carina Nebula
Carina Nebula

This is the Carina Nebula, a star forming nebula in the Carina Constellation. It holds Eta Carinae, one of the most massive stars ever discovered, which is expected to detonate as a supernova in the next few hundred thousand years.


Bubble Nebula. Image credit: Hubble
Bubble Nebula. Image credit: Hubble

This is the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635. This nebula glows because of a hot central star that’s providing radiation and exciting the nebula atoms.


Full view of the Trifid Nebula.  Credit: ESO
Full view of the Trifid Nebula. Credit: ESO

This is a picture of the Trifid Nebula taken by the European Southern Observatory. This nebula was cataloged M 20 by Charles Messier as part of his famous catalog. It’s called the “Trifid Nebula”, because it appears to be broken up into three parts.

We have written many stories about nebulae for Universe Today. Here’s an article with more details about the Trifid Nebula, and here’s an article about planetary nebulae found around heavy stars.

If you want more cool pictures of nebula, you should check out the source. Go to the Hubble Space Telescope page on nebulae.

We have recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast that’s just about nebulae. Listen here, Episode 111: Nebulae.

Picture of Earth from Space

Earth

Looking for a picture of Earth from Space? Here is a collection.

[/caption]

Here’s a spectacular image of the earth with the full coverage of the Pacific Ocean. This image was obtained by the Galileo spacecraft on December 12, 1990 while on its way to planet Jupiter 1.6 million miles from the Earth.

The Blue Marble from Apollo 17
The Blue Marble from Apollo 17

This is a spectacular full view of our planet earth. It was taken by the Apollo 17 during their journey to the moon in December 7, 1972. The south polar ice cap of Antarctica can be clearly seen in the image. This region constitutes 70% of the world’s freshwater. This photo of the earth was the first to feature the south polar ice cap.

A Stormy Atlantic
A Stormy Atlantic

Here’s an image of different storms and hurricanes forming at the Atlantic Ocean. This image was generated using the data provided by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) satellite on September 3, 2008.

Earth - Western Hemisphere
Earth - Western Hemisphere

Here’s a nice view of the earth particularly focusing on the Western Hemisphere. Earth is the third planet from the sun and is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist.

The Earth-Moon System
The Earth-Moon System

This is a nice view of the planet earth and the moon in one frame as seen from the Galileo spacecraft 6.2 million kilometers away.

Picture of Earth from Space
Picture of Earth from Space

Here’s a picture of Earth from Space as well as the Moon. These images were taken separately and then stitched together on computer to show them together.

Earth from Space
Earth from Space

This picture was taken by the Space Shuttle, and shows the Earth from high orbit. You can see how the clouds rise up into the atmosphere.

Earth from space
Earth from space

Here’s another picture of Earth. Again, this was taken from the space shuttle.

NASA satellite map of the Earth
NASA satellite map of the Earth

This is a satellite map that shows all of the Earth.

Blue marble Earth. Image credit: NASA
This is the classic “Blue Marble” photo of Earth.

Earth from Space at Night

Earth from Space at Night
Earth from Space at Night

Here’s a photo of the entire Earth, seen from space at night. You can easily see cities and towns in North America, Asia and Europe. And you can also see vast regions of the Earth which are totally dark.


Chicago at night
Chicago at night

Here’s a photo of the city of Chicago at night. It might look upside down, but that’s because it was captured from the International Space Station as it was passing over the city.


Tokyo at night
Tokyo at night

This night space image shows the city of Tokyo at night. The blue green glow in the photograph comes from the mercury vapor lighting that lines the streets of the city.


London at night
London at night

This space pic from night shows the city of London. You can see the brightest areas are the most densely populated, and the less dense areas are dimmer. You can see the ring road that surrounds London, as well as the path of the Thames river.


Los Angeles at night
Los Angeles at night

Here’s one of the brightest cities in the world. It’s Los Angeles from space, seen at night.

Earth at Night Wallpaper
A Crescent Earth at Midnight

Here’s an amazing picture of the earth in crescent. This breathtaking view of our planet was obtained by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-8) on June 22, 1996. GOES is primarily assigned in monitoring the weather particularly the development of storms and hurricanes in different parts of the earth.

Earth at Twilight
Earth at Twilight

This is an amazing still photo of the earth taken during its transition from day to night. This beautiful photo was taken from the International Space Station in June 2001.

All Is Illuminated
All Is Illuminated

This spectacular image of the crescent earth was captured by the Optical Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) camera on board the Rosetta spacecraft in November 2007.

Houston, Texas at Night
Houston, Texas at Night

Here’s a nice view of Houston, Texas at night as seen from the International Space Station on February 28, 2010. This photo was taken by the crew member of the Expedition 22 mission. Houston, Texas is the world’s energy capital.

Earth from Orbit

Earth from Orbit
Manicouagan Reservoir. Credit: NASA

Here’s an image of the Manicougan Reservoir situated at Canadian Shield in the province of Quebec. This was taken from the International Space Station in December 1983. Manicougan Reservoir covers an area of about 1,942 km².

Sunset
Sunset

This image of the sunset on earth was captured from the International Space Station by an Expedition 13 astronaut in August 10, 2006. Expedition 13 mission was able to accomplish a total of 2,886 orbits.

Expedition 11 Earth Observation Photos
Expedition 11 Earth Observation Photos

This photo shows the Central Gulf Coast obtained from the International Space Station by an Expedition 11 astronaut in September 10, 2005.

Into the Eye of the Storm
Into the Eye of the Storm

This is a photo of the eye of Hurricane Alberto taken in August 19, 2000 during the Terra orbit 3571. Hurricane Alberto is a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic that lasted for 19.75 days.

Hurricane Emily and the Moon
Hurricane Emily and the Moon

This beautiful view of the eye of Hurricane Emily and the moon was captured from the International Space Station in July 16, 2005. Hurricane Emily is a Category 5 hurricane having a maximum wind speed of 160 mph.

Earth from the Space Shuttle

Earth from Space Shuttle
Sunrise in Space

This photo of the earth’s atmosphere during sunrise was taken in July 2005 by a Discovery crew member during the STS-114 mission. STS-114 mission was the first Return to Flight mission after the unfortunate loss of the Columbia space shuttle.

Onboard View - Space Shuttle Endeavour
Onboard View - Space Shuttle Endeavour

This image of the earth was taken from the space shuttle Endeavor during the STS-59 mission in April 12, 1994. The image particularly shows the shuttle’s payload bay and the region of the Andes Mountains in Bolivia.

Sinai Peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea
Sinai Peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea

Here’s a stunning image of the Sinai Peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea as seen from the space shuttle Atlantis. A crew member of the STS-125 mission took this photo during the mission’s first flight in space.

View of the Journey Home
View of the Journey Home

Here’s a unique photo of the earth’s atmosphere taken by the crew members of Atlantis’ STS-125 mission during its preparation for landing on May 20, 2009.

STS-39 view of the Aurora Australis
STS-39 view of the Aurora Australis

Here’s a great view of the Aurora Australis taken in May 1991 by the STS-39 crew member onboard the space shuttle.

We have written many articles about pictures of Earth from Space for Universe Today. Here’s a story about the Earth from space at night, and here’s an article about images of cities from space.

You can get many more images of Earth from space at NASA’s Earth Observatory website.

We have recorded a whole episode of Astronomy Cast about our planet. Listen to it here, Episode 51: Earth.

Pictures of Islands

Here are some cool pictures of islands… from space!

[/caption]

This is a picture of South Georgia Island, one of the southernmost islands in the world, off the tip of South America. It was used as a whaling base and now has no permanent inhabitants, other than some scientists. In this picture, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite, the entire island is covered in snow. Here are some more island pictures.


Surtsey Island
Surtsey Island

This is a picture of Surtsey Island, captured by the IKONOS satellite. This volcanic island is one of the newest in the world, breaking through the surface of the ocean in 1963. The volcanoes that formed the island erupted for about 4 years and then stopped, and now erosion from the ocean is wearing it back down again.


Ascension Island
Ascension Island

Next in our pictures of islands is Ascension Island. You can see the airstrip down on the lower right side of the island, and a cinder cone above it. The northern part of the island has lava flows and you can see individual clouds above the island. Ascension Island is one of the space shuttle’s alternative landing sites.


Palm Island
Palm Island

Here’s a picture of a completely man made island. This is Palm Island, off the coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Now complete, it has palm fronds surrounded by a circular breakwater. There will eventually be more than 100 luxury hotels, marinas, water theme parks, and many houses.


Akpatok Island
Akpatok Island

This is a picture of Akpatok Island, in Northern Quebec, which is accessible only by air. The picture was taken by a Landsat satellite.

We have written many articles about islands for Universe Today. Here’s an article about the biggest island on Earth, and here are more pictures of islands from space.

You can find many more pictures from NASA’s Earth Observatory site.

We have recorded a whole episode of Astronomy Cast just about our planet. Listen to it here, Episode 51: Earth.

NASA Pictures

NASA has the absolute best resources on the web for pictures of space. We write so many articles about space here on Universe Today, so we’ve learned all the best places to look to get the latest and greatest NASA pictures.

Before we go right to some sites, here’s a general tip that you can use when you’re looking for NASA pictures. Use Google, but have it search for images within NASA’s sites. For example, let’s say that you’re looking for an astronomy picture of Mars, but you want it to be a NASA image. Search in Google for: mars picture site:nasa.gov. You can also switch over to the images tab and see lots and lots of images from NASA. You should be able to find the one you’re looking for.

Perhaps the best place to start is NASA’s Featured Images and Galleries. This is linked from the main NASA page and features current pictures as well as classics from the past. It also links you to other NASA image gallery sites.

Another classic is the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Keep in mind that although it’s endorsed by NASA, the pictures featured in Astronomy Picture of the Day are owned and copyright by the original photographers. So you can’t just use their pictures without asking permission first.

There’s a fairly new service out called NASA Images. It’s got a huge catalog of NASA pictures, with cool tools that let you organize and download your favorites.

The NASA Image Exchange is a huge database of NASA pictures. You can search by object, or by spacecraft and use other constraints to find the exact image you’re looking for.

The Johnson Digital Image Collection has photographs from all of NASA’s human spaceflight, from the original Mercury and Gemini flights, though the Apollo landings, right up until the space shuttle missions.

And if you want pictures of Earth, check out NASA’s Visible Earth site or the NASA’s Earth Observatory.

If you want pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, here’s their homepage HubbleSite.

Want NASA photos from specific spacecraft? Here’s NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, here are the Mars Exploration Rovers, and here’s Mercury MESSENGER.

That should get you started.

We have written many articles about NASA and its photography here on Universe Today. Check out this gallery of images from the STS-127 shuttle mission. And here are images from the shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

We have also recorded many episodes of Astronomy Cast about space, and we talk about NASA pictures all the time. Listen to this, Episode 88: The Hubble Space Telescope.

Tsunami Pictures

Tsunamis are some of the most devastating natural disasters. The recent Boxing Day Tsunami was generated by an enormous earthquake off the coast of Indonesia on December 26, 2004. Coastlines in Asia were inundated with enormous tsunami surges, killing more than 200,000 people.

Here are some Tsunami pictures capture by satellite that show before and after images of the regions affected by the tsunami.

[/caption]

This photograph shows the devastation that happened in Sri Lanka on December 26th. This picture was taken by the DigitalGlobe Quickbird satellite, and shows how the whole coastline was inundated with water.

Devastation in Indonesia
Devastation in Indonesia

Perhaps the most devastation from the tsunami occurred in Indonesia. This is an image of the town of Lhoknga, Indonesia. It was completely wiped off the map by the tsunami, except for the white mosque in the center of town.


Northern Sumatra
Northern Sumatra

This photograph, captured by NASA’s Terra satellite shows how the whole northwest coast of the island of Sumatra was hit hard by the tsunami. It looks like the vegetation was just scraped back from the edge of the island.

We have written many articles about the devastation from the 2004 tsunami. Here’s an article about how GPS could be used for a tsunami warning system.

You can get many more tsunami pictures from NASA from their Earth observation page.

Milky Way Galaxy Pictures

Here are some beautiful pics of the Milky Way Galaxy. It’s important to remember that we live inside the Milky Way Galaxy, so there’s no way to show a true photograph of what the Milky Way looks like. We can see pictures of the Milky Way from inside it, or see artist illustrations of what the Milky Way might look like from outside.

[/caption]

This Milky Way Galaxy picture shows what our galaxy would look like from above. You can see its spiral arms, dense core and the thin halo. The Milky Way is a common barred spiral galaxy. There are billions more just like it in the Universe.


Milky Way in infrared. Image credit: COBE
Milky Way in infrared. Image credit: COBE

This picture of the Milky Way was captured by NASA’s COBE satellite. This photograph was taken using the infrared spectrum, which allows astronomers to peer through the gas and dust that normally obscures the center of the Milky Way.


The plane of the Milky Way, recorded with the Chandra satellite in three colours: Photons with energies between 0.5 and 1keV appear red, those between 1 and 3keV green, and those between 3 and 7keV blue. Discrete sources are indicated by circles.  Image: Mikhail Revnivtsev
The plane of the Milky Way, recorded with the Chandra satellite in three colours: Photons with energies between 0.5 and 1keV appear red, those between 1 and 3keV green, and those between 3 and 7keV blue. Discrete sources are indicated by circles. Image: Mikhail Revnivtsev

This image of the Milky Way Galaxy was taken with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which can see in the X-Ray spectrum. In this view, only high energy emissions are visible, such as the radiation emitted from black holes and other high energy objects.


Artist's concept shows young, blue stars encircling a supermassive black hole at the core of a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way.Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Schaller (for STScI)
Artist's concept shows young, blue stars encircling a supermassive black hole at the core of a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way.Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Schaller (for STScI)

Here’s an artist’s impression of what a galaxy like the Milky Way might have looked like early in its history. This image shows a supermassive black hole with young blue stars circling it.


Milky_Way_infrared_mosaic.  Credit:  Spitzer Space Telescope
Milky_Way_infrared_mosaic. Credit: Spitzer Space Telescope

This is a mosaic image of the Milky Way captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. It was built up by several photographs taken by Spitzer, which sees in the infrared spectrum, and can peer through obscuring dust.