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NASA Goddard  The official Instagram account of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Twitter: @NASAGoddard & @NASAGoddardPix

Our NICER astrophysics mission twists and turns to track pulsars and other X-ray sources - and occasionally avoids being blocked by the International Space Station's huge solar arrays! This video is sped up 100x and shows how NICER keeps its 56 telescopes pointed at the sky. Credit: NASA

#astrophysics, #SpaceStation, #Xray, #astronomy

Astronomers using the ultraviolet vision of @NASAHubble captured one of the largest panoramic views of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe. The field features approximately 15,000 galaxies, about 12,000 of which are forming stars. Hubble’s ultraviolet vision opens a new window on the evolving universe, tracking the birth of stars over the last 11 billion years back to the cosmos’ busiest star-forming period, which happened about 3 billion years after the big bang.

Ultraviolet light has been the missing piece to the cosmic puzzle. Now, combined with infrared and visible-light data from Hubble and other space and ground-based telescopes, astronomers have assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history.

Credits: NASA, ESA, P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and M. Montes (University of New South Wales) #nasagoddard #Hubble #nasa #space #star #galaxy #universe #ultraviolet

Mendocino Complex Still Grows Larger
The Mendocino Complex fire is now entering its 19th day as the complex grows in size. Today the fire is 354,410 acres and 68% contained. The River fire is wholly contained, and there has been no further movement, but the Ranch fire portion of the complex continues to grow northward. On Monday, tragically, a firefighter who had come from Utah to help fight the blaze died from injuries he sustained on the job. That is the sixth firefighter who has lost his life this fire season in California.

Smoke continues to billow from the active fire area within the Ranch portion of the complex. The dark red-brown area below the smoke in the satellite image contrasts starkly with the lighter tan and green areas. That red-brown area is the scorched earth left behind after the fire has burned out and moved on. In this satellite image, the fire complex has nearly ringed Clear Lake and continues to move northward.

Once again high temperatures, low humidity, and winds are all causes for ongoing concern with this fire. These are the three areas of weather concern that continue to plague all current California fires.

This Aqua satellite image was captured on August 13, 2018. Actively burning areas (hot spots) are outlined in red. Each hot spot is an area where the thermal detectors recognized temperatures higher than the background temperatures. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.
NASA image courtesy of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) project. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from CAL fire and Inciweb. #nasagoddard #fire #wildfire #MendocinoComplex #MendocinoComplexFire #California

Smoke Plumes Tower Over California

Image 1: Taken on August 2 by an astronaut on the International Space Station, this image shows another pyrocumulus cloud rising from the Ferguson fire near Yosemite National Park. The park service closed Yosemite Valley and other parts of the park due to heavy smoke.

Image 2: On August 6, 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of a dense column of smoke topped by a pyrocumulus cloud over the Ranch fire.
In July and August 2018, towering plumes of smoke have risen from several fires in northern California. Though heavy rains ended the lengthy drought that parched California, trees and vegetation killed during that dry spell still linger in California’s forests. With all that extra fuel priming the state’s forests for large fires, a period of hot and windy weather this summer made it extremely difficult for firefighters to maintain the upper hand.

One of the fires—the Mendocino Complex—surpassed the 2017 Thomas fire to become California’s largest fire on record. As of August 7, 2018, the fire had charred 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles), an area about the size of New York City. Another blaze, the Carr fire near Redding, had torched more than 1,000 homes, making it California’s sixth most destructive fire on record. Several thousand firefighters are battling each of the large fires in California.

The heat generated by intense wildfires can churn up towering pyrocumulus and pyrocumulonimbus clouds, which lift smoke above the boundary layer, the lowest part of the atmosphere. “The hotter a fire burns, the higher up smoke can go, and the farther it can spread,” said Amber Soja, an atmospheric scientist with the National Institute of Aerospace who is based at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

Smoke injected above the boundary layer often travels hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from the source before descending. Satellites have observed smoke from the California fires spreading into nearly two dozen states, though the highest concentrations were found in California and the Great Basin.

NASA Earth Observatory #nasagoddard #California #fire #wildfire #Fergusonfire

This @NASAHubble image shows the colorful globular cluster NGC 2108. The cluster is nestled within the Large Magellanic Cloud, in the constellation of the Swordfish (Dorado). It was discovered in 1835 by the astronomer, mathematician, chemist and inventor John Herschel, son of the famous William Herschel.

The most striking feature of this globular cluster is the gleaming ruby-red spot to the lower left of the cluster’s center (on the right side of the image). What looks like the cluster’s watchful eye is actually a carbon star. Carbon stars are almost always cool red giants, with atmospheres containing more carbon than oxygen — the opposite of the Sun. Carbon monoxide forms in the outer layer of the star through a combination of these elements, until there is no more oxygen available.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #Hubble #space #science

This time-lapse animation of @NASAHubble observations shows the rotation of Saturn and zooms into the planet as it is rotating. As the zoom progresses, the viewer gets a closer look at the atmosphere in motion, including a mysterious hexagonal feature at the north polar cap. The giant planet completes one rotation every 10.5 hours.

Credits: NASA, ESA, Amy Simon (Goddard) and the OPAL Team, and J. DePasquale (STScI)

#Saturn #opposition #Hubble #planets #HST #space #science #nasa

These @NASAHubble images show Mars and Saturn at opposition - their closest approaches to us, when they line up on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun.
Hubble recently caught some closeup glamour shots highlighting Saturn's amazing rings and Mars smothered in a global dust storm.
The first image shows Saturn just after the point where its marvelous rings are at their maximum tilt toward Earth, which happened in 2017.

On Mars, a dust storm erupted in the southern hemisphere and ballooned into a global dust storm enshrouding the entire planet in a reddish haze and partially obscuring surface features as seen in the second image.

The third image shows the previous image of Mars taken at opposition, in 2016, when the atmosphere was considerably more clear than it is now. We see the same hemisphere, and some of the same features are visible as the 2018 image.

Credits: NASA, ESA, STScI, Amy Simon (Goddard) and the OPAL Team, and J. DePasquale (STScI)
#Mars #Saturn #opposition #Hubble #planets #HST

It's @Discovery #SharkWeek! DYK that @NASAHubble technology helps scientists identify whale sharks? The largest fish in the sea, whale sharks are surprisingly hard to find and identify, but by using a star-mapping algorithm originally designed for Hubble, it's possible to track and learn more about these elusive creatures.

Software programmer, the founder of @WildMeOrg, Jason Holmberg created a photograph database called ECOCEAN of whale sharks from photographers world-wide. Using the pattern-matching system originally designed for Hubble, the database helps scientists track whale sharks using the unique spot patterns on the fishes' skins.

#NASATechnology, #Spinoffs, #conservation, #sharks, #photography, #tech, #oceans

This visualization pairs the mood of Claude Debussy's best-known composition, Clair de Lune, with visuals of the Moon captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a satellite that has been studying and orbiting our Moon since its launch in 2009.
Created by NASA science visualizer Ernie Wright, the video displays breathtaking views of lunar landmarks and covers 29.5 days, a full lunar cycle. Wright’s video begins with a sunrise dragging shadows across the Moon's surface and ending with sunsets lengthening the darkness along the same geography. The music, Wright said, is "melancholy, solitary and contemplative, as if you’re alone, walking through a garden in the moonlight." This visualization was created in celebration of NASA’s 60th anniversary this year and was showcased in a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) in a concert at the @KennedyCenter in Washington, D.C., entitled "NSO Pops: Space, the Next Frontier." Credits: NASA/Goddard/LRO/Ernie Wright #NASAGoddard #space #science #astronomy #moon #moonlight #clairdelune #MusicMonday #MondayMotivation #nso #scicomm #debussy

You'll want to turn your #SoundON 🔊

This illustration shows a sample of how NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope saw blazar TXS 0506+056 in gamma rays over the past 10 years, followed by data from its 2017 flare-up. Larger, darker ripples represent higher-energy gamma rays.

Last week, the National Science Foundation (@NSFgov) announced the detection of a speedy, super high-energy neutrino traveling from a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy.

Fermi had been watching the same blazar for nearly 10 years before it flared up in 2017, coinciding with the ejection of this particular neutrino. This video first shows a typical emission, and then the flare. Larger, darker circles indicate higher energies, but the data is also represented in the sound, so turn it up!

#Fermi #astronomy #space #blackhole #cosmos #telescope

This is an artist's impression of the Jupiter-size extrasolar planet, HD 189733b, being eclipsed by its parent star. Astronomers using @NASAHubble have measured carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the planet's atmosphere. The planet is a "hot Jupiter," which is so close to its star that it completes an orbit in only 2.2 days. The planet is too hot for life as we know it. But under the right conditions, on a more Earth-like world, carbon dioxide can indicate the presence of extraterrestrial life. This observation demonstrates that chemical biotracers can be detected by space telescope observations.

@NASAWebb will have many tricks up its sleeve when it comes to looking into the atmospheres of gas giants orbiting other stars.
Webb can directly observe how a planet’s atmosphere strips certain colors out of the starlight passing through it using spectrometry: molecules in the atmosphere absorb different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, leaving clues to their presence.
Webb can indirectly observe a planet’s contribution to starlight by watching what changes when the planet passes behind its star. This will give clues to what’s happening on the day side of the planet.

Using something called a phase curve — the changes in reflected or refracted light throughout a planet’s orbit — Webb can look for dynamic processes such as weather patterns.

Ultimately, astronomers want to use Webb to study potentially habitable planets. In particular, Webb will target planets orbiting red dwarf stars because those stars are smaller and dimmer, making it easier to tease out the signal from an orbiting planet. Red dwarfs are also the most common stars in our galaxy. However, astronomers will target easier, gas giant exoplanets first.

Credits: ESA, NASA, M. Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble), and STScI #nasagoddard #space #science

This animation shows a supermassive black hole billions of times the mass of the Sun. This particular black hole anchors a type of galaxy called a blazar, which produces two jets of particles moving at nearly the speed of light — one of which points almost directly at Earth.
On September 22, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope saw a powerful flare of high-energy light from this blazar. At the same time, the @nsfgov's IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole detected a neutrino — a high-energy cosmic particle — from the same direction.
The neutrino was the first we’ve ever detected from a source outside our galactic neighborhood, and this discovery is also the first time we’ve seen light and a neutrino from the same black hole source. Fermi and IceCube’s work represents a new chapter in multimessenger astronomy — viewing the same event using different messengers like light, particles and gravitational waves.

Credit: NASA/Goddard
#nasagoddard #space #science #astronomy #blackhole #galaxy #light #particles #gammaray #blazar #neutrino

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