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NASA Goddard  The official Instagram account of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Twitter: @NASAGoddard & @NASAGoddardPix Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/

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At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun’s surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing. These are spicules, and despite their grass-like abundance, scientists didn’t understand how they form. Now, for the first time, a computer simulation — so detailed it took a full year to run — shows how spicules form, helping scientists understand how spicules can break free of the sun’s surface and surge upward so quickly.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng, producer #nasagoddard #Sun #space #science

NASA's Webb Telescope "chilling out" in Houston for the #summer -- NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was placed in Johnson Space Center’s historic Chamber A on June 20, 2017, to prepare for its final three months of testing in a cryogenic vacuum that mimics temperatures in space.

Engineers will perform the test to prove that the telescope can operate in space at these temperatures. Chamber A will simulate an environment where the telescope will experience extreme cold -- around 37 Kelvin (minus 236 degrees Celsius or minus 393 degrees Fahrenheit). In space, the telescope must be kept extremely cold, in order to be able to detect the infrared light from very faint, distant objects. To protect the telescope from external sources of light and heat (like the sun, Earth, and moon), as well as from heat emitted by the observatory, a five-layer, tennis court-sized sunshield acts like a parasol that provides shade. The sunshield separates the observatory into a warm, sun-facing side (reaching temperatures close to 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and a cold side (185 degrees below zero). The sunshield blocks sunlight from interfering with the sensitive telescope instruments.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Gunn #nasagoddard #jwst #science #space

By combining the power of a "natural lens" in space with the capability of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers made a surprising discovery—the first example of a compact yet massive, fast-spinning, disk-shaped galaxy that stopped making stars only a few billion years after the big bang.

Finding such a galaxy early in the history of the universe challenges the current understanding of how massive galaxies form and evolve, say researchers.

Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Postman (STScI), and the CLASH team

#nasagoddard #space #science #hubble

A planetary nebula like IC 418, shown here, represents the final stage in the evolution of a star similar to our sun. The star at the center of IC 418 was a red giant a few thousand years ago, but then ejected its outer layers into space to form the nebula. That nebula has now expanded to a diameter of about 0.1 light-year.
The stellar remnant at the center was the hot core of the red giant, from which ultraviolet radiation flooded out into the surrounding gas, causing it to fluoresce. Over the next several thousand years, the nebula will gradually disperse into space, and then the star will cool and fade away for billions of years as a white dwarf. Our own sun is expected to undergo a similar fate, but fortunately this will not occur until some 5 billion years from now.
Read more: https://go.nasa.gov/2roofKS

Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: Dr. Raghvendra Sahai (JPL) and Dr. Arsen R. Hajian (USNO) #nasagoddard #space #space #hubble #star

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is famous for its jaw-dropping snapshots of the cosmos. At first glance this Picture of the Week appears to be quite the opposite, showing just a blur of jagged spikes, speckled noise, and weird, clashing colors — but once you know what you are looking at, images like this one are no less breathtaking.

This shows a distant galaxy — visible as the smudge to the lower right — as it begins to align with and pass behind a star sitting nearer to us within the Milky Way. This is an event known as a transit. The star is called HD 107146, and it sits at the center of the frame. Its light has been blocked in this image to make its immediate surroundings and the faint galaxy visible — the position of the star is marked with a green circle.

The concentric orange circle surrounding HD 107146 is a circumstellar disk — a disk of debris orbiting the star. In the case of HD 107146 we see the disk face-on. As this star very much resembles our sun, it is an interesting scientific target to study: its circumstellar disk could be analogous to the asteroids in our Solar System and the Kuiper belt.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasagoddard #hubble #space #science #galaxy

Boosted by natural magnifying lenses in space, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured unique close-up views of the universe's brightest infrared galaxies, which are as much as 10,000 times more luminous than our Milky Way.

The galaxy images, magnified through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, reveal a tangled web of misshapen objects punctuated by exotic patterns such as rings and arcs. The odd shapes are due largely to the foreground lensing galaxies' powerful gravity distorting the images of the background galaxies. The unusual forms also may have been produced by spectacular collisions between distant, massive galaxies in a sort of cosmic demolition derby.

These six Hubble Space Telescope images reveal a jumble of misshapen-looking galaxies punctuated by exotic patterns such as arcs, streaks, and smeared rings. These unusual features are the stretched shapes of the universe's brightest infrared galaxies that are boosted by natural cosmic magnifying lenses. Some of the oddball shapes also may have been produced by spectacular collisions between distant, massive galaxies. The faraway galaxies are as much as 10,000 times more luminous than our Milky Way. The galaxies existed between 8 billion and 11.5 billion years ago.

Credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Lowenthal (Smith College) #nasagoddard #science #space

Now that NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has moved to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, a special Webb camera was installed there to continue providing daily video feeds on the telescope's progress.

Space enthusiasts, who are fascinated to see how this next generation space telescope has come together and how it is being tested, are able to see the telescope’s progress as it happens by watching the Webb-cam feed online.

The Web camera at NASA’s Johnson Space Center can be seen online at: http://jwst.nasa.gov/, with larger views of the cams available at: http://jwst.nasa.gov/webcam.html.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/Desiree Stover #nasagoddard #jwst #space #science

WHAM 💥 A camera on NASA satellite survives meteoroid hit -- On Oct.13, 2014 something very strange happened to the camera aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), which normally produces beautifully clear images of the lunar surface, produced an image that was wild and jittery. From the sudden and jagged pattern apparent in the image, the LROC team determined that the camera must have been hit by a tiny meteoroid, a small natural object in space.
Credit: NASA/GoddardLRO #moon #nasagoddard #meteoroid #space #science

The Moon Just Photobombed NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

On May 25, 2017, the moon photobombed one of our sun-watching satellites by passing directly between the satellite and the sun.

The lunar transit lasted almost an hour, between 2:24 and 3:17 p.m. EDT, with the moon covering about 89 percent of the sun at the peak of its journey across the sun’s face. The moon’s crisp horizon can be seen from this view because the moon has no atmosphere to distort the sunlight.

SDO sees lunar transits about twice a year, and this one lasted about an hour with the moon covering about 89 percent of the sun at the peak of its journey across the sun’s face.

When they’re seen from Earth, we call lunar transits by another name: eclipses.
Solar eclipses are just a special kind of transit where the moon blocks all or part of our view of the sun. Since SDO’s view of the sun was only partially blocked, it saw a partial eclipse. Later this year, on Aug. 21, a total eclipse will be observable from the ground: The moon will completely block the sun’s face in some parts of the US, creating a total solar eclipse on a 70-mile-wide stretch of land, called the path of totality, that runs from Oregon to South Carolina.

Throughout the rest of North America — and even in parts of South America, Africa, Europe and Asia — the moon will partially obscure the sun, creating a partial eclipse. SDO will also witness this partial eclipse.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO/Joy Ng

A Whole New Jupiter -- Early science results from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter portray the largest planet in our solar system as a complex, gigantic, turbulent world, with Earth-sized polar cyclones, plunging storm systems that travel deep into the heart of the gas giant, and a mammoth, lumpy magnetic field that may indicate it was generated closer to the planet’s surface than previously thought.

This image shows Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers). The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to show all areas in daylight, enhanced color, and stereographic projection.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles #nasagoddard #space #Jupiter #science

Gulf of Alaska - The spring bloom in the Gulf of Alaska was well underway on April 12, 2017, when the Aqua/MODIS and Suomi-NPP/VIIRS data from which the above image was created were collected.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/NPP #nasagoddard #Earth #science #Alaska

NASA Aims to Create First-Ever Space-Based Sodium Lidar to Study Poorly Understood Mesosphere

A team of NASA scientists and engineers now believes it can leverage recent advances in a greenhouse-detecting instrument to build the world’s first space-based sodium lidar to study Earth’s poorly understood mesosphere.

Scientist Diego Janches and laser experts Mike Krainak and Tony Yu, all of whom work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, are leading a research-and-development effort to further advance the sodium lidar, which the group plans to deploy on the International Space Station if it succeeds in proving its flightworthiness.
From its berth on the orbiting outpost, the instrument would illuminate the complex relationship between the chemistry and dynamics of the mesosphere that lies 40-100 miles above Earth’s surface — the region where Earth’s atmosphere meets the vacuum of space.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/W. Hrybyk #nasagoddard #science #space

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