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

Happy 9th anniversary, SDO!

Nine years ago this week, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory or SDO rose into the sky atop an Atlas V rocket. Since that day, SDO has returned over 350 million images of the Sun, produced more than 3,000 scientific articles and allowed millions to see our star in a new light. Here are nine of our favorite SDO images.

1. A coronal mass ejection or CME — a giant eruption of solar material that the Sun often sends out — blew out from just around the edge of the Sun on May 1, 2013.

2. This iconic SDO image shows a long filament of solar material bursting out from the Sun on Aug. 31, 2012.

3. A good portion of the world was watching as Venus glided in front of the Sun for over six hours on June 5 - 6, 2012. SDO implemented specially planned operations to view the event in great detail. The results were the best HD views of a transit ever taken.

4. A pair of solar active regions can be seen on the limb of the sun, offering a beautiful profile of cascading loops — a line of solar particles trapped by the Sun’s magnetic field — spiraling above it on Jan. 15-16, 2012.

5. A giant eruptive event, including a major X-class flare, a coronal wave and a coronal mass ejection, or CME, erupted on Aug. 9, 2011.

6. This image is a composite of 23 separate images spanning the period of January 11, 2015, to January 21, 2016. It illustrates how the Sun’s active regions congregate around the star’s equator.
7. The Sun emitted three mid-level solar flares — giant bursts of light and radiation from the Sun — on July 22-23, 2016. The x-shape of light seen in this pic is characteristic of a solar flare.

8. Periodically, SDO’s view gets blocked, when Earth passes between it and the Sun. This image is from the Fall 2011 eclipse season. The fuzzy line around Earth shows how our planet’s atmosphere scatters the Sun’s light.
9. In this SDO image the dark regions show the site of evacuated material from a solar eruption and a flare. The large magnetic loops were formed during the flare in May 2010.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO #nasagoddard #space #Sun #science #SDO #star

Stars are born in dark clouds of gas and dust. But star formation is an energetic process, and newly-formed stars can send out a brilliant display of lights called Herbig-Haro objects. These objects form as jets of hot gas spewed by the newborn star collide with the surrounding matter at high speeds.

In this @NASAHubble image, these objects can be seen at the top center as bright blue streaks traveling away from the star that created them at 150,000 miles per hour, towards the upper left.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, K. Stapelfeldt #nasagoddard #space #Hubble #HST #telescope #star #science

Caption: This artist's concept illustrates Supernova 1987A as a powerful blast wave passes through its outer ring and destroys most of its dust, after the wave passes, the dust re-forms or grows rapidly. SOFIA observations reveal that dust — a building block of stars and planets — can re-form or grow immediately after the catastrophic damage caused by the supernova's blast wave.

More info: Dust particles form as dying red giant stars throw off material and become part of interstellar clouds of various sizes, densities and temperatures. This cosmic dust is then destroyed by supernova blast waves, which propagate through space at more than 6,000 miles per second!
#Supernova explosions are among the most powerful events in the universe, with a peak brightness equivalent to the light from billions of individual stars.

The explosion also produces a blast wave that destroys almost everything in its path, including dust in the surrounding interstellar medium, the space between the stars. Current theories predict when a supernova blast sweeps through a region of space, much of the dust would be destroyed, so there should be little dust left. Observations with SOFIA, however, tell a different, mysterious story —
revealing more than 10 times the dust expected. This suggests that dust is much more abundant in the wake of a blast wave than theories estimate.
Credit: NASA/SOFIA/Symbolic Pictures/The Casadonte Group #nasagoddard #space #science #star #dust #nasa

💙❤️🚀 Happy Valentine's Day from NASA Goddard 🚀💙❤️ Make sure to share one of our "out of this world valentines" with someone special this #ValentinesDay!

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Credit: NASA/Goddard #love #space #science #outofthisworld

Around the World in Seven Ground Stations

Happy Birthday, Jules Verne! Considered by many to be the father of science fiction, French novelist Jules Verne takes his readers “Around the World in Eighty Days.” In his honor, let’s circle the world in seven far-flung ground stations and the communications networks they support. These ground stations downlink data from science and exploration missions, maintaining the critical link from space to ground.

Photo 2: Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.
@NASA’s Deep Space Network supports far-out missions like Voyager 1, over 13 billion miles from Earth, using antennas up to 230 feet in diameter. The network has ground stations in California, Spain and this one in Australia.

Photo 3: Space Network Ground Station – Guam, USA
Our Space Network uses relay satellites in conjunction with ground stations to provide continuous communications coverage for satellites in low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station, enabling 24/7 connection with astronauts onboard.

Photo 4: Optical Ground Station – Haleakalā, Hawaii.
This ground station relays data to California through a groundbreaking optical communications satellite, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration.

Photo 5: Near Earth Network Ground Station – McMurdo, Antarctica
We used this station to demonstrate a new technology called Disruption Tolerant Networking. DTN protocols allow data to be stored at points along its route that do not have an open connection to the next intermediary, preventing data loss and improving data returns.

Photo 6: Near Earth Network Ground Station – Santiago, Chile
NASA satellites in low Earth orbit rely on the NEN to bring down 1,500 gigabytes of data per day.

Photo 7: VHF Ground Station – Wallops Island, Virginia
If the space station ever has communications trouble, we could communicate with our astronauts through emergency very high frequency communications ground stations.

Photo 8: Near Earth Network Ground Station – Svalbard, Norway
The NEN’s antennas as large as 60 feet track rapidly moving satellites up to a million miles from Earth.

Credits: NASA/Swedish Space Corporation/Kongsberg Satellite Corporation

Designed in the style of vintage travel posters, NASA's "Exoplanet Travel Bureau" series imagines what it might be like to visit known exoplanets: that is, worlds outside our solar system.

This poster from NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) illustrates futuristic explorers gliding in a protective bubble over the red-hot landscape of the exoplanet "55 Cancri e," which may be covered in a lava ocean.

Read more:

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech #nasa #poster #exoplanet #space #science #travel

Etna Awakens! 🌋

For the first time in perhaps a decade, Mount Etna experienced a “flank eruption” — erupting from its side instead of its summit — on December 24, 2018. The activity was accompanied by 130 earthquakes occurring over three hours that morning. Mount Etna, Europe’s most active #volcano, has seen periodic activity on this part of the mountain since 2013.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired the image of Mount Etna on December 28, 2018. The closeup (annotated) image highlights the active vent and thermal infrared signature from lava flows, which can be seen near the newly formed fissure on the southeastern side of the volcano. The image was created with data from OLI (bands 4-3-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8.

Ash spewing from the fissure cloaked adjacent villages and delayed aircraft from landing at the nearby Catania airport. Earthquakes occurred in the subsequent days after the initial eruption and displaced hundreds of people from their homes, according to news reports.

@NASAEarth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. #nasagoddard #MountEtna #Etna #science

Desperately cold weather is now gripping the Midwest and Northern Plains of the United States, as well as interior Canada. The culprit is a familiar one: the polar vortex.

A large area of low pressure and extremely cold air usually swirls over the Arctic, with strong counter-clockwise winds that trap the cold around the Pole. But disturbances in the jet stream and the intrusion of warmer mid-latitude air masses can disturb this polar vortex and make it unstable, sending Arctic air south into middle latitudes.

That has been the case in late January 2019. Forecasters are predicting that air temperatures in parts of the continental United States will drop to their lowest levels since at least 1994, with the potential to break all-time record lows for January 30 and 31. With clear skies, steady winds, and snow cover on the ground, as many as 90 million Americans could experience temperatures at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18° Celsius), according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The map at the top of the page shows air temperatures at 2 meters (around 6.5 feet above the ground) at 09:00 Universal Time (4 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) on January 29, 2019, as represented by the Goddard Earth Observing System Model. GEOS is a global atmospheric model that uses mathematical equations run through a supercomputer to represent physical processes. The animation shows the same model data from January 23-29.

NWS meteorologists predicted that steady northwest winds (10 to 20 miles per hour) were likely to add to the misery, causing dangerous wind chills below -40°F (-40°C) in portions of 12 states. A wind chill of -20°F can cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes, according to the weather service.

Meteorologists at The Washington Post pointed out that temperatures on January 31, 2019, in the Midwestern U.S. will be likely colder than those on the North Slope of Alaska.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC #nasagoddard #polarvortex #science #cold #weather via @nasaearth

The Cusp Alfvén and Plasma Electrodynamics Rocket-2, or CAPER-2, mission launched aboard a NASA Black Brant XII sounding rocket from the Andøya Space Center in Norway on Jan. 4, 2019.

CAPER-2 flew through active aurora borealis, or northern lights, to study the waves that accelerate electrons into our atmosphere. The mission is the third of nine missions scheduled through 2020 as part of the Grand Challenge Initiative – Cusp, an international campaign to explore the northern polar cusp.

For CAPER-2 scientists, flying through an aurora provides a peek into a process as fundamental as it is complex: How do particles get accelerated throughout space? NASA studies this phenomenon in an effort to better understand not only the space environment surrounding Earth — and thus protect our technology in space from radiation — but also to help understand the very nature of stars and atmospheres throughout the solar system and beyond.

Photo credit: NASA/Chris Perry #nasagoddard #space #rocket #aurora #northernlights #auroraborealis #norway

In August of 1968, three NASA astronauts received a call telling them to cancel their winter holiday plans — they were going to the Moon. Fifty years later we are celebrating the historic mission of Apollo 8.

1. The rising Earth is about five degrees above the lunar horizon in this telephoto view taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft. This iconic photo was later nicknamed "Earthrise." 2. Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman leads the way as he, Command Module Pilot James A. Lovell Jr., and Lunar Module Pilot William A. Anders head to the launch pad for humanity’s maiden voyage around the Moon and its first aboard the Saturn V vehicle.

3. This oblique view of the lunar surface was taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft.
4. A striking view from the Apollo 8 spacecraft showing nearly the entire Western Hemisphere, from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, including nearby Newfoundland, extending to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. Central America is clearly outlined. Nearly all of South America is covered by clouds, except the high Andes Mountain chain along the west coast. A small portion of the bulge of West Africa shows along the sunset terminator.

5. Apollo 8 prime crew inside the Apollo Boilerplate 1102A during water egress training.

6. Apollo 8 crew is photographed posing on a Kennedy Space Center (KSC) simulator in their space suits. From left to right: James A. Lovell Jr., William A. Anders and Frank Borman.

7. Apollo 8 spacecraft looking back at the Saturn V third stage. Reflected sunlight illuminates small particles, resulting in a "firefly" phenomenon.

8. View of the Moon's surface showing Earth rising above the lunar horizon, looking west-southwest, as photographed from the Apollo 8 spacecraft as it orbited the Moon.

9. Astronauts William A. Anders, James A. Lovell Jr., and Frank Borman, (left to right) are seen inside Apollo Boilerplate 1102A during water egress training.

10. The Apollo 8 (Spacecraft 103/Saturn 503) space vehicle is launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, Dec. 21, 1968.

All images credit: NASA #NASAGoddard #science #space #rocket #apollo50 #nasa

Like a bright ornament in a holiday wreath, this bright star decorates its surrounding nebula with waves of light. This image from @NASAHubble shows RS Puppis, a Cepheid variable star which rhythmically brightens and dims over a six-week cycle. Its average intrinsic brightness is 15,000 times greater than the Sun's luminosity.

The nebula flickers in brightness as pulses of light from the Cepheid propagate outwards. Hubble took a series of photos of light flashes rippling across the nebula in a phenomenon known as a "light echo." Even though light travels through space fast enough to span the gap between Earth and the Moon in a little over a second, the nebula is so large that reflected light can actually be photographed crossing the nebula.

Image credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) – Hubble/Europe Collaboration; Acknowledgement: H. Bond (STScI and Pennsylvania State University)

#space #Hubble #HST #star #astronomy #telescope #nebula

This iconic image, Earthrise, was taken on Christmas Eve, 1968, but the photo took days to return to Earth. Today, NASA sends and receives images like this in the blink of an eye. Learn more in episode two of our podcast, “The Invisible Network.” Check it out at, or wherever you get your podcasts!

Credit: @NASA

#Earthrise #ChristmasEve #OTD #podcast #audio #TakeYouThere #NASA #atlasobscura

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