[NASA] Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds

Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space. When an image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 — a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles –was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in … Read More →

[NASA] James Webb Space Telescope’s Heart Survives Deep Freeze Test

After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) and its sensitive instruments, emerged unscathed from the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Webb telescope’s images will reveal the first galaxies forming 13.5 billion years ago. The telescope will also pierce through interstellar dust … Read More →

[NASA] Hubble Sees Turquoise-Tinted Plumes in Large Magellanic Cloud

The brightly glowing plumes seen in this image are reminiscent of an underwater scene, with turquoise-tinted currents and nebulous strands reaching out into the surroundings. However, this is no ocean. This image actually shows part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small nearby galaxy that orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way, and appears as a blurred blob in our skies. The NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Hubble Space Telescope has … Read More →

Comet Siding Spring Passes Mars

Yesterday, a comet passed very close to Mars. In fact, Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed closer to the red planet than any comet has ever passed to Earth in recorded history. To take advantage of this unique opportunity to study the close interaction of a comet and a planet, humanity currently has five active spacecraft orbiting Mars: NASA’s MAVEN, MRO, Mars Odyssey, as well as ESA‘s Mars Express, and … Read More →

[NASA] Extreme Ultraviolet Image of a Significant Solar Flare

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 131 Angstroms – a wavelength that can see the intense heat of a flare and that is typically colorized in teal. This flare is classified as an X1.1-class flare. X-class denotes the most … Read More →

Comet McNaught Over New Zealand

Comet McNaught was perhaps the most photogenic comet of modern times — from Earth. After making quite a show in the northern hemisphere in early January of 2007, the comet moved south and developed a long and unusual dust tail that dazzled southern hemisphere observers. In late January 2007, Comet McNaught was captured between Mount Remarkable and Cecil Peak in this spectacular image taken from Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. … Read More →