The Magnetic Field of the Whirlpool Galaxy

Do magnetic fields always flow along spiral arms? Our face-on view of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) allows a spectacularly clear view of the spiral wave pattern in a disk-shaped galaxy. When observed with a radio telescope, the magnetic field appears to trace the arms’ curvature. However, with NASA��������s flying Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) observatory, the magnetic field at the outer edge of M51’s disk appears to weave across … Read More →

[NASA] Hot Fire Test of SLS Rocket Core Stage

The core stage for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket is seen in the B-2 Test Stand during a scheduled 8-minute duration hot fire test, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. via NASA https://ift.tt/3bT7bH1

A Lunar Corona with Jupiter and Saturn

Why does a cloudy moon sometimes appear colorful? The effect, called a lunar corona, is created by the quantum mechanical diffraction of light around individual, similarly-sized water droplets in an intervening but mostly-transparent cloud. Since light of different colors has different wavelengths, each color diffracts differently. Lunar Coronae are one of the few quantum mechanical color effects that can be easily seen with the unaided eye. Solar coronae are also … Read More →

The Medulla Nebula Supernova Remnant

What powers this unusual nebula? CTB-1 is the expanding gas shell that was left when a massive star toward the constellation of Cassiopeia exploded about 10,000 years ago. The star likely detonated when it ran out of elements, near its core, that could create stabilizing pressure with nuclear fusion. The resulting supernova remnant, nicknamed the Medulla Nebula for its brain-like shape, still glows in visible light by the heat generated … Read More →

Jets from Unusual Galaxy Centaurus A

The jets emanating from Centaurus A are over a million light years long. These jets of streaming plasma, expelled by a giant black hole in the center of this spiral galaxy, light up this composite image of Cen A. Exactly how the central black hole expels infalling matter remains unknown. After clearing the galaxy, however, the jets inflate large radio bubbles that likely glow for millions of years. If energized … Read More →

The Mountains of NGC 2174

This fantastic skyscape lies near the edge of NGC 2174 a star forming region about 6,400 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation of Orion. It follows mountainous clouds of gas and dust carved by winds and radiation from the region’s newborn stars, now found scattered in open star clusters embedded around the center of NGC 2174, off the top of the frame. Though star formation continues within these dusty cosmic … Read More →

[NASA] Fulfilling the Dream

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, look on. via NASA https://ift.tt/38R1wPT

A Plutonian Landscape

This shadowy landscape of majestic mountains and icy plains stretches toward the horizon on a small, distant world. It was captured from a range of about 18,000 kilometers when New Horizons looked back toward Pluto, 15 minutes after the spacecraft’s closest approach on July 14. The dramatic, low-angle, near-twilight scene follows rugged mountains formally known as Norgay Montes from foreground left, and Hillary Montes along the horizon, giving way to … Read More →

[NASA] Bright, Blue Stars

Inside star cluster NGC 602, a star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, bright, blue, newly formed stars are blowing a cavity in this nebula. via NASA https://ift.tt/3oIW7zz

Aurora Slathers Up the Sky

Like salsa verde on your favorite burrito, a green aurora slathers up the sky in this 2017 June 25 snapshot from the International Space Station. About 400 kilometers (250 miles) above Earth, the orbiting station is itself within the upper realm of the auroral displays. Aurorae have the signature colors of excited molecules and atoms at the low densities found at extreme altitudes. Emission from atomic oxygen dominates this view. … Read More →