Astronomy: Photos From and Of Space

NASA Astronaut Terry Virts Salutes Leonard Nimoy from Orbit International Space Station astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this image of a Vulcan hand salute from orbit as a tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Nimoy played science officer Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series that served as an inspiration to generations of scientists, engineers and sci-fi fans around the world. Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy's home town, are visible through the station window. Credit: NASA/JSC

NASA Astronaut Terry Virts Salutes Leonard Nimoy from Orbit
International Space Station astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this image of a Vulcan hand salute from orbit as a tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Nimoy played science officer Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series that served as an inspiration to generations of scientists, engineers and sci-fi fans around the world.
Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy’s home town, are visible through the station window.
Credit: NASA/JSC

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: February 26, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: February 26, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: January 30, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: January 30, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: February 23, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: February 23, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: February 7, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: February 7, 2015

Goodnight from Space | International Space Station Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: January 3, 2015

Goodnight from Space | International Space Station
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: January 3, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: February 20, 2015

Good Morning from Space! | International Space Station
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: February 20, 2015

  Lenticular Earth Cloud, Moon, Mars, Venus  Image Credit & Copyright: Nuno Serrão


Lenticular Earth Cloud, Moon, Mars, Venus
Image Credit & Copyright: Nuno Serrão

 Lenticular Earth Cloud, Moon, Mars, Venus
It is not every day that such an interesting cloud photobombs your image. The original plan was to photograph a rare angular conjunction of Mars and Venus that occurred a week and a half ago, with the added bonus of a crescent Moon and the International Space Station (ISS) both passing nearby. Unfortunately, on Madeira Island, Portugal, this event was clouded out. During the next day, however, a spectacular lenticular cloud appeared before sunset, so the industrious astrophotographer quickly formulated a new plan. A close look at the resulting image reveals the Moon visible toward the left of the frame, while underneath, near the bottom, are the famous planets with Venus being the brighter. It was the unexpected lenticular cloud, though, perhaps looking like some sort of futuristic spaceship, that stole the show.

The setting Sun illuminated the stationary cloud (and everything else) from the bottom, setting up an intricate pattern of shadows, layers, and brightly illuminated regions, all seen evolving in a corresponding video. Mars and Venus will next appear this close on the sky in late August, but whether any place on Earth will catch them behind such a photogenic cloud is unknown.

A young star takes center stage | Hubble Space Telescope Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Karl Stapelfeldt (GSFC), B. Stecklum and A. Choudhary (Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Germany)

A young star takes center stage | Hubble Space Telescope
Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Karl Stapelfeldt (GSFC), B. Stecklum and A. Choudhary (Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Germany)

A young star takes center stage | Hubble Space Telescope
With its helical appearance resembling a snail’s shell, this reflection nebula seems to spiral out from a luminous central star in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image. The star in the center, known as V1331 Cyg and located in the dark cloud LDN 981 — or, more commonly, Lynds 981—had previously been defined as a T Tauri star. A T Tauri is a young star—or Young Stellar Object—that is starting to contract to become a main sequence star similar to the Sun.

What makes V1331Cyg special is the fact that we look almost exactly at one of its poles. Usually, the view of a young star is obscured by the dust from the circumstellar disc and the envelope that surround it. However, with V1331Cyg we are actually looking in the exact direction of a jet driven by the star that is clearing the dust and giving us this magnificent view.

This view provides an almost undisturbed view of the star and its immediate surroundings allowing astronomers to study it in greater detail and look for features that might suggest the formation of a very low-mass object in the outer circumstellar disc.

Variable Stars in a Distant Spiral Galaxy | Hubble Space Telescope Credit: NASA/ESA, Hubble Space Telescope Release Date: May 1, 1999

Variable Stars in a Distant Spiral Galaxy | Hubble Space Telescope
Credit: NASA/ESA, Hubble Space Telescope
Release Date: May 1, 1999

Variable Stars in a Distant Spiral Galaxy | Hubble Space Telescope
A NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) view of the magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4603, the most distant galaxy in which a special class of pulsating stars called Cepheid variables have been found. It is associated with the Centaurus cluster, one of the most massive assemblages of galaxies in the nearby universe. The Local Group of galaxies, of which The Milky Way is a member, is moving in the direction of Centaurus at a speed of more than a million miles an hour under the influence of the gravitational pull of the matter in that direction.

Clusters of young bright blue stars highlight the galaxy’s spiral arms. In contrast, red giant stars in the process of dying are also found. Only the very brightest stars in NGC 4603 can be seen individually, even with the unmatched ability of the Hubble Space Telescope to obtain detailed images of distant objects. Much of the diffuse glow comes from fainter stars that cannot be individually distinguished by Hubble. The reddish filaments are regions where clouds of dust obscure blue light from the stars behind them.

This galaxy was observed by a team affiliated with the HST Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale. Because NGC 4603 is much farther away than the other galaxies studied with Hubble by the Key Project team, 108 million light-years, its stars appear very faint from the Earth, and so accurately measuring their brightness, as is required for distinguishing the characteristic variations of Cepheids, is extremely difficult. Determining the distance to the galaxy required an unprecedented statistical analysis based on extensive computer simulations.

NGC 300: Wide-field image This wide field image, from the Digitized Sky Survey 2, shows the area around the spiral galaxy, NGC 300, six million light-years from Earth. The field of view is about 2.92x2.94 degrees. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

NGC 300: Wide-field image
This wide field image, from the Digitized Sky Survey 2, shows the area around the spiral galaxy, NGC 300, six million light-years from Earth.
The field of view is about 2.92×2.94 degrees.
Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

The United Kingdom | International Space Station Samantha: "Flying over England one beautiful night." Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: January 31, 2015

The United Kingdom | International Space Station
Samantha: “Flying over England one beautiful night.”
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: January 31, 2015

The Island of Hawaii | International Space Station Samantha: "The island of Hawaii and its volcanoes." Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy Image Date: February 18, 2015

The Island of Hawaii | International Space Station
Samantha: “The island of Hawaii and its volcanoes.”
Credit: ESA/NASA, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy
Image Date: February 18, 2015

Crash

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