On a telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, it’s not easy to put in a full night of work. At 14,000 feet, you’re operating at only 60 percent of the oxygen available at sea level, which makes concentrating difficult. Top that off with a shift that begins at 6:30 pm and ends at 6:30 am, and it becomes hard to imagine astronomers working like that year-round. Luckily, most of us don’t have to.
The subject of this image bears a remarkable resemblance to a porous sea sponge, floating in the...
Even non-professionals may someday be able to create high-quality video panoramas using multiple...
Ranger 7 took this image, the first picture of the moon by a U.S. spacecraft, on July 31, 1964 at 13:09 UT, about 17 minutes before impacting the lunar surface. The large crater at center right is the 108 km diameter Alphonsus. Above it is Ptolemaeus and below it Arzachel. The terminator is at the bottom right corner. Mare Nubium is at center and left. North is at about 11:00 at the center of the frame.
According to satellite observations, lightning flashes more often over land than over the oceans. And lightning seems to happen more often closer to the equator. The NASA Earth Observatory’s Global Lightening Activity Map shows the average yearly counts of lightning flashes per square kilometer from 1995 to 2013. Areas with the largest number of lightning flashes — as many as 150 per year per square kilometer — are bright pink.
Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos. These maps, created with one of the world's most powerful digital cameras, are the largest contiguous maps created at this level of detail and will improve our understanding of dark matter's role in the formation of galaxies.
This view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows part of "Marathon Valley," a destination on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, as seen from an overlook north of the valley. The scene spans from east, at left, to southeast.
This image depicts a dorsal view of a female deer fly, Chrysops dimmock, which had been collected at Nickerson State Park, Cape Cod, MA, on July 4, 2013. This particular specimen had been feeding on both human beings and canines.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this image of Typhoon Maysak from her vantage point on the International Space Station. Commenting on the image Samantha said: "Commands respect even from space: we just flew over typhoon Maysak."
For the crew of the Starship Enterprise, Star Trek's "Tricorder" was an essential tool, a multifunctional hand-held device used to sense, compute and record data in a threatening and unpredictable universe. It simplified a number of Starfleet tasks, scientific or combat-related, by beaming sensors at objects to obtain instant results. A new invention may be able to turn smartphones into powerful hyperspectral sensors...
Researchers have demonstrated the first-ever recording of optically encoded audio onto a non-magnetic plasmonic nanostructure, opening the door to multiple uses in informational processing and archival storage.
From afar, Saturn's rings look like a solid, homogenous disk of material. But, upon closer examination from Cassini, we see that there are varied structures in the rings at almost every scale imaginable.
From the International Space Station, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this photograph of the island of Hawaii and posted it to social media on February 28, 2015. Cristoforetti wrote, "And suddenly as we flew over the Pacific... the island of #Hawaii with its volcanoes! #HelloEarth"
For the Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), by far the most common Gossamer in Germany, collected data shows a statistically significant decline of population. Grassland butterfly populations have declined dramatically over the last two decades.
A high-speed camera for monitoring vegetation from space and combating famine in Africa is being adapted to spot changes in human skin cells, invisible to the naked eye, to help diagnose skin diseases like cancer. In fact, the extraordinary digital infrared sensor from ESA’s Proba-V vegetation-scanning satellite is being adapted for several non-space applications.
Have you ever used a camera on board an interplanetary spacecraft? In May 2015, the ‘webcam’ on board Mars Express will be available for public imaging requests. ESA is inviting schools, science clubs and youth groups to submit proposals for one of eight opportunities to image another planet using the Visual Monitoring Camera on board Mars Express.
This color image shows the southernmost portion of Phlegra Montes on Mars, a complex system of isolated hills, ridges and small basins that spans over 1400 kilometers from the Elysium volcanic region at about 30ºN and deep into the northern lowlands at about 50°N.
The technology behind the camera that revealed the intricate, imperfect beauty of snowflakes is now able to expose their potential danger. About three years ago, a new high-speed camera captured free-falling ice crystals so well it might as well be yelling "freeze!" Now, a less expensive, hardier version with the same incredible capability has been designed for use by departments of transportation to anticipate road conditions.
Astronomical images often look like works of art. This picture of one of our nearest neighboring galaxies, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), is certainly no exception! The scene is actually a collaboration between two cosmic artists — ESA’s Herschel space observatory and NASA’s Spitzer space telescope.
From the International Space Station, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this photograph of Chicago and posted it to social media. Crewmembers on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique point of view located 200 miles above the surface as part of the Crew Earth Observations program. Photographs record how the planet is changing over time.
NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore works outside the International Space Station on the first of three spacewalks preparing the station for future arrivals by U.S. commercial crew spacecraft, on February 21, 2015. Fellow spacewalker Terry Virts, seen reflected in the visor, shared this photograph on social media.
In this new ESO image, nightfall raises the curtain on a theatrical display taking place in the cloudless skies over La Silla. In a scene humming with activity, the major players captured here are Comet Lovejoy, glowing green in the center of the image; the Pleiades above and to the right; and the California Nebula, providing some contrast in the form of a red arc of gas directly to the right of Lovejoy.
Valentine's Day is special for NASA's Voyager mission. It was on February 14, 1990, that the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back at our solar system and snapped the first-ever pictures of the planets from its perch at that time beyond Neptune. This "family portrait" captures Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Earth and Venus from Voyager 1's unique vantage point.
This image from the Landsat-8 satellite acquired on September 23, 2014, brings us over the southwest United States: Nevada and Arizona. Las Vegas with its grid-like urban plan is visible near the center. Sitting in a basin of the Mojave Desert, the city is surrounded by a number of mountain ranges.
Galaxies can take many shapes and be oriented any way relative to us in the sky. This can make it hard to figure out their actual morphology, as a galaxy can look very different from different viewpoints. A special case is when we are lucky enough to observe a spiral galaxy directly from its edge, providing us with a spectacular view like this one.
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover can be seen at the "Pahrump Hills" area of Gale Crater in this view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pahrump Hills is an outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp. The region contains sedimentary rocks that scientists believe formed in the presence of water.
A snake-like robot designed to examine the inside of one of three melted reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is ready to begin its expedition. Assessing the damage inside the reactors is a crucial step in the decommissioning of the plant, which was badly damaged by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Use of a remote-controlled robot is essential, because no humans can go close to the reactor chambers due to fatally high radiation.
New NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture a rare occurrence, as three of Jupiter’s largest moons parade across the giant gas planet’s banded face. Hubble took a string of images of the event which show the three satellites — Europa, Callisto and Io — in action. The planet's four moons can commonly be seen transiting the face of Jupiter. However, seeing three of them transiting at the same time is rare.
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