Geminids of the South : Earth’s annual Geminid meteor shower did not disappoint, peaking before dawn on December 14 as our fair planet plowed through dust from active asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Captured in this southern hemisphere nightscape the meteors stream away from the shower’s radiant in Gemini. To create the image, many individual frames recording meteor streaks were taken over period of 5 hours. In the final composite they were selected and registered against the starry sky above the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes of Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Rigel in Orion, and Sirius shine brightly as the Milky Way stretches toward the zenith. Near Castor and Pollux the twin stars of Gemini, the meteor shower’s radiant is low, close to the horizon. The radiant effect is due to perspective as the parallel meteor tracks appear to converge in the distance. Gemini’s meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere traveling at about 22 kilometers per second. via NASA
Over his tenure, President Obama has now invested $147 billion in America’s space program. Our elected leaders, on a bipartisan basis, have chosen to make this investment in our Agency, because they believe in our Journey to Mars and recognize that investments in NASA’s present are investments in America’s future.
Because the State of our NASA is strong, President Obama is recommending a $19 billion budget for the next year to carry out our ambitious exploration and scientific discovery plans. Here are the areas in which we’ll continue to invest:
We’re developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s. Mars is a rich destination for scientific discovery and robotic and human exploration as we expand our presence into the solar system. Its formation and evolution are comparable to Earth, helping us learn more about our own planet’s history and future.
International Space Station
Earth Right Now
We use the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. Our Earth science work also makes a difference in people’s lives around the world every day.
Technology Drives Exploration
Sustained investments in our technology advance space exploration, science and aeronautics capabilities. We seek to improve our ability to access and travel through space; land more mass in more locations throughout our solar system; live and work in deep space and on planetary bodies; build next generation air vehicles, and transform the ability to observe the universe and answer profound questions in Earth and space sciences.
Thanks to advancements in aeronautics developed by NASA, today’s aviation industry is better equipped than ever to safely and efficiently transport all those passengers to their destinations.
The President’s FY 2017 budget provides $790 million to our Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. This investment will accelerate aviation energy efficiency, advance propulsion system transformation and enable major improvements in aviation safety and mobility. The future of flight will: utilize greener energy, be half as loud, use half the fuel and will create quieter sonic booms.
State of NASA Social
Today, we have opened our doors and invited social media followers and news media to an in-person event, at one of our 10 field centers. Guests will go on a tour and see highlights of the work we’re doing. You can follow along digitally on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASASocial/lists/state-of-nasa-all1.
Planetary nebula Hen 2-437 lies within the faint northern constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox). As an aging low-mass star like our sun transforms into a planetary nebula in the last stage of its life, when it becomes a red giant and casts off its outer layers of gas into space. Hen 2-437 hurls its ejected material out into diametrically opposed directions making it a bipolar nebula, featuring two icy blue lobes.
Sit back and watch a star explode. The actual supernova occurred back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, but images of the spectacular event began arriving last year. Supernova 2015F was discovered in nearby spiral galaxy NGC 2442 by Berto Monard in 2015 March and was unusually bright – enough to be seen with only a small telescope. The pattern of brightness variation indicated a Type Ia supernova – a type of stellar explosion that results when an Earth-size white dwarf gains so much mass that its core crosses the threshold of nuclear fusion, possibly caused by a lower mass white-dwarf companion spiraling into it. Finding and tracking Type Ia supernovae are particularly important because their intrinsic brightness can be calibrated, making their apparent brightness a good measure of their distance – and hence useful toward calibrating the distance scale of the entire universe.
The featured video tracked the stellar disruption from before explosion images arrived, as it brightened, and for several months as the fission-powered supernova glow faded. The remnants of SN2015F are now too dim to see without a large telescope.