Star Streams and the Whale Galaxy : NGC 4631 is a spiral galaxy found only 25 million light-years away, toward the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. Seen ege-on, the galaxy is similar in size to the Milky Way. Its distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy. The large galaxys small, remarkably bright elliptical companion NGC 4627 lies just above its dusty yellowish core, but also identifiable are recently discovered, faint dwarf galaxies within the halo of NGC 4631. In fact, the faint extended features below NGC 4631 are now recognized as tidal star streams. The star streams are remnants of a dwarf satellite galaxy disrupted by repeated encounters with the Whale that began about 3.5 billion years ago. Even in nearby galaxies, the presence of tidal star streams is predicted by cosmological models of galaxy formation, including the formation of our own Milky Way. via NASA
“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson will play mathematics genius Katherine Johnson in “Hidden Figures” for Fox 2000.
The story centers on Johnson, a brilliant African-American mathematician who, along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history — the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and his safe return. The three women crossed all gender, race and professional lines while embarking on the mission. [+]
Right now, there are humans living and working off the Earth on the International Space Station. They orbit our planet from 250 miles above every 90 minutes, which means the crew sees 16 sunrises and sunsets every day.
If you’re in the right place, at the right time, the space station is visible to the naked eye. It looks like a fast-moving plane, only much higher and traveling thousands of miles an hour faster. The fact that it’s the third brightest object in the sky makes it easier to spot…if you know when to look up.
That’s where we can help! Our Spot the Station site allows you to enter your location and find out when the space station will be flying overhead. You can even sign up to receive alerts that will send you email or text messages to let you know when and where to look up.
Why is the space station visible? It reflects the light of the Sun, the same reason we can see the Moon. However, unlike the Moon, the space station isn’t bright enough to see during the day.
When NASA was formed in 1958, its prized pool of all-female “computers” desegregated. Until then, mathematicians of color – including Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Katherine Johnson – worked, ate and used the restroom in a separate facilities. Cristen and Caroline shed overdue light on Johnson and her brilliant West Computer teammates who helped launch America into space.
Way back in 1978, NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler proposed that all this space junk would eventually result in a horrific chain reaction, in which one bit would collide with another bit, creating more bits to collide with, and so on until the entirety of low Earth orbit was covered in an impassable 14,000-mile-per-hour swarm of shit. At that speed, a single five-centimeter hunk of junk has the explosive power of1.8 kilograms of TNT – more than enough to completely obliterate your GPS’s ability to get you to the nearest Burger King, stat.
And the most terrifying part? This chain reaction is already happening. It started with the accidental 2009 collision of the satellites Kosmos-2251 and Iridium 33. The impact resulted in a spectacular shotgun blast of debris, and that’s only the beginning. Also in 2009, the upper stage from a Chinese rocket narrowly missed the massive eight-metric-ton sleeping behemoth known as Envisat. There’s up to a 30 percent chance of the now-useless Envisat colliding with something else during its remaining time in orbit, and the number only stays that low if we never launch another thing into space.
Large galaxies grow by eating small ones. Even our own galaxy practices galactic cannibalism, absorbing small galaxies that get too close and are captured by the Milky Way’s gravity. In fact, the practice is common in the universe and illustrated by this striking pair of interacting galaxies from the banks of the southern constellation Eridanus, The River. Located over 50 million light years away, the large, distorted spiral NGC 1532 is seen locked in a gravitational struggle with dwarf galaxy NGC 1531 (right of center), a struggle the smaller galaxy will eventually lose. Seen edge-on, spiral NGC 1532 spans about 100,000 light-years. Nicely detailed in this sharp image, the NGC 1532/1531 pair is thought to be similar to the well-studied system of face-on spiral and small companion known as M51.
As promised, MOAR AWESOME POSTERS of MOAR WORLDS I WANT TO TOUR.
Some of you may be already noticed this if you clicked through the link to JPL in my previous post, but I saved this for a separate post because you can buy SIGNED hard copies directly from the designers: Invisible Creature, aka brothers Don and Ryan Clark.
These three beautiful creations are available individually in large format (24″ x 36″) or as a set of 14″ x 14″:
this image, Space Shuttle Challenger waits on Launch Complex 39A at
Kennedy Space Center before its first mission, STS-6, launched on April
4, 1983. Originally built as a test vehicle, in 1979 NASA issued a
contract to convert it to a fully space-rated orbiter. It became the
second operational Shuttle, delivered to Kennedy Space Center in July
1982. Challenger was destroyed shortly after lift off on her 10th
mission, STS-51L, on January 28, 1986.