It’s Friday...Come Space Out with Us
It’s Friday…which seems like a great excuse to take a look at some awesome images from space.
First, let’s start with our home planet: Earth.
This view of the entire sunlit side of Earth was taken from one million miles away…yes, one MILLION! Our EPIC camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory captured this image in July 2015 and the picture was generated by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image.
Next, let’s venture out 4,000 light-years from Earth.
This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is not only stunning…but shows the colorful “last hurrah” of a star like our sun. This star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star’s remaining core. Our sun will eventually burn out and shroud itself with stellar debris…but not for another 5 billion years.
The material expelled by the star glows with different colors depending on its composition, its density and how close it is to the hot central star. Blue samples helium; blue-green oxygen, and red nitrogen and hydrogen.
Want to see some rocks on Mars?
Here’s an image of the layered geologic past of Mars revealed in stunning detail. This color image was returned by our Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently “roving” around the Red Planet, exploring the “Murray Buttes” region.
In this region, Curiosity is investigating how and when the habitable ancient conditions known from the mission’s earlier findings evolved into conditions drier and less favorable for life.
Did you know there are people currently living and working in space?
Right now, three people from three different countries are living and working 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station. While there, they are performing important experiments that will help us back here on Earth, and with future exploration to deep space.
This image, taken by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins shows the stunning moonrise over Earth from the perspective of the space station.
Lastly, let’s venture over to someplace REALLY hot…our sun.
The sun is the center of our solar system, and makes up 99.8% of the mass of the entire solar system…so it’s pretty huge. Since the sun is a star, it does not have a solid surface, but is a ball of gas held together by its own gravity. The temperature at the sun’s core is about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius)…so HOT!
This awesome visualization appears to show the sun spinning, as if stuck on a pinwheel. It is actually the spacecraft, SDO, that did the spinning though. Engineers instructed our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to roll 360 degrees on one axis, during this seven-hour maneuver, the spacecraft took an image every 12 seconds.
This maneuver happens twice a year to help SDO’s imager instrument to take precise measurements of the solar limb (the outer edge of the sun as seen by SDO).
Thanks for spacing out with us…you may now resume your Friday.
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