NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2016 February 5 

Massive Stars in NGC 6357 

Massive stars lie within NGC 6357, an expansive emission nebula complex some 6,500 light-years away toward the tail of the constellation Scorpius. In fact, positioned near center in this ground-based close-up of NGC 6357, star cluster Pismis 24 includes some of the most massive stars known in the galaxy, stars with nearly 100 times the mass of the Sun. The nebula’s bright central region also contains dusty pillars of molecular gas, likely hiding massive protostars from the prying eyes of optical instruments. Intricate shapes in the nebula are carved as interstellar winds and energetic radiation from the young and newly forming massive stars clear out the natal gas and dust and power the nebular glow. 

Enhancing the nebula’s cavernous appearance, narrowband image data was included in this composite color image in a Hubble palette scheme. Emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms is shown in red green and blue hues. The alluring telescopic view spans about 50 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 6357.

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Edgar “Ed” Mitchell, Apollo 14 moonwalker, 1930-2016

In the middle of the week celebrating the anniversary of his historic spaceflight, Apollo 14 Lunar Module pilot Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth human to walk on the Moon, died February 4, 2016, at the age of 85.

Along with Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa, Mitchell took part in the nine-day Apollo 14 mission, which launched January 31, 1971 and returned February 9. Mitchell and Shepard spent a total of 9 hours and 22 minutes in EVA on the surface of the Moon.

He was born in Hereford, Texas, on Sept. 17, 1930, and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and MIT.

Mitchell’s passing marks the first time an entire Apollo mission crew is deceased. Other missions have at least one crew member still alive as of early 2016. It also leaves seven of the 12 men who walked on the surface of another world alive.

A Starry Night of Iceland

(via APOD; Image Credit: Stephane Vetter (Nuits sacrees); Rollover Annotation: Judy Schmidt )

On some nights, the sky is the best show in town. On this night, the sky was not only the best show in town, but a composite image of the sky won an international competition for landscape astrophotography. The featured winning image was taken in 2011 over Jökulsárlón, the largest glacial lake in Iceland. The photographer combined six exposures to capture not only two green auroral rings, but their reflections off the serene lake. Visible in the distant background sky is the band of our Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy. A powerful coronal mass ejection from the Sun caused auroras to be seen as far south as Wisconsin, USA. Solar activity over the past week has resulted in auroras just over the past few days.

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ASTROTALE

an AU @olimarina and I came up with, Sans basically becomes obsessed with travelling to space and ends up working for NASA some time in the future in a post-pacifist ending.  He’s just amazed with the idea of space travel and dreams of becoming the first monster in space. He starts quoting famous NASA phrases every time something happens and owns a bunch of clothes with the NASA logo on it.


Here’s a better description of this AU