Jupiter doesn’t orbit the Sun. The other planets in our solar system are so much smaller than the Sun that their centers of mass are deep inside of it. Jupiter, however, is so huge that it has the same center of mass as the Sun. Basically, they both orbit the same point, which is just above the Sun itself. Source Source 2 Source 3

Demonstration from NASA:

The Two-faced Whirlpool Galaxy

These images by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope show off two dramatically different face-on views of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy.

The image at left, taken in visible light, highlights the attributes of a typical spiral galaxy, including graceful, curving arms, pink star-forming regions, and brilliant blue strands of star clusters.

In the image at right, most of the starlight has been removed, revealing the Whirlpool’s skeletal dust structure, as seen in near-infrared light. This new image is the sharpest view of the dense dust in M51. The narrow lanes of dust revealed by Hubble reflect the galaxy’s moniker, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as if they were swirling toward the galaxy’s core.

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Sunrise over the South Pacific Ocean

This breath-taking photo was taken by one of the crew members aboard the International Space Station between 4 and 5 am local time. The outpost was at a point above Earth located at 27.4 degrees south latitude and 110.1 degrees west longitude, a few hundred miles east of Easter Island.

The ISS orbits the Earth at speeds of more than 28,000 Km/hr (17,000 miles/hr) and as a result sunsets last only a few seconds for the beholder- in consolation however, the astronauts can witness up to 16 sunrise or sunsets a day!

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Image courtesy of NASA

On this day in 1958, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics & Space Act.

On July 29th, 1958, less than a year after Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act establishing NASA as a civilian space agency. The new agency absorbed the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, including its budget, resources and personnel. Prior to the formation of NASA, space exploration was considered to be largely a military enterprise. NASA would begin operations on October 1, 1958.

Celebrate NASA’s anniversary by telling Congress to increase NASA’s budget: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

Deep space travel might increase heart risk for astronauts

A new study suggests traveling beyond Earth’s magnetic shield can actually compromise long-term cardiovascular health. Scientists are starting to learn more about the toll space travel takes on the human body. When, earlier this year, astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after nearly a year in space, his vertebrae had expanded and he’d grown 2 inches. In short, microgravity really screws with you.

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July 29, 1958 

President Dwight Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 which creates the  National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA. NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union’s successful launching of the first satellite, Sputnik, into space in 1957. The launch stunned the US and the world. In response to the launch, the US-Soviet Space Race began, and NASA was the method on the part of the Americans to ensure a coordinated and organized attempt to win the Space Race.   

Since then, NASA has led the US efforts on space exploration as well as advances in science and technology. It has successfully landed a man on the moon and sent a rover to Mars. More importantly, NASA has expanded the bounds of human knowledge of our planet, our solar system, and our cosmos. 

Happy birthday, NASA!

On July 29, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the the National Aeronautics and Space Act, in which “Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind” and established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to fulfill this policy. Since then, NASA’s space explorations, landing missions, and discoveries have been out of this world!

Image: “AS16-113-18339 - Apollo 16 - Apollo 16 Mission image - Astronaut John W. Young, commander of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, leaps from the lunar surface as he salutes the United States flag at the Descartes landing site during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity (EVA-1)