observing earth

Eclipse 2017 From Space

On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse passed over North America. People throughout the continent captured incredible images of this celestial phenomenon. We and our partner agencies had a unique vantage point on the eclipse from space. Here are a few highlights from our fleet of satellites that observe the Sun, the Moon and Earth.

Our Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the Sun nearly 24/7 from its orbit 3,000 miles above Earth, saw a partial eclipse on Aug. 21.

SDO sees the Moon cross in front of the Sun several times a year. However, these lunar transits don’t usually correspond to an eclipse here on Earth, and an eclipse on the ground doesn’t guarantee that SDO will see anything out of the ordinary. In this case, on Aug. 21, SDO did see the Moon briefly pass in front of the Sun at the same time that the Moon’s shadow passed over the eastern United States. From its view in space, SDO only saw 14 percent of the Sun blocked by the Moon, while most U.S. residents saw 60 percent blockage or more.

Six people saw the eclipse from the International Space Station. Viewing the eclipse from orbit were NASA’s Randy Bresnik, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, the European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos’ Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy. The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental United States at an altitude of 250 miles.

From a million miles out in space, our Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, or EPIC, instrument captured 12 natural color images of the Moon’s shadow crossing over North America. EPIC is aboard NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, where it photographs the full sunlit side of Earth every day, giving it a unique view of the shadow from total solar eclipses. EPIC normally takes about 20 to 22 images of Earth per day, so this animation appears to speed up the progression of the eclipse.

A ground-based image of the total solar eclipse – which looks like a gray ring – is superimposed over a red-toned image of the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. This view of the corona was captured by the European Space Agency and our Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. At center is an orange-toned image of the Sun’s surface as seen by our Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of light.

During a total solar eclipse, ground-based telescopes can observe the lowest part of the solar corona in a way that can’t be done at any other time, as the Sun’s dim corona is normally obscured by the Sun’s bright light. The structure in the ground-based corona image — defined by giant magnetic fields sweeping out from the Sun’s surface — can clearly be seen extending into the outer image from the space-based telescope. The more scientists understand about the lower corona, the more they can understand what causes the constant outward stream of material called the solar wind, as well as occasional giant eruptions called coronal mass ejections.

As millions of Americans watched the total solar eclipse that crossed the continental United States, the international Hinode solar observation satellite captured its own images of the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. The images were taken with Hinode’s X-ray telescope, or XRT, as it flew above the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States, at an altitude of approximately 422 miles. Hinode is a joint endeavor by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the European Space Agency, the United Kingdom Space Agency and NASA.

During the total solar eclipse our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, in orbit around the Moon, turned one of its instruments towards Earth to capture an image of the Moon’s shadow over a large region of the United States.

As LRO crossed the lunar south pole heading north at 3,579 mph, the shadow of the Moon was racing across the United States at 1,500 mph. A few minutes later, LRO began a slow 180-degree turn to look back at Earth, capturing an image of the eclipse very near the location where totality lasted the longest. The spacecraft’s Narrow Angle Camera began scanning Earth at 2:25:30 p.m. EDT and completed the image 18 seconds later.

Sensors on the polar-orbiting Terra and Suomi NPP satellites gathered data and imagery in swaths thousands of miles wide. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, sensor on Terra and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS, on Suomi NPP captured the data used to make this animation that alternates between two mosaics. Each mosaic is made with data from different overpasses that was collected at different times.

This full-disk geocolor image from NOAA/NASA’s GOES-16 shows the shadow of the Moon covering a large portion of the northwestern U.S. during the eclipse.

Our Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission captured this view of the Moon passing in front of the Sun on Aug. 21.  

Check out nasa.gov/eclipse to learn more about the Aug. 21, 2017, eclipse along with future eclipses, and follow us on Twitter for more satellite images like these: @NASASun, @NASAMoon, and @NASAEarth.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

On the months my research team and I were allowed to live on Earth and observe their habitat I noted the following about human young:

- human young will turn anything into a weapon to mock battle their peers, broom sticks, straws, even their food

- when in large groups human young will display games of mock hunts against each other. The two most common being “tag” where one young will try to catch the other young acting as prey, and “mob” where all of the young will try to catch a single young who acts as the prey. This suggests an instinctive ability for both pack and solo hunting

- human young will often hone their stalking and hunting skills by hiding or attempting to sneak up on others and pouncing with loud sounds meant to intimidate and frighten. This is considered amusing for the attacker and victim  

- adult humans will often mock attack their young with their hands or objects to train the young to protect their vital areas and avoid injury. The young find this amusing and will quickly learn to train each other in this manner

- young humans will often attack and attach themselves to an older human’s legs, arms, or back, hanging on despite being dragged or carried while the adult human walks away. Both humans seems to find the experience entertaining 

- young humans are extremely territorial and will attempt to drive off others from food, toys, and areas they have claimed as theirs with physical and verbal attacks. Fortunately, most adult humans actively try to train this behavior out, insisting the young come to an agreement or share resources and territory. 

- young humans constantly search for new territory, dens, and resources. They will climb trees, shelving, anything they can reach. They will climb under and behind things. If there are no suitable hiding areas they will construct them out of blankets and cushions or any other available item. 

- young humans display a strong pack instinct, quickly forming social groups and defending their group against other groups. Often they will split their own group in order to mock battle each other in contests

- HUMAN YOUNG WILL BITE IF DISTRESSED OR ANGRY AND EMIT LOUD NOISES THAT CALL MATURE HUMANS TO AID THEM

- human young will beg for domesticated carnivores as companions, and if gifted with one will pack bond with it to an extreme point.

- human young will carry a toy and try to protect and nurture it as if the toy was their own young

- human young require constant stimulation in the form of games or information. They will constantly question things and can spend extraordinary amounts of time asking “why”, often while poking the subject in question

- human young will try to eat anything at least once. Anything. If it will fit into their mouth they will attempt to eat it. If it will not fit into their mouth they will lick it. 

-human young will voluntarily deprive themselves of oxygen to the point of unconsciousness in an attempt to trigger protective instincts in older humans so they get their way

- human young display great interest in mimicry, often dressing up as different professions, species, and objects. They also display great skill in mimicking the calls and body language of other species. 
      *Example: one human young had me quite concerned there was another Treawalbil in distress and I searched for quite some time before I discovered that the young was mimicking a Treawalbil distress trill with complete accuracy. 
     *Second Example: Human young have begun to wear wear “hats” with artificial crests similar to a Treawalbil and some have begun painting colorful patterns to their arms in imitation of our camouflage. 

- human young communicate constantly and spread information quickly not only among their own social group but other social groups as well.
    *Example: The human young who mimicked a Treawalbil distress trill taught their social group and soon I was surrounded by human young calling out in distress. This caused the Treawalbil researchers much anxiety so the adult humans suggested teaching the young other calls. The human young learned enough for basic communication at an astonishing rate, but then other social groups we had not taught began using the same calls as well. Even adult humans began using the calls to communicate with us without translators. 

- Young humans will gift beings and creatures they believe to be in their social group with handmade objects, interesting specimens they have collected, or food. Strangely enough, a being does not have to be human in order to belong to a human’s social group. 

An alien race has been observing humankind using undercover informants living a normal life to witness and partake in the human experience. An interview is about to be conducted with a lead sociologist and spy who has been observing earth life for 20+ years.

All Eyes on the Sky for the August 21 Total Solar Eclipse

Just two months from now, the moon will completely block the sun’s face, treating part of the US to a total solar eclipse.

Everyone in North America will have the chance to see an eclipse of some kind if skies are clear. Anyone within a 70-mile-wide swath of land — called the path of totality — that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina will have the chance to see a total eclipse.

Throughout the rest of the continent, including all 50 United States — and even in parts of South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia — the moon will partially obscure the sun, creating a partial eclipse.

Photo credit: NASA/Cruikshank

An eclipse is one of nature’s most awesome sights, but safety comes first! When any part of the sun’s surface is exposed, use proper eclipse glasses (not sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method, like a pinhole projector. In the path of totality, it’s safe to look directly at the eclipse ONLY during the brief moments of totality.

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow down on Earth’s surface. We’ve been studying the moon with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and its precise mapping helped NASA build the most accurate eclipse map to date.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon blocks out the sun’s bright face, revealing the otherwise hidden solar atmosphere, called the corona. The corona is one of the sun’s most interesting regions — key to understanding the root of space weather events that shape Earth’s space environment, and mysteries such as why the sun’s atmosphere is so much hotter than its surface far below.

This is the first time in nearly 100 years that a solar eclipse has crossed the United States from coast to coast. We’re taking advantage of this long eclipse path by collecting data that’s not usually accessible — including studying the solar corona, testing new corona-observing instruments, and tracking how our planet’s atmosphere, plants, and animals respond to the sudden loss of light and heat from the sun.

We’ll be studying the eclipse from the ground, from airplanes, with research balloons, and of course, from space.

Three of our sun-watchers — the Solar Dynamics Observatory, IRIS, and Hinode, a joint mission led by JAXA — will see a partial eclipse from space. Several of our Earth-observing satellites will use the eclipse to study Earth under uncommon conditions. For example, both Terra and DSCOVR, a joint mission led by NOAA, will capture images of the moon’s shadow from space. Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will also turn its instruments to face Earth and attempt to track the moon’s shadow as it moves across the planet.

There’s just two months to go until August 21, so make your plans now for the big day! No matter where you are, you can follow the eclipse as it crosses the country with live footage from NASA TV.

Learn more about the upcoming total solar eclipse — including where, when, and how to safely experience it — at eclipse2017.nasa.gov and follow along on Twitter @NASASun.  

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

5 things that may surprise you about the Moon

…In honor of International Observe the Moon Night

October 28th is International Observe the Moon Night, a worldwide, public celebration of lunar science and exploration held annually since 2010 thanks to our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission team and partners. One day each year, everyone on Earth is invited to observe and learn about the Moon together, and to celebrate the cultural and personal connections we all have with our planet’s nearest neighbor.

Here are 5 things that might surprise you about the Moon.

1. There has been a spacecraft there for 100 lunar days

In October 2017, LRO celebrates one hundred days of collecting scientific data at the Moon. One hundred Moon days. From our perspective on Earth, one lunar day is one full phase cycle, or about 29.5 Earth days. That’s 100 opportunities to observe changes from night to day, photograph the surface at different Sun angles, measure rising and falling temperatures, study the way certain chemicals react to the daily light and temperature cycle, and increase our understanding of the Moon as a dynamic place.

2. You can still see the paths left by Apollo astronauts’ boot prints and rovers

Much of the lunar surface is covered in very fine dust. When Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon, the descent stage engine disturbed the dust and produced a distinct bright halo around the lunar module. As astronauts moved around, their tracks exposed the darker soil underneath, creating distinct trails that we know, thanks to LRO, are still visible today. The Moon has no atmosphere, so there is no wind to wipe away these tracks.

3. The Moon has tattoos!

Observations from LRO show mysterious patterns of light and dark that are unique to the Moon. These lunar swirls look painted on, like the Moon got ‘inked.’ Lunar swirls, like these imaged at Reiner Gamma by LRO, are found at more than 100 locations across the lunar surface. Lunar swirls can be tens of miles across and appear in groups or as isolated features. 

Researchers think these patterns form in places where there’s still a remnant of the Moon’s magnetic field. There are still many competing theories about how swirls form, but the primary idea is that the local magnetic field deflects the energetic particles in the solar wind, so there’s not as much weathering of the surface. The magnetically shielded areas would then look brighter than everything around them.

4. There were once active volcanoes, that shaped what we see now

Early astronomers named the large dark spots that we see on the near side of the Moon “maria,” Latin for “seas,” because that’s what they thought they were. We now know that the dark spots are cooled lava, called basalt, formed from ancient volcanic eruptions. The Moon’s volcanoes are no longer active, but their past shapes the Moon that we see today. The Moon doesn’t have large volcanoes like ones in Hawaii, but it does have smaller cones and domes. 

Other small features derived from volcanic activity include rivers of dried lava flows, like the ones visible in this image of Vallis Schroteri taken by LRO, and dark areas formed from eruptive volcanoes that spewed fire. For many years, scientists thought the Moon’s volcanic activity died out long ago, but there’s some evidence for relatively “young” volcanism, suggesting that the activity gradually slowed down instead of stopping abruptly.

5. Anyone, anywhere can participate in International Observe the Moon Night.  

How to celebrate International Observe the Moon Night

  1. Attend an event –  See where events are happening near you by visiting http://observethemoonnight.org
  2. Host an event – Call up your neighbors and friends and head outdoors – no special equipment is needed. Let us know how you celebrated by registering your event!
  3. Don’t let cloudy weather get you down! Observe the Moon in a variety of ways from the comfort of indoors – View stunning lunar vistas through images and videos, or explore the Moon on your own with QuickMap or Moon Trek
  4. Join the worldwide conversation with #ObserveTheMoon on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  5. For regular Moon-related facts, updates and science, follow @NASAMoon on Twitter

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

The fact that sherlock doesn’t say “because you *chose* her” but says “because you chose *her*”

The fact that when John says “oh God yes” it sounds like a goddamn porn movie

The fact that Sherlock always corrects everyone when they are wrong and he never corrected anyone who assumed that he and john were a couple

The fact that when John tells Irene “I am not gay” she responds “well I am. Look at us both” meaning if she is gay and she likes Sherlock then John, who isn’t gay, can also like Sherlock

The fact that John licks his lips when he asks Sherlock if he has a boyfriend

The fact that when Sherlock answers “no” John comments that he is also single

The fact the the most observant man on earth thought that John flirted with him

The fact that when Irene is naked John asks her to cover herself but when Sherlock is just wearing a sheet he leans closer and takes a better look

The fact that when Sherlock says “John doesn’t know where to look” Irene says she thinks he knows exactly where and John is not looking at Irene

The fact that when Irene says somebody loves you, the shot changes and we see John

The fact that even though it is Mary and John’s wedding we mostly see Sherlock through the entire episode and we hear stories about him and John

The fact that in the scene where they discover Mary is pregnant, that is supposed to be a happy moment between husband and wife, we only see Mary in three shots and the rest of the scene is John and Sherlock looking at each other

The fact that Sherlock leaves the wedding early

The fact that when Sherlock thought Irene had died the first time, John and Mycroft thought that Sherlock would go back to doing drugs and after John got married he found Sherlock using

The fact that Sherlock says “I meant to say *always* and I never did” and then he says that Sherlock is a girl’s name while he has *just* found out that the baby is a girl.

The fact that when John is living with Mary he has, once again, nightmares

The fact that Sherlock says that fire exposes our priorities and we see John running towards Sherlock after the explosion and Sherlock trying to save John from a fire

The fact than Sherlock tells John not to write about the unsolved cases but then he explains an unsolved one in front of everyone just to praise John

The fact that in Irene’s living room Sherlock deduces that John has a date tonight but we later see him at home saying he’ll be next door of sherlock needs him

The fact that Sherlock sees Mary in a wedding dress shooting him and Mark Gatiss said they did it in case somebody didn’t understand the first time that John marring Mary is killing him

The fact that when Moriarty says that John is in danger Sherlock’s heart restarts

The fact that Sherlock says you might need to restart my heart looking at John

The fact that john shaves for Sherlock

The fact that when Sherlock’s winking when he meets john for the first time is out of character until you realize that in Many Happy Returns Sherlock says that people seem to like it when he winks

The fact that the relationship that mrs Hudson describes between herself and her husband reflects the relationship between Mary and John

The fact that in front of the least sensual and sentimental kiss between Sherlock and Janine john has the most excessive reaction

The fact that in Sherlock’s speech when he says “you know, he is a romantic” he then turns towards John and winks

The fact that John doesn’t remember that his girlfriend has a dog but he remembers how many messages with “that sound” Sherlock has received and then Sherlock answers “thrilling you’ve been counting”

The fact that Sherlock tells Irene that sentiment is a chemical defect found in the losing side but he tells John “two people that love you most in this world” and on the same episode John says “the two people that I love and care about most in this world”

The fact that they both have to include Mary when they confess their love for each other

The fact that when they are both drunk John leans forward and touches Sherlock’s knee and then says “I don’t mind.”

The fact that Sherlock never begs for mercy but he begs for John’s life in Irene’s lining room

The fact that when Irene asks “are you jealous” John avoids answering directly and he simply states that they are not a couple. Therefor he shouldn’t be jealous.

The fact that Irene who has an interest in Sherlock she comments on his cheekbones and on the next episode John makes a comment on his cheekbones as well.

I made this list like forever ago and I found it yesterday and I thought “It doesn’t hurt to share”

L’s Post For Newbie Witches

Originally posted by bitter-hell

- Read and Research. There are many different books on witchcraft out there and each one will tell you a different way to practice. Read different books on any occult subject that interests you: astrology, witchcraft, ghosts, tarot, divination, etc.

- Meditation and Visualization. YouTube is filled to the brim with videos of meditations and visualization techniques. Meditation is not only helpful with stress and relaxation, but it is also an amazing way to quiet your own mind to listen to the world around you. Visualization is also a huge component to witchcraft, especially in the early stages.

- Basic Energy Work. Most of the techniques I started off with were pretty basic science. Learn about what energy is, how you create it and how you can use it. You may not always use energy work with witchcraft, but it is most certainly a useful lesson.

- Go outside. As much fun as technology is, most principles of witchcraft are built on what the Earth is doing. Go outside and sit, if only for 15 minutes. Observe the Earth around you, use all of your senses. Try to tune yourself into the living creature that is Mother Earth.

- Don’t rush. You don’t need a big fancy grimoire, or super expensive tools, or a huge altar, or a perfect working relationship with your deity. All of these things take time. Be patient with yourself. Each of our spiritual paths move differently. Don’t feel that you aren’t worthy because you don’t have time for this or you can’t afford to buy that. 

- Recognize the magical in the mundane. It took me years to be able to see magic in the simple, mundane things. There is magic everywhere you look, in everything you see and touch. Simple things like a cup of tea. Or tending your garden. Or a walk in the park. Or the dinner you cook. All of these things are magic and it is important to remember that.

- Learn your area. Research plants, animals and stones found in your area. Look up festivals and events. Learn about any local lore (this can be really fun). Learn everything you can about where you live. You’d be surprised about what you learn.

- Ancestry. I found a nice starting point is to start with your family. Learn where your family is from and research that. My family is mostly from Ireland, so I started with a lot of Irish lore and mythology. This can also serve as an intro to spirit work….

Other Posts for Beginners:

Laurel’s Recommended Reading
Welcome to Witchcraft - A Post for Beginners
Orriculum’s Witchcraft Masterpost

*This list will be updated as I add to it, or find relevant information that pertains to new witches.

flickr

Aurora Australis (NASA, ISS) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Just a few days after rolling out of its hangar for the very first time, Deimos-2 captured the Stratolaunch mothership aircraft on the tarmac at the Mojave Air and Spaceport June 2. The aircraft has the largest wingspan of any plane in the world at 384 feet - wider than the International Space Station.

Stratolaunch will carry up to three Pegasus XL rockets in between its twin fuselages before deploying them mid-flight for launch. Stratolaunch Systems will begin ground tests of the vehicle in the coming weeks before aerial flights begin mid-2018.

P/c: Deimos Imaging

A star’s spectacular death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth as the supernova of 1054 A.D. Now, almost a thousand years later, a super dense object – called a neutron star – left behind by the explosion is seen spewing out a blizzard of high-energy particles into the expanding debris field known as the Crab Nebula. X-ray data from Chandra provide significant clues to the workings of this mighty cosmic “generator,” which is producing energy at the rate of 100,000 suns. 

Credit: NASA/JPL/Chandra

From Microscopic to Multicellular: Six Stories of Life that We See from Space

Life. It’s the one thing that, so far, makes Earth unique among the thousands of other planets we’ve discovered. Since the fall of 1997, NASA satellites have continuously and globally observed all plant life at the surface of the land and ocean. During the week of Nov. 13-17, we are sharing stories and videos about how this view of life from space is furthering knowledge of our home planet and the search for life on other worlds.

Earth is the only planet with life, as far as we know. From bacteria in the crevices of the deepest oceans to monkeys swinging between trees, Earth hosts life in all different sizes, shapes and colors. Scientists often study Earth from the ground, but some also look to our satellites to understand how life waxes and wanes on our planet.

Over the years, scientists have used this aerial view to study changes in animal habitats, track disease outbreaks, monitor forests and even help discover a new species. While this list is far from comprehensive, these visual stories of bacteria, plants, land animals, sea creatures and birds show what a view from space can reveal.

1. Monitoring the single-celled powerhouses of the sea

Known as the grass of the ocean, phytoplankton are one of the most abundant types of life in the ocean. Usually single-celled, these plant-like organisms are the base of the marine food chain. They are also responsible for the only long-term transfer of carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere to the ocean. 

Even small changes in phytoplankton populations can affect carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, which could ultimately affect Earth’s global surface temperatures. Scientists have been observing global phytoplankton populations continuously since 1997 starting with the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of View Sensor (SeaWiFS). They continue to study the small life-forms by satellite, ships and aircrafts.

2. Predicting cholera bacteria outbreaks

Found on the surface of zooplankton and in contaminated water, the bacteria that cause the infectious disease cholera — Vibrio cholerae — affect millions of people every year with severe diarrhea, sometimes leading to death. While our satellite sensors can’t detect the actual bacteria, scientists use various satellite data to look for the environmental conditions that the bacteria thrive in

Specifically, microbiologist Rita Colwell at the University of Maryland, College Park, and West Virginia University hydrologist Antar Jutla studied data showing air and ocean temperature, salinity, precipitation, and chlorophyllconcentrations, the latter a marker for zooplankton. Anticipating where the bacteria will bloom helps researchers to mitigate outbreaks.

Recently, Colwell and Jutla have been able to estimate cholera risk after major events, such as severe storms, by looking at satellite precipitation data, air temperature, and population maps. The two maps above show the team’s predicted cholera risk in Haiti two weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit over October 1-2, 2016 and the actual reported cholera cases in October 2016.

3. Viewing life on land

From helping preserve forests for chimpanzees to predicting deer population patterns, scientists use our satellites to study wildlife across the world. Satellites can also see the impacts of perhaps the most relatable animal to us: humans. Every day, we impact our planet in many ways including driving cars, constructing buildings and farming – all of which we can see with satellites.

Our Black Marble image provides a unique view of human activity. Looking at trends in our lights at night, scientists can study how cities develop over time, how lighting and activity changes during certain seasons and holidays, and even aid emergency responders during power outages caused by natural disasters.

4. Tracking bird populations

Scientists use our satellite data to study birds in a variety of ways, from understanding their migratory patterns, to spotting potential nests, to tracking populations. In a rather creative application, scientists used satellite imagery to track Antarctica’s emperor penguin populations by looking for their guano – or excrement.

Counting emperor penguins from the ground perspective is challenging because they breed in some of the most remote and cold places in the world, and in colonies too large to easily count manually. With their black and white coats, emperor penguins are also difficult to count from an aerial view as they sometimes blend in with shadows on the ice. Instead, Phil Trathan and his colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey looked through Landsat imagery for brown stains on the sea ice. By looking for penguin droppings, Trathan said his team identified 54 emperor penguin colonies along the Antarctic coast.

5. Parsing out plant life

Just as we see plants grow and wilt on the ground, satellites observe the changes from space. Flourishing vegetation can indicate a lively ecosystem while changes in greenery can sometimes reveal natural disasters, droughts or even agricultural practices. While satellites can observe plant life in our backyards, scientists can also use them to provide a global picture. 

Using data from satellites including SeaWiFS, and instruments including the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, scientists have the most complete view of global biology to date, covering all of the plant life on land and at the surface of the ocean.

6. Studying life under the sea

Our satellites have helped scientists study creatures living in the oceans whether it’s finding suitable waters for oysters or protecting the endangered blue whale. Scientists also use the data to learn more about one of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet – coral reefs.

They may look like rocks or plants on the seafloor, but corals are very much living animals. Receiving sustenance from photosynthetic plankton living within their calcium carbonate structures, coral reefs provide food and shelter for many kinds of marine life, protect shorelines from storms and waves, serve as a source for potential medicines, and operate as some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.

However, coral reefs are vulnerable to the warming of the ocean and human activity. Our satellites measure the surface temperature of ocean waters. These measurements have revealed rising water temperatures surrounding coral reef systems around the world, which causes a phenomenon known as “coral bleaching.” To add to the satellite data, scientists use measurements gathered by scuba divers as well as instruments flown on planes.

During the week of Nov. 13-17, check out our stories and videos about how this view of life from space is furthering knowledge of our home planet and the search for life on other worlds. Follow at www.nasa.gov/Earth.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

anonymous asked:

I've always thought it'd be wild if humanity ever entered an irl sci fi future scenario and met another alien race, let's call them the Quacksians, because like, all previous sci fi would be invalidated and all future sci fi would have to include the Quacksians because that's the new baseline reality(and would Quacksians show up in future fantasy fiction alongside humans?). Then I realized that's what happened to a lot of stories when the moon turned out barren. Funny how these things happen.

A lot of science fiction novels talk about the fiction that exists in the world itself. It’s a good narrative device to show how people in the world itself see something. For example, in Isaac Asimov’s Caves of Steel, there are pulpy novels about the arrogant, rich spacers who visit earth: usually, they involve a beautiful spacer girl who falls in love with the tough earth hero. The point of telling us this is to show us how the residents of earth’s dome cities resent and distrust the spacers and believe they are aloof because of their wealth and arrogance, instead of the more humanizing truth: Spacers can’t mingle in an earth city because they have no immune systems. 

Another one of my favorite examples of this is in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen, where, because real superheroes exist, comic books are all about pirates. I love that because apparently the major figure in comics history, the Stan Lee, Steranko, and Jack Kirby rolled into one of this timeline, is EC horror comic guy Joe Orlando. Orlando was a tremendously gifted artist but he never really “got” superhero books. I wonder if Don Heck, another gifted comic artist, is a more major figure in the Watchmen earth. He was a good artist who was good at Westerns and horror but who was terrible at fantasy elements. 

(Side note: based on the art, for years, I thought Steranko did Watchmen.)

One of the best novels about how science fiction stories actually change scientific development and shape a science fiction world would have to be Alan Steele’s Chronospace (2001) which is about how UFOs are actually time machines. The idea is that time travel would only be possible in space, as that is where wormholes could be safely created. Combine that with the fact that they avoid all contact with us, there’s a good case that UFOs are time traveling observers from earth. When time traveling, our heroes learn that it was scifi that inspired their own time machine.

I’ve often championed this series, but one of the most incredibly ahead of its time series would have to be L. Sprague de Camp’s “Hand of Zei” and Planet Krishna stories from the 1950s, which are both a spoof of the John Carter of Mars planet yarn, and a decent straight example at the same time. And part of the reason I like it is because even though it’s written in the 1950s, it’s genre self aware in a Whedonian style, with wisecracking and people identifying tropes. Yet this was written in the early 1950s!

One of my favorite details is that people sign up for jobs in space exploration because they read Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and wanted to do something romantic and exciting with their lives. 

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The Nearest Supernova Of Our Lifetime Turns 30, And Still Shines

“The supernova light brightened and then dimmed, but the surrounding gas, blown off from the supergiant, remains illuminated by radiation. As shockwaves from the explosion move outwards, they collide with interstellar material, producing brightening rings of material.”

In February of 1987, the first light from a supernova some 168,000 light years away was observed on Earth. It became the closest supernova to be observed since the invention of the telescope. As a result, it’s taught us more about massive star death, ejecta and supernova remnant evolution than any other object in the Universe. Illuminated outer rings showcase ejection events that occurred prior to the final death of the star; continued brightening teach us the rate of expansion of the supernova remnant; the lack of a neutron star at the core teaches us about the power of dust to obscure even radio light from this object. Perhaps most interestingly, neutrinos were observed from this supernova, arriving nearly three hours before the light did, confirming that they move through a star unimpeded, unlike light.

Come get the full story in some amazing pictures, videos and under 200 words of text on today’s Mostly Mute Monday!

You know when you date someone for long enough that you end up finishing or saying each other’s sentences?

PHARAH AND MERCY HAVE IDENTICAL LINES ON THEIR OBSERVATION OF EARTH FROM THE HORIZON MAP: “It all looks so peaceful from up here.”

lesbian mind meld confirmed. 

Celebrating 17 Years of NASA’s ‘Little Earth Satellite That Could’

The satellite was little— the size of a small refrigerator; it was only supposed to last one year and constructed and operated on a shoestring budget — yet it persisted.

After 17 years of operation, more than 1,500 research papers generated and 180,000 images captured, one of NASA’s pathfinder Earth satellites for testing new satellite technologies and concepts comes to an end on March 30, 2017. The Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite will be powered off on that date but will not enter Earth’s atmosphere until 2056. 

“The Earth Observing-1 satellite is like The Little Engine That Could,” said Betsy Middleton, project scientist for the satellite at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

To celebrate the mission, we’re highlighting some of EO-1’s notable contributions to scientific research, spaceflight advancements and society. 

Scientists Learn More About Earth in Fine Detail

This animation shifts between an image showing flooding that occurred at the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers on January 12, 2016, captured by ALI and the rivers at normal levels on February 14, 2015 taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory  

EO-1 carried the Advanced Land Imager that improved observations of forest cover, crops, coastal waters and small particles in the air known as aerosols. These improvements allowed researchers to identify smaller features on a local scale such as floods and landslides, which were especially useful for disaster support. 

On the night of Sept. 6, 2014, EO-1’s Hyperion observed the ongoing eruption at Holuhraun, Iceland as shown in the above image. Partially covered by clouds, this scene shows the extent of the lava flows that had been erupting.

EO-1’s other key instrument Hyperion provided an even greater level of detail in measuring the chemical constituents of Earth’s surface— akin to going from a black and white television of the 1940s to the high-definition color televisions of today. Hyperion’s level of sophistication doesn’t just show that plants are present, but can actually differentiate between corn, sorghum and many other species and ecosystems. Scientists and forest managers used these data, for instance, to explore remote terrain or to take stock of smoke and other chemical constituents during volcanic eruptions, and how they change through time.  

Crowdsourced Satellite Images of Disasters   

EO-1 was one of the first satellites to capture the scene after the World Trade Center attacks (pictured above) and the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. EO-1 also observed the toxic sludge in western Hungary in October 2010 and a large methane leak in southern California in October 2015. All of these scenes, which EO-1 provided quick, high-quality satellite imagery of the event, were covered in major news outlets. All of these scenes were also captured because of user requests. EO-1 had the capability of being user-driven, meaning the public could submit a request to the team for where they wanted the satellite to gather data along its fixed orbits. 

This image shows toxic sludge (red-orange streak) running west from an aluminum oxide plant in western Hungary after a wall broke allowing the sludge to spill from the factory on October 4, 2010. This image was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager on October 9, 2010. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory

 Artificial Intelligence Enables More Efficient Satellite Collaboration

This image of volcanic activity on Antarctica’s Mount Erebus on May 7, 2004 was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager after sensing thermal emissions from the volcano. The satellite gave itself new orders to take another image several hours later. Credit: Earth Observatory

EO-1 was among the first satellites to be programmed with a form of artificial intelligence software, allowing the satellite to make decisions based on the data it collects. For instance, if a scientist commanded EO-1 to take a picture of an erupting volcano, the software could decide to automatically take a follow-up image the next time it passed overhead. The Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment software was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and was uploaded to EO-1 three years after it launched. 

This image of Nassau Bahamas was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager on Oct 8, 2016, shortly after Hurricane Matthew hit. European, Japanese, Canadian, and Italian Space Agency members of the international coalition Committee on Earth Observation Satellites used their respective satellites to take images over the Caribbean islands and the U.S. Southeast coastline during Hurricane Matthew. Images were used to make flood maps in response to requests from disaster management agencies in Haiti, Dominican Republic, St. Martin, Bahamas, and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The artificial intelligence software also allows a group of satellites and ground sensors to communicate and coordinate with one another with no manual prompting. Called a “sensor web”, if a satellite viewed an interesting scene, it could alert other satellites on the network to collect data during their passes over the same area. Together, they more quickly observe and downlink data from the scene than waiting for human orders. NASA’s SensorWeb software reduces the wait time for data from weeks to days or hours, which is especially helpful for emergency responders. 

Laying the Foundation for ‘Formation Flying’

This animation shows the Rodeo-Chediski fire on July 7, 2002, that were taken one minute apart by Landsat 7 (burned areas in red) and EO-1 (burned areas in purple). This precision formation flying allowed EO-1 to directly compare the data and performance from its land imager and the Landsat 7 ETM+. EO-1’s most important technology goal was to test ALI for future Landsat satellites, which was accomplished on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

EO-1 was a pioneer in precision “formation flying” that kept it orbiting Earth exactly one minute behind the Landsat 7 satellite, already in orbit. Before EO-1, no satellite had flown that close to another satellite in the same orbit. EO-1 used formation flying to do a side-by-side comparison of its onboard ALI with Landsat 7’s operational imager to compare the products from the two imagers. Today, many satellites that measure different characteristics of Earth, including the five satellites in NASA’s A Train, are positioned within seconds to minutes of one another to make observations on the surface near-simultaneously.

For more information on EO-1’s major accomplishments, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/celebrating-17-years-of-nasa-s-little-earth-satellite-that-could

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com/.

Element Switch-Up

Aries: so emotional like a water sign, so solid like a earth sign, so social like a air sign.

Taurus: so independent like a fire sign, so nurturing like a water sign, so natural like a air sign.

Gemini: so logical like a earth sign, so daring like a fire sign, so wavering like a water sign.

Cancer: so dependable like a earth sign, so tough like a fire sign, so insightful like a air sign.

Leo: so volatile like a water sign, so steadfast like a earth sign, so charming like a air sign.

Virgo: so intellectual like a air sign, so honest like a fire sign, so understanding like water sign.

Libra: so sensitive like a water sign, so confident like a fire sign, so contemplative like a earth sign. 

Scorpio: so intense like a fire sign, so observant like a earth sign, so dynamic like a air sign.

Sagittarius: so intuitive like a water sign, so self-reliant like a earth sign so versatile like a air sign.

Capricorn: so perceptive like a water sign, so determined like a fire sign, so quick-witted like a air sign. 

Aquarius: so imaginative like a water sign, so thrill seeking like a fire sign, so objective like a earth sign.

Pisces: so adaptable like a air sign, so introspective like a earth sign, so encouraging, like a fire sign.

all earth signs can have ritualistic obsessions. they operate on habit, not always destructive, but comforting routines. they are strict in terms of their own morality and self efficacy, often reticent to rely on others or admit co-dependence. earthy people are useful people. their sixth sense derives from acute observation 

I everyone, this week I wanted to do a fusion of pink and blue diamond, so purple diamond. I went with the spoiled princess like character for purple. Combining both pink diamonds naiveness young nature and blues authoritarian coldness. I went with a Victorian dress for purple diamond, because I think these are the most iconic spoiled princes outfits. I’m not sure I made her look spoiled enough though. I my do a redesign later to maker her more look more snotty(needs more sass )

As for the painting part. I thought puting her in an observation deck to observe Earth would be a good backdrop, but because both the background and character were dark I need to use a glow effect around purple diamond to maker her pop out. And yes that is holly blue agate.

Prints are available here

You can also watch me paint this here