october-2006

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Reaching out into space yields benefits on Earth. Many of these have practical applications — but there’s something more than that. Call it inspiration, perhaps, what photographer Ansel Adams referred to as nature’s “endless prospect of magic and wonder." 

Our ongoing exploration of the solar system has yielded more than a few magical images. Why not keep some of them close by to inspire your own explorations? This week, we offer 10 planetary photos suitable for wallpapers on your desktop or phone. Find many more in our galleries. These images were the result of audacious expeditions into deep space; as author Edward Abbey said, "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

1. Martian Selfie

This self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the robotic geologist in the “Murray Buttes” area on lower Mount Sharp. Key features on the skyline of this panorama are the dark mesa called “M12” to the left of the rover’s mast and pale, upper Mount Sharp to the right of the mast. The top of M12 stands about 23 feet (7 meters) above the base of the sloping piles of rocks just behind Curiosity. The scene combines approximately 60 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Most of the component images were taken on September 17, 2016.

2. The Colors of Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution, enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface sports a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode.

3. The Day the Earth Smiled

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, our Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn’s orbit, the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance.

4. Looking Back

Before leaving the Pluto system forever, New Horizons turned back to see Pluto backlit by the sun. The small world’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture. The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles called tholins. This image was generated by combining information from blue, red and near-infrared images to closely replicate the color a human eye would perceive.

5. Catching Its Own Tail

A huge storm churning through the atmosphere in Saturn’s northern hemisphere overtakes itself as it encircles the planet in this true-color view from Cassini. This picture, captured on February 25, 2011, was taken about 12 weeks after the storm began, and the clouds by this time had formed a tail that wrapped around the planet. The storm is a prodigious source of radio noise, which comes from lightning deep within the planet’s atmosphere.

6. The Great Red Spot

Another massive storm, this time on Jupiter, as seen in this dramatic close-up by Voyager 1 in 1979. The Great Red Spot is much larger than the entire Earth.

7. More Stormy Weather

Jupiter is still just as stormy today, as seen in this recent view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, when it soared directly over Jupiter’s south pole on February 2, 2017, from an altitude of about 62,800 miles (101,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. From this unique vantage point we see the terminator (where day meets night) cutting across the Jovian south polar region’s restless, marbled atmosphere with the south pole itself approximately in the center of that border. This image was processed by citizen scientist John Landino. This enhanced color version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms.

8. X-Ray Vision

X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by our Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission. The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees. The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees.

9. One Space Robot Photographs Another

This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Victoria crater, near the equator of Mars. The crater is approximately half a mile (800 meters) in diameter. It has a distinctive scalloped shape to its rim, caused by erosion and downhill movement of crater wall material. Since January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been operating in the region where Victoria crater is found. Five days before this image was taken in October 2006, Opportunity arrived at the rim of the crater after a drive of more than over 5 miles (9 kilometers). The rover can be seen in this image, as a dot at roughly the “ten o'clock” position along the rim of the crater. (You can zoom in on the full-resolution version here.)

10. Night Lights

Last, but far from least, is this remarkable new view of our home planet. Last week, we released new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet. This composite image, one of three new full-hemisphere views, provides a view of the Americas at night from the NASA-NOAA Suomi-NPP satellite. The clouds and sun glint — added here for aesthetic effect — are derived from MODIS instrument land surface and cloud cover products.

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

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

banora-white-aka-dumbapple  asked:

The minute I saw "That time a bear broke into the house while I was stoned on cold meds." I knew I had to search your family lore tags to see if you mentioned it before. Whenever you're up for it, mind telling about it? I'm actually curious how did you realize it? Were you alone the entire time?

Ok, so it actually happened ON my 16th birthday, so October of 2006, two years after we moved to CO. I was attending the Germ Pit of Public High School, and got sick about a month in.  I was the sort of phenomenally boring child that didn’t have a curfew because I never went anywhere, and we had Cody, the Gentleman Shepherd at the time, so my parents felt it was OK to leave me alone for a few hours while they did errands.  

There’s something up with either the Bipolar or my allergies, but pretty much all respiratory medications make me hallucinate.  Doesn’t matter if it’s benadryl, nyquil or nasal spray, twenty minutes in I’ll be out of my goddamn mind.  But it beats not being able to breathe. So I’m in my bedroom upstairs bedroom, convinced I’m growing an exoskeleton, While Cody sits on the bed next to me, doing the Shepherd Thing where he plants his ass in front of my face and watches all the doors and windows.

I have nearly passed out when I think I hear a weird popping noise outside, but assume that it’s just me developing mandibles, so I don’t think much of it.  Cody, being the Responsible Adult, gets up to investigate.

A moment later, I hear him Barking, and know something is Amiss.  This dog Does Not Bark.  he didn’t bark when we picked him up at the shelter, he doesn’t bark at the door or the foxes or anything, but he is barking now.  I warp myself in the Extra-Soft Rainbow Unicorn Blanket for protection, and stumble downstairs.

For some context, the downstairs has an office, with a large set of sliding glass doors and a concrete porch, then a large wall with a heavy door that leads to a mudroom, which has a shitty little screen door leading to the outside.  It was in this room that we kept the cat food and littler box, because 1. they stank. 2. Cody would occasionally want to play with the cats Too Much and they could hide in there.  

Out on the porch is the Department Of Wildlife sharpshooter, pointing her tranquilizer gun into the Mudroom.  I squint through the haze of dayquil through the heavy door (which has a window) at…

It took me a good minute to realize that was a Bear eating the cat food, because my first thought was “When did we get a shag sofa?”.  Then DOW guy shot him in the ass in the dart, and I watched as a 300lb black bear dove THROUGH the door shitty screen door he’d gotten in through (It was the kind that closes behind you) and run off to the field across the street, pursued by four agents with dogs and bear mace.

The DOW sharpshooter, named Debbie, apparently couldn’t see the wall between us from where she was standing, and was very relived that neither of us had been mauled.   She stayed with me while I called my parents, and even gave me some stickers.  The bear had apparently gone though my whole neighborhood in a fit of hyperphagic madness, chowing down on garbage, cat food, a small vineyard’s worth of grapes and a couple of Mrs. Chin’s goldfish.

They successfully tranquilized the bear, and took him up to Pingree to be hazed and released, where he would hopefully leave people alone.

BTW, if you ever have to call your parents in a situation like this, leaving a voicemail of “Hey mom, I’m okay now, but a bear broke into the house and the Department of Wildlife wants to talk to you.” is not going to help your parents remain calm.

flickr

Marianela Nuñez in The Sleeping Beauty, The Royal Ballet,© ROH / Johan Persson 2011 by Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Via Flickr:
Marianela Nuñez as Princess Aurora in Act III of The Sleeping Beauty, The Royal Ballet (2006), 21 October 2011. Photograph by Johan Persson

Danny Rolling was executed on 25 October, 2006, for the brutal murders of five college students. He was a particularly sadistic serial killer, often posing his victims in provocative stances after raping and mutilating their bodies. He sliced off the nipples of one victim and placed them beside her. He mounted another victim’s decapitated head on the bookcase to morbidly greet whoever discovered her. Another victim was sliced open from the pubic area up to her chest. Shorty before his execution, he handed his spiritual a handwritten confession in which he admitted to stabbing to death 55-year-old William Grisson, his 24-year-old daughter Julie and his 8-year-old grandson Sean, as they got ready for dinner on 4 November, 1989 - “I witnessed his execution and it was nothing he put his victims through,” said Julie’s mother.

This delicate shell, photographed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, appears to float serenely in the depths of space, but this apparent calm hides an inner turmoil. The gaseous envelope formed as the expanding blast wave and ejected material from a supernova tore through the nearby interstellar medium. Called SNR B0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short), the bubble is the visible remnant of a powerful stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160 000 light-years from Earth. Ripples in the shell’s surface may be caused either by subtle variations in the density of the ambient interstellar gas, or possibly be driven from the interior by fragments from the initial explosion. The bubble-shaped shroud of gas is 23 light-years across and is expanding at more than 18 million km/h.

Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys observed the supernova remnant on 28 October 2006 with a filter that isolates light from the glowing hydrogen seen in the expanding shell. These observations were then combined with visible-light images of the surrounding star field that were imaged with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on 4 November 2010.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Acknowledgement: J. Hughes (Rutgers University)