viewed from space

Observing the Ozone Hole from Space: A Science Success Story

Using our unique ability to view Earth from space, we are working together with NOAA to monitor an emerging success story – the shrinking ozone hole over Antarctica.

Thirty years ago, the nations of the world agreed to the landmark ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.’ The Protocol limited the release of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere.

Since the 1960s our scientists have worked with NOAA researchers to study the ozone layer. 

We use a combination of satellite, aircraft and balloon measurements of the atmosphere.

The ozone layer acts like a sunscreen for Earth, blocking harmful ultraviolet, or UV, rays emitted by the Sun.

In 1985, scientists first reported a hole forming in the ozone layer over Antarctica. It formed over Antarctica because the Earth’s atmospheric circulation traps air over Antarctica.  This air contains chlorine released from the CFCs and thus it rapidly depletes the ozone.

Because colder temperatures speed up the process of CFCs breaking up and releasing chlorine more quickly, the ozone hole fluctuates with temperature. The hole shrinks during the warmer summer months and grows larger during the southern winter. In September 2006, the ozone hole reached a record large extent.

But things have been improving in the 30 years since the Montreal Protocol. Thanks to the agreement, the concentration of CFCs in the atmosphere has been decreasing, and the ozone hole maximum has been smaller since 2006’s record.

That being said, the ozone hole still exists and fluctuates depending on temperature because CFCs have very long lifetimes. So, they still exist in our atmosphere and continue to deplete the ozone layer.

To get a view of what the ozone hole would have looked like if the world had not come to the agreement to limit CFCs, our scientists developed computer models. These show that by 2065, much of Earth would have had almost no ozone layer at all.

Luckily, the Montreal Protocol exists, and we’ve managed to save our protective ozone layer. Looking into the future, our scientists project that by 2065, the ozone hole will have returned to the same size it was thirty years ago.

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

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.

Moonset Viewed From the International Space Station : Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Tim Peake of ESA took this striking photograph of the moon from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on March 28, 2016. Peake shared the image on March 30 and wrote to his social media followers, I was looking for #Antarctica hard to spot from our orbit. Settled for a moonset instead.

js
All Eyes on Harvey

Our Earth-observing satellites, along with the cameras and crew of the International Space Station, are keeping a watchful eye over Hurricane Harvey as it churns in the Gulf of Mexico. When Hurricane Harvey blows ashore over coastal Texas on Friday night, it will likely be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005.

Above is a view of Harvey from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured on Aug. 25 at 10:07 a.m. EDT (1407 UTC) clearly showing the storm’s eye as Harvey nears landfall in the southeastern coast of Texas. As Hurricane Harvey continued to strengthen, we analyzed the storm’s rainfall, cloud heights and cloud top temperatures. 

Above, the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) core observatory satellite flew almost directly above intensifying Hurricane Harvey on August 24, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 UTC) and we used the Microwave Imager instrument to peer through dense storm clouds to reveal the location of intense rainfall bands near the center of the hurricane. 

And from the International Space Station, cameras were pointed towards Harvey as the orbiting laboratory passed overhead 250 miles above the Earth. The video above includes views from the space station recorded on August 24, 2017 at 6:15 p.m. Eastern Time.

The National Hurricane Center expects Harvey to be a category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale—with winds higher than 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour—when it makes landfall. It will likely produce a storm surge of 6 to 12 feet (2 to 4 meters) and drop between 15 and 25 inches (38 and 63 centimeters) of rain in some areas—enough to produce life-threatening flash floods.

For updated forecasts, visit the National Hurricane Center
Ensure you are prepared for Hurricanes. Get tips and more at  FEMA’s Ready site.
Get the latest updates from NASA satellites by visiting our Hurricane site.

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

For the people new to Spirk (and how I tag things)

AOS Spirk = Space Boyfriends (gays in space)

TOS Spirk = Space Husbands

If everyone starts tagging like this it would be easier than the simple ‘spirk’ because some of y'all like TOS and/or AOS more. Just to help out 🌸 (use vice versa)

a requiem of time [ot7/immortal oc]
↳ collection of seven short stories that follow the protagonist’s journey through her endless days.

spotify playlist 

clouds and starlight — astronomer kim taehyung, set in 1830
downhearted blues — writer min yoongi, set in 1924
moonlight cocktail — soldier park jimin, set in 1945
at last, sunrise — traveller jung hoseok, set in 2017
a glimpse into the past — nostalgist kim seokjin, set in 2055
views from neptune — space tour guide jeon jungkook, set in 2700
before I disappear — archaeologist kim namjoon, set in the far future


The last words your dying mother whispered in your ear did not make much sense, but you’re aware that the reason for your perennial heartbeats and ageless skin is found in them. Born in the dark, cloudy 1600s, all you can remember is running — from ghosts and people and even the darkness, which finally claimed the life of your family and left you with a heart that is too big and empty, too alive.

You have wandered on your own ever since, pathless and future uncertain, always asking yourself if your end will ever come. But you get up no matter how many times you fall, even when you beg your legs to stay on the ground.

Even so, the passing years are not all that hazy. Through the fear of losing your humanity and the ever so evolving mortals, there are seven fixed points in your life that you can always look back on with glossy eyes and a buoyant smile, all so different but connected through the love you have given them unconditionally.

They are the seven times you fell in love, and those seven times you never forgot.

coming soon

6

Mistborn

↳ Scadrian System

Scadrial is the only planet in the system existing within the habitable zone. It has no moon. The planet itself has been moved twice in it’s existence, once by Rashek to be closer to the sun and once by Sazed to it’s original position. It is unknown if Khriss’ star charts are to scale for distance from other planets.

Beyond Scadrial lies two large gas giants designated Aagal Nod and Aagal Uch. Aagal Nod has six large moons and Aagal Uch has five. Aagal Uch also has a set of rings most likely composed of rock and ice. Beyond them lies a comet belt which separates the gas giants from two unnamed dwarf planets. It is unknown what sort of presence these planets and moons have on Shadesmar but they are most likely uninhabited.

The Cosmere Galaxy Project
Greater Roshar || Greater Roshar II || Scadrial || Scadrian System || Nalthian System || Sel System || Shardworlds ||Astronomy

8

the view from the international space station, some 250 kilometres above earth. travelling at nearly 2900 kilometres an hour, it orbits the earth every ninety minutes. consider that if the earth was the size of a basketball, our atmosphere would be as thick as a sheet of paper. the reds and greens you see illuminating our atmosphere is the result of airglow (though in some of these it’s also the aurora). for more on airglow, see this post.

Scientists have produced a preliminary map of the flooding in Houston from Tropical Storm Harvey.

The map doesn’t yet represent all the flooded areas, and for technical reasons, it likely understates the extent of flooding. But even this early analysis shows that flooding from Harvey extended well beyond the traditional flood plains mapped out by the federal government.

The map above was drawn with data from flood experts at the University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. The researchers used radar imagery from two polar orbiting satellites taken on August 29. That imagery likely underestimates flooding because trees and buildings on the ground can obscure the view of flooding from space. The map should not be used for emergency services or insurance purposes.

Early Data From Harvey Shows Epic Flooding

Graphic: Katie Park/NPR