Category Archives: NASA

Orion Nebula: The Hubble View


Very few cosmic spacescapes excite my imagination in a way that the Orion Nebula does, this recently published ‘super hi-res’ image from the Hubble telescope is pretty damn epic.

(click to enlarge)

Also known as M42, the nebula’s glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away. The Orion Nebula offers one of the best opportunities to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large star-forming region, but also because the nebula’s energetic stars have blown away obscuring gas and dust clouds that would otherwise block our view – providing an intimate look at a range of ongoing stages of starbirth and evolution. This detailed image of the Orion Nebula is the sharpest ever, constructed using data from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla 2.2 meter telescope. The mosaic contains a billion pixels at full resolution and reveals about 3,000 stars.

Source APOD

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Disneyland on Mercury

Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury
Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury!

I know this is quite funny, but the official statement from NASA was…

This scene is to the northwest of the recently named crater Magritte, in Mercury’s south. The image is not map projected; the larger crater actually sits to the north of the two smaller ones. The shadowing helps define the striking “Mickey Mouse” resemblance, created by the accumulation of craters over Mercury’s long geologic history.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS’s high-incidence-angle base map. The high-incidence-angle base map is a major mapping activity in MESSENGER’s extended mission and complements the surface morphology base map of MESSENGER’s primary mission that was acquired under generally more moderate incidence angles. High incidence angles, achieved when the Sun is near the horizon, result in long shadows that accentuate the small-scale topography of geologic features. The high-incidence-angle base map is being acquired with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft’s seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System’s innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER’s science goals.

Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Liberty Enterprise Empire & Nasa

Liberty Enterprise Empire Nasa
A recent shot of the Space Shuttle Enterprise been transported to its final resting place in New York has to be one of my ‘all-time’ favourite iconic images, as it truly is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ photograph by NASA’s photographer Bill Ingalls.

Two of New York’s famous icons stand so tall and proud in this shot with the Statue of Liberty, a true American symbol of freedom, while on the right rises the classic Empire State Building, and then… high in the sky in the background flies NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise sat atop a 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Dulles International Airport, near Washington, D.C. en-route to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and then onto its final home at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the West Side of Manhattan.

Recently I got in a few conversations with some Twitter followers from New Yorker about this classic shot, most of them were saying it’s not possible to get ‘that’ shot, as the Skyscrapers from the Financial District, Tribeca and Soho would obscure the view between Liberty and the Empire and that it was ‘Photoshopped’ image. Not been a New Yorker, I couldn’t dispel these claims, but deep down I had to believe it was real ‘in-camera’ shot. So with the help of Google Earth Pro I managed to plot a path and find the exact spot NASA’s Bill Ingalls was positioned.
Enterpise New York Shot Camera Path
Bill was actual positioned 7 miles away from the Empire State Building on The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbour in New Jersey, just off the Port Jersey Boulevard
Peninsula at Bayonne Harbour in New Jersey, just off the Port Jersey Boulevard
When you now realise how far away Bill was, it makes the enormity and beauty of his capture even more incredible, and rightly deserved to be classed as one of the All Time NASA iconic Space Shuttle images.