This morning, the Moon transited the Sun from the vantage point of NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory for two hours of observation in various wavelengths (this image was taken at 171 angstroms—extreme ultraviolet). Just as the Moon left SDO’s field of view, an M8-class solar flare erupted from sunspot group AR 11967 (image credit: NASA/SDO).
Saturn’s churning north polar vortex, imaged in the infrared by the Cassini spacecraft from 476,000 miles away on June 14, 2013 (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI).
Good morning! An unusual perspective on Earth’s aurora - the Southern Lights, full circle over Antarctica.
The icy moon Mimas, seen passing in front of Saturn by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft from a distance of 870,000 miles on January 18, 2005. From this angle of view, the blue clouds of Saturn’s northern hemisphere were striated by shadows cast by the giant planet’s intricate ring system (image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI).
Southern hemisphere of Jupiter, a spherical projection of high-detail images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it flew past the gas giant in December of 2000 on its way to Saturn. Thick haze and the angle of view prevented Cassini from clearly imaging the planet’s south pole (image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI).
Nightside of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, with its thick atmosphere backlit by the sun. The orange haze of Titan’s south polar vortex can be seen swirling at the bottom of this image captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft from 134,000 miles away on June 6, 2012 (image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI/color composite Gordan Ugarkovic).
On this date in 1998, the Russians launched Zarya (“Sunrise”), the first module of the International Space Station, into orbit. This image of the ISS was taken on February 18, 2008 by the crew of the Atlantis, just after the space shuttle undocked for a return to Earth (image credit: NASA/STS-122 Shuttle Crew).
On July 19th of this year, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft looked back from 746,000 miles behind the planet Saturn to capture this narrow-angle, high resolution image of our planet (on the left) and its moon (on the right), as seen from 898,414,400 miles away.
Every known life form in the universe exists within the bright blue dot on the left. The pale dot on the right represents the furthest our species has ever traveled (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI).
Did you smile for our family portrait this summer?
On July 19th of this year, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft looked back from 746,000 miles behind the planet Saturn at the inner solar system, to capture the 141 wide-angle images needed to assemble a stunning, natural-color mosaic view.
The bright point of light in the center of this image cropped from that view is our planet and its moon, as seen from 898.414 million miles away (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI).
Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded, imaged as it approached the Philippines by Japan Meteorological Agency satellites and EUMETSAT (image credit: EUMETSAT).
On this day in 1671, Giovanni Cassini discovered Iapetus, noting that the moon was far more visible when seen to the west of Saturn. The Italian/French astronomer deduced that Iapetus must be tidally locked with Saturn, and that the side facing away from the planet was much darker for some reason.
The mysterious dark face of Iapetus was named Cassini Regio in honor of the astronomer’s discovery, and the images in this mosaic were taken by NASA’s spacecraft Cassini on December 31, 2004 as it flew past the northern pole of the moon at a distance of 107,497 miles (image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI/color composite Gordan Ugarkovic).
False-color mosaic of the northern lakes of Titan, as imaged by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during its Sept. 12, 2013 flyby of Saturn’s largest moon. Cassini’s spectrometer peered through the thick, hazy atmosphere of Titan in infrared wavelengths to reveal a previously unseen type of terrain (assigned a bright orange color in this image), thought to be evaporated material deposited around the shores of Titan’s retreating hydrocarbon lakes, a type of terrain similar to the salt flats of Earth (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI).
NASA’s Cassini probe flew 934,891 miles above Saturn one week ago to provide the raw images for this amazing mosaic assembled by Gordan Ugarkovic (image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI/Gordan Ugarkovic).
This graphic charts the 1,400 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) orbiting the sun within 4.7 million miles of the Earth’s orbital path. These particular near-Earth objects are classified as potentially hazardous because they are each fairly large (at least 460 feet across). Though none are considered an impact threat over the next hundred years, observations over time help refine these orbital calculations to predict future potential close approaches and impact threats (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech).
Approximate-color mosaic view of Triton, taken during a flyby of the Neptunian system in 1989 by Voyager 2. Neptune’s largest satellite was discovered on this day in 1846, by English brewer and astronomer William Lassell.
Triton’s strange terrain surprised Earthbound scientists when Voyager 2 returned these images of its surface. The huge moon has a tenuous atmosphere dominated by nitrogen that condenses on its surface as frost. Pinkish deposits seen at its southern pole are thought to be methane ice, while the dark plumes are believed to be evidence of active cryovolcanism churning up carbonaceous dust from under Triton’s interior. The origin of its greenish “cantaloupe terrain” is a mystery.
The unique retrograde orbit of Triton is thought to be evidence of its origin as a former Kuiper Belt object, that was captured by the ice giant, possibly after a collision with a smaller companion. It is thought that tidal interactions with Neptune have doomed the moon to either a collision with Neptune or to break up into a debris ring, 3.6 billion years from now [image credit: NASA/JPL/USGS].