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Posted by Specola

Apollo 12: Self-Portrait

Posted by Specola • Posted on 11/24/2019 at 12:16PM Photography See more by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Is this image art? 50 years ago, Apollo 12 astronaut-photographer Charles "Pete" Conrad recorded this masterpiece while documenting colleague Alan Bean's lunar soil collection activities on Oceanus Procellarum. The featured image is dramatic and stark. The harsh environment of the Moon's Ocean of Storms is echoed in Bean's helmet, a perfectly composed reflection of Conrad and the lunar horizon. Works of photojournalists originally intent on recording the human condition on planet Earth, such as Lewis W. Hine's images from New York City in the early 20th century, or Margaret Bourke-White's magazine photography are widely regarded as art. Similarly many documentary astronomy and space images might also be appreciated for their artistic and esthetic appeal.

Two Hemisphere Night Sky

Posted by Specola • Posted on 02/27/2020 at 12:16PM Photography See more by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

The Sun is hidden by a horizon that runs across the middle in this two hemisphere view of Earth's night sky. The digitally stitched mosaics were recorded from corresponding latitudes, one 29 degrees north and one 29 degrees south of the planet's equator. On top is the northern view from the IAC observatory at La Palma taken in February 2020. Below is a well-matched southern scene from the ESO La Silla Observatory recorded in April 2016. In this projection, the Milky Way runs almost vertically above and below the horizon. Its dark clouds and and bright nebulae are prominent near the galactic center in the lower half of the frame. In the upper half, brilliant Venus is immersed in zodiacal light. Sunlight faintly scattered by interplanetary dust, the zodiacal light traces the Solar System's ecliptic plane in a complete circle through the starry sky. Large telescope domes bulge along the inverted horizon from La Silla while at La Palma, multi-mirror Magic telescopes stand above center. Explore this two hemisphere night sky and you can also find the Andromeda Galaxy and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

Photo by Petr Horálek

NGTS-10b: Discovery of a Doomed Planet

Posted by Specola • Posted on 02/26/2020 at 12:16PM Photography See more by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

This hot jupiter is doomed. Hot jupiters are giant planets like Jupiter that orbit much closer to their parent stars than Mercury does to our Sun. But some hot jupiters are more extreme than others. NGTS-10b, illustrated generically, is the closest and fastest-orbiting giant planet yet discovered, circling its home star in only 18 hours. NGTS-10b is a little larger than Jupiter, but it orbits less than two times the diameter of its parent star away from the star’s surface. When a planet orbits this close, it is expected to spiral inward, pulled down by tidal forces to be eventually ripped apart by the star’s gravity. NGTS-10b, discovered by researchers at the University of Warwick, is named after the Next Generation Transit Survey, which detected the imperiled planet when it passed in front of its star, blocking some of the light. Although the violent demise of NGTS-10b will happen eventually, we don't yet know when.

Jupiter's Magnetic Field from Juno

Posted by Specola • Posted on 02/25/2020 at 12:16PM Photography See more by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

How similar is Jupiter's magnetic field to Earth's? NASA's robotic Juno spacecraft has found that Jupiter's magnetic field is surprisingly complex, so that the Jovian world does not have single magnetic poles like our Earth. A snapshot of Jupiter's magnetic field at one moment in time, as animated from Juno data, appears in the featured video. Red and blue colors depict cloud-top regions of strong positive (south) and negative (north) magnetic fields, respectively. Surrounding the planet are imagined magnetic field lines. The first sequence of the animated video starts off by showing what appears to be a relatively normal dipole field, but soon a magnetic region now known as the Great Blue Spot rotates into view, which is not directly aligned with Jupiter's rotation poles. Further, in the second sequence, the illustrative animation takes us over one of Jupiter's spin poles where red magnetic hotspots are revealed to be extended and sometimes even annular. A better understanding of Jupiter's magnetic field may give clues toward a better understanding of Earth's enigmatic planetary magnetism.

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