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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Since the early days of radio and television we have been freely broadcasting signals into space. For some time now, we have been listening too. A large radio telescope at Ohio State University known as affectionately The Big Ear was one of the first listeners. The Big Ear was about the size of three football fields and consisted of an immense metal ground plane with two fence-like reflectors, one fixed and one tiltable. It relied on the Earth's rotation to help scan the sky. This photo, taken by former Big Ear student volunteer Rick Scott, looks out across the ground plane toward the fixed reflector with the radio frequency receiver horns in the foreground. Starting in 1965, the Big Ear was used in an ambitious survey of the radio sky. In the 1970s, it became the first telescope to continuously listen for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. For an exciting moment during August 1977 a very strong, unexpected signal, dubbed the Wow! Signal, was detected by the Big Ear. But alas, heard only once, the source of the signal could not be determined. In May 1998 the final pieces of the Big Ear were torn down. Experts Debate: How will humanity first discover extraterrestrial life?

Photo by Rick Scott

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Still bathed in sunlight, the International Space Station arced through the evening sky over lake Wulfsahl-Gusborn in northern Germany, just after sunset on March 25. The familiar constellation of Orion can be seen left of the trail of the orbital station's bright passage. On the right, Venus is the brilliant evening star above the western horizon. With the camera fixed to a tripod, this scene was captured in a series of five exposures. How can you tell? The short time delay between the end of one exposure and the beginning of the next leaves small gaps in the ISS light trail. Look closely and you'll also see that the sky that appears to be above the horizon is actually a reflection though. The final image has been vertically inverted and the night skyscape recorded in the mirror-like waters of the small lake.

Photo by Helmut Schnieder

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

What are those dots between Saturn's rings? Our Earth and Moon. Just over three years ago, because the Sun was temporarily blocked by the body of Saturn, the robotic Cassini spacecraft was able to look toward the inner Solar System. There, it spotted our Earth and Moon -- just pin-pricks of light lying about 1.4 billion kilometers distant. Toward the right of the featured image is Saturn's A ring, with the broad Encke Gap on the far right and the narrower Keeler Gap toward the center. On the far left is Saturn's continually changing F Ring. From this perspective, the light seen from Saturn's rings was scattered mostly forward , and so appeared backlit. After more than a decade of exploration and discovery, the Cassini spacecraft ran low on fuel in 2017 and was directed to enter Saturn's atmosphere, where it surely melted. Gallery: Notable Venus & Mercury Conjunction 2020 Images submitted to APOD

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

What’s higher than the Himalayas? Although the Himalayan Mountains are the tallest on planet Earth, they don't measure up to the Milky Way. Visible above the snow-capped mountains in the featured image is the arcing central band of our home galaxy. The bright spot just above the central plane is the planet Jupiter, while the brightest orange spot on the upper right is the star Antares. The astrophotographer braved below-zero temperatures at nearly 4,000-meters altitude to take the photographs that compose this image. The featured picture is a composite of eight exposures taken with same camera and from the same location over three hours, just after sunset, in 2019 April, from near Bimtang Lake in Nepal. Over much of planet Earth, the planets Mercury (faint) and Venus (bright) will be visible this week after sunset. Experts Debate: How will humanity first discover extraterrestrial life?

Photo by TomasHavel

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