During a recent close flyby of the gas giant Jupiter, our Juno spacecraft (@nasajuno ) captured this stunning series of images showing swirling cloud patterns on the planet’s south pole. At first glance, the series might appear to be the same image repeated. But closer inspection reveals slight changes, which are most easily noticed by comparing the far-left image with the far-right image.
Directly, the images show Jupiter. But, through slight variations in the images, they indirectly capture the motion of the Juno spacecraft itself, once again swinging around a giant planet hundreds of millions of miles from Earth.
Juno captured this color-enhanced time-lapse sequence of images on Feb. 7 between 10:21 a.m. and 11:01 a.m. EST. At the time, the spacecraft was between 85,292 to 124,856 miles (137,264 to 200,937 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet with the images centered on latitudes from 84.1 to 75.5 degrees south.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt
This animation blinks between two images of our Mars Phoenix Lander. The first – dark smudges on the planet’s surface. The second – the same Martian terrain nearly a decade later, covered in dust. Our Mars orbiter captured this shot as it surveyed the planet from orbit: the first in 2008. The second: late 2017.
In August 2008, Phoenix completed its three-month mission studying Martian ice, soil and atmosphere. The lander worked for two additional months before reduced sunlight caused energy to become insufficient to keep the lander functioning. The solar-powered robot was not designed to survive through the dark and cold conditions of a Martian arctic winter.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Sputters and spurts on the Sun’s only visible active region eventually unleashed this brief, bright flare on Feb. 7. The flare appears about mid-way through the half-day clip. Normally, we do not pay much attention to flares this small, but it was just about the only real solar activity over the week around Feb. 7 as the Sun is slowing approaching its quiet period of the 11-year solar cycle.
These images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.
Our Sun was caught peaking over Earth’s arch and stretching its glorious light across the South Pacific on Feb. 16. Astronaut Scott Tingle captured this beaming moment while aboard the International Space Station (@iss ), which can also be spotted in the glow of daybreak. He posted the moment to social media with the modest caption, “Sunrise over the South Pacific.” The International Space Station and its crew orbit Earth from an altitude of 250 miles, traveling at a speed of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Because the station completes each trip around the globe in about 92 minutes, the crew experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets each day!
Six humans are currently living and working on the International Space Station conducting important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into space than ever before. As of last week, the latest crew members had completed more than 100 hours of science, breaking the record for hours of research conducted.
Credit: NASA/Scott Tingle
Sunrise on Mars: Our Opportunity rover was built to last 90 sols, or Martian days. The intrepid rover has survived to see 5,000 sols of exploration and counting. A sol lasts about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day.
Here we see sunrise as a new day breaks over the Red Planet on sol 4,999, Feb. 15, 2018. This view looking across Endeavour Crater was taken with Opportunity’s Panoramic Camera (Pancam), yielding this processed, approximately true-color scene. This view combines three separate exposures taken and was processed to correct for some of the oversaturation and glare, though it still includes some artifacts from pointing a camera with a dusty lens at the Sun.
Opportunity has driven a little over 28.02 miles (45.1 km) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars in January 2004.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ./Texas A&M
It's eclipse season for our Sun-watching observatory. During this three-week period that comes twice a year near the equinoxes, Earth blocks the Solar Dynamic Observatory's view of the Sun for a short while each day. The eclipses are fairly short near the beginning and end of the season but ramp up to 72 minutes in the middle.
Seen here in extreme ultraviolet light is the eclipsed view on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 when Earth crossed the observatory's view of the Sun. Also known as a transit, Earth’s passage was brief, lasting from 2:10 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. EST and covering the entire face of the Sun. Most spacecraft observing the Sun from an orbit around Earth have to contend with such eclipses. The mission's orbit is designed to maximize the amount of data the spacecraft can send back to Earth. This year, the spring eclipse season began on Feb. 10 with a partial eclipse and concludes March 5, 2018.
Credits: NASA/SDO/Joy Ng
Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies!
Over many years, astronomers have gathered data on the formation of stars in galaxies and the growth of supermassive black holes (that is, those with millions or billions the mass of the Sun) in their centers. These data suggested that the black holes and the stars in their host galaxies grow in tandem with each other. Now, findings from two independent groups of researchers indicate that the black holes in massive galaxies have grown much faster than in the less massive ones.
Using large amounts of data from our Chandra X-ray Observatory (@nasachandraxray ), the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble ) and other observatories, scientists studied the growth rate of black holes in galaxies at distances of 4.3 to 12.2 billion light years from Earth. They calculated the ratio between a supermassive black hole's growth rate and the growth rate of stars in its host galaxy.
A common idea is that this ratio is approximately constant for all galaxies. Instead, the researchers found that this ratio is much higher for more massive galaxies. For galaxies containing about 100 billion solar masses worth of stars, the ratio is about ten times higher than it is for galaxies containing about 10 billion solar masses worth of stars.
This image shows data from the Chandra Deep Field-South in optical and infrared light from the Hubble, and X-ray light from Chandra.
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn. State/G. Yang et al & NASA/CXC/ICE/M. Mezcua et al. Optical: NASA/STScI
Not feeling the Valentine’s Day love today? That's okay. We think you're nICE anyway. Here's an icy heart-shaped glacier calving from northwest Greenland seen by our Operation IceBridge.
Operation IceBridge is our aerial survey of the state of polar ice. For the first time in the mission's nine-year history, IceBridge carried out seven field campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic in a single year. In total, researchers flew more than 214,000 miles, the equivalent of orbiting the Earth 8.6 times at the equator. IceBridge aims to close the gap between two of our satellite campaigns that study changes in the height of polar ice.
Learn more at nasa.gov/icebridge
Credit: NASA/Maria-Jose Viñas
Saturn’s moon Enceladus drifts before the rings and the tiny moon Pandora in this view that our Cassini spacecraft captured on Nov. 1, 2009. The entire scene is backlit by the Sun, providing striking illumination for the icy particles that make up both the rings and the jets emanating from the south pole of Enceladus.
Pandora was on the opposite side of the rings from Cassini and Enceladus when the image was taken. This view looks toward the night side on Pandora as well, which is lit by dim golden light reflected from Saturn.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Exploration is a tradition at NASA. As we work to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind, our acting Administrator shared plans for the future during the #StateOfNASA address today, February 12, 2018 which highlights the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal.
Acting Administrator Lightfoot says “This budget focuses NASA on its core exploration mission and reinforces the many ways that we return value to the U.S. through knowledge and discoveries, strengthening our economy and security, deepening partnerships with other nations, providing solutions to tough problems, and inspiring the next generation. It places NASA and the U.S. once again at the forefront of leading a global effort to advance humanity’s future in space, and draws on our nation’s great industrial base and capacity for innovation and exploration.” Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot is seen here during delivery of today's State of NASA address at our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls