Space — the final frontier!

I wanted to share some of NASA’s great images from their recent missions.  Space is always cool – in real life, and in science fiction (good ones!).

There is always something new on NASA’s sites, and there is plenty more to share in future posts.

Hope you enjoy.

Darkness Saturn’s main rings, seen here on their “lit” face, appear much darker than normal. That’s because they tend to scatter light back toward its source — in this case, the Sun. Usually, when taking images of the rings in geometries like this, exposures times are increased to make the rings more visible. Here, the requirement to not over-expose Saturn’s lit crescent reveals just how dark the rings actually become. Scientists are interested in images in this sunward-facing (“high phase”) geometry because the way that the rings scatter sunlight can tell us much about the ring particles’ physical make-up. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 6 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 12, 2014. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 152 degrees. Image scale is 86 miles (138 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Sloshing Star Goes Supernova NuSTAR has provided the first observational evidence in support of a theory that says exploding stars slosh around before detonating. That theory, referred to as mild asymmetries, is shown here in a simulation by Christian Ott.

Sun Shines in High-Energy X-rays X-rays stream off the sun in this first picture of the sun, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, taken by NuSTAR.

Hubble Views Galactic Core in Unprecedented New Detail JANUARY 5, 2009: This composite color infrared image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy reveals a new population of massive stars and new details in complex structures in the hot ionized gas swirling around the central 300 light-years. This sweeping panorama is the sharpest infrared picture ever made of the Galactic core. It offers a nearby laboratory for how massive stars form and influence their environment in the often violent nuclear regions of other galaxies. This view combines the sharp imaging of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) with color imagery from a previous Spitzer Space Telescope survey done with its Infrared Astronomy Camera (IRAC). The Galactic core is obscured in visible light by intervening dust clouds, but infrared light penetrates the dust. The spatial resolution of NICMOS corresponds to 0.025 light-years at the distance of the galactic core of 26,000 light-years. Hubble reveals details in objects as small as 20 times the size of our own solar system. The NICMOS images were taken between February 22 and June 5,

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