Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Earth and Moon through Saturns Rings

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. via NASA https://ift.tt/2XqLQvq

MAVEN Maps Electric Currents around Mars that are Fundamental to Atmospheric Loss

NASA’s MAVEN mission has created a map of electric current systems in the Martian atmosphere. These currents play a fundamental role in the atmospheric loss that transformed Mars from a world that could have supported life into an inhospitable desert. via https://ift.tt/2XqrFhm

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Milky Way over Snow Capped Himalayas

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. via NASA https://ift.tt/3c4MdBj

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mystic Mountain Monster being Destroyed

Inside the head of this interstellar monster is a star that is slowly destroying it. The huge monster, actually an inanimate series of pillars of gas and dust, measures light years in length. The in-head star is not itself visible through the opaque interstellar dust but is bursting out partly by ejecting opposing beams of energetic particles called Herbig-Haro jets. Located about 7,500 light years away in the Carina Nebula and known informally as Mystic Mountain, the appearance of these pillars is dominated by dark dust even though they are composed mostly of clear hydrogen gas. The featured image was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. All over these pillars, the energetic light and winds from massive newly formed stars are evaporating and dispersing the dusty stellar nurseries in which they formed. Within a few million years, the head of this giant, as well as most of its body, will have been completely evaporated by internal and surrounding stars. via NASA https://ift.tt/3egznkQ

Congratulations to all the winners of the
4th Canadian Astronomical Olympiad!
Results of the 4th Canadian Astronomical Olympiad

Name School, Grade, Provinces 1 2 3 4 5 6 Results Rank
6 max 6 max 6 max 6 max 6 max 6 max 36 max
Zhening Li  Sir John A. Macdonald S.S., 11, ON 6 6 6 6 6 6 36  1
Ethan Hu M. Garneau Collegiate Institute, 11, ON 6 6 6 6 6 6 36 1
Eric Myzelev W. L. Mackenzie C. I., 11, ON 5.8 6 6 6 6 6 35.8  1
Daniel Yang University of Toronto Schools.  10, ON 6 6 5.8 6 6 6 35.8 1
Angela Zhou Magee Secondary School, 10, BC 4 6 6 6 6 6 34 2
Richard Zhang M. Garneau Collegiate Institute, 11, ON 4 6 6 6 6 6 34 2
Charles Cai
Milliken Mills High School,  11, ON 3 6 5 6 6 6 32 2
Rena Liu M. Garneau Collegiate Institute, 10, ON 4 5 3 5 6 6 29 2
Zhaoyan Sun 2.5 2 3 4 6 6 23.5 3
Hector Chen M. Garneau Collegiate Institute, 9, ON 4 1 3 4 3 6 21 3
Yutong (Eric) Du Bayview Secondary School, 11 ON 3 2 2 3 3 6 19 3

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars

The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth's Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The featured mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s. via NASA https://ift.tt/2XvsDJo

Friday, May 22, 2020

Ghost Fungus to Magellanic Cloud

Stars shine and satellites glint in this clear, dark, night sky over Wannon Falls Reserve, South West Victoria, Australia. In fact the fuzzy, faint apparition above the tree tops is the only cloud visible, also known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. In the foreground, an Omphalotus nidiformis (ghost fungus) from planet Earth shines with a surprisingly bright bioluminescence. Like the Magellanic cloud, the ghost fungus was easily seen with the eye. Its ghostly glow was actually a dull green, but it appears bright green in digital camera picture. Two images were blended to create the scene. One focused on the distant stars and Large Magellanic Cloud some 160,000 light-years away. Another was focused on the foreground and glowing fungus several light-nanoseconds from the camera lens. via NASA https://ift.tt/36oQqOS