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Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Cosmic Exclamation Point!

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope have collaborated to produce a fantastic image of two galaxies already interacting in the process of colliding! The purple colors represent x-ray data from Chandra. The red, green, and blue colors are optical data from Hubble.

Image Credit: X-ray NASA/CXC/IfA/D.Sanders et al; Optical NASA/STScI/NRAO/A.Evans et al
Sort of looks like an exclamation point, right?

These two galaxies are known as VV 340 (or Arp 302), and are about 450 million lightyears from Earth, a light year being about 6 trillion miles. VV 340 spans about 285,000 light years. The top galaxy is edge-on (VV 340 North) while the bottom one (VV 340 South) is pretty much face-on, a wonderful set of views.

And now, check out this narrated animation:

video

For more information and/or to see/download a higher res video and a variety of still-image sizes , just click the link below.
Happy galaxy gazing!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NASA - Another Take on Supersonic

Flying the Supersonic Skies!

NASA Image Of The Day text:
"Our ability to fly at supersonic speeds over land in civil aircraft depends on our ability to reduce the level of sonic booms. NASA has been exploring a variety of options for quieting the boom, starting with design concepts and moving through wind tunnel tests to flight tests of new technologies. This rendering of a possible future civil supersonic transport shows a vehicle that is shaped to reduce the sonic shockwave signature and also to reduce drag. Image credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin"
Now tell me, who wouldn't think this aircraft is COOL looking?! Does it remind you of another civil aircraft of times gone by?

Remember, this is only an artist's rendering of what a new, improved supersonic aircraft might look like! However, I'm wondering if there are going to be windows in this thing - I don't see any in this pic except for the cockpit area. But perhaps they'll be below the wing and out of sight in this view from above, eh?

In any case, I'd fly the friendly skies of NASA anytime!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NASA - Close-up View of 'Snowman' Craters

NASA - Close-up View of 'Snowman' Craters
This is a view from about 3,200 miles of the 3 craters on the Vesta asteroid, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft which is presently orbiting Vesta. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid. The photo was taken July 24, 2011.

Click here--> NASA Image Of The Day Gallery to go there and/or download various sizes of this image. This image has been released by NASA to the public, and therefore is in the public domain. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

I think this is magnificent detail! And, isn't it so very cool to get closeup views of an asteroid? Studies of Vesta conducted by NASA via the Dawn spacecraft will undoubtedly help mankind understand the origin and early history of our solar system. It will also add to our knowledge of asteroids as it pertains to how we might deflect or avoid an asteroid aimed at Earth. We really don't need another extinction event like the one 65 million years ago that is widely believed to have been caused by an asteroid impact on our planet!

And for an extra treat, how about a full frame view of Vesta?
This image is from from the APOD (Astronomy Picture Of the Day) site. (Click the link to go there and get larger versions of this pic.) Image Credit: NASA , JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA

The set of 3 craters called the snowman craters mentioned previously can be seen to the left of center. Cool, eh?!