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FireFox Search Plugin for Space Photos! July 27, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Site Info, Space Fotos.
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Well Ruff over at Ruff Styled WordPress Widgets! has introduced a way for WordPress.com websites to create Firefox search plugins for your page, so here is mine:

Install my wordpress search engine
Let me know what you all think about it.

Arches, Quintuplet, and GC Star Clusters: Rough and Crowded Neighborhood at Galactic Center July 22, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Arches, Quintuplet, and GC Star Clusters
Credit:

NASA/CXC/UMass Amherst/Q.D.Wang et al.

Description:

The center of the Milky Way is a crowded neighborhood and not always a calm one, according to the latest image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. In addition to the supermassive black hole at the center, the area is filled with all sorts of different inhabitants that affect and influence one another.

The new X-ray image shows three massive star clusters, the Arches (upper center), Quintuplet (upper right), and the GC star cluster (bottom center), which is near the enormous black hole known as Sagittarius A*. The massive stars in these clusters can themselves be very bright, point-like X-ray sources, when winds blowing off their surfaces collide with winds from an orbiting companion star. The stars in these clusters also release vast amounts of energy when they reach the ends of their lives and explode as supernovas, which, in turn, heat the material between the stars. The stars near the Galactic Center also can emit X-rays as stellar corpses — either in the form of neutron stars or black holes in binary systems — and are also seen as point-like sources in the Chandra image.

While the individual stars in these clusters are experiencing their own hectic lives, the clusters themselves are also busy interacting with other residents of the Galactic center neighborhood. For instance, the star clusters are slamming into cooler, dense clouds of molecular gas. These powerful collisions between the clusters and clouds may result in a higher proportion of more massive stars than low-mass ones in the Galactic center, compared to a quieter neighborhood. The collisions may also explain some of the diffuse X-ray emission seen in the Chandra image.

Over the course of several years, over two million seconds of Chandra observing time has been devoted to studying the center of the Galaxy. This latest image from Chandra represents more than 1 million seconds of time and covers the area of 168 by 130 light years across. In this image, red, green, and blue correspond to lower, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively.

Additional Image:
Galactic Center (Labeled)
X-ray, Radio & Infrared Image of Arches, Quintuplet, and GC Star Clusters (Labeled)

Gemini Captures Close Encounter of Jupiter’s Red Spots July 22, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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Credit:

Gemini Observatory ALTAIR Adaptive Optics Image

Description:

Gemini North adaptive optics image of Jupiter and its two red spots (which apppear white because this is a near-infrared image; in visible light they appear reddish). In this color composite image, white indicates cloud features at relatively high altitudes; blue indicates lower cloud structures; and red represents still deeper cloud features. The two red spots appear more white than red, because their tops hover high above the surrounding clouds. Also prominent is the polar stratospheric haze, which makes Jupiter bright near the pole (unlike the other orange/red features in this image, the polar haze is high in Jupiter’s atmosphere). Other tiny white spots are regions of high clouds, like towering thunderheads. In visible light Jupiter looks orangish, but in the near-infrared the blue color is due to strong absorption features. The blue mid-level clouds are also closest to what one would see in a visual light image.

Additional Images:

Full-Resolution TIFF | 2.0mb
Full-Resolution JPEG | 164kb

2006 Tour de France Stage 17 July 22, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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2006 Tour de France Stage 17 Click here to view full image (9019 kb)

Credit:

Robert Simmon, based on data provided by the Landsat science team and the UMD Global Land Cover Facility.

Description:

Each year in July, close to 200 professional cyclists converge on France for the most prestigious and grueling bike race in the world: the Tour de France. The three-week stage race traverses France with excursions into neighboring countries, scaling peaks in both the Pyrenees in the south and the Alps in the east. The race always finishes in front of hundreds of thousands of fans along the Champs-Élysées, a famous Paris street.

This image from the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor on NASA’s Landsat satellite shows the terrain of the 17th stage of the race—the final day in the mountainous terrain of the Alps. Deep green forests line the lower slopes of mountains, while the summits of many of the peaks appear lighter green because they are beyond the elevation where trees can grow. Some of the summits are capped by glaciers. The rugged terrain is carved by gray ribbons of rivers and creeks.

Stage 17 starts in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (lower left) and finishes in Morzine (upper right); the day’s ride is 200.5 kilometers (124.6 miles). The race organizers categorize the mountains on a scale of 1 to 4 (harder to easier), with a special “beyond category” (hors catégorie in French) for the absolute toughest mountain climbs. From Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, the route takes riders north, roughly following the route of the Arc River, which flows northwest, where it eventually meets the Arly River. Beyond the Arly River, riders climb four steep passes more than 1,400 meters in altitude (1 meter is about 3.3 feet). The first, Col des Saises, is 1,650 meters tall. The last, Col de Joux-Plane, reaches 1,700 meters over 11.7 kilometers of road with an average gradient of 8.7 percent. From Col de Joux-Plane, riders race downhill into Morzine. Like other towns visible in the image, Morzine forms a gray spot against the green landscape of France’s Savoie and Haut-Savoie regions. Geneva, Switzerland, is the grey region on the shores of Lake Geneva in the upper left corner of the image.

This image was captured by Landsat on July 21, 2001

Strangers on Mars July 22, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit:

Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA

Explanation:

This view from the winter station of Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, looks across the rock strewn landscape of Gusev Crater. The dark boulders and distant hills are characteristic of the region, but the two light colored rocks in the foreground of this cropped image are – like Spirit itself – most probably strangers to the Red Planet, believed to be iron meteorites. Informally named for sites in Antarctica they have been dubbed “Zhong Shan” and “Allan Hills.” Zhong Shan is the Antarctic base of the People’s Republic of China. Allan Hills is the icy location where many Martian meteorites have been found on planet Earth, including the controversial ALH84001, suggested to contain evidence for fossilized Martian microbial life.

Mira: The Wonderful Star July 22, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an illustration. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution illustration available.
Credit:

X-ray Image: M. Karovska (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) et al., CXC / NASA
Illustration: M.Weiss(CXC)

Explanation:

To seventeenth century astronomers, Omicron Ceti or Mira was known as a wonderful star – a star whose brightness could change dramatically in the course of about 11 months. Modern astronomers now recognize an entire class of long period Mira-type variables as cool, pulsating, red giant stars, 700 or so times the diameter of the Sun. Only 420 light-years away, red giant Mira (Mira A, right) itself co-orbits with a companion star, a small white dwarf (Mira B). Mira B is surrounded by a disk of material drawn from the pulsating giant and in such a double star system, the white dwarf star’s hot accretion disk is expected to produce some x-rays. But this sharp, false-color image from the Chandra Observatory also captures the cool giant star strongly flaring at x-ray energies, clearly separated from the x-ray emission of its companion’s accretion disk. Placing your cursor over the Chandra x-ray image of Mira will reveal an artist’s vision of this still wonderful interacting binary star system.

Constellation Construction July 20, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright:

Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light)

Explanation:

This lovely twilight scene, recorded last April, finds a young crescent Moon low in the west at sunset. Above it, stars shine in the darkening sky but they too are soon to drop below the western horizon. These stars and constellations are prominent in the northern hemisphere winter sky and as the season changes, slowly give way to the stars of summer. Sliding your mouse over the picture will detail the constellations and stars in view, including Orion, Gemini, Auriga, Perseus, and the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters.

John’s Note:

Well I snagged this one off of the Astronomy Picture of the Day website, since they used

onmouseover

WordPress.com doesn’t seem to like it. So if you want to see the orginal head on over to the APoD.

Reflections on Planet Earth July 18, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit:

Michael Fossum, STS-121 Mission, NASA

Explanation:

Catching sight of your reflection in a store window or shiny hubcap can be entertaining and occasionally even inspire a thoughtful moment. So consider this reflective view from 300 kilometers above planet Earth. The picture is actually a self-portrait taken by astronaut Michael Fossum on July 8 during a space walk or extravehicular activity while the Discovery orbiter was docked with the International Space Station. Turning his camera to snap a picture of his own helmet visor, he also recorded the reflection of his fellow mission specialist, Piers Sellers, near picture center and one of the space station’s gold-tinted solar power arrays arcing across the top. Of course, the horizon of our fair planet lies in background.

Cluster encompassing a ‘magnetic null’ region July 18, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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Credits:

Dr. Xiao/Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing)

Description:

This artist’s impression shows the four Cluster spacecraft encompassing a ‘magnetic null’ region. A magnetic null region is a three dimensional zone where the magnetic fields break and reconnect. Before ESA’s Cluster started exploring the Earth’s magnetosphere it was not possible to identify any of such regions, as the detection required at least four simultaneous points of measurements.

Cluster measurements made on 15 September 2001 showed that the null point exists in an unexpected vortex structure about 500 kilometres across, a characteristic size never been reported before in observations, theory or simulations.

Shadows in Space July 18, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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ISS013-E-49681 --- The shadows of Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum are visible against a shuttle's payload bay door during today's extravehicular activity.
high res (1.0 M) low res (67 K)
The shadows of astronauts Piers J. Sellers and Michael E. Fossum, STS-121 mission specialists, who are anchored to the Space Shuttle Discovery’s Remote Manipulator System/Orbiter Boom Sensor System (RMS/OBSS) foot restraint, are visible against a shuttle’s payload bay door during today’s session of extravehicular activity (EVA).

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