saibalghosh / py_apod_scraper

NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day

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Apollo 11: Descent to the Moon
Video Credit: <a href="">NASA</a>, <a href="">Apollo Flight Journal</a> Compilation & Copyright: <a href="">W. David Woods</a>
It had never been done before. But with the words "You're Go for landing", <a href="">50 years ago</a> this Saturday, Apollo 11 astronauts <a href="">Aldrin</a> and <a href="">Armstrong</a> were cleared to make the <a href="">first try</a>. The next few minutes would contain more than a <a href="">bit of drama</a>, as an unexpected boulder field and an unacceptably sloping crater loomed below. With fuel dwindling, <a href="">Armstrong</a> coolly rocketed the lander above the lunar surface as he looked for a clear and flat place to land. With only seconds of fuel remaining, and with the help of <a href="">Aldrin</a> and <a href="">mission control</a> calling out data, Armstrong finally found a safe spot -- and put <a href="">the Eagle</a> down. Many people on Earth listening to the live audio felt great relief on hearing "The Eagle has landed", and <a href="">great pride</a> knowing that for the first time ever, human beings were on <a href="">the Moon</a>. Combined in the <a href="">featured descent video</a> are two audio feeds, a video feed similar to <a href="">what the astronauts saw</a>, captions of the dialog, and data including the tilt of the Eagle lander. The video concludes with the <a href="">panorama of the lunar landscape</a> visible <a href="">outside the Eagle</a>. A few hours later, <a href="">hundreds of millions of people</a> across planet <a href="">Earth</a>, drawn <a href="">together</a> as a single species, watched fellow humans walk on the Moon.
Apollo 11 Launches Humans to the Moon
Video Credit: <a href="">NASA</a>
Everybody saw the Moon. Nobody had ever been there. Humans across planet Earth watched in awe 50 years ago today as a powerful <a href="">Saturn V rocket</a> attempted to launch humans -- to <a href="">the Moon</a>. Some in space flight guessed that the machinery was so complex, that so many things had to go right for it to work, that <a href="">Apollo 11</a> would end up being <a href="">another</a> useful dress rehearsal for a later successful Moon-landing mission. But to the Moon they went. The <a href="">featured video</a> starts by showing astronauts <a href="">Aldrin</a>, <a href="">Armstrong</a>, and <a href="">Collins</a> making their way to the waiting rocket. As the large and <a href="">mighty</a> <a href="">Saturn V</a> launched, crowds watched from <a href="">Cape Canaveral</a> in <a href="">Florida</a>, <a href="">USA</a> and on television around the world. The events that unfolded over the next few days, including a dramatic <a href="">moon walk</a> <a href="">50 years ago</a> this Saturday, will forever be remembered as a milestone in human history and an unrivaled demonstration of human ingenuity. This week, many places around the world are planning <a href="">celebrations</a> of the <a href="">50th anniversary</a> of the first humans landing <a href="">on the Moon</a>.
The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: <a href="mailto: raineelc @at@ ymail .dot. com">Rainee Colacurcio</a>
<a href="">That's no</a> sunspot. It's the <a href="">International Space Station</a> (ISS) caught passing in front of the Sun. <a href="">Sunspot</a>s, individually, have a dark central <a href="">umbra</a>, a lighter surrounding penumbra, and <a href="">no solar panels</a>. By contrast, the <a href="">ISS</a> is a complex and multi-spired mechanism, one of the largest and most sophisticated machines ever created by <a href="">humanity</a>. Also, sunspots occur on the <a href="">Sun</a>, whereas the <a href="">ISS</a> orbits the <a href="">Earth</a>. Transiting the Sun is not very unusual for the <a href="">ISS</a>, which orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, but getting one's timing and equipment just right for a <a href="">great image</a> is rare. Strangely, besides that fake spot, in this recent two-image composite, the Sun <a href="">lacked any real sunspots</a>. The featured picture combines two images -- one capturing the space station transiting the Sun -- and another taken consecutively capturing details of the Sun's surface. Sunspots have been <a href="">rare</a> on the <a href="">Sun</a> since the dawn of the current <a href="">Solar Minimum</a>, a period of low solar activity. For reasons not yet fully understood, the <a href="">number of sunspots</a> occurring during both the previous and current solar minima have been <a href="">unusually low</a>.
Eagle Aurora over Norway
Image Credit & Copyright: <a href="">Bjørn Jørgensen</a>
What's that in the sky? An aurora. A large <a href="">coronal mass ejection</a> occurred on our <a href="">Sun</a> five days before this 2012 image was taken, <a href="">throwing a cloud</a> of fast moving electrons, protons, and ions <a href="">toward</a> the Earth. Although most of this cloud passed above the Earth, some of it impacted our Earth's <a href="">magnetosphere</a> and resulted in <a href="">spectacular auroras</a> being seen at high northern latitudes. <a href="">Featured here</a> is a particularly photogenic <a href="">auroral corona</a> captured above <a href="">Grotfjord</a>, <a href="">Norway</a>. To some, this <a href="">shimmering green glow</a> of recombining atmospheric <a href="">oxygen</a> might appear as a large <a href="">eagle</a>, but feel free to <a href="">share</a> what it looks like to you. Although the Sun is near <a href="">Solar Minimum</a>, streams of the solar wind continue to <a href="">impact the Earth</a> and create <a href="">impressive auroras</a> visible even last week.
The Eagle Rises
Image Credit: Apollo 11, <a href="">NASA</a> - Stereo Image <a href=" about_apod.html#srapply">Copyright</a>: John Kaufmann (<a href="">ALSJ</a>)
Get out your <a href=" VendorList.html#Glasses">red/blue glasses</a> and check out this stereo view from lunar orbit. The 3D <a href="">anaglyph</a> was created from two photographs (<a href=" frame/?AS11-44-6633">AS11-44-6633</a>, <a href=" frame/?AS11-44-6634">AS11-44-6634</a>) taken by astronaut Michael Collins during the 1969 <a href=" apollo-11.html">Apollo 11 mission</a>. It features the lunar module ascent stage, dubbed The Eagle, rising to meet the command module in lunar orbit on July 21. Aboard the <a href="">ascent stage</a> are Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first to <a href="">walk on the Moon</a>. The smooth, <a href="">dark area</a> on the lunar surface is Mare Smythii located just below the equator on the extreme eastern edge of the Moon's near side. Poised beyond the lunar horizon is <a href="">our fair planet Earth</a>.
Magellanic Galaxy NGC 55
Image Credit & <a href="">Copyright</a>: Acquisition - <a href="">Eric Benson</a>, Processing - <a href="">Dietmar Hager</a>
Irregular galaxy NGC 55 is thought to be similar to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). But while <a href="">the LMC</a> is about 180,000 light-years away and a well-known satellite of our own Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 55 is more like 6 million light-years <a href="">distant</a>, a member of the <a href=" scl.html">Sculptor Galaxy Group</a>. Classified as an <a href=" galaxies/r_ga_irregular.html">irregular galaxy</a>, in <a href="">deep exposures</a> the LMC itself resembles a barred disk galaxy. Spanning about 50,000 light-years, NGC 55 is seen nearly edge-on though, presenting a flattened, narrow profile in contrast with our face-on view of the LMC. Just as large star forming regions create <a href="">emission nebulae</a> in the LMC, NGC 55 is also <a href="">seen to be</a> producing new stars. This highly detailed <a href="">galaxy portrait</a> highlights a bright core crossed with dust clouds, telltale pinkish star forming regions, and young blue star clusters in NGC 55.
The Ghost of Jupiter s Halo
Image Credit & <a href="">Copyright</a>: <a href="">CHART32 Team</a>, Processing - <a href="">Johannes Schedler</a> / <a href="">Volker Wendel</a>
<a href="">Close-up</a> images of NGC 3242 show the cast off shroud of a dying, sun-like star fancifully known as The Ghost of Jupiter nebula. But this deep and <a href="">wide telescopic view</a> also finds the seldom seen outer halo of the beautiful planetary nebula at the upper left, toward Milky Way stars and background galaxies in the serpentine constellation Hydra. Intense and otherwise invisible ultraviolet radiation from the nebula's central white dwarf star powers its illusive glow in visible light. <a href="">In fact</a>, planets of NGC 3242's evolved white dwarf star may have contributed to the nebula's symmetric features and shape. Activity beginning in the star's red giant phase, long before it produced a planetary nebula, is likely the cause of the fainter more extensive halo. About a light-year across NGC 3242 is some 4,500 <a href="">light-years away</a>. The tenuous clouds of glowing material at the right could well be interstellar gas, <a href="">by chance close enough</a> to the NGC 3242's white dwarf to be energized by its ultraviolet radiation.
4000 Exoplanets
Video Credit: <a href="">SYSTEM Sounds</a> (<a href="">M. Russo</a>, <a href="">A. Santaguida</a>); Data: <a href="">NASA Exoplanet Archive</a>
Over 4000 planets are now known to exist outside our Solar System. Known as <a href="">exoplanets</a>, this milestone was passed last month, as recorded by <a href="">NASA's Exoplanet Archive</a>. The <a href="">featured video</a> highlights these exoplanets in sound and light, starting chronologically from the first confirmed detection in 1992. The entire night sky is first <a href="">shown compressed</a> with the <a href="">central band</a> of our <a href="">Milky Way Galaxy</a> making a giant U. <a href="">Exoplanets detected</a> by slight jiggles in their parents-star's colors (<a href="">radial velocity</a>) appear in pink, while those detected by slight dips in their parent star's brightness (<a href="">transit</a>) are shown in purple. Further, those exoplanets <a href="">imaged directly</a> appear in orange, while those detected by <a href="">gravitationally magnifying</a> the light of a background star (<a href="">microlensing</a>) are shown in green. The faster a planet orbits its parent star, the higher the accompanying <a href="">tone played</a>. The <a href="">retired</a> <a href="">Kepler</a> satellite has discovered <a href="">about half of these first 4000 exoplanets</a> in just one region of the sky, while the new <a href="">TESS mission</a> is on track to find even more, all over the sky, orbiting the <a href="">brightest</a> nearby stars. Finding <a href="">exoplanets</a> not only helps humanity to better understand the potential <a href="">prevalence of life</a> elsewhere in the universe, but also how our <a href="">Earth</a> and <a href="">Solar System</a> were formed.
Birds During a Total Solar Eclipse
Image Credit & Copyright: <a href="">Leonardo Caldas</a>
What do birds do during a total solar eclipse? Darkness descends more quickly in a total eclipse than during sunset, but returns just as quickly -- and <a href="">perhaps unexpectedly</a> to the avians -- just a few minutes later. Stories about the unusual behavior of birds during eclipses have been <a href="">told for centuries</a>, but bird reactions were recorded and studied systematically by citizen scientists participating in an <a href="">eBird</a> project during the <a href="">total solar eclipse</a> that crossed the USA in <a href="">2017 August</a>. Although some <a href="">unusual behaviors</a> were observed, many <a href="">observers noted</a> birds acting like it was dusk and either landing or flying low to the ground. Radar confirmed a significant decrease in high-flying birds and insects during and just after totality. Conversely, several sightings of normally <a href="">nocturnal birds</a> were reported. Pictured, a <a href="">flock of birds</a> in <a href="">La Serena</a>, <a href="">Chile</a> flew through the air together during the total solar eclipse that crossed <a href="">South America</a> last week. The photographer captured the scene in frames from an <a href="">eclipse video</a>. The next total solar eclipse in <a href="">2020 December</a> will also cross South America, while in <a href="">2024 April</a> a total solar eclipse will cross <a href="">North America</a> from <a href="">Mexico</a> through <a href="">New England</a>, <a href="">USA</a>.
The Galactic Center in Radio from MeerKAT
Image Credit: <a href="">MeerKAT</a>, <a href="">SARAO</a>
What's happening at the center of our galaxy? It's hard to tell with optical telescopes since <a href="">visible light</a> is blocked by intervening interstellar dust. In other bands of light, though, such as <a href="">radio</a>, the <a href="">galactic center</a> can be imaged and shows itself to be quite an <a href="">interesting and active place</a>. The <a href="">featured picture</a> shows the inaugural image of the <a href="">MeerKAT array</a> of 64 radio dishes just completed in <a href="">South Africa</a>. Spanning four times the angular size of <a href="">the Moon</a> (2 <a href="">degrees</a>), the image is impressively vast, deep, and detailed. <a href="">Many known sources</a> are shown in clear detail, including many with a prefix of Sgr, since the Galactic Center is in the direction of the <a href="">constellation Sagittarius</a>. In our Galaxy's Center lies <a href="">Sgr A</a>, found here just to the right of the image center, which houses the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole. Other sources in the image are not as well understood, including <a href="">the Arc</a>, just to the left of <a href="">Sgr A</a>, and numerous filamentary threads. <a href="">Goals for MeerKAT</a> include searching for radio emission from neutral hydrogen emitted in a much younger universe and brief but distant <a href="">radio flashes</a>.


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