Cool astronomy photos

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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sparks wrote: Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:58 am Fucking idiots.
I heard of a similar case where strange bands appeared on the observatory's spectrograms… every time the astronomer lit his pipe.

Perhaps apocryphal, perhaps it was Hubble:

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It was the cat. You can see the mischief in its eyes.
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M77: Spiral Galaxy with an Active Center

What's happening in the center of nearby spiral galaxy M77? The face-on galaxy lies a mere 47 million light-years away toward the constellation of the Sea Monster (Cetus). At that estimated distance, this gorgeous island universe is about 100 thousand light-years across. Also known as NGC 1068, its compact and very bright core is well studied by astronomers exploring the mysteries of supermassive black holes in active Seyfert galaxies. M77 and its active core glows bright at x-ray, ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio wavelengths. The featured sharp image of M77 was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and is dominated by the (visible) red light emitted by hydrogen. The image shows details of the spiral's winding spiral arms as traced by obscuring dust clouds, and red-tinted star forming regions close in to the galaxy's luminous core.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
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Apollo 13 Views of the Moon

What if the only way to get back to Earth was to go around the far side of the Moon? Such was the dilemma of the Apollo 13 Crew in 1970 as they tried to return home in their unexpectedly damaged spacecraft. With the Moon in the middle, their perilous journey substituted spectacular views of the lunar farside for radio contact with NASA's Mission Control. These views have now been digitally recreated from detailed images of the Moon taken by the robotic Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The featured video starts by showing Earth disappear behind a dark lunar limb, while eight minutes later the Sun rises around the opposite side of the Moon and begins to illuminate the Moon's unusual and spectacularly cratered surface. Radio contact was only re-established several minutes after that, as a crescent Earth rose into view. With the gravity of the Moon and the advice of many industrious NASA engineers and scientists, a few days later Apollo 13 opened its parachutes over the Pacific Ocean and landed safely back on Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200303.html

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NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Snaps Its Highest-Resolution Panorama Yet

NASA's Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape. The rover's Mast Camera, or Mastcam, used its telephoto lens to produce the panorama; meanwhile, it relied on its medium-angle lens to produce a lower-resolution, nearly 650-million-pixel panorama that includes the rover's deck and robotic arm.

Both panoramas showcase "Glen Torridon," a region on the side of Mount Sharp that Curiosity is exploring. They were taken between Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, when the mission team was out for the Thanksgiving holiday. Sitting still with few tasks to do while awaiting the team to return and provide its next commands, the rover had a rare chance to image its surroundings from the same vantage point several days in a row. (Look closer: A special tool allows viewers to zoom into this panorama.)

It required more than 6 1/2 hours over the four days for Curiosity to capture the individual shots. Mastcam operators programmed the complex task list, which included pointing the rover's mast and making sure the images were in focus. To ensure consistent lighting, they confined imaging to between noon and 2 p.m. local Mars time each day.


Interactive panoramas at the link: https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8621/nasas-c ... orama-yet/
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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First, I know practically zero about cameras. Some education would be nice. But not too much! I'll end up buying something stupid if I get too smart.
Witness wrote: Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:37 am
NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Snaps Its Highest-Resolution Panorama Yet

NASA's Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape.
That works out to 18 megapixels per shot, naively

I presume that was taken by the Mastcam
https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/spacecraft/in ... s/mastcam/
Specs state it has a resolution of 1600x1200, which in turn equates to only 1.9 megapixels.
How did they turn 1.9 into 18?
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Rob Lister wrote: Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:55 am First, I know practically zero about cameras. Some education would be nice. But not too much! I'll end up buying something stupid if I get too smart.
Witness wrote: Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:37 am
NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Snaps Its Highest-Resolution Panorama Yet

NASA's Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape.
That works out to 18 megapixels per shot, naively

I presume that was taken by the Mastcam
https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/spacecraft/in ... s/mastcam/
Specs state it has a resolution of 1600x1200, which in turn equates to only 1.9 megapixels.
How did they turn 1.9 into 18?
1.8 billion divided by 1,000 images is about 1.8 million pixels per image, I think. I think you missed a zero somewhere.
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Fucking decimals. They should at least be bigger.
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Rob Lister wrote: Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:55 am First, I know practically zero about cameras. Some education would be nice. But not too much! I'll end up buying something stupid if I get too smart.
A lot of cameras nowadays can do panoramas internally: you launch the process and just swipe the field of view you want. In my experience it doesn't work too well. So you do it by hand, taking overlapping pictures (~ 30 %) to assemble afterwards on your computer.
Microsoft has an excellent freeware (gasp! a Microsft freeware!) for that: Image Composite Editor.

If you're really into panoramas you'll use a motorized tripod to get the overlaps automatically. (They aren't yet at the point where you just can tell them "go take some pictures of…")

You want to buy a camera?
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Democrats want to abort that nebula.

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Comet ATLAS may soon be visible to the naked eye

C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) is racing toward the Sun — and possibly a place in the history books.

Image

Right now, odds are that Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) will be wonderful. Just maybe it will be the most amazing thing you will ever see — a great comet for the history books. Here’s what we might be able to expect.

Y4 was discovered on December 29, 2019, by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) search program, one of the several automated sky surveys looking for potential Earth-crossing asteroids. Discovering comets is essentially a byproduct of this endeavor. At the time, C/2019 Y4 was a feeble magnitude 19.6 and located at nearly 3 astronomical units from the Sun — almost twice as far from our star as Mars. (One astronomical unit, or AU, is the average Earth-Sun distance.)

In mid-March, Y4 ATLAS surged 4 magnitudes, fueling rumors that it will just keep getting brighter, peaking at magnitude –8. But back in 2000, C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) dropped the same amount on its approach and dissolved rapidly.

David Levy wrote that “Comets are like cats. They have tails and they do whatever they want.” Despite the best observations and understanding, these dirty snowballs can fizzle out with no notice even farther from the Sun than Mars’ orbit, a distance Y4 ATLAS reaches at April’s start.

The description here covers what we’re likely to witness: a fantastic display like Comet C/1975 V1 West delivered in 1976. Stay hopeful for the comet of a generation and realize that, at worst, it will still be a nice binocular object.

Image
Between the end of March and the middle of June, ATLAS will slip through several familiar constellations and come close to some easily identifiable bright stars, including Capella, Aldebaran, and Betelgeuse.
https://astronomy.com/news/observing/20 ... -naked-eye
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You'll have to click: https://vreddit.cc/bw149fco1ap41
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Witness wrote: Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:45 pm You'll have to click: https://vreddit.cc/bw149fco1ap41
Boy howdy, when they dive me buddy to the Pacific grave yard I want pictures, porn, de-orbital satellite stuff the likes of which may never be seen again. If any spacecraft's demise should be documented it's Hubble. The tech exists. The balls exist. We await.
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Dragon fight on Jupiter.

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Such potential!
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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I wonder if they ever figured out how to explain Jupiter's red spot.

Did a large object like a comet or an asteroid collide with Jupiter there, thus causing a storm?

Or maybe the solid core of Jupiter has a tall mountain there?

What is different about that one spot?
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Anaxagoras wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:47 amWhat is different about that one spot?
*snicker! snicker!*

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"tee hee"
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Image
Hubble Spots Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

This new Hubble Space Telescope view of Jupiter, taken on June 27, 2019, reveals the giant planet's trademark Great Red Spot, and a more intense color palette in the clouds swirling in Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere than seen in previous years. The colors, and their changes, provide important clues to ongoing processes in Jupiter's atmosphere.

The bands are created by differences in the thickness and height of the ammonia ice clouds. The colorful bands, which flow in opposite directions at various latitudes, result from different atmospheric pressures. Lighter bands rise higher and have thicker clouds than the darker bands.

The new image was taken in visible light as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy program, or OPAL. The program provides yearly Hubble global views of the outer planets to look for changes in their storms, winds and clouds. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed Jupiter when the planet was 400 million miles from Earth, when Jupiter was near "opposition" or almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky.
https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/hubb ... t-red-spot
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still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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A starry night in the Pillars of Creation

Image

Located about 7,000 light-years away in the Eagle Nebula (M16), the so-called Pillars of Creation is one of the many wonders of the cosmos. There’s almost something humbling about seeing photos of it, no matter what wavelength of light is used.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been taking stunning photos of the Pillars of Creation since 1995, when it first captured its iconic visible-light image. The above image, however, was taken in infrared light, which results in this shadowy view of the pillars. Because infrared light easily cuts through cosmic dust and gas, the stars in this unique view shine brighter, and the pillars themselves appear as ghostly silhouettes against a dark blue haze.

The Pillars of Creation were first discovered in 1745 by Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux. They stretch about 55 to 70 light-years across, harboring a cosmic nursery where new stars are born.

Image
These two views of the Pillars of Creation show the difference that observing a target through various wavelengths can make. The visible light view (left) misses many stars in and around the pillars that are shrouded by dust. However, stars are plentiful in the infrared view (right) because infrared light effectively cuts through interstellar gas and dust.
https://astronomy.com/news/2020/04/a-st ... f-creation
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NASA dreams big:
Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravitational Lens Mission

The solar gravitational lens (SGL) is characterized by remarkable properties: it offers brightness amplification of up to a factor of ~1e11 (at 1 um) and extreme angular resolution (~1e-10 arcsec). As such, it allows for extraordinary observational capabilities for direct high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of Earth-like exoplanets.
Under a Phase II NIAC program, we confirmed that a mission to the strong interference region of the SGL (beyond 547.6 AU) carrying a meter-class telescope with a solar coronagraph would directly image a habitable Earth-like exoplanet within our stellar neighborhood. For an exo-Earth at 30 pc, the telescope could measure the brightness of the Einstein ring formed by the exoplanet’s light around the Sun. Even in the presence of the solar corona, the SNR is high enough that in 6 months of integration time one can reconstruct the exoplanet image with ~25 km-scale surface resolution, enough to see surface features and signs of habitability.
https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/space ... Exoplanet/ for the details.

tl;dr: get a telescope far away enough to use the sun for gravitational lensing.
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Witness wrote: Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:33 pm NASA dreams big:
Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravitational Lens Mission
https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/space ... Exoplanet/ for the details.

tl;dr: get a telescope far away enough to use the sun for gravitational lensing.
I thought this seemed familiar.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=33009&p=949430&hili ... ns#p949430
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Another NASA project:
Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) on the Far-Side of the Moon

Image

An ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope on the far-side of the Moon has tremendous advantages compared to Earth-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes, including: (i) Such a telescope can observe the universe at wavelengths greater than 10m (i.e., frequencies below 30MHz), which are reflected by the Earth's ionosphere and are hitherto largely unexplored by humans, and (ii) the Moon acts as a physical shield that isolates the lunar-surface telescope from radio interferences/noises from Earth-based sources, ionosphere, Earth-orbiting satellites, and Sun’s radio-noise during the lunar night. We propose to deploy a 1km-diameter wire-mesh using wallclimbing DuAxel robots in a 3-5km-diameter lunar crater on the far-side, with suitable depth-to-diameter ratio, to form a sphericalcap reflector. This Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT), with 1km diameter, will be the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the Solar System! LCRT could enable tremendous scientific discoveries in the field of cosmology by observing the early universe in the 10– 50m wavelength band (i.e., 6–30MHz frequency band), which has not been explored by humans till-date.

Image
https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/space ... telescope/
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I like that very much. Without thinking too hard, rather than tow the wires across the crater, fire them over like a mortar shell. The lack of atmosphere would enable pretty precise placement. The energy necessary to do it would be trivial.
“(Siegel) found that, assuming the golfing astronaut knew how to adjust his approach to properly take advantage of the Moon's environment, he could easily hit the ball 2.5 miles. Perhaps even more amazingly, the ball would likely stay in the air for about 70 seconds before finally coming to a rest.
Alan Shepard would be proud.
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↑ How do you make sure the lines anchor correctly each time?
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Witness wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:17 pm ↑ How do you make sure the lines anchor correctly each time?
Robots do that. Or that chick they plan on sending. Whatever.

But that part of the mission--traversing the crater--probably represents the greatest risk. Circumnavigating it, not so much.

Either way I see it as doable and useful. I'll write the head of NASA and tell him I approve.

ETA: Then again, why the need to put the receiver in a gravity well? Why not just construct it in space. It couldn't possible be more complicated or expensive than the James Webb boondoggle. Musk could do it in a month!
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30 Years, 30 Images

We're sharing one captivating image per day from each of Hubble’s years in orbit to count down to Hubble’s 30th anniversary on April 24, 2020.

Image
Lots more pics, in big sizes you can zoom in: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahubbl ... 3228021437

[Bad link edited.]
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So so many dick pics... but that may just be me.
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Some folks are up to no good in a few years regarding Mercury.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... l_2020.gif
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Witness wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:13 am
Comet ATLAS may soon be visible to the naked eye
Bad news:
The shattered heart of comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS

Image

After observations suggesting the presence of fragments in the inner coma of C/2019 Y4 ATLAS, we imaged this comet every night. In particular, tonight we observed at least three fragments, telling that the comet really experienced a breakup event. Here it is in our image.

The image above comes from the average of 63, 60-seconds exposures, remotely taken with the “Elena” robotic unit (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) available at Virtual Telescope in Rome. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the comet and images were stacked using the orbit of the comet, to provide the best accuracy. Image scale is 0.63″/pixel. No image processing was performed, to preserve the reliability of the visible features. The signal-to-noise ratio is quite good, so it is possible to do, carefully, some image processing.

In the upper left insert, you can see the central region, this time after applying an unsharp masking filtering: there are at least four fragments there, telling us the comet broke up for sure, this causing the evident fading trend of the object.
https://earthsky.org/todays-image/the-s ... 9-y4-atlas
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And good news:
NASA's Curiosity Keeps Rolling As Team Operates Rover From Home

Image

For people who are able to work remotely during this time of social distancing, video conferences and emails have helped bridge the gap. The same holds true for the team behind NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. They're dealing with the same challenges of so many remote workers — quieting the dog, sharing space with partners and family, remembering to step away from the desk from time to time — but with a twist: They're operating on Mars.

On March 20, 2020, nobody on the team was present at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where the mission is based. It was the first time the rover's operations were planned while the team was completely remote. Two days later, the commands they had sent to Mars executed as expected, resulting in Curiosity drilling a rock sample at a location called "Edinburgh."

The team began to anticipate the need to go fully remote a couple weeks before, leading them to rethink how they would operate. Headsets, monitors and other equipment were distributed (picked up curbside, with all employees following proper social-distancing measures).

Not everything they're used to working with at JPL could be sent home, however: Planners rely on 3D images from Mars and usually study them through special goggles that rapidly shift between left- and right-eye views to better reveal the contours of the landscape. That helps them figure out where to drive Curiosity and how far they can extend its robotic arm.

But those goggles require the advanced graphics cards in high-performance computers at JPL (they're actually gaming computers repurposed for driving on Mars). In order for rover operators to view 3D images on ordinary laptops, they've switched to simple red-blue 3D glasses. Although not as immersive or comfortable as the goggles, they work just as well for planning drives and arm movements.

The team ran through several tests and one full practice run before it was time to plan the "Edinburgh" drilling operation.
https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8647/nasas-c ... from-home/

Driving the faithful robot from home, cool! :)
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Messier 14 star cluster:

Image

Details if interested: http://www.messier.seds.org/m/m014.html
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Abdul Alhazred wrote: Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:47 am But really not all that messy. :p
I get the (somewhat lame) pun, but think of it: they all orbit the center of gravity but as the cluster is not flattened like a galaxy there is no common plane where they do that. The orbital mechanics must be horrendous – would you want our solar system to be part of that?

From their Wiki page:
The results of N-body simulations have shown that the stars can follow unusual paths through the cluster, often forming loops and often falling more directly toward the core than would a single star orbiting a central mass. In addition, due to interactions with other stars that result in an increase in velocity, some of the stars gain sufficient energy to escape the cluster. Over long periods of time this will result in a dissipation of the cluster, a process termed evaporation. The typical time scale for the evaporation of a globular cluster is 1010 years. In 2010 it became possible to directly compute, star by star, N-body simulations of a globular cluster over the course of its lifetime.
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USA!USA!USA!
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https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200419.html

So much data to be recovered with modern techniques .
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
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Shakes fist impotently at Abdul for beating me to this!
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
Carl Sagan