Posts tagged moon
While in its new higher elliptical orbit, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter may be trying to conserve fuel but it’s certainly not holding back on the amazing images!
The shot above — actually a mosaic of 8 separate images taken during 4 consecutive orbits — shows Giordano Bruno, a 21-km (13-mile) wide crater that may be the result of a comet or asteroid impact 10 million years ago. To us, that’s a long time — longer than humans have walked on Earth. But to a 4.5 billion-year-old Moon, that’s just yesterday!
See the full size zoomable mosaic here.
According to Alan Boyle at MSNBC.com:
The sun is in the midst of an upswing in its 11-year activity cycle, heading toward an expected maximum in 2013. Right now there are five sunspot regions on the sun’s Earth-facing side, and two of them — 1513 and 1515 — are considered capable of sending out M-class flares. Such flares are generally associated with moderate disruption of radio communication and navigation systems. As for today’s CME, the most likely effect will be heightened displays of the northern and southern lights.
CME or not, it looks as if it’s a good week for auroras, judging from the pictures being sent in to SpaceWeather.com’s real-time image gallery. The prime time for auroras generally begins at just about the time of night that the fireworks shows are finishing up. And there’s more to see besides the fireworks: This happens to be a great week for seeing the full moon and Mars in sunset skies, or seeing Jupiter and Venus just before dawn. Sky and Telescope has the week’s rundown.
And if anyone gets any great images (of auroras or the moon or anything else, even fireworks), submit them here. We will publish them on this Tumblr and on our site.
Up to 22 percent of the surfaces of Shackleton Crater, located near the moon’s south pole, may be water ice — but that’s not a lot.
Images: False color image of Shackleton crater, located near the moon’s south pole, was made with more than 5 million elevation measurements from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s laser altimeter instrument (NASA/GSFC/SVS);
With so many exciting celestial bodies in our solar system and beyond, it’s easy to take the moon for granted. Sure, NASA crashed a probe into the lunar surface for science recently, but no human being has set foot on the moon since Apollo 17 in December 1972.
Now Ian Crawford of Birkbeck College in London and his colleagues have co-authored a paper making the case for a return manned mission to the moon, to augment the many remote-sensing spacecraft sent into lunar orbit over the last ten years.
It’s probably one of the least known space race anniversaries, but this month marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s selection of lunar orbit rendezvous for the Apollo Program. This one decision shaped the way the whole program looked.
We’re all used to seeing pictures from the Apollo Program with astronauts standing in front of spidery lunar modules; the small craft took two men to the surface while a third waited in orbit. It’s a mission mode called “lunar orbit rendezvous,” and it was never NASA’s first choice when it considered how to get men to the moon.
Image: 22 April 1972: The Apollo 16 Lunar Module (LM) “Orion” in early lunar liftoff phase is featured in this lunar scene at the Descartes landing site. The still picture is a reproduction taken from a color television transmission made by a TV camera mounted on the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV).
Witnessed only seven times since the time of Galileo, Venus’s solar crossing on Tuesday (June 5) is a rare and historic event that shouldn’t be missed. Unless modern science discovers a way to delay or halt the aging process, this will be the last Venus transit we’ll ever get to see in our lifetime — the next transit won’t take place until 2117, or 105 years from now.
The transit of Venus in 2012 will begin at about 3:09 p.m. PDT (6:09 p.m. EDT or 2209 GMT) and last nearly seven hours as Venus crosses the face of the sun, according to NASA. Observers on seven continents, including part of Antarctica, will be able to see the Venus transit, though for some skywatchers the event will occur on Wednesday, June 6, due to the International Date Line.
It’s one of the first things kids learn when they start to turn their heads skywards: never look directly at the sun. Even if there’s a solar eclipse you’re dying to see, don’t do it.
It turns out the Hubble Space Telescope operates under the same guidelines –- it can’t look directly at the sun.
This isn’t normally something astronomers want to do, but the upcoming transit of Venus is too exciting to miss with Hubble’s amazing eyes in the sky. So to protect its cameras, the orbiting telescope is going to use perhaps the neatest way to observe the transit. It’s going to use the moon as a mirror.
Astronomers call it perigee-syzygy; the rest of us call it “supermoon.” Either way, the alignment of the sun and moon will coincide with the moon’s closest approach to Earth on Saturday (May 5), resulting in the biggest full moon of the year. But don’t worry, it won’t break Earth.
Saturday’s supermoon will be especially super. Richard Nolle, the astrologer who coined the term “supermoon,” defined it as a full moon that occurs within 12 hours of lunar perigee, or the point in the moon’s slightly non-circular monthly orbit when it swings closest to our planet. On Saturday, the timing of the two events will be almost perfect: the moon will reach its perigee distance of 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) — the closest lunar perigee of 2012, in fact — at 11:34 p.m. Eastern Time, and it will fall in line with the sun (thereby becoming full) just one minute later.