Earthshine

It may look like a science fiction film but it’s very much science reality: a view from the window of the International Space Station, taken on November 7 by astronaut Doug Wheelock, shows external structures lit by a cool blue light reflected off our planet – “Earthshine” – while the bright crescent of dawn blooms…

Lovely Leonids

It was cloudy in my neck of the woods last night so I missed any Leonids I would have seen (not to mention the ever-present bubble of light that surrounds my city), but it was nice and clear where my friend Li Kim lives and she was enthusiastic enough to get out and capture some…

A Smooth Approach to Hartley 2

The video above was created by Daniel Macháček (of UnmannedSpaceflight.com fame) and shows a smoothed-out version of Deep Impact’s (d.b.a. EPOXI) now-world-famous pass of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 on November 4, 2010. Using Squirlz Morph freeware he was able to use five close-up images from the spacecraft and turn them into an animation that portrays a very…

Visiting a Comet

They’re calling it a “peanut with jets”…Comet Hartley 2, discovered 26 years ago by astronomer Malcolm Hartley, received a brief but fascinating visit today by NASA’s EPOXI spacecraft at 10:01 am EDT. Images were received on Earth half an hour later, and I assembled these initial 5 close-ups into the rough animation above. (Click to…

VLT: A Space Opera

Here’s an enchanting video by the European Southern Observatory highlighting the discoveries of their Very Large Telescope (VLT) array, high in the mountains of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Atacama is the driest place on Earth, far from the light pollution of major cities, and thus provides the clearest, darkest skies allowing these massive…

Reflecting on Titan

This soon-to-be historic image, released today, shows a glint of sunlight reflecting off the surface of a lake on Titan. Taken by the Cassini spacecraft’s Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) in July 2009, the image has been extensively researched by scientists to make sure it was in fact a reflection off of a liquid…

Billions and Billions

Talk about lights in the dark! The image above is a low-res version of what amounts to 22 months of dedicated work by Central Michigan University astronomer Axel Mellinger, traveling across the United States and South Africa and assembling over 3,000 individual images to create the most extensive and detailed – and zoomable – portrait…

Feature: Interview With Mars Mission Control

I recently had the chance to ask some questions to the people at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, CA who are in charge of the Mars rover missions. Behind each of the photos I post here has an entire team of engineers, administrators and talented individuals without whom we would never have seen any…