After 15 Years NASA’s TIMED Spacecraft Keeps On Ticking

It may not be the first (or even second or third) satellite mission that comes to mind but NASA and JHUAPL’s TIMED mission continues to deliver invaluable data about Earth’s upper atmosphere over 15 years after its launch on Dec. 7, 2001. In fact its extended long-duration stay in orbit has allowed TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics)…

Does Earth Have a New Moon? Kinda But Not Really

This week NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced news of an object traveling around the Sun in an orbit that keeps it relatively close to our own planet. The object, a near-Earth asteroid (NEO) less than 300 feet (100 m) across, is designated 2016 HO3 and has in some reports been called a “new” or “mini”…

Europe’s Sentinel-3A Returns Gorgeous “First Light” Earth Images

Captured by the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite on Feb. 29, 2016, this beautiful composition of blacks, purples, and blues shows the twilight transition across the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located north of the Arctic Circle between Norway and the North Pole.  The snow-covered and fjord-cut large island of Spitsbergen can be seen at the right edge, while sea ice…

And the Award for Leading Trojan Moon Goes To…

Drumroll please… the little moon Telesto! (You like it, you really like it!) This image, captured by Cassini on Jan. 14, 2016, shows Saturn’s moon Telesto – a “leading trojan” of the much larger satellite Tethys. A trojan moon is one that orbits a parent body within the same path as a more massive satellite,…

Passing 2-Mile-Wide Asteroid Has Its Own Little Moon

On the afternoon of Friday, May 31, 2013, at 4:59 p.m. EDT, the nearly two-mile-wide asteroid 1998 QE2 will pass by our planet at a distance of about 5.86 million km (3.64 million miles)… about 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. And although it poses no threat of impacting Earth neither during…

Our Electric Earth at Night: the “Black Marble”

In daylight our big blue marble is all land, oceans and clouds. But the night is electric. This image of North and South America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The new data was mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic…

Hello, Earth!

It’s the 2012 version of the “Blue Marble“! Here’s an amazing new high-definition portrait of our planet, made by NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite launched back on October 28. This is a composite image created from multiple scans taken with the satellite’s Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). Suomi NPP is the first satellite designed to collect…

Ripples in the Sky

Here’s something interesting… This Saturday I was looking at some timelapse video from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope’s Cloudcam… those are beautiful in their own right, but really I was interested in seeing if there was any visual of the reentering UARS. After doing some time-zone math, I realized that the satellite would be reentering before it…

Grimsvotn GOES Boom

Watch as a huge cloud of ash bursts into the upper atmosphere from Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano in this sequence of images taken by NASA’s GOES-13 weather observation satellite. The oblique angle of illumination and position along the edge of the globe emphasizes the incredible vertical scale of the eruption. (Click to play.) Grímsvötn erupted on…

MESSENGER’s Day in the Sun

After 7 years and almost 5 billion of miles of traveling around the blistering inner solar system NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft is finally ready for the moment it was created for: orbital insertion around Mercury, the innermost planet! At 9pm EDT tomorrow MESSENGER will attempt to establish orbit and if successful will become the first spacecraft…

Eclipses From Orbit

Can’t see the video below? Click here to watch. In another view of Tuesday’s partial solar eclipse, the European Space Agency’s Proba-2 satellite captured this video of the Moon passing in front of the Sun from its position in low-Earth orbit. Taken in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light, best for observing details of the Sun’s corona,…