Google released more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space Thursday compiled into an interactive time-lapse experience. Working with data from the Landsat Program managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the images display an historical perspective on changes to Earth's surface over time.
Currently, there are more than 800 confirmed exoplanets -- planets that orbit stars beyond our sun -- and more than 2,700 other candidates. Researchers are using infrared pictures, taken by ground-based telescopes equipped with spectrographs, to probe these planets' makeup.
Project 1640, partly funded by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, recently found precise composition information about four exoplanets using the Palomar Observatory near San Diego.
On May 10, 2013, the sun will experience what’s called an annular eclipse – when the moon moves directly in front of the sun, but doesn’t obscure it completely. This leaves a thin, fiery ring, the annulus, visible around the outside.
This eclipse will only be visible from the South Pacific, along an approximately 100-mile-wide track that traverses Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Gilbert Islands.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found the building blocks for Earth-sized planets in an unlikely place-- the atmospheres of a pair of burned-out stars called white dwarfs.
These dead stars are located 150 light-years from Earth in a relatively young star cluster, Hyades, in the constellation Taurus. The star cluster is only 625 million years old. The white dwarfs are being polluted by asteroid-like debris falling onto them.
NASA engineer Acey Herrera recently checked out copper test wires inside the thermal shield of the Mid-Infrared Instrument, known as MIRI, that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.
The shield is designed to protect the vital MIRI instrument from excess heat. At the time of the photo, the thermal shield was about to go through rigorous environmental testing to ensure it can perform properly in the extreme cold temperatures that it will encounter in space.
The Orion crew module is being put through a series of tests that simulate the massive loads the spacecraft would experience during a mission. Different test phases simulate launch, ascent, launch abort, launch abort system separation, reentry and landing.
During its first flight test in 2014, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), Orion will travel 3,600 miles into space and return to Earth, allowing NASA to evaluate Orion's performance in preparation for deep space missions.
The Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
The biggest surprise was the hot gas in the innermost central region of the galaxy.
The team hypothesizes that emissions from strong shocks in highly magnetized gas in the region may be a significant contributor to the high temperatures.
Infrared and visible imagery from NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-West) were combined to create an animation showing the smoke plume on May 3, 2013, from California's Springs Fire. The smoke plume is seen blowing west and out over the eastern Pacific Ocean.
As the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite flew over Indonesia's Flores Sea April 29, it captured an image of Paluweh volcano spewing ash into the air. The satellite's Operational Land Imager detected the white cloud of smoke and ash drifting northwest, over the green forests of the island and the blue waters of the tropical sea. The Thermal Infrared Sensor on LDCM picked up even more.
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 1:32 p.m. EDT on May 3, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This flare is an M5.7-class flare, the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects on Earth.