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N 26 B 292 C 0 E Jul 14, 2020 F Jul 14, 2020
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Astronomers using a previously captured Hubble imagery spotted a remarkable image of a young star's unseen, planet-forming disk casting a huge shadow across a more distant cloud in a star-forming region. The star is called HBC 672, and the shadow feature was nicknamed the "Bat Shadow" because it resembles a pair of wings. The nickname turned out to be unexpectedly appropriate, because now those "wings" appear to be flapping!

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI

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Tags:   NASA NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center NASA Marshall Marshall MSFC Goddard Space Flight Center GSFC Hubble Hubble Space Telescope star Serpens Nebula EC 82

N 51 B 1.8K C 0 E Jul 10, 2020 F Jul 13, 2020
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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has given astronomers their most detailed look to date at the X-ray jet blasting out of the nucleus of M87, a giant elliptical galaxy 50 million light years away in the constellation Virgo.

The 2001 X-ray image of the jet reveals an irregular, knotty structure similar to that detected by radio telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope. At the extreme left of the image, the bright galactic nucleus harboring a supermassive black hole shines. The jet is thought to be produced by strong electromagnetic forces created by matter swirling toward the supermassive black hole. These forces pull gas and magnetic fields away from the black hole along its axis of rotation in a narrow jet. Inside the jet, shock waves produce high-energy electrons that spiral around the magnetic field and radiate by the "synchrotron" process, creating the observed radio, optical and X-ray knots. Synchrotron radiation is caused by high-speed charged particles, such as electrons, emitting radiation as they are accelerated in a magnetic field.

By using the High Energy Transmission Grating (HETG) with the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) detector aboard Chandra, the scientists were able to measure accurately the spectrum, or distribution of the X-rays with energy. This provided strong support for the model where electrons are accelerated to high energies in the knots, radiating X-rays by the synchrotron process.

The spectrum and intensity of the X-rays from the galactic nucleus also indicate that this radiation is not caused by hot gas produced by material falling into the supermassive black hole. Instead, a high-energy, as yet unresolved, outflow close to the black hole may be producing the X-rays by the same synchrotron process that explains the knots in the jet observed by Chandra.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/H.Marshall et al. Radio: F. Zhou, F.Owen (NRAO), J.Biretta (STScI) Optical: NASA/STScI/UMBC/E.Perlman et al.

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N 102 B 2.6K C 0 E Jul 11, 2020 F Jul 11, 2020
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Psyche, the NASA mission to explore a metal-rock asteroid of the same name, recently passed a crucial milestone that brings it closer to its August 2022 launch date. Now the mission is moving from planning and designing to high-gear manufacturing of the spacecraft hardware that will fly to its target in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Mission scientists and engineers worked together to plan the investigations that will determine what makes up the asteroid Psyche, one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt. Scientists think that, unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, Psyche is largely metallic iron and nickel – similar to Earth's core – and could be the heart of an early planet that lost its outer layers.

In this image, an electric Hall thruster, identical to those that will be used to propel the Psyche spacecraft, undergoes testing at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The blue glow is produced by the xenon propellant, a neutral gas used in car headlights and plasma TVs.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

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N 209 B 3.3K C 2 E Jul 10, 2020 F Jul 10, 2020
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A multitude of magnificent, swirling clouds in Jupiter's dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Appearing in the scene are several bright-white "pop-up" clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval.

This color-enhanced image was taken at 4:58 p.m. EDT on Oct. 29, 2018 as the spacecraft performed its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 4,400 miles from the planet's cloud tops, at a latitude of approximately 40 degrees north.

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager

Image Credit: Enhanced Image by Gerald Eichstädt and Sean Doran (CC BY-NC-SA)/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

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N 114 B 3.0K C 0 E Aug 14, 2009 F Jul 9, 2020
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This week in 1994, space shuttle Columbia, mission STS-65, launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center carrying the second International Microgravity Laboratory. Managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and located in the Spacelab module in Columbia's payload bay, IML-2 contained more than twice the experiments and facilities as IML-1, with more than 80 experiments, representing more than 200 scientists from six space agencies. The experiments included investigations of space biology, human physiology, radiation biology, and bioprocessing. Today, the Payload Operations Integration Center at Marshall serves as "science central" for the International Space Station, working 24/7, 365 days a year in support of the orbiting laboratory's science experiments. The NASA History Program is responsible for generating, disseminating, and preserving NASA's remarkable history and providing a comprehensive understanding of the institutional, cultural, social, political, economic, technological, and scientific aspects of NASA's activities in aeronautics and space. For more pictures like this one and to connect to NASA's history, visit the Marshall History Program's webpage.

Image credit: NASA

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