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25 Interesting Space Images – Part 1

13. Self-portrait

13. Self-portrait

Buzz Aldrin’s self-portrait during Gemini 12 with the Earth reflecting off his visor, 12 November 1966.

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14. Orion

14. Orion

A 212-Hour Exposure of Orion. The constellation of Orion is much more than three stars in a row. It is a direction in space that is rich with impressive nebulas. To better appreciate this well-known swath of sky, an extremely long exposure was taken over many clear nights in 2013 and 2014. After 212 hours of camera time and an additional year of processing, the featured 1400-exposure collage spanning over 40 times the angular diameter of the Moon emerged. Of the many interesting details that have become visible, one that particularly draws the eye is Barnard’s Loop, the bright red circular filament arcing down from the middle. The Rosette Nebula is not the giant red nebula near the top of the image — that is a larger but lesser known nebula known as Lambda Orionis. The Rosette Nebula is visible, though: it is the red and white nebula on the upper left. The bright orange star just above the frame center is Betelgeuse, while the bright blue star on the lower right is Rigel. Other famous nebulas visible include the Witch Head Nebula, the Flame Nebula, the Fox Fur Nebula, and, if you know just where to look, the comparatively small Horsehead Nebula. About those famous three stars that cross the belt of Orion the Hunter — in this busy frame they can be hard to locate, but a discerning eye will find them just below and to the right of the image center.

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15. Milky Way

15. Milky Way

Milky Way over the Rocky Mountains at 11,000 Feet.

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16. Martian Sand Dunes

16. Martian Sand Dunes

Martian sand dunes via the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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17. Earth

Star trail composite created with iss030e173064 thru iss030e173259

A long exposure of our planet as seen through the windows of the ISS’s Cupola Module by Don Pettit, NASA astronaut.

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18. Thor’s Helmet

18. Thor's Helmet

Thor’s Helmet – A 30 light year wide bubble of oxygen, fit for a god. Although there is enough oxygen there for us to take this picture, each molecule would be too far apart for a human floating in it to breath in this bubble. Our atmosphere is rather thick that we’re used to breathing in.

NGC 2359 (also known as Thor’s Helmet) is an emission nebula in the constellation Canis Major. The nebula is approximately 15,000 light-years away. The central star is the Wolf-Rayet star HD 56925, an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution.

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19. Pillars of Creation

New view of the Pillars of Creation — infrared

Infrared Image of the Pillars of Creation.

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20. Visible Universe

20. Visible Universe

The visible Universe in one photo. This is an extremely low resolution image of a tiny subsection of the universe, the part detected by the human eye. If you look up at night you’ll see half of this at a lower intensity. This image has a few wavelengths of the milkyway. They universe looks more like this. Each little speck is a galaxy or cloud. If you look at this close-up you can see the super clusters and filaments that the galaxies end up forming.

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21. Venus

21. Venus

Pictures of the surface of Venus taken by the soviet probes in the 70’s. Those arms were used to analyze the surface. On one of the lander’s, a camera lens cover happened to end up right under the sensor, so they analyzed the lens cap. They must have been so pissed off. It’s the one on the left. In the image on the right, you see the lens cap laying on the ground with the probe next to it. In the photo on the left, you can see the other probe resting on lens cap.

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22. Volcanic plume

Erupting into Space An 86-mile-high volcanic plume explodes above the horizon of Jupiter’s moon Io. The plume is erupting over a caldera (volcanic depression), named Pillan Patera, after a South American god of thunder, fire, and volcanoes. Galileo, June 28, 1997 Credit: NASA; JPL; PIRL; University of Arizona; Kinetikon Pictures

An 86-mile-high volcanic plume explodes above the horizon of Jupiter’s moon Io. Io has a rocky body, much like our moon. Unlike our moon however, which is effectively tectonically dead, Io’s core is kept continuously heated due to the strain of gravity from Jupiter and the other Galilean moons – Ganymede, Europe and Callisto. Imagine a giant solid stress ball that you pull and squeeze in several directions at the same time; it causes huge amounts of friction, which in turn, causes lots of heat and pressure. Active volcanoes spit out liquid sulfur and other material that give Io its unique colors.

Also, Jupiter does actually have a liquid interior (much like earth has a semi-liquid mantle) – it jut happens to be one made of metallic hydrogen, which is basically a super high-pressure version of regular old hydrogen, which can only exist under huge gravitational force.

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23. Europa

23. Europa

Jupiter’s moon Europa hanging over the Great Red Spot. That storm was 3x the size of Earth. The storm has been steadily shrinking (over decades of time) and can only contain one Earth now. We may live to finally see the end of this long lived phenomenon.

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24. Spooky planet

24. Spooky planet

What spooky planet is this? Planet Earth of course, on the dark and stormy night of September 12 at Hverir, a geothermally active area along the volcanic landscape in northeastern Iceland. Geomagnetic storms produced the auroral display in the starry night sky while ghostly towers of steam and gas venting from fumaroles danced against the eerie greenish light.

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25. Solar Eclipse on Mars

25. Solar Eclipse on Mars

This is Phobos, one of Mars’ moons, passing directly in front of the sun as seen by Curiosity rover. Phobos is too small to form a sphere. Our moon is just large enough to be round. Also Phobos is thought to be captured by mars not a ejected part of mars like the moon and earth. A body has to be 500 miles in diameter to have enough gravity to shape itself into a sphere. Luna’s diameter is over 2100 miles so its plenty big. Phobos comes in at 16 miles across at its widest point.

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  • Just goes to show how truly small we are in the universe. Thanks for the awesome pictures, and a double thanks for the humorous write ups. Definitely learned a few things today. Space is cool.

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