NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has been continuously observing the sun since its launch in 2010. From its vantage point above Earth, it sees the moon pass in front of the sun 2 to 5 times a year.
Megalodons – the extinct giant sharks that lived in most of Earth’s oceans about 3 million years ago – gave birth to babies that were larger than adult humans, scientists say.
For millennia, humans have viewed the northern and southern lights – aurora borealis and aurora australis – and created myths and folklore to explain the dancing lights they saw in the sky.
Northern lights in Alaska by Manish Mamtani Photography.
Astronomers have a new measurement for the distance of quasar J0313-1806, making it the new record-holder for the most distant quasar known. We’re seeing it just 670 million years after the Big Bang, or more than 13 billion light-years away.
Artist’s impression of quasar J0313-1806. Quasars are highly luminous objects in the early universe, thought to be powered by supermassive black holes. This illustration shows a wide accretion disk around a black hole, and depicts an extremely high-velocity wind, flowing at some 20% of light-speed, found in JO313-1806's vicinity. Image via NOIRLab/ NSF/ AURA/ J. da Silva/ Keck Observatory
. View an annotated version of this image. https://earthsky.org/upl/2021/01/supesupermassive-black-hole-quasar-JO313-1806-artist.png
The first comet to be found in 2021 – labeled C/2021 A1 (Leonard) – might become the brightest comet of this year! Charts and more info here.
This is what a comet looks like - just a dot to our eyes - when it's far from the sun. Astronomers spotted Comet Leonard (inside the tick marks) in early January 2021, a year before its closest sweep past our sun. The comet might be visible to the unaided eye by the end of this year. Read more about this image
, which is via astronomer Filipp Romanov.
Space’sX CRS-21 Cargo Dragon returned to Earth from the ISS today, January 13, 2021, splashing down off the coast of Florida for the first time ever. The ship also succeeded in the first-ever autonomous undocking.
Numerous private vessels approach the spacecraft after splashdown, as seen in this recovery photograph of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule in August, 2020. Image via Spaceflight Now/NASA/Bill Ingalls. / Support teams arrive at the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, shortly after it splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on Aug. 2, 2020, for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Behind them is the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship, where Crew Dragon was taken for Behnken and Hurley to exit the capsule. The final flight test for SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, Demo-2 will pave the way for the agency to certify the company’s transportation system for regular, crewed flights to the orbiting laboratory.
The 6th-brightest star in the night sky, Capella, is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere constellation Auriga the Charioteer. This star is also one of the points in the Winter Hexagon.
The Capella system consists of 2 close-orbiting yellow stars. Their orbital period is 104 days, not dissimilar from the orbit of Mercury, our sun's innermost planet. This high-resolution image is from the Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope and the Atlas of the Universe
The brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter sky form the shape of a large hexagon, or circle, that will help you locate 6 constellations.
New work agrees with older research suggesting the oldest light in the universe – from the most distant galaxy yet known – started its journey toward us 13.77 billion years ago.
In 2013, the Planck space telescope
created the most detailed map to date of what's called the cosmic microwave background
, the relic radiation from the Big Bang. It was the mission’s first all-sky picture of the oldest light in our universe, imprinted on the sky when it was just 380 000 years old. Now a new, independent study agrees with Planck's results. That's good news for astronomers trying to pin down the universe's age. Image via ESA