Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturn's Rings and A Moon

Space Abstractions

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Flight Physics

Pressure Fingerprint A La Hippie

Credit:Arnold Air Force Base

Pressure-sensitive paint can tell engineers what parts of a plane or shuttle are getting buffeted the most.

The Paint Says It All.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Space A La Mode

Spaced Fashion

So Hot!

Your Space Wardrobe

The Moon and Some Planets

Moon and A Bunch of Planets

Credit: Mike Salway

Moon, Mercury, Jupiter and Mars Conjunction at Dawn

Herschel Ready to Go

Herschel Blue in Kourou

How could I resist? It is all blue. :-)

The European Ariane rocket is ready to shoot this blue baby up in the sky from Kourou, French Guyana.

One fat mirror to go. In fact the biggest mirror of all times is sent out of our atmosphere to take a better look at the rest of the universe.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Far Side of The Moon

The Far Side of The Moon

Credit: JAXA

Credit: JAXA

Figures: The topography maps and free-air gravity maps of the global Moon obtained by JAXA's KAGUYA spacecraft. The far-side is on the left and the near-side is on the right.

"Previous models of far-side gravity of the Moon were not accurate, since from the Earth we cannot track directly the spacecraft over the far-side. KAGUYA has a subsatellite OKINA which can relay the radiowave between the ground and the main satellite, thus establishing a link between the ground station and the main satellite while it is over the far side of the Moon. The orbital tracking of KAGUYA using OKINA produced the first accurate lunar gravity map including the far-side. The lunar far-side impact structures show a lack of strongly extended density anomalies which are observed beneath some impact basins in the near-side. The result suggests that far-side crust was cooler and harder than that of the nearside."

An Eclipse of The Earth

Earth Eclipse

That Even Comes with A Diamond!

The Japanese spacecraft Kaguya has captured the Moon eclipsing planet Earth for the first time. We've had several stunning eclipses lately, and we expect another fabulous solar eclipse in China this July. But we see all those eclipses from planet Earth. Kaguya has seen 'an inverse' Moon eclipse - an eclipse of Earth seen from the Moon. And it comes with a diamond. :-)

Here is a schematic description of an Earth eclipse as seen from the Moon:

You go directly to the JAXA source by clicking on the images (as usual) and here is a couple of other perspectives on the event:

Nancy Atkinson's in Universe Today: Kaguya captures eclipse - from the Moon
Phil Plait's in Bad Astronomy: What does a lunar eclipse look like from the Moon

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Comet Lulin

Credit: Richard Richins

Ok, so I post another image of the lovely Lulin. It is so nice and bluish (I ignore the green tones...). I picked another image of the comet earlier on, when it was smaller. It should be on it's most magnificent seen from Earth right now.

Virtual Space

NASA's Space Game

Preparing for The Future

Ian O'neill gives us a introduction to NASA's in the making virtual space game.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Venus - Glow-in-the-dark

Glow in The Dark Venus

Credit: ESA - AOES Medialab

Nitric oxide [infrared] glow-in-the-dark.

Carbon Observations from The Sky

Orbiting Carbon Observatory

Ready to launch today. Good luck, NASA!

And Action: Feb. 24 at 1:51:30 a.m. PST (4:51:30 a.m. EST).

Blog of OCO Action

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moon Vase

Etruscan Moon

Credit: John Stetson

Saving WIldlife in China after The Quake

After The Quake

Bee hives in tree logs

Rebuilding the 'panda corridor' in China after the 12th May 2008 Earthquake is dangerous business. According to WWF they have hope.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

King Fisher

King Fisher

Photo: Romy Ocon

I've been fascinated by these birds since I was a little girl. Look how determined they appear! Just like me. :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Moon Is Jarlsberg, Mars Is Wasa

Mars Is Made out of Wasa

Stop the press! Water on Mars is old news. We've got it, already. There are traces of water in whatever form on the planet. It is OLD NEWS. HiRISE brings us now the NEW NEWS. Mars is made out of the Swedish crispbread Wasa. The revealing images were taken 27th December 2008 and published last week. It can only be sensorship of the millenium that can explain that these big news are being kept a secret. (I read HiRISE everyday and I am shocked that I obviously is the only reader of this excellent site. The images are stunning.)

Well, I bring you the evidence, people of the internets. It is pretty obvious. You don't need to be a rocket scientist - even though technically speaking I am - to understand that this is Wasa up there on Mars. THAT is News.

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Fans of ice is the official title of this image, ignoring the fact that this is clearly a piece of Wasa crispbread.

Credit: Ola Sæther/BLB

It can only mean two things. Either the Swedes have a space program beyond our wildest dreams and resides on Mars since, well since the medieval Wasa era, and forgot to hide their crispbread before NASA sent all sorts of imagery instruments up there. Or, Mars IS actually made out of Wasa crispbread, just like the Moon is made out of Jarlsberg cheese. You tell me which theory you prefer! :-)


This is how Google presented the Moon at an early stage of Google Moon....


Silk Fibre Formation

Silk Science

Silk is an interesting material, not just because of its beauty, but for scientific reasons as well. Ah, the things we can do with fancy x-rays! :-)

Orbit The Earth

John Orbits The Earth

Credit: NASA

Friendship 7

On Feb. 20, 1962 at 9:47 am EST, John Glenn launched from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 14 to become the first American to orbit the Earth. In this image, Glenn enters his Friendship 7 capsule with assistance from technicians to begin his historic flight.

My hero Yuri Gagarin was the first human to orbit the Earth. I certainly admire the first American who orbited the Earth, John Glenn, too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Moon in Colors

Pretty Full Moon

Hot Merging Galaxies

Merging Galaxies - The Movie

Please, DO play the movie. It is fabulous!

Found via the hot news channel Astrocast.TV blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eta Carina in B&W

Eta Carina in H-Alpha

I felt like black&white. Check a colored version here.

The Outer Planets

Let's Get out of Here!

Credits: NASA/ESA

We Need to Check out The Outer Planets.

ESA and NASA have decided to put their money on the outer planets and their moons. Jupiter and Saturn, here we come, again! :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hubble and Space Debris

Oh, Hubble Baby!

We Are Worried Sick. Look at The Debris!

Read all about the details of the collision causing all the Hubble danger here!


Venus Looking Hot

Credit: NASA/JPL


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Origin of Life

Origin of Life

Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF
The Cosmic Chemistry Cycle

End of Story!

Galileo Galaxy

Golden Galaxy

Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, SSC, and STScI

This golden spiral galaxy is named Messier 101 and is the visible light version of a series of images taken at different wavelenghts.

In honoring the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei, practically the first to use a telescope, the Hubble telescope and many others, release special images for us to enjoy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Galileo on Environment

Grand Galileo

Credits: ESA- J.Huart

Galileo - Europe's Global Navigation Satellite System

Galileo is grand. I'm not thinking of Galileo Galilei, he is grand too of course, but on the European Global Navigation Satellite System named in his honor, Galileo. GNSS is one of the pillars of space geodetic techniques.

It is not that I dislike green, but rather that I LOVE blue and I get so sick and tired of everything called green. Why not blue? After all a clean and healthy OCEAN is environmental even more than the green you find on the continents covering merely 30 % of this planet's surface anyways. I'm just saying....before I give you GreenDrive. :-) Call it BlueDrive and I'll buy several for my car!

GreenDrive advises the driver on the most economical driving style to use, when to accelerate, when to break, and when to keep the speed. This is done on mobile phones and personal navigation devices.

Credits: Road-Guard

Carina Nebula

Bright Eta Carinae

Credit: ESO

Delicate details of the Carina Nebula where Eta Carinae 'lives'.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ariane's First in 2009

Ariane in Air

Credit: : ESA / CNES / Arianespace / Service Optique Video du CSG - P. Baudon

From French Guinea Ariane took a couple of telecommunication satellites to geostationary orbit. Looks fabulous even from here. :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Moon in Beverly Hills

Moon with Beverly Hills Palm Trees

Credit: Marv Lyons

Moon & Circle

Moon with Ring

Credit: Laurent Laveder

I get distracted by the Moon. Always, even if am about to tell a story, or listening to someone else. If I see the Moon I have to tell. With a ring around it like on this image, the distraction time would be longer than average. :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Environment & Humans

Happy Environment - Happy People

I know, the title sounds really childish and naive. But Sandy focus on a very valid statement from a fellow greenblogger in this post, the fact that humans thrive in their natural environment, not among concrete elements.

I grew up on the countryside and here we live in houses that are spread out all over the place. Nothing like the villages you find down in Europe for instance, where all the houses are thrown together. I need this space and it became evident for me at a very early age. I remember driving from our home to Oslo as a kid, noticing that when we approached the capital the housing changed and we saw these housing complexes with several stores high buildings. My first meeting with condo's. It was a depressing shock to me, I asked myself how could anybody possibly live under such degrading conditions. I swear, I got really depressed.

As I am no longer a kid I can see that it is possible to live like that, but what Sandy's article says is that it is important to create green lounges and otherwise make room for plants and greenery and not fill it all with concrete. Pure concrete makes us miserable. Simple as that. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Telescopes in Pink

Pinkish Sky with Telescopes

Credit: Daniel López, IAC

I love telescopes not only for what we can observe with them, but the telescopes themselves. On this image both the zodiac to the left and the Milky Way to the right look painstakingly pink. Normally I can only accept that color with Hello Kitty, but barely even then...

Jason & Jason

Right now we have a tandem situation. Jason-1 and Jason-2 are flying in tandem above our heads. Sounds like fun perhaps, but who cares? And who are Jason and what's with the numbers, anyways?

Credit: NASA
A "family portrait" of Jason-1, Topex/Poseidon, and Jason-2 for 28-Jan-09 at 23:39 UTC,
showing the position of all three satellites as they descend to the southeast, passing over ground station just outside of Toulouse, France.

Obviously we are talking about two distinct Jason's; Jason-1 and Jason-2. They are both satellites orbiting planet Earth carrying altimetry instruments. An altimeter measures the distance from the satellite, where the altimeter is placed, to the surface of the Earth. So the Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellite altimeters measure sea surface height. As you might guess, these satellites are useful tools monitoring changes in sea level, but there are other useful data coming out of these instruments as well.

The sea surface is not at all as smooth and even as we imagine. The oceans are all bumpy and change their bumpiness continuously. By scanning the sea surface height over large areas of the ocean over and over again we get both the real topography (bumpiness) of the oceans as well as their variations. Some of the features of the ocean surface reflect the topography of the ocean bottom, the vast unknown of this planet. Other features are results of climate change and other effects caused by the dynamic processes of the rotating Earth.

 Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jason-2 map of sea-level anomalies from July 4 to July 14, 2008.

Coming back to the tandem satellites Jason-1 and Jason-2 now. It is imperative that we have overlaps between these satellites in order to calibrate the collected data. If we do this right we will have much better and longer time series of for instance the changes of sea surface height and thereby the sea level rise. In the process of this calibration we also gain a much better resolution of the data and hence can see features such as smaller currents and eddies of the oceans that are lost with less spatial resolutions. The tandem simply gives us a sharper eye in the sky.

The Jason's are among the space geodetic tools we rely on to determine the shape of the Earth and its' continuous changes.

The adventure really started with the Topex-Poseidon satellite (you see it mentioned in the first illustration here between the two Jasons') As I said, it is imperative for long time series that we have satellite altimetry instruments continuously measuring the sea surface heights. The international science community has pulled together, struggling to convince the funding agencies that we cannot afford holes in the time series. It was a close call but we are already in the tandem phase now!

It is worth mentioning that this is a successful cooperation between Europe and the US in particular. The major organizations contributing to this mission are EUMETSAT and CNES in Europe and NASA and NOAA in the US, but there are numerous other contributors as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Jupiter from Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This is how Jupiter looks like from Mars. It has slightly different colors, but it is recognizable and almost the same high quality as images taken by Hubble.

The HiRise camera normally takes awesome images of Mars. Thanks to the need for calibration HiRise directed it's 'lenses' towards Jupiter and the original image was blurred (and HiRise got what it needed) but the Earth was good enough for sharpening the images afterwards. Since HiRise is closer to Jupiter than we are the quality of the image ended up being on the same level as Hubble.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hubble Galaxy

A Big Fat Galaxy

Credits: NASA, ESA and K. Cook (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA)

Blame it on Hubble who took 80 separate images of galaxy NGC 4921 and stack them all together. We'd all look fat in 80 images...:-)

The Humongous Version

Rock On!

TNT Rocks!

I adore explosions and while I indulge myself in spectacular celestial explosions like The Big Bang and supernovae, my cousin Ronni has chosen rock as his medium and plays guitar in a rock band called TNT. It must be a family thing...:-)

Stoat in Snow

Winter Happy Stoat

Mustela erminea Linnaeus 1758

This is exactly how happy I am for all the delicious white snow we have right outside the door...:-)

It's skiing time! Yay!

Blue Birds

Steller's Jay

Credit: Walter Amman

For Stellare.

Look! There is one for Xineann, too! :-)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jovian Planets

Helium Rain

Illustration by Jonathan DuBois
"As Jupiter and Saturn cool, the interior of the planets will approach temperatures where hydrogen and helium no longer mix. This process, which is likely to have already occurred in Saturn, could lead to the formation of helium droplets that would "rain down" towards the center of the planet and provide an additional source of heat."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Astronomy News

Astro News The Easy Way

Roving around on Mars for 5 years!, NASA's celebration of the Mars missions, is included in Episode 11 of Astrocast.TV.

For quite some time I have been frenetically rambling around on the internets searching for the hottest news and information about my favorite topics. Astronomy and space exploration are close to my heart and though I really should stay focused on this planet (my job) I can't help but soaking up whatever I can get hold of of astronomy, astrophysics and space explorations. I've found a set of sites providing me with that information, but when I found this internet TV station I can finally settle for fewer stops. In 10 minutes or so you get a pretty good wrap up of the last months news in the field. And it is read out loud for you with both pictures and videos. :-)

This month they have of course included some space celebrating NASAs 5 years on Mars. (go to appx 5:10 min).

On their blog you can go deeper into the material if you like and find links to more stuff. I hope they'll include even more material on their blogs in the future.

If you prefer the YouTube interface the programs are available there too.

I learned that CNN has stopped their dedicated science and space programs. Too bad they don't see how they can use the new media then. Astrocast.TV is an example of what exciting times we live in media wise. Anybody can make their own TV station now! :-)