The majestic Lagoon Nebula is filled with hot gas and the home for many young stars. Spanning 100 light years across while lying only about 5000 light years distant, the Lagoon Nebula is so big and bright that it can be seen without a telescope toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). Many bright stars are visible from NGC 6530, an open cluster that formed in the nebula only several million years ago. The greater nebula, also known as M8 and NGC 6523, is named "Lagoon" for the band of dust seen to the left of the open cluster's center. The featured image was taken in three colors with details are brought out by light emitted by Hydrogen Star formation continues in the Lagoon Nebula as witnessed by the many dark dust-laden globules that exist there.


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Lake Stappitz in the Seebach Valley near Mallnitz, High Tauern National Park, Carinthia, Austria



What would it be like to explore the Moon? NASA's Apollo missions gave humans just this chance in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In particular, the Apollo 15 mission was dedicated to better understanding the surface of the Moon by exploring mountains, valleys, maria, and highlands. Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin spent nearly three days on the Moon while Alfred Worden orbited above in the Command Module. The mission, which blasted off from Earth on 1971 July 26, was the first to deploy a Lunar Roving Vehicle. Pictured in this digitally stitched mosaic panorama, David Scott, exploring his surroundings, examines a boulder in front of the summit of Mt. Hadley Delta. The shadow of James Irwin is visible to the right, while scrolling to the right will reveal a well-lit and diverse lunar terrain. The Apollo 15 mission returned about 76 kilograms of moon rocks for detailed study. In the future, NASA and other space agencies plan to continue to lead humanity's exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.


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Droste effect with red ligthing as part of the Interference visual effects event in the Tunis Medina, Tunisia.



Tonight the Moon is young again, but this stunning image of a young Moon near the western horizon was taken just after sunset on October 10. On the lunar disk Earthshine, earthlight reflected from the Moon's night side, is embraced by the slim, sunlit crescent just over 2 days old. Along the horizon fading colors of twilight silhouette the radio telescope dish antennas of the Very Large Array, New Mexico, planet Earth. The view from the Moon would be stunning, too. When the Moon appears in Earth's sky as a slender crescent, a dazzlingly bright, nearly full Earth would be seen from the lunar surface. A description of earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth's oceans in turn illuminating the Moon's dark surface, was written 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci.


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The western facade of Schloss Falkenlust. The Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces form a historical building complex in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.


Tiny bright green plots of land torn through the middle by an overwhelming dark navy Nueces River

On Nov. 1, 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured a false-color view of flooding along the Nueces River in a series of storms that have delivered historic amounts of rain to central Texas. The remnants of the category 3 storm, Hurricane Willa, weakened Texas dry terrain, pushing in a stream of moisture and rain. The deluge saturated soils, overfilled lakes and reservoirs, and pushed rivers over their banks. One river even flowed backwards. Dallas Fort Worth Airport recorded 39.77 centimeters (15.66 inches) of rain in October 2018, making it the wettest October on record there, according to the National Weather Service. 

Annotated images: NASA Earth Observatory

Image Credit: NASA/Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and IMERG data from the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) at NASA/GSFC
Story by Adam Voiland


Source: www.nasa.gov

Don't panic. This little planet projection looks confusing, but it's actually just a digitally warped and stitched, nadir centered mosaic of images that covers nearly 360x180 degrees. The images were taken on the night of October 31 from a 30 meter tall hill-top lookout tower near Tatabanya, Hungary, planet Earth. The laticed lookout tower construction was converted from a local mine elevator. Since planet Earth is rotating, the 126 frames of 75 second long exposures also show warped, concentric star trails with the north celestial pole at the left. Of course at this location the south celestial pole is just right of center but below the the little planet's horizon.


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Panoramic view from the Hagener Hütte at the mountain pass Niederer Tauern near Mallnitz (Carinthia) towards Naßfeld Valley, High Tauern National Park, federal state of Salzburg, Austria


Curling frozen waterways sprawling across the Dnieper River

Curling snow drifts are magnified by the terrain around the 1,400 mile Dnieper River, flowing from Russia to the Black Sea.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a member of the Expedition 50 crew, captured this image from the International Space Station on "Feb. 9th, 2017, saying, "winter landscapes are also magical from the International Space Station: this river north of Kiev reminds me of a Hokusai painting." 

Each day, the International Space Station completes 16 orbits of our home planet as the crew conducts important science and research. Their work will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into space than ever before. Crew members on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique perspective, hovering 200 miles above us, documenting Earth from space. This record is crucial to how we see the planet changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions.

Credits: NASA/ESA/Thomas Pesquet


Source: www.nasa.gov

This composite of images spaced some 5 to 9 days apart, from late April (bottom right) through November 5 (top left), traces the retrograde motion of ruddy-colored Mars through planet Earth's night sky. To connect the dots and dates in this 2018 Mars retrograde loop, just slide your cursor over the picture (and check out this animation). But Mars didn't actually reverse the direction of its orbit. Instead, the apparent backwards motion with respect to the background stars is a reflection of the motion of the Earth itself. Retrograde motion can be seen each time Earth overtakes and laps planets orbiting farther from the Sun, the Earth moving more rapidly through its own relatively close-in orbit. On July 27, Mars was near its favorable 2018 parihelic opposition, when Mars was closest to the Sun in its orbit while also opposite the Sun in Earth's sky. For that date, the frame used in this composite was taken during the total lunar eclipse.


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Ploskaya Tower of the Kremlin in Pskov, Russia.


Brilliant red and yellow sunrise over the ocean with the Orion test capsule in front of the USS Murtha ship

On Nov. 1, 2018, the USS John P. Murtha recovered the test version of the Orion capsule at sunset in the Pacific Ocean. The Underway Recovery Test-7 (URT-7) is one in a series of tests that the Exploration Ground Systems Recovery Team, along with the U.S. Navy, are conducting to validate procedures and hardware that will be used to recover the Orion spacecraft after it splashes down following deep space exploration missions. Orion will have the capability to sustain the crew during space travel, provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities, and emergency abort. 

Photo edited by NASA/Ron Beard, Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray


Source: www.nasa.gov

Dark shapes with bright edges winging their way through dusty NGC 6188 are tens of light-years long. The emission nebula is found near the edge of an otherwise dark large molecular cloud in the southern constellation Ara, about 4,000 light-years away. Born in that region only a few million years ago, the massive young stars of the embedded Ara OB1 association sculpt the fantastic shapes and power the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation. The recent star formation itself was likely triggered by winds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massive stars, that swept up and compressed the molecular gas. With image data from the Chilescope Observatory, a false-color Hubble palette was used to create this gorgeous wide-field image and shows emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in red, green, and blue hues. The field of view spans about four full Moons, corresponding to about 150 light years at the estimated distance of NGC 6188.


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Rocks at Vlychada Beach in Exomytis, Santorini, Greece


orange hue enveloping Earth is known as airglow—diffuse bands of light that stretch 50 to 400 miles into our atmosphere

On October 7, 2018, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph while orbiting at an altitude of more than 250 miles over Australia. 

The orange hue enveloping Earth is known as airglow—diffuse bands of light that stretch 50 to 400 miles into our atmosphere. The phenomenon typically occurs when molecules (mostly nitrogen and oxygen) are energized by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. To release that energy, atoms in the lower atmosphere bump into each other and lose energy in the collision. The result is colorful airglow.

Airglow reveals some of the workings of the upper reaches of our atmosphere. It can help scientists learn about the movement of particles near the interface of Earth and space, including the connections between space weather and Earth weather. Satellites offer one way to study this dynamic zone. NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite will help scientists understand the physical processes at work where Earth’s atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space.


Source: www.nasa.gov

There's even a California in space. Drifting through the Orion Arm of the spiral Milky Way Galaxy, this cosmic cloud by chance echoes the outline of California on the west coast of the United States. Our own Sun also lies within the Milky Way's Orion Arm, only about 1,500 light-years from the California Nebula. Also known as NGC 1499, the classic emission nebula is around 100 light-years long. On the featured image, the most prominent glow of the California Nebula is the red light characteristic of hydrogen atoms recombining with long lost electrons, stripped away (ionized) by energetic starlight. The star most likely providing the energetic starlight that ionizes much of the nebular gas is the bright, hot, bluish Xi Persei just to the right of the nebula. A regular target for astrophotographers, the California Nebula can be spotted with a wide-field telescope under a dark sky toward the constellation of Perseus, not far from the Pleiades.


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Hoverflies (Simosyrphus grandicornis) mating in midair. Taken in October 2006 at Swifts Creek, Victoria, Australia.


a large river discharge event, which resulted in a mesmerizing dark river plume contrasting with the deep blue color of the Gulf

In a dense swampland in Georgia, just north of the Florida border, you find the headwaters of the Suwannee River. The Suwannee is known as a “blackwater river” because of its dark-brown waters laden with organic material. This river system has been called one of the most pristine in the United States, but some environmental pressures are putting that distinction in jeopardy.

Unlike other blackwater rivers, the Suwannee maintains its inky color along its entire 400-kilometer (250-mile) journey to the sea. When the river finally meets the Gulf of Mexico along Florida’s Big Bend—that portion of coast where the state’s panhandle curves to meet its peninsula—its dark waters act like a tracer, revealing whereby the river water mixes with the sea. That mixing was on display on February 20, 2015, when the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 captured this view. 

The image above was entered into NC State’s Envisioning Science image contest by Alice Alonso, a former research scientist in the university’s Biosystems Analytics Lab and now a researcher at the Université catholique de Louvain. As she described, the image “captures a large river discharge event, which resulted in a mesmerizing dark river plume contrasting with the deep blue color of the Gulf of Mexico.” It is, in effect, a testament to the freshwater contribution of the Suwannee River to the sea and an echo of the unique, swampy ecosystem.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Dr. Alice Alonso, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Story by Laura Rocchio, NASA Landsat Science Outreach.


Source: www.nasa.gov

Do you see the horse's head? What you are seeing is not the famous Horsehead nebula toward Orion but rather a fainter nebula that only takes on a familiar form with deeper imaging. The main part of the here imaged molecular cloud complex is a reflection nebula cataloged as IC 4592. Reflection nebulas are actually made up of very fine dust that normally appears dark but can look quite blue when reflecting the light of energetic nearby stars. In this case, the source of much of the reflected light is a star at the eye of the horse. That star is part of Nu Scorpii, one of the brighter star systems toward the constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). A second reflection nebula dubbed IC 4601 is visible surrounding two stars to the right of the image center.


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Interior view of one of the domes of the Shah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran. The mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage site started its construction in 1611, during the Safavid dynasty per order of Abbas I of Persia. It's considered one of the masterpieces of Persian architecture in the Islamic era.