Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in planet Earth's sky. Called a solstice, many cultures mark this date as a change of seasons -- from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. Precisely, the single time of solstice occurs today for some parts of the world, but tomorrow for other regions. The featured image was taken during the week of the 2008 summer solstice at Stonehenge in United Kingdom, and captures a picturesque sunrise involving fog, trees, clouds, stones placed about 4,500 years ago, and a 4.5 billion year old large glowing orb. Even given the precession of the Earth's rotational axis over the millennia, the Sun continues to rise over Stonehenge in an astronomically significant way.



Nights grow shorter and days grow longer as the summer solstice approaches in the north. Usually seen at high latitudes in summer months, noctilucent or night shining clouds begin to make their appearance. Drifting near the edge of space about 80 kilometers above the Earth's surface, these icy clouds were still reflecting the sunlight on June 14. Though the Sun was below the horizon as seen north of Forrest, Manitoba, Canada, they were caught in a single exposure of a near midnight twilight sky. Multiple exposures of the foreground track the lower altitude flash of fireflies, another fleeting apparition shining in the summer night.


Nighttime Image of Texas Cities

On Monday, June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their freedom. That day of liberation became known as Juneteenth, when the Emancipation Proclamation was announced by Union troops in Galveston, Texas.

On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law legislation making Juneteenth, "a federal holiday, recognizing that (1) history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future; and (2) the celebration of the end of slavery is an important and enriching part of the history and heritage of the United States," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

This nighttime image, taken by the Expedition 36 crew aboard the International Space Station in 2013, shows most of the metropolitan areas of Texas, with Galveston in the lower right corner.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov

Atmospheric refraction flattened the solar disk and distorted its appearance in this telescopic view of an Atlantic sunrise on June 10. From Belmar, New Jersey on the US east coast, the scene was recorded at New Moon during this season's annular solar eclipse. The Moon in partial silhouette gives the rising Sun its crescent shape reminding some of the horns of the devil (or maybe a flying canoe ...). But at its full annular phase this eclipsed Sun looked like a ring of fire in the heavens. June's annular solar eclipse followed on the heels of the total lunar eclipse of late May's Full Moon. Of course, that total lunar eclipse was a dramatic red Blood Moon eclipse.


The HiDRON stratospheric glider from Stratodynamics is seen over New Mexico

In a series of flights between June 1-6, 2021, Stratodynamics Inc. launched its HiDRON stratospheric glider from a high-altitude balloon at Spaceport America in New Mexico. HiDRON carried technology supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program for the first time. The uncrewed HiDRON stratospheric glider from Stratodynamics is designed to release from a sounding balloon at near-space altitude, enabling a controlled descent for technology payloads aboard. The glider also achieves higher velocity than a balloon flight alone – one of the reasons NASA-supported researchers from the University of Kentucky chose Stratodynamics as the flight provider for testing of turbulence detection instruments.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration: "Clear air turbulence is air movement created by atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts or thunderstorms. It can be unexpected and can happen when the sky appears to be clear." Turbulence can be dangerous and has been know to injure passengers on commercial flights.

The series of flights aimed to help researchers assess the performance of a wind probe from the University of Kentucky and an infrasonic microphone sensor developed by researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, which Stratodynamics licensed from NASA in 2020. Together, the instruments are designed to aid turbulence detection for remote-piloted and autonomous aerial vehicles, including commercial aircraft and on-demand delivery drones.

Learn more about this research.

Image Credit: Stratodynamics, Inc./UAVOS


Source: www.nasa.gov

NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula, is a about 25 light-years across blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. A triumvirate of astroimagers ( Joe, Glenn, Russell) created this sharp portrait of the cosmic bubble. Their telescopic collaboration collected over 30 hours of narrow band image data isolating light from hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The oxygen atoms produce the blue-green hue that seems to enshroud the detailed folds and filaments. Visible within the nebula, NGC 6888's central star is classified as a Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136). The star is shedding its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind, ejecting the equivalent of the Sun's mass every 10,000 years. The nebula's complex structures are likely the result of this strong wind interacting with material ejected in an earlier phase. Burning fuel at a prodigious rate and near the end of its stellar life this star should ultimately go out with a bang in a spectacular supernova explosion. Found in the nebula rich constellation Cygnus, NGC 6888 is about 5,000 light-years away.


Moonikin

When NASA’s Orion spacecraft launches aboard the powerful Space Launch System rocket for the spacecraft’s first mission around the Moon later this year, a suited manikin will be aboard outfitted with sensors to provide data on what crew members may experience in flight. As part of the uncrewed Artemis I flight test, NASA is seeking to learn how best to protect astronauts for Artemis II, the first mission with crew.

In this image, engineers use a suited manikin that will fly on Artemis I to conduct vibration testing at Kennedy Space Center on Orion’s seat and energy dampening system – called the Crew Impact Attenuation System – for qualification ahead of Artemis II. 

The manikin flying on Artemis I will occupy the commander’s seat inside Orion, be equipped with two radiation sensors, and wear a first-generation Orion Crew Survival System suit – a spacesuit astronauts will wear during launch, entry, and other dynamic phases of their missions. The manikin’s seat will be outfitted with two sensors – one under the headrest and another behind the seat – to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission.

NASA is holding a naming contest beginning Wednesday, June 16 for the manikin that will fly on an upcoming mission around the Moon. Find out about how you can participate in the Name the Moonikin contest.

Learn more on Tumblr: Name the Artemis Moonikin! Choose your player!

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov

If Scorpius looked this good to the unaided eye, humans might remember it better. Scorpius more typically appears as a few bright stars in a well-known but rarely pointed out zodiacal constellation. To get a spectacular image like this, though, one needs a good camera, a dark sky, and some sophisticated image processing. The resulting digitally-enhanced image shows many breathtaking features. Diagonal across the image right is part of the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Visible there are vast clouds of bright stars and long filaments of dark and intricate dust. Rising vertically on the image left are dark dust bands known as the Dark River. Several of the bright stars on the left are part of Scorpius' head and claws, and include the bright star Antares. Numerous red emission nebulas, blue reflection nebulas, and dark filaments became visible as the deep 17-hour expo image developed. Scorpius appears prominently in southern skies after sunset during the middle of the year.


Space Launch System (SLS) core stage

Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs lower the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage – the largest part of the rocket – onto the mobile launcher, in between the twin solid rocket boosters, inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 12, 2021. The 188,000-pound core stage, with its four RS-25 engines, will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust during launch and ascent, and coupled with the boosters, will provide more than 8.8 million pounds of thrust to send the Artemis I mission to space. Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, as well as establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface in preparation for human missions to Mars.

Image Credit: NASA/Cory Huston


Source: www.nasa.gov

There's a new rover on Mars. In mid-May, China's Tianwen-1 mission delivered the Zhurong rover onto the red planet. As Mars means Planet of Fire in Chinese, the Zhurong rover's name means, roughly, God of Fire in Chinese mythology. Zhurong landed in northern Utopia Planitia, the largest known impact basin in the Solar System, and an area reported to have much underground ice. Among many other scientific instruments, Zhurong carries ground-penetrating radar that can detect ice buried even 100-meters deep. Car-sized Zhurong is pictured here next to its landing base. The image was snapped by a remote camera deployed by the rolling rover. Zhurong's planned 90-day mission includes studying the geology, soil, and atmosphere of Mars in Utopia Planitia.


John Young saluting the flag while jumping!

June 14 of each year is celebrated as Flag Day in the U.S. According to the Library of Congress's online site, "on May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14. The day commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States."

All NASA spacecraft include a United States flag. Through the decades, our nation's flag has been placed on the Moon, headed into interstellar space, accompanied rovers on Mars, and been featured on spacesuits.

In this iconic image, Mission Commander John Young salutes the flag while jumping! The Apollo 16 Lunar Module Orion and the Lunar Roving Vehicle are in the background.  

Feature: Flag Day – Flying High: The Stars and Stripes in Space

View: Flags Aboard NASA Missions Gallery

Image Credit: NASA/Charlie Duke


Source: www.nasa.gov

What does the largest moon in the Solar System look like? Jupiter's moon Ganymede, larger than even Mercury and Pluto, has an icy surface speckled with bright young craters overlying a mixture of older, darker, more cratered terrain laced with grooves and ridges. The cause of the grooved terrain remains a topic of research, with a leading hypothesis relating it to shifting ice plates. Ganymede is thought to have an ocean layer that contains more water than Earth -- and might contain life. Like Earth's Moon, Ganymede keeps the same face towards its central planet, in this case Jupiter. The featured image was captured last week by NASA's robotic Juno spacecraft as it passed only about 1000 kilometers above the immense moon. The close pass reduced Juno's orbital period around Jupiter from 53 days to 43 days. Juno continues to study the giant planet's high gravity, unusual magnetic field, and complex cloud structures.

Last week's solar eclipse: Notable images submitted to APOD


Eclipses tend to come in pairs. Twice a year, during an eclipse season that lasts about 34 days, Sun, Moon, and Earth can nearly align. Then the full and new phases of the Moon separated by just over 14 days create a lunar and a solar eclipse. Often partial eclipses are part of any eclipse season. But sometimes the alignment at both new moon and full moon phases during a single eclipse season is close enough to produce a pair of both total (or a total and an annular) lunar and solar eclipses. For this eclipse season, the New Moon following the Full Moon's total lunar eclipse on May 26 did produce an annular solar eclipse along its northerly shadow track. That eclipse is seen here in a partially eclipsed sunrise on June 10, photographed from a fishing pier in Stratford, Connecticut in the northeastern US.

Notable images submitted to APOD: June 10 solar eclipse


On June 10 a New Moon passed in front of the Sun. In silhouette only two days after reaching apogee, the most distant point in its elliptical orbit, the Moon's small apparent size helped create an annular solar eclipse. The brief but spectacular annular phase of the eclipse shows a bright solar disk as a ring of fire when viewed along its narrow, northerly shadow track across planet Earth. Cloudy early morning skies along the US east coast held gorgeous views of a partially eclipsed Sun though. Rising together Moon and Sun are captured in a sequence of consecutive frames near maximum eclipse in this digital composite, seen from Quincy Beach south of Boston, Massachusetts. The serendipitous sequence follows the undulating path of a bird in flight joining the Moon in silhouette with the rising Sun.


A partial solar eclipse is seen as the sun rises behind the United States Capitol Building, Thursday, June 10, 2021, as seen from Arlington, Virginia.

A partial solar eclipse is seen as the Sun rises behind the United States Capitol Building, Thursday, June 10, 2021, as seen from Arlington, Virginia. The annular or “ring of fire” solar eclipse is only completely visible in Greenland, Northern Russia, and Canada. 

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls


Source: www.nasa.gov

Want to see a ring around the Sun? It's easy to do in daytime skies around the world. Created by randomly oriented ice crystals in thin high cirrus clouds, circular 22 degree halos are visible much more often than rainbows. This one was captured by smart phone photography on May 29 near Rome, Italy. Carefully blocking the Sun, for example with a finger tip, is usually all that it takes to reveal the common bright halo ring. The halo's characteristic angular radius is about equal to the span of your hand, thumb to little finger, at the end of your outstretched arm. Want to see a ring of fire eclipse? That's harder. The spectacular annular phase of today's (June 10) solar eclipse, known as a ring of fire, is briefly visible only if you're standing along the Moon's narrow shadow track that passes over parts of northern Canada, Greenland, the Arctic, and eastern Russia. The solar eclipse is partial though, when seen from broader regions, including northern Asia, Europe, and parts of the US.


Arp 299

One definition for goulash, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a mixture of heterogeneous elements, or jumble. This 2017 image of galaxy Arp 299 is just that.

Arp 299 is a system located about 140 million light-years from Earth, containing two galaxies that are merging, which has created a partially blended mix of stars from each galaxy.

Data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory reveals 25 bright X-ray sources sprinkled throughout the Arp 299 concoction. Fourteen of these sources are such strong emitters of X-rays that astronomers categorize them as "ultra-luminous X-ray sources," or ULXs.

This composite image of Arp 299 contains X-ray data from Chandra (pink), higher-energy X-ray data from NuSTAR (purple), and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (white and faint brown). Arp 299 also emits copious amounts of infrared light that have been detected by observatories such as the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Crete/K. Anastasopoulou et al, NASA/NuSTAR/GSFC/A. Ptak et al; Optical: NASA/STScI


Source: www.nasa.gov

This moon appears multiply strange. This moon was a full moon, specifically called a Flower Moon at this time of the year. But that didn't make it strange -- full moons occur once a month (moon-th). This moon was a supermoon, meaning that it reached its full phase near its closest approach to the Earth in its slightly elliptical orbit. Somewhat strange, a supermoon appears a bit larger and brighter than the average full moon -- and enables it to be called a Super Flower Moon.  This moon was undergoing a total lunar eclipse. An eclipsed moon can look quite strange, being dark, unevenly lit, and, frequently, red -- sometimes called blood red. Therefore, this moon could be called a Super Flower Blood Moon. This moon was seen through thin clouds. These clouds created a faint corona around the moon, making it look not only strange, but colorful. This moon was imaged so deeply that the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, far in the background, was visible to its lower right. This moon, this shadow, this galaxy and these colors were all captured last month near Cassilis, NSW, Australia -- with a single shot. (Merged later with two lower shots that better capture the Milky Way.)

Details: Annular Solar Eclipse Tomorrow
Gallery: Total Eclipse of the Super Flower Blood Moon

The station's solar arrays drape across the Earth's horizon

In this view from aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, a pair of the International Space Station's main solar arrays seemingly drape across the Earth's horizon as the orbital lab soars 271 miles above the south Atlantic in between Argentina and South Africa.

Earth is a pale, blue dot when seen from space because our home planet is 71 percent water. NASA monitors Earth's water from space, the skies, ground stations on land, ships sailing the seas and even with apps on mobile phones.

While Earth is so wet it looks blue from space, most of that water is saltwater. Less than three percent of Earth's water is fresh water and nearly all of that water is frozen – locked up in polar ice caps, glaciers and other ice. The small amount of fresh water that remains is all that's available for all the ways we use water.

Learn more: When It Comes to Water, You Have to Think Global

#WorldOceanDay

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov

What do you see in the clouds of Jupiter? On the largest scale, circling the planet, Jupiter has alternating light zones and reddish-brown belts. Rising zone gas, mostly hydrogen and helium, usually swirls around regions of high pressure. Conversely, falling belt gas usually whirls around regions of low pressure, like cyclones and hurricanes on Earth. Belt storms can form into large and long-lasting white ovals and elongated red spots. NASA's robotic Juno spacecraft captured most of these cloud features in 2017 during perijove 6, its sixth pass over the giant planet in its looping 2-month orbit. But it is surely not these clouds themselves that draws your attention to the displayed image, but rather their arrangement. The face that stands out, nicknamed Jovey McJupiterFace, lasted perhaps a few weeks before the neighboring storm clouds rotated away. Juno has now completed 33 orbits around Jupiter and just yesterday made a close pass near Ganymede, our Solar System's largest moon.



What’s that new spot of light in Cassiopeia? A nova. Although novas occur frequently throughout the universe, this nova, known as Nova Cas 2021 or V1405 Cas, became so unusually bright in the skies of Earth last month that it was visible to the unaided eye. Nova Cas 2021 first brightened in mid-March but then, unexpectedly, became even brighter in mid-May and remained quite bright for about a week. The nova then faded back to early-May levels, but now is slightly brightening again and remains visible through binoculars. Identified by the arrow, the nova occurred toward the constellation of Cassiopeia, not far from the Bubble Nebula. A nova is typically caused by a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star that is accreting matter from a binary-star companion -- although details of this outburst are currently unknown. Novas don't destroy the underlying star, and are sometimes seen to recur. The featured image was created from 14 hours of imaging from Detroit, Michigan, USA. Both professional and amateur astronomers will likely continue to monitor Nova Cas 2021 and hypothesize about details of its cause.