Tycho and Clavius

South is up in this detailed telescopic view across the Moon’s rugged southern highlands. Captured on July 20, the lunar landscape features the Moon’s young and old, the large craters Tycho and Clavius. About 100 million years young, Tycho is the sharp-walled 85 kilometer diameter crater near center, its 2 kilometer tall central peak in bright sunlight and dark shadow. Debris ejected during the impact that created Tycho still make it the stand out lunar crater when the Moon is near full, producing a highly visible radiating system of light streaks, bright rays that extend across much of the lunar Read more »

EHT Resolves Central Jet from Black Hole in Cen A

How do supermassive black holes create powerful jets? To help find out, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) imaged the center of the nearby active galaxy Centaurus A. The cascade of featured inset images shows Cen A from it largest, taking up more sky than many moons, to its now finest, taking up only as much sky as an golf ball on the moon. The new image shows what may look like two jets — but is actually two sides of a single jet. This newly discovered jet-edge brightening does not solve the jet-creation mystery, but does imply that the particle Read more »

A Perseid Meteor and the Milky Way

It was bright and green and flashed as it moved quickly along the Milky Way. It left a trail that took 30 minutes to dissipate. Given the day, August 12, and the direction, away from Perseus, it was likely a small bit from the nucleus of Comet Swift-Tuttle plowing through the Earth’s atmosphere — and therefore part of the annual Perseids meteor shower. The astrophotographer captured the fireball as it shot across the sky in 2018 above a valley in Yichang, Hubei, China. The meteor’s streak, also caught on video, ended near the direction of Mars on the lower left. Read more »

Rolling to the Launch Pad

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen as it is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. via NASA

Pluto in Enhanced Color

Pluto is more colorful than we can see. Color data and high-resolution images of our Solar System’s most famous dwarf planet, taken by the robotic New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby in 2015 July, have been digitally combined to give an enhanced-color view of this ancient world sporting an unexpectedly young surface. The featured enhanced color image is not only esthetically pretty but scientifically useful, making surface regions of differing chemical composition visually distinct. For example, the light-colored heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio on the lower right is clearly shown here to be divisible into two regions that are geologically different, with Read more »