Launched on October 15, 1997, NASA’s Cassini spacecraftNotes 1 went into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. Since then, it has taken thousands of photos of Saturn, the second-largest planet in the Solar System, its prominent rings, and moons. And On September 15, 2017, Cassini plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere and disintegrated. Here are the 20 most beautiful photos that the spacecraft has sent back to Earth during its 13-year voyage around the gas giant.
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On Monday, August 21, an estimated 2 million to 7.4 million Americans traveled to see the first total solar eclipse in 99 years to go coast to coast in the United States, which went from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. But, some of them were unlucky, as the weather was overcast in some places. But, luckily for them (and for us), NASA captured some amazing and beautiful images of the eclipse and published them on their web site.
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On September 1, 2017, a potentially hazardous asteroid named 3122 Florence skimmed past Earth from a mere 4.4 million miles (7 million km) distance. The huge asteroid, which is around 2.7 mile (4.4 km) wide, was the “biggest object passed this close to Earth since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began”, according to Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The close flyby was captured with an amateur astronomer using a 80 mm F5 Apo telescope and a Canon 6D camera, and published on youtube.
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On February 22, 2017, NASA astronomers has announced that seven Earth-sized planets have been discovered around an ultra-cool dwarf star named TRAPPIST-1 which is located around 39 light-years from the Earth. And what’s more – three of them are orbiting their star in the habitable zone. Then, an international team of astronomers led by the Swiss astronomer Vincent Bourrier from the Observatoire de l’Université de Genève used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the planets of TRAPPIST-1 system. Now, on August 31 2017, the team announced that their findings suggest that “the outer planets of the system might still harbor substantial amounts of water”, including the three planets within the habitable zone of the star – TRAPPIST-1e, f and g. This result lends further weight to the possibility that these planets may indeed be habitable.
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The Earth rotates from west to east with a linear velocity of 465.1013 m/s (1674.365 km/h) at the equator. But what would happen if the Earth stopped rotating abruptly? Online magazine Tech Insider presented a video demonstrating the development of events in this case.
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You have probably heard references made to the “dark side” of the Moon – there’s even a Pink Floyd album with that name. But, in fact, there’s no “dark side” of the moon. Because it is not illuminated by the Earth, it is illuminated by the Sun. All the surface of the moon lit by the Sun as the Moon rotates.
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On June 19, 2017, NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates. The final catalog introduces 219 new exoplanet candidates, and 10 of them are near-Earth size and orbiting in circumstellar habitable zone.Notes 1
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We, humans, are changing our planet drastically that scientists say the world entered a completely a new geological era called “Anthropocene”. But, it seems we are not shaping only the surface and the atmosphere of Earth, human activities are changing our near-space environment as well. The change is so big that NASA has detected a human-made barrier surrounding Earth.
Continue reading NASA Detects a Human-Made Barrier Surrounding Earth
Ancient symbols carved into stone at Göbekli Tepe (an archaeological site in Turkey) tell the story of a big comet impact more than 13,000 years ago, scientists think. The devastating impact triggered a mini ice-age which drove many mammals weighing more than 40 kg to extinction.
Continue reading Ancient carvings show a comet hit Earth 13,000 years ago
A beautiful image published by NASA, taken by the unmanned Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, shows the Earth between the rings of Saturn. The image is taken on April 12, 2017.
“Consider again that dot [Earth]. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Continue reading Earth Between the Rings of Saturn