The sun at different wavelenths

September 23, 2014

  Light is made of electromagnetic waves, and our eyes see different wavelengths as different colours. But our eyes can’t see most wavelengths at all, which is a pity – think how different the human body looks when you see it in x-rays. This is the sun at 13 different wavelengths.


Carolyn Porco

Carolyn Porco is head of NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn. As a teenager in the Bronx she saw Saturn through a friend’s telescope, and was immediately addicted to astronomy. So that’s what she did at university. After graduating, she knew she wanted to study planets. NASA was sending unmanned ships to Mars and Venus, and she wanted to be part of it, and did her Ph.D. on the dynamics of…

April 28, 2014

A Photo of the Canaries wins Tournament: Earth 2014

The Canary Islands from NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013
April 9, 2014

Every year NASA holds a competition to chose the best photo of Earth. The Canary Islands won this year’s Tournament: Earth is again. (Last year’s winner was a photo of the submarine eruption off El Hierro.)   The Canary Islands sit in the trade winds and the Canary current, both of which come from the north east. This photo, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013, shows long…


R.I.P. Comet ISON (probably)

Comet ISON
November 28, 2013

<   It looks like comet ISON has broken up. I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised. The comet’s closest approach was just 1,165,000 km (724,000 mi) from the surface of the sun. This is not a safe place for a snowball. The image above shows just how close it got. The black disc in the centre of the picture is called a cronograph. It covers up the sun so that...


I hope that wasn’t my prince

Frog caught in a NASA launch
September 13, 2013

  Wow! Yes, that’s a real frog, and a real NASA launch, and no, the photo wasn’t retouched. This is NASA’s LADEE heading to the moon “to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.” The automatic cameras caught this image at the launch Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.” For real. So what’s with the frog? Well, the…


Mars’s moons

Mars has two moons, Demios is very small – only about 12 km in diameter, and orbits in 30 hours. But since a Martian day is 24 hours, 39 minutes long, Demios isn’t much above synchronous orbit, and it takes 2.7 days to rise in the east and set in the west. From the equator of Mars, it looks about as big as the planet Venus does from Earth. Phobos…

August 16, 2013