Complete orbit of the moon from NASA Lunar Orbiter

From @LRO_NASA:

"A huge payoff from the longevity of the LRO mission is the repeat coverage obtained by the LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC). The WAC has a very wide field-of-view (FOV), 90° in monochrome mode and 60° in multispectral mode, hence its name. On the one hand, the wide FOV enables orbit-to-orbit stereo, which allowed LROC team members at the DLR to create the unprecedented 100 meter scale near-global (0° to 360° longitude and 80°S to 80°N latitude) topographic map of the Moon."

See also NASA Goddard's Tour of the Moon, especially if your love for it was formed in the last century:

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A total eclipse thermochromic stamp that changes when you touch it

The August 21 eclipse is being commemorated by the US Postal Service with a new stamp printed with thermochromic ink; when you rub the stamp the image transforms from an image of the 2006 total eclipse as shot from Jalu, Libya, to a photo of the full moon, both taken by Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, AZ. Read the rest

Night sky time lapses, but with the ground spinning instead of the stars

If you vomit, do be considerate and try not to let it land on the moon. [via Metafilter] Read the rest

Lahaina Noon - when the sun is directly overhead and makes things look like a bad videogame

When the sun is directly overhead in Hawaii, it looks like a bad video game render

The sun is exactly overhead twice a year in Lahaina, Hawaii, once in May and once in July. Poles don't cast shadows, giving the urban landscape an eerie appearance. Hawaii is the only state in the US where the sun's rays are perpendicular to the surface of Earth. It's called a subsolar point.

Image: Flickr/Daniel Ramirez

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The scientist who searches for extraterrestrials

According to astronomer Seth Shostak, the alien intelligences we'll likely encounter someday won't be "little grey guys with big eyeballs but machines." As senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, Seth has dedicated his scientific career to seeking out evidence of ET transmissions and using that research to educate the public about our place in the universe. Mark Frauenfelder and I interviewed Seth about hunting for aliens in this episode of For Future Reference, a new podcast from Institute for the Future:

Please subscribe to For Future Reference: iTunes, RSS, Soundcloud Read the rest

Gorgeous collection of public domain illustrations of space

Over a decade ago, we tipped readers to the astronomy illustrations of Trouvelot. now the New York Public Library has a large collection of his work available online. Read the rest

Mimas in Saturnlight

Today's Astronomy picture of the day is Saturn's moon, Mimas, bathed in light from both the planet and the sun. The image has had the darker side brightened somewhat; click through for the unenhanced original.

Explanation: Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Mimas lies in near darkness alongside a dramatic sunlit crescent. The mosaic was captured near the Cassini spacecraft's final close approach on January 30, 2017. Cassini's camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction only 45,000 kilometers from Mimas. The result is one of the highest resolution views of the icy, crater-pocked, 400 kilometer diameter moon. ... Other Cassini images of Mimas include the small moon's large and ominous Herschel Crater.

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Wafting magnetism has transferred oxygen from Earth to the Moon for billions of years

In a new paper in Nature Astronomy, a team from Osaka University publishes its analysis of data gathered by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Selenological and Engineering Explorer, revealing that an isotope present in lunar regolith is a match for an isotope found in terrestrial, atmospheric oxygen. Read the rest

Photos of miniature models of expolanets

Artist and photographer Adam Makarenko creates miniature exoplanets and then photographs them, with gorgeous results that go beyond CGI. Read the rest

Visualizing the vast distances of space with a 1-pixel moon in a side-scrolling solar-system

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel tries to convey the vastness of space by inviting you to side-scroll through our Solar System with (you guessed it) the scale of 1 pixel to the diameter of the moon. These scale comparisons always manage to temporarily invoke something in me that approaches intuitive understanding, but before long, I can feel it fading and being replaced with the nonsensical science fictional conceit of solar systems as being something tractable. (via Making Light) Read the rest

How to see the extraordinary "supermoon" on Monday

On Monday November 14, we'll have the opportunity to see the full moon closer to Earth than its been since 1948, and won't be again until 2034. It will be a spectacular sight. From NASA:

The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigree — the point at which the moon is closest to Earth — the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and because it is larger shines 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth....

The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn. On Monday, Nov. 14, the moon is at perigee at 6:22 a.m. EST and “opposite” the sun for the full moon at 8:52 a.m. EST (after moonset for most of the US).

If you’re not an early riser, no worries. “I’ve been telling people to go out at night on either Sunday or Monday night to see the supermoon,” said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. “The difference in distance from one night to the next will be very subtle, so if it’s cloudy on Sunday, go out on Monday. Any time after sunset should be fine.

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The Stars: The Definitive Guide to the Cosmos

I’ve always been fascinated with the cosmos (who isn’t?), and I even once splurged for a telescope to put in the garden for my family to enjoy. But with only one college astronomy class (101) under my belt, my knowledge of the stars falls into the “Dummies” category. Which is why I loved DK’s new book, The Stars: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Cosmos.

Not that it’s only for dummies. The large 10.1 x 12.8 book is for astro newbies as well as the more seasoned who will enjoy the scenery and surely pick up some new stellar facts. It's for teens as well as adults, jam-packed with starry science that falls into three sections. The first, “Understanding the Cosmos,” covers the basics and beyond, from the Big Bang, starbirth, supernovae and neutron stars to black holes, colliding galaxies, galaxy clusters and a lot more.

“Constellations,” the second and largest section, is loaded with the significance and charts of constellations – some popular ones (like those from the zodiac) as well as many I’d never heard of before (like Vulpecula the fox and Monoceros the unicorn). The third, smallest section of the book, “The Solar System,” just touches on our sun and planets, and was the one section that the authors could have expanded.

In true DK fashion, The Stars compliments its smart yet accessible text with a heavy dose of charts, maps, sidebars, and brilliant photos. The authors managed to make every page highly fresh and engaging.

The Stars: The Definitive Guide to the Cosmos by DK 2016, 256 pages, 10.8 x 12.1 x 0.9 inches (hardcover) $26 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

Hubble releases shimmering image of a youthful globular cluster

Recent revised estimates upping the number of galaxies in the universe seem even more mind-boggling when contemplating this image released from Hubble this week. It shows NGC 362, one of about 150 globular clusters on the outskirts of just one galaxy, our own Milky Way. Read the rest

'Voyage of Time,' Terrence Malick IMAX film with Brad Pitt narration, is an awesome cosmic meditation

You know what America needs right now? A little perspective.

For that, I recommend you head to your local IMAX theater and see Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience.” It's a psychedelic meditation on the history of the cosmos that's very kid-friendly, and a wonderful reminder of the big, big picture.

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Most detailed 3D map ever made of our Milky Way shows over one billion stars

The largest all-sky survey of celestial objects ever made by humans was released this month, using data from The European Space Agency (ESA)'s Gaia satellite.

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NASA’s Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Jupiter's Moon Europa

Astronomers working with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope have captured images of what might be water vapor plumes erupting from the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. “This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes,” reports NASA. “ The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa’s ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.”

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NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Views Spectacular Layered Rock Formations of “Murray Buttes”

Reports NASA today, “The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images returned by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently exploring the 'Murray Buttes' region of lower Mount Sharp. The new images arguably rival photos taken in U.S. National Parks.”

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