Science News

Dust Storm over the Arabian Peninsula

22 March 2012
On 4 March 2012, the thick dust that had hovered over Saudi Arabia a day earlier drifted southward off the shores of the Arabian Peninsula. NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a natural-color image (Fig. 1), showing a huge cloud of dust over Yemen, and translucent swirls of dust over the Arabian Sea.

Satellite Pictures Saharan Dus

19 March 2012
In early March 2012, dust blew off the coasts of Morocco and Western Sahara. Drifting northwest, the dust blew over the eastern Canary Islands, especially Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. NASA’s Terra satellite captured a natural-color image of this dust activity (Fig. 1), on 8 March 2012.

Dust Storm over the Arabian Sea

15 March 2012
On 11 March 2012, dust from the Arabian Peninsula blew over the Arabian Sea. On the same day, NASA’s Aqua satellite obtained an image (Fig. 1) showing this storm.

Whirlwinds of the Red Planet

08 March 2012
NASA recently published an intriguing close-up image (Fig. 1) of the surface of Mars, the Red Planet. The image, acquired by a sophisticated camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft, shows a strong whirlwind, swirling in a plain in the Martian northern hemisphere.

Observing Newly Born Stars

05 March 2012
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) recently published a detailed image (Fig. 1) of a vast star-forming cloud, known as the Carina Nebula. The image was acquired in infrared light by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), an observatory atop Paranal Mountain in Chile. It reveals many previously undetected features within the magnificent Carina Nebula.

A Big Blue Planet

29 February 2012
Observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST), a sophisticated observatory exploring the universe from Earth orbit, have yielded a new class of planet, a watery world blanketed by a thick steamy atmosphere. It is smaller in size than Uranus, the third largest planet, but larger than Earth.

NASA Celebrates 50 Years of Manned Spaceflight

19 February 2012
On 20 February 1962, NASA’s astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth, aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft.

Space Telescope Pictures a Curious Galaxy

16 February 2012
Many galaxies are like our Milky Way Galaxy, showing beautiful spiral arms wrapping around a bright nucleus. Examples in this wonderful image, acquired by the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST), include the tilted galaxy at the bottom left of the image, glowing beyond a Milky Way star, and the small spiral galaxy at the top center.

Flying over the Far Side of the Moon

02 February 2012
NASA's Moon-bound Ebb spacecraft has returned its first unique view of the far side of the Moon. The view was acquired by a camera, known as MoonKAM, acronym for Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students, aboard Ebb. MoonKAM will be used by students across the USA, to select images of the lunar surface for study.

The Colorful Remains of a Dead Sun-like Star?

28 January 2012
When a Sun-like star nears the end of its lifetime, it expels its outer gaseous layers, forming a huge glowing cloud of gas and dust, known as the planetary nebula (since some of these nebulae are round and pale, resembling the planets Uranus and Neptune, when viewed through the telescope). The blazing core of the dying star, which has been producing the star’s prodigious radiation throughout its evolution, becomes exposed. Then, it gradually develops into a white dwarf, a small very dense stellar object. The white dwarf cools and fades slowly.

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