Atlantis on STS-101 Mission

Flames from the solid rocket boosters lit up the clouds of smoke and steam trailing behind shuttle Atlantis on May 19, 2000, as it lifted off on mission STS-101. It was the shuttle program’s third space station assembly flight, and first space flight for astronaut Jeff Williams, currently aboard the station as a member of the Expedition 47 crew. via NASA http://ift.tt/20aXPa5

Stargazing From Space

Isn’t this the most amazing view? It will play a part in some of the Spaceport novels I’m working on. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) see the world at night on every orbit — that’s 16 times each crew day. An astronaut took this broad, short-lens photograph of Earth’s night lights while looking out over the remote reaches of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. via NASA http://ift.tt/1rRGKHd

Hubble Spies a Spiral Snowflake

Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique — like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814. via NASA http://ift.tt/1TKk7dX

Hubble Spies the Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 4394

Shown in this Hubble Space Telescope image, NGC 4394 is the archetypal barred spiral galaxy, with bright spiral arms emerging from the ends of a bar that cuts through the galaxy’s central bulge. These arms are peppered with young blue stars, dark filaments of cosmic dust, and bright, fuzzy regions of active star formation. via NASA http://ift.tt/1rZSvvv

Light Echoes

This illustration shows a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. A new study uses data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and four ground-based telescopes to determine the distance from a star to the inner rim of its surrounding protoplanetary disk. Researchers used a method called “photo-reverberation,” also known as “light echoes. via NASA http://ift.tt/26rHbbb

April 14, 1981, Landing of First Space Shuttle Mission

This was one of the central moments in my life. Space felt close, attainable. This ship became a symbol of hope for me. It’s eventual loss broke the hearts of so many. And yet that dream lives on. The rear wheels of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia touched down on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden), California, to successfully complete a stay in space of more than two days. Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and…

Computer-Simulated Image of a Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers have uncovered a near-record breaking supermassive black hole in an unlikely place: in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe. The observations, made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought. via NASA http://ift.tt/1UWtvRX

Hubble Peers Into the Heart of the Milky Way Galaxy

Peering deep into the dusty heart of our Milky Way galaxy using infrared vision, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. Except for a few blue foreground stars, the stars are part of the Milky Way’s nuclear star cluster, the most massive and densest star cluster in our galaxy. via NASA http://ift.tt/1VVmCzh

Simulated Atmosphere of a Hot Gas Giant

The turbulent atmosphere of a hot, gaseous planet known as HD 80606b is shown in this simulation based on data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer measured the whole heating cycle of this planet, determining its coolest (less than 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and hottest (2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures. via NASA http://ift.tt/22HDjDz