These are the final images of the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos taken by the DRACO camera about the DART spacecraft as it crashed into Dimorphos. The moonlet is only about 170 m (560 ft) in diameter, making it one of the smallest astronomical objects that has been given a permanent name. Early telemetry suggests that DART hit within 17 m of dead center.


Video Credit: NASA / APL

You Can’t See This From Here

The Cassini spacecraft took this wide-angle view of Saturn on 28 October, 2016, when it was about 1.4 million km from the planet. This point of view is from the far side of the planet showing shadows that can’t be seen from Earth. The spacecraft has spent 13 years exploring Saturn and its moons before being de-orbited into the planet’s atmosphere..

Image Credit: NASA

Artemis I Launch Attempt Scrubbed

NASA’s statement:

The launch director waived off today’s Artemis I launch attempt at approximately 11:17 a.m. EDT. Teams encountered a liquid hydrogen leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket.  Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the area of the leak by reseating a seal in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is fed into the rocket did not fix the issue. Engineers are continuing to gather additional data.

Aiming DART

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a NASA mission aimed at testing a method of planetary defense against near-Earth objects (NEOs). It’s the first attempt to change the speed and path of an asteroid. Using some of the world’s most powerful telescopes, the DART mission conducted observations to confirm earlier calculations of the orbit of Dimorphos—DART’s asteroid target—around its larger parent asteroid, Didymos, confirming where the asteroid is expected to be located at the time of impact.

The Lowell Discovery Telescope near Flagstaff, Arizona, captured this time lapse sequence (sped up 500 X) in which the asteroid Didymos moves across the night sky.

Image Credits: Lowell Observatory  /N. Moskovitz

Looking Back to the Hubble Deep Field

The new deep field images from JWST are spectacular, but we learned a lot from Hubble’s earlier deep field images. Let’s take another look.

The stars seem to fly by under warp drive on StarTrek. This video definitely one-ups that. These are galaxies, not stars. Because it takes light a long time to cross the universe, most galaxies visible in the video are seen when the universe was only a fraction of its current age. They were still forming and have unusual shapes compared to modern galaxies. There are no mature looking spiral galaxies such as our Milky Way or the Andromeda galaxy. They had not evolved yet. At the end of the video the virtual observer flies past the furthest galaxies in the HUDF with a redshift past 8. These early low luminosity galaxies probably contained stars emitting light that transformed much of the remaining normal matter in the universe from a cold gas to a hot ionized plasma.

Video Credit: NASA

NGC 7027

ngc7027N7027lredsgNGC 7027 is one of the brightest nebulae in the sky, but it has never been given a common name. In a 6-in telescope at around 50x it appears as a relatively bright bluish star. This Hubble image above shows a bit more detail.

Before being studied via Hubble, NGC 7027 was thought to be a proto-planetary nebula with the central star too cool to ionize any of the gas. It is now known to be a planetary nebula in the earliest stage of its development with a central star is believed to have been about 3 to 4 times the mass of the Sun.

Image Credit: NASA

An Isolated, Irregular Dwarf

NGC 1156 is located around 25 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Aries. It’s a dwarf irregular galaxy and isolated, meaning no other galaxies are close enough to influence its odd shape or star formation. The extreme energy of young stars ionizes hydrogen gas which glows red, while its centre is filled with older stars.

Video Credits: ESA / NASA / R. B. Tully / R. Jansen / R. Windhorst