Friday, September 30, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
The southern tip of Italy is visible in this image taken by the Expedition 49 crew aboard the International Space Station on Sept. 17, 2016. The brightly lit city of Naples can be seen in the bottom section of the image. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft can be seen in the foreground.
Image Credit: NASA
Monday, September 19, 2016
What's happening at the edge of the Sun? Although it may look like a monster is rampaging, what is pictured is actually only a monster prominence -- a sheath of thin gas held above the surface by the Sun's magnetic field. The solar event was captured just this past weekend with a small telescope, with the resulting image then inverted and false-colored. As indicated with illustrative lines, theprominence rises over 50,000 kilometers above the Sun's surface, making even our 12,700-diameter Earth seem small by comparison. Below the monster prominence is active region 12585, while light colored filaments can be seen hovering over a flowing solar carpet of fibrils. Filaments are actually prominences seen against the disk of the Sun, while similarly, fibrils are actually spicules seen against the disk. Energetic events like this are becoming less common as the Sun evolves toward a minimum in its 11-year activity cycle.
Image Credit & Copyright: Pete Lawrence
Friday, September 16, 2016
Arctic sea ice appeared to reach its annual minimum extent on September 10, 2016, NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported today. An analysis of satellite data showed that sea ice around the North Pole shrank to 4.14 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles).
The 2016 sea ice minimum is effectively tied with 2007 for the second lowest in the satellite record. Since satellites began monitoring sea ice in 1979, researchers have observed a decline in the average extent of Arctic sea ice in every month of the year.
The map above shows the extent of Arctic sea ice on September 10, 2016. Extent is defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent. The map was compiled from observations by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR-2) sensor on the Global Change Observation Mission 1st'“Water satellite operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The yellow outline shows the median sea ice extent observed in September from 1981 through 2010.
The sea ice cover on the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas regulates the planet's temperature, influences the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and affects life in Arctic communities and ecosystems. The ice cap shrinks every year during the spring and summer until it reaches its minimum extent in September. Sea ice grows during the late autumn and winter months, when the Sun is below the horizon in the Arctic Circle.
The 2016 melt season surprised scientists by changing pace several times. It began with arecord-low yearly maximum in March, followed by rapid ice losses through May. But in June and July, low atmospheric pressures and cloudy skies slowed melting. Then, after two large storms blew across the Arctic basin in August, sea ice melting accelerated through early September.
'It's pretty remarkable that this year's sea ice minimum extent ended up the second lowest after how the melt progressed in June and July,'� said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. 'June and July are usually key months for melt because that's when you have 24 hours of sunlight each day. This year we lost momentum during those two months.'�
In August, two strong cyclones crossed the Arctic Ocean along the Siberian coast. The storms did not have an immediate impact, as agreat cyclone did in 2012. But in late August and early September, Meier noted, there was 'a pretty fast ice loss in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas that might have been a delayed effect from the storms.'�
New research affirms that Arctic sea ice has not fared particularly well in any month in the past three decades. An analysis by Claire Parkinson and Nicolo DiGirolamo of NASA Goddard ranked 37 years of monthly sea ice extents in the Arctic and Antarctic. They found that there has not been a record high in Arctic sea ice extent in any month since 1986. During that same period, there have been 75 new record lows. That pattern is reflected in the graph below.
'It is definitely not just September that is losing sea ice. The record makes it clear that the ice is not rebounding to where it used to be, even in the midst of the winter,'� Parkinson said. 'When you think of the temperature records, it is common to hear the statement that even when temperatures are increasing, you expect a record cold month every once in a while. To think that in this record of Arctic sea ice there hasn't been a single record high in any month since 1986, it's just an incredible contrast.'�
References and Related Reading
Parkinson, C.L., and N.E. DiGirolamo (2016) New visualizations highlight new information on the contrasting Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice trends since the late 1970s. Remote Sensing of Environment,183, 198'“204.NASA Earth Observatory (2016, September 15) Sea Ice Fact Sheet.National Snow and Ice Data Center (2016, September 15) 2016 ties with 2007 for second lowest Arctic sea ice minimum.Accessed September 15, 2016.Parkinson, C.L. (2014) Global Sea Ice Coverage from Satellite Data: Annual Cycle and 35-Yr Trends. Journal of Climate, 27, 9377'“9382.NASA Earth Observatory (2012, September 27) Visualizing the 2012 Sea Ice Minimum.NASA Earth Observatory (2016) World of Change: Arctic Sea Ice.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using data from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR-2) sensor on the Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water (GCOM-W1) satellite, the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) on the Nimbus-7 satellite, and analyses from Parkinson and DiGirolamo (2016). Caption by Maria-Jose Vinas Garcia, with Mike Carlowicz.
Instrument(s):andnbsp;DMSP - SSM/I GCOM-W1 - AMSR-2 DMSP - SSMIS Nimbus 7 - SMMR
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Space News Moon Facts
The moon makes a complete orbit around Earth in 27 Earth days and rotates or spins at that same rate, or in that same amount of time. This causes the moon to keep the same side or face towards Earth during the course of its orbit.
The moon is a rocky, solid-surface body, with much of its surface cratered and pitted from impacts.
The moon has a very thin and tenuous (weak) atmosphere, called an exosphere
The moon has no moons.
The moon has no rings.
More than 100 spacecraft been launched to explore the moon. It is the only celestial a body beyond Earth that has been visited by human beings
The moon's weak atmosphere and its lack of liquid water cannot support life as we know it.
Twelve human beings have walked on the surface of the moon.