In case you missed it, this week’s supermoon was epic! On November 13 and 14, sky gazers were treated to the biggest and brightest supermoon in almost 70 years. A supermoon refers to a full moon that falls on a night when the moon is closest in its orbit around the Earth, making it appear almost 30% bigger.
We aren’t going to see another one this spectacular until 2034. Lucky for us, eager space lovers around the globe stopped to take pictures. Enjoy! 🌔
Adam Cairns, The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press
David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Associated Press
Adrian Dennis/AFP, Getty Images
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News, Associated Press
Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit Dean Lewins/European Pressphoto Agency
Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency
Gerard Julien/AFP, Getty Images
Miguel Morenatti/Associated Press
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NASA made contact with one of its missing spacecraft Sunday night, over 22 months after researchers lost communication. The long-lost spacecraft, known as STEREO-B, is one half of NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission.
The other half of the mission involves spacecraft STEREO-A. Both probes were launched in October 2006, tasked with studying the sun from different vantage points and reporting back to Earth. The mission was only scheduled to last two years, but the STEREOs have lasted longer than expected. STEREO-A has continued to operate on its mission to study the sun.
After a massive search, contact was reestablished on Aug. 21, 2016 – nearly two years after losing communication on Oct. 1, 2014. NASA’s Deep Space Network, or DSN, established a lock on the STEREO-B downlink carrier at 6:27 p.m.
What happened to STEREO-B? According to NASA, the two STEREOs slowly drifted away from Earth as they orbited the sun, one ahead and one behind our home planet. This gave scientists awesome views of the sun’s far side – allowing us for the first time to see the whole sun at once!
Unfortunately, the same slow drift that gave NASA incredible images also pulled each spacecraft to the other side of the sun from Earth. This lead to a three-month period where communication was impossible due to the sun’s interference.
The STEREO spacecraft were designed with a command loss timer, an automatic reset button that restarts the spacecraft after 72 hours without contact. The hard reset happened as expected, 72 hours and 20 minutes after operators stopped communications with the spacecraft. After the reset, STEREO-B was supposed to power itself back on, but it gave barely a glimmer and faded into darkness.
Finding STEREO-B is just half the battle. Now researchers must conduct a slew of tests to decide if the craft is healthy and fully-functioning. They must assess the spacecraft’s subsystems and instruments to determine if it’s recoverable. Hope to hear from you soon, STEREO-B! 🛰
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It’s not often you get to see the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon – but, thanks to a NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, we received a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. SO cool!
The animation below features actual satellite images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and telescope, and the Earth – one million miles away.
EPIC’s job is to constantly monitor the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates. It provides observations of vegetation, cloud height, ozone, and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, NASA will post daily color images of Earth to a dedicated public website. 🌍
These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft.
Each of the Apollo missions that touched down on the Moon planted an American flag in the soil. What if, instead of planting a flag that represented our country, we planted a flag that represented our WORLD? 🌎
Oskar Pernefeldt of the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden, has proposed one simple blue flag to represent all of planet Earth as part of his graduation project.
Here is the symbolic explanation, according to Pernefeldt: “Centered in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, are linked. The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet’s surface. The flower’s outer rings form a circle which could be seen as a symbol of Earth as a planet and the blue surface could represent the universe.”
Pernefeldt’s flag is designed to represent planet Earth and help remind people that we all share this planet, regardless of national boundaries. I’m in love with this idea! It is part of the reason I love following the International Space Station. The ISS is one of those magical places where multiple nationalities come together to work towards a common goal, no matter what country they call home.
These photos provide a glimpse into the future if Pernefeldt’s vision ever became a reality.
Click the video below for a more detailed explanation of how the International Flag of Planet Earth was constructed.
Construction video of The International Flag of Planet Earth.
The video is a part of the graduation project by Oskar Pernefeldt, 2015.
The space community has fully embraced social media and sharing online, which is truly a treat for the world! Day-to-day life on the International Space Station is something very few people get to experience. Plus, the view from up there is simply one-of-a-kind. NASA’s flickr account is updated frequently, pulling from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other internet accounts. I’ve decided to post a few of my favorites in honor of the three space station members set to return to earth in a few days! 🚀
The three ISS crew members pictured above are scheduled to depart the orbiting laboratory on Thursday, June 11, after more than six months in space performing scientific research and technology demonstrations. We will be welcoming back Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Terry Virts, and my girl crush, Italian born ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. For a full schedule of their anticipated departure/arrival click here.
NASA Television will air converge of their departure and return to Earth. Coverage begins at 10:40 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 10, when Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA hands over command of the space station to cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
(04/09/2015) — NASA astronauts Terry Virts (bottom) and Scott Kelly (top) are seen here inside the Destiny Laboratory performing eye exams as part of ongoing studies into crew vision health. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/29/2015) — This nighttime image from the International Space Station shows the Soyuz TMA-15M which carried NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to the station and will return them in early June. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/02/2015) — This image of the American upper Midwest and parts of Canada was captured by NASA astronaut Terry Virts on the International Space Station on May 2, 2015. Virts made this comment with the tweet: “It’s great to see the #GreatLakes with no snow”! (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/14/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(12/23/2014) — ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station captured this warm water image of the aquamarine and turquoise waters around the Bahamas down to the central American countries of Honduras and Nicaragua. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/08/2015) — This image of Tropical Storm Anna taken from the International Space Station displays the view looking south-southeastward from western Virginia towards storm about 200 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, Bahamas and Florida in the distance. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/31/2015) — Expedition 43 Commander and NASA astronaut Terry Virts is seen here in the International Space Station’s Cupola module, a 360 degree Earth and space viewing platform. The module also contains a robotic workstation for controlling the station’s main robotic arm, Canadarm2, which is used for a variety of operations including the remote grappling of visiting cargo vehicles. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(04/24/2015) — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly on the International Space Station shows off his personal living quarters in space. Scott tweeted this image out with the comment: ” My #bedroom aboard #ISS. All the comforts of #home. Well, most of them. #YearInSpace”. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/04/2015) — ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti glides through supply containers packed onboard the International Space Station. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/20/2015) — Earth observation of South America from the International Space Station on May 20, 2015. NASA astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this image with the remark of: “Farm fields in central #Brazil #SouthAmerica”. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
The full “blood moon” lunar eclipse only lasted five minutes! But, people all over the world still managed to capture the epic moment on film. Check out these beautiful photos of the ‘shortest lunar eclipse of the century,’ courtesy of TIME, Yahoo, and Flickr.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 04: A blood red moon lights up the sky during a total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The shortest total lunar eclipse, or “blood moon”, of the century will last just a few minutes. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
The beginning of a total lunar eclipse is seen behind leaves illuminated by a street light in Canberra, Australia, on Saturday, 04 April 2015. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon on its way around the Earth moves through the planet’s shadow cast by the sun in opposing position. EPA/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
A total lunar eclipse is observed above cherry blossoms in Shiraishi city, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
Indians watch a lunar eclipse from the banks of River Kuakhai on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
A lunar eclipse is observed above a lion-shaped statue in Urasoe city, Okinawa prefecture, southern Japan, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
A lunar eclipse is seen beside a clock tower at Marina Beach in Chennai, India, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)
A lunar eclipse is seen from Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, 04 April 2015. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon on its way around the Earth moves through the planet’s shadow cast by the sun in opposing position. EPA/DAVID CROSLING AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – APRIL 04: Sky-watchers got a glimpse of the Blood Moon in the shortest eclipse of the century as it sets behind Pikes Peak April 4, 2015 in Colorado Springs. The top edge of the eclipsed moon should appear much brighter than the rest of the orb.(Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Lunar eclipse in Las Vegas with stratosphere. Flickr: tslclick
A partially eclipsed full moon sets behind a statue of a Kansa Indian at the Kansas Statehouse, Saturday, April 4, 2015 in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)