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Science

A Decade of Sun: A New Timelapse Chronicles Ten Years of the Enormous Star

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Most experts advise against staring at the sun for more than a few seconds, and yet, a new timelapse from NASA lets viewers peer into the fiery mass for an entire decade. During the course of ten years, the Solar Dynamics Observatory took more than 425 million images of the massive star that were captured .75 seconds apart. Aggregated into an hour-long compilation titled “A Decade of Sun,” the photographs provide visual evidence of how the giant orb functions and its influence on the rest of the solar system. Each image was captured at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter, to show the exterior atmospheric layer that’s called the corona.

NASA has shared on YouTube a list of notable moments, including an appearance by Venus and an iconic interruption in 2012. Most of the dark spots in the video are a result of the earth or moon passing in between the Solar Dynamics Observatory and blocking its view, although there was a longer lapse in 2016 due to an equipment malfunction. When the spacecraft was recalibrating its tools, the sun shifts to one side of the screen.

Head to YouTube to dive into more of NASA’s explorations into outer space.

 

 

 



Design

LEGO Releases 864-Piece International Space Station Set That’s Out of This World

February 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © LEGO

On February 1, LEGO launched a new Expert Creator that’s on a mission to explore outer space. Comprised of 864 pieces, the International Space Station set is equipped with a robotic arm for satellite deployment, a miniature dock, and two astronauts ready to traverse the built-in spacewalk. It also has eight movable solar panels, three cargo spacecrafts, and booklet detailing the history of the design. Fully built, the realistic model stands more than 7 inches high, 12 inches long, and 19 inches wide.

Christoph Ruge designed the kit as part of a proposal for the 10th anniversary of the iconic brand’s ideas program, which has released a variety of sets with themes like dinosaur fossils and The Flintstones. Get your own miniature spacecraft on LEGO’s site, and see if you can put it together in the 92 minutes it takes the real model to orbit the earth. (via designboom)

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

An Out-Of-This-World Aerial Shot of a Volcano Erupting in Russia

July 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

This past weekend, a volcanic eruption on Russia’s Kuril Islands was so massive it was quite literally visible from space. An astronaut on the International Space Station’s (ISS) Expedition 59 crew documented the plume from Raikoke Volcano, which reached eight miles into the sky. The ISS orbits 250 miles above earth. NASA explained:

On the morning of June 22, astronauts shot a photograph of the volcanic plume rising in a narrow column and then spreading out in a part of the plume known as the umbrella region. That is the area where the density of the plume and the surrounding air equalize and the plume stops rising. The ring of clouds at the base of the column appears to be water vapor.

Because of the reach of its plume, the ash and gas pose a flight risk to airplanes. Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in Tokyo and Anchorage have been monitoring its movements. Raikoke rarely erupts; its last explosion was in 1924, and before that, 1778. You can explore more scientific documentation of the blast on NASA’s Earth Observatory blog. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Science

A Nearly Perfect Rectangular Iceberg Spotted in the Antarctic

October 24, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Photo credits: NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

Photo credits: NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

Earlier this month NASA’s cryosphere research division, NASA ICE, posted an image of a peculiar iceberg floating near the Larsen C Ice Shelf. Its perfectly rectangular shape and flat surface sparked the interest of many online, but its form is one that is more common than one might expect. Unlike the recognizable pyramid-shaped icebergs, tabular icebergs split from the edges of ice shelves when they become too brittle. In 2017 an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off of the same arctic ice shelf. The iceberg weighed over a trillion tons, and was one of the largest ever recorded.

The recent image of the tabular iceberg was taken as a part of Operation IceBridge, NASA’s extensive survey of Earth’s Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves, and sea ice. You can see the edge of the perfectly formed tabular iceberg in addition to a slightly less rectangular example in the image taken by IceBridge senior support scientist Jeremy Harbeck below. A GIF of a plane from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center approaching the iceberg can be viewed their Twitter. (via NASA ICE)

 

 



Photography Science

Up-Close Images of Jupiter Reveal an Impressionistic Landscape of Swirling Gases

December 12, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Juno is NASA’s project focused on bringing a deeper understanding to Jupiter and the processes that might have governed our solar system’s creation. The spacecraft was launched in 2011 to explore several facets of the planet’s composition, including its atmosphere, magnetic force field, and dense cloud coverage.

This series of close-up photographs was taken by Juno within the last year, and is a dazzling diverse display of the planet’s gaseous composition. Swirling blue and brown clouds appear like impressionist paint strokes across Jupiter’s atmospheric surface, a spectacle which is constantly shifting into new optically charged formations.

You can see more images taken with Juno’s high-tech cameras on NASA’s website, and submit your own processed images from Juno’s raw image files on Mission Juno. (via Twisted Sifter)

     

 

 



Art Design Science

A Fold Apart: A NASA Physicist Turned Origami Artist

March 17, 2017

Christopher Jobson

In 2001 NASA physicist Robert Lang quit his job to focus on his one true passion: creating original origami designs. With a deep understanding of mathematics and materials, Lang’s folding designs have been incorporated into everything from spacecraft to airbags. His works aren’t limited to functional objects, he’s also produced a wide range of original artworks that have been exhibited around the world. The Great Big Story recently sat down with Lang for this brief interview. (via Uncrate)

 

 



Photography Science

Dramatic View of a NASA Rocket Launch over Alaska

January 27, 2017

Christopher Jobson

NASA/Wallops/Jamie Adkins

Early this morning NASA launched an experiment to measure nitric oxide in the polar sky from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. Staff photographer Jamie Adkins captured this amazing view. (via This Isn’t Happiness)