The astronauts on board the International Space Station have some great views of space, naturally, but with so many stars on display, it can be a little tough to make out the constellations. Maybe you can give NASA's Christina Koch an assist.Koch tweeted a photo on Monday, taken from the ISS, that shows a field of stars. She issued a challenge: "Can you spot the Big Dipper from the space station?"It took me a couple of false starts before I located the famous star formation, which makes up part of Ursa Major, the great bear. If you need a hand, Twitter user Super Grover tweeted out the answer while also mapping out some additional constellations for extra credit.Space fans on Twitter are wondering about the string of orange lights in the photo. They speculated it could be anything from the Battlestar Galactica to Santa and his reindeer. The lights might be a reflection or another orbiting object catching the sun. Koch is currently on an extended stay on the ISS. She's … [Read more...] about NASA astronaut asks: Can you spot the Big Dipper from the ISS?
Nasa spot the station
You may just see a field of stars, but the ISS is up there too, orbiting right overhead. Jonathan Kim/Getty Images Want to see International Space Station orbiting Earth? Then put that telescope away. The space station is visible to the bare eye — if you know where and when to look. Like the moon, the International Space Station (ISS) is visible from Earth because it reflects the light of the sun. In the case of the moon, this reflection is sometimes bright enough to see it from Earth during the day. However, the space station is only visible at two distinct times during a 24-hour cycle: dawn and dusk. For a dawn or dusk space station sighting to occur, conditions have to be just right. It must be dark where you are and the space station must be traveling overhead — 40 degrees or more above the horizon — as it continues its trajectory around the globe. Most of the time, these circumstances only line up every few weeks. And that's where NASA's Spot the Station … [Read more...] about How to Spot the International Space Station From Where You Live
About 10,000 light years away from Earth, a black hole is engaged in a stellar feast, devouring the gases of a nearby star -- and we've been watching.The stellar-mass black hole, around 10 times more massive than our sun, was discovered after a humongous X-ray flare in March 2018. It was originally detected by a specialized instrument aboard the International Space Station, operated by the Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency, known as the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI). After the X-ray burst captivated astronomers, researchers at MIT, the University of Maryland and NASA swung another instrument on board the station to watch what happened to the black hole, nicknamed J1820.It's embarrassing when people watch you eat, but J1820 was none the wiser as NASA swung the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) to monitor its buffet. NICER continued to detect waves of X-ray light bouncing away from the black hole, called "light echoes", which demonstrated how the black … [Read more...] about NASA telescope spots black hole shrinking after devouring a star
Extreme Field Work A series about how science gets done in Earth's weirdest, wildest environments, from the bottom of the ocean to erupting volcanoes. The solar panels stood tall against the icy expanse as the four-person team approached on snowmobile. GZ20 hadn’t seen visitors in a year, having endured yet another brutal Antarctic winter since the last time its human caretakers checked in. But the fact that its power source could be seen from over three kilometers out—a spec of black in a world of white and blue—told Colorado School of Mines glaciologist Matt Siegfried the lonely GPS station was in good shape. That intuition turned out to be right. Servicing the GPS station—one of eight similar ice-monitoring rigs scattered across West Antarctica’s Mercer and Whillans ice streams—was “a dream”, he wrote Earther via satellite internet. In short order, the team had unjammed its ice-crusted wind turbine, raised its antenna, and … [Read more...] about The Machines That Spy on Antarctica’s Hidden Lakes
2018 may well prove to be the beginning of new eras in spaceflight, astronomy and astrophysics. Elon Musk and SpaceX may have ushered in the start of a golden age of commercial spaceflight, while a host of missions around the solar system may boost our understanding of our neighbors. On top of that, "multi-messenger astronomy" may provide a new window on the universe with the help of gravitational waves.The vastness of space stretches across distances that are often hard to conceive. Light requires eons to traverse them. Indeed, much of any given year's space news is about planning missions that will unfold over several years. Now playing: Watch this: Mars, space soldiers and NASA's big party: The biggest... 5:33 Recently, for example, talk has focused on getting to Mars, where NASA hopes to send astronauts and Musk dreams of building a new civilization. Planning also continues for the next generation of telescopes, which will help us see back to the … [Read more...] about From NASA to SpaceX, just look to space for good news from 2018