The final frontier never ceases to amaze. This week we saw incredible images of our sun, Pluto, galaxies and more.
NuSTAR X-rays the sun
The NuSTAR joined forces with two other telescopes to snap the impressive image of the sun above.
See the blue spots? Those are high-energy X-rays imaged by NuSTAR. The green areas show lower-energy X-rays from Japan’s Hinode spacecraft. The yellow and red colors are seen in ultraviolet from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
You can read more about each telescope in this post I wrote a few days ago.
“What’s great about NuSTAR is that the telescope is so versatile that we can hunt black holes millions of light-years away and we can also learn something fundamental about the star in our own backyard,” said Brian Grefenstette of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, an astronomer on the NuSTAR team.
New Horizons closes in on Pluto
New Horizons will soar past the Pluto system on Tuesday, July 14. On July 8th, NASA released this impressive image of Pluto and its moon Charon.
“These two objects have been together for billions of years, in the same orbit, but they are totally different,” said Principal Investigator Alan Stern.
You can see how Pluto has massive areas of bright and dark features. On Charon, just a dark polar region contrasts with a mostly light gray terrain.
Another image was released on July 9th. Details of Pluto’s surface are really starting to come into view.
“We’re close enough now that we’re just starting to see Pluto’s geology,” said New Horizons program scientist Curt Niebur. “It’s a unique transition region with a lot of dynamic processes interacting, which makes it of particular scientific interest.
New Horizons was 3.3 million miles away when it snapped the image above. On July 14, New Horizons will fly within just 7,750 miles of Pluto. The images will blow us away.
Hubble continues to amaze
This week, NASA released a Hubble image of J04542829-6625280. Woah, that’s a mouthful. It’s a spiral galaxy similar to our own, and can be seen in the constellation of Dorado.
A welcome sight for the ISS
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) July 5, 2015
After two consecutive failures, a Progress supply ship docked with the ISS. NASA did say the ISS had enough supplies through October. But, every space agency involved with the ISS breathed a sigh of relief when Progress successfully lifted off and docked with the space station.
Next week is all about New Horizons and Pluto. We won’t see the images during the spacecraft’s flyby. It will be too busy collecting data to transmit. But, we should start seeing the first images a couple of days after the flyby.
We will see Pluto like we’ve never seen it before. Until New Horizon, this was the best image astronomers ever captured.
Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla shows us what photos from New Horizons could look like.
New Horizons will also tell us more about Pluto’s moons.
After New Horizons’ flyby, it will head towards another target. Scientists are debating over two Kuiper belt objects to go towards. If everything goes smoothly, New Horizons will explore another new object in 2019.
Image credits: NASA