NASA Goddard

NASA | Alex Young Interview About Our Sun’s Magnetic Flip

Published on Dec 6, 2013

Alex Young is interviewed about the current solar cycle and what a magnetic flip means for the earth and NASA’s study of magnetic fields.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/…

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NASA | Alien Atmospheres

Published on Dec 3, 2013

Since the early 1990’s, astronomers have known that extrasolar planets, or “exoplanets,” orbit stars light-years beyond our own solar system. Although most exoplanets are too distant to be directly imaged, detailed studies have been made of their size, composition, and even atmospheric makeup – but how? By observing periodic variations in the parent star’s brightness and color, astronomers can indirectly determine an exoplanet’s distance from its star, its size, and its mass. But to truly understand an exoplanet astronomers must study its atmosphere, and they do so by splitting apart the parent star’s light during a planetary transit.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11428

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NASA | Comet ISON’s Full Perihelion Pass

Published on Dec 2, 2013

After several days of continued observations, scientists continue to work to determine and to understand the fate of Comet ISON: There’s no doubt that the comet shrank in size considerably as it rounded the sun and there’s no doubt that something made it out on the other side to shoot back into space. The question remains as to whether the bright spot seen moving away from the sun was simply debris, or whether a small nucleus of the original ball of ice was still there. Regardless, it is likely that it is now only dust.

Comet ISON, which began its journey from the Oort Cloud some 3 million years ago, made its closest approach to the sun on Nov. 28, 2013. The comet was visible in instruments on NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, and the joint European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, via images called coronagraphs. Coronagraphs block out the sun and a considerable distance around it, in order to better observe the dim structures in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. As such, there was a period of several hours when the comet was obscured in these images, blocked from view along with the sun. During this period of time, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory could not see the comet, leading many scientists to surmise that the comet had disintegrated completely. However, something did reappear in SOHO and STEREO coronagraphs some time later — though it was significantly less bright.

Whether that spot of light was merely a cloud of dust that once was a comet, or if it still had a nucleus — a small ball of its original, icy material — intact, is still unclear. It seems likely that as of Dec. 1, there was no nucleus left. By monitoring its changes in brightness over time, scientists can estimate whether there’s a nucleus or not, but our best chance at knowing for sure will be if the Hubble Space Telescope makes observations later in December 2013.

Regardless of its fate, Comet ISON did not disappoint researchers. Over the last year, observatories around the world and in space gathered one of the largest sets of comet observations of all time, which should provide fodder for study for years to come. The number of space-based, ground-based, and amateur observations were unprecedented, with twelve NASA space-based assets observing over the past year.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11422

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NASA | Comet ISON Fizzles

Published on Nov 28, 2013

These images from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory and the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory show Comet ISON growing dim as it made the journey around the sun. The comet was not visible at all in NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The comet is believed to have broken up and evaporated.

While this means that Comet ISON will not be visible in the night sky in December, the wealth of observations gathered of the comet over the last year will provide great research opportunities for some time. One important question will simply be to figure out why it is no longer visible.

Credit: NASA/SDO/ESA/SOHO/GSFC

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11422

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NASA | Alex Young Comet ISON Interview

Published on Nov 26, 2013

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000…

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NASA | First Landing: IceBridge P-3 on the Sea Ice Runway

Published on Nov 25, 2013

With the successful landing of the NASA P-3 aircraft on McMurdo Station’s seasonal sea ice runway, Operation IceBridge is opening the door to a whole new suite of remote science targets in Antarctica.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11425

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NASA | How to Cook a Comet

Published on Nov 21, 2013

A comet’s journey through the solar system is perilous and violent. Before it reaches Mars – at some 230 million miles away from the sun – the radiation of the sun begins to cook off the frozen water ice directly into gas. This is called sublimation. It is the first step toward breaking the comet apart. If it survives this, the intense radiation and pressure closer to the sun could destroy it altogether.

Animators at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created this short movie showing how the sun can cook a comet.

Such a journey is currently being made by Comet ISON. It began its trip from the Oort cloud region of our solar system and is now traveling toward the sun. The comet will reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 28, 2013 — skimming just 730,000 miles above the sun’s surface. If it comes around the sun without breaking up, the comet will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere with the naked eye, and from what we see now, ISON is predicted to be a particularly bright and beautiful comet.

Even if the comet does not survive, tracking its journey will help scientists understand what the comet is made of, how it reacts to its environment, and what this explains about the origins of the solar system. Closer to the sun, watching how the comet and its tail interact with the vast solar atmosphere can teach scientists more about the sun itself.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11384

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NASA | Mars Evolution

Published on Nov 13, 2013

Billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water – a critical ingredient for life. The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake. The artist’s concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different. Rapidly moving clouds suggest the passage of time, and the shift from a warm and wet to a cold and dry climate is shown as the animation progresses. The lakes dry up, while the atmosphere gradually transitions from Earthlike blue skies to the dusty pink and tan hues seen on Mars today.

his video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?20201

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NASA | Mars Atmosphere Loss: Plasma Processes

Published on Nov 6, 2013

Mars’s thick early atmosphere was likely lost to space, and the Sun is a potential culprit. When high-energy solar photons strike the upper Martian atmosphere they can ionize gas molecules, causing the atmosphere to erode over time.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11037

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NASA | Canyon of Fire on the Sun

Published on Oct 24, 2013

A magnetic filament of solar material erupted on the sun in late September, breaking the quiet conditions in a spectacular fashion. The 200,000 mile long filament ripped through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, leaving behind what looks like a canyon of fire. The glowing canyon traces the channel where magnetic fields held the filament aloft before the explosion. Visualizers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. combined two days of satellite data to create a short movie of this gigantic event on the sun.

In reality, the sun is not made of fire, but of something called plasma: particles so hot that their electrons have boiled off, creating a charged gas that is interwoven with magnetic fields.

These images were captured on Sept. 29-30, 2013, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which constantly observes the sun in a variety of wavelengths.

Different wavelengths help capture different aspect of events in the corona. The red images shown in the movie help highlight plasma at temperatures of 90,000° F and are good for observing filaments as they form and erupt. The yellow images, showing temperatures at 1,000,000° F, are useful for observing material coursing along the sun’s magnetic field lines, seen in the movie as an arcade of loops across the area of the eruption. The browner images at the beginning of the movie show material at temperatures of 1,800,000° F, and it is here where the canyon of fire imagery is most obvious.

By comparing this with the other colors, one sees that the two swirling ribbons moving farther away from each other are, in fact, the footprints of the giant magnetic field loops, which are growing and expanding as the filament pulls them upward.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11379

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NASA | SDO: Three Years of Sun in Three Minutes

Published on Apr 22, 2013

Music: “A Lady’s Errand of Love” – composed and performed by Martin Lass

In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun’s rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.
SDO’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 Angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin. In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun’s 25-day rotation as well as how solar activity has increased over three years.

During the course of the video, the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because the distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876 miles per hour and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.

Such stability is crucial for scientists, who use SDO to learn more about our closest star. These images have regularly caught solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the act, types of space weather that can send radiation and solar material toward Earth and interfere with satellites in space. SDO’s glimpses into the violent dance on the sun help scientists understand what causes these giant explosions — with the hopes of some day improving our ability to predict this space weather.
There are several noteworthy events that appear briefly in this video. They include the two partial eclipses of the sun by the moon, two roll maneuvers, the largest flare of this solar cycle, comet Lovejoy, and the transit of Venus. The specific time for each event is listed below, but a sharp-eyed observer may see some while the video is playing.

00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon

00:31;16 Roll maneuver

01:11;02 August 9, 2011 X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle

01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011

01:42;29 Roll Maneuver

01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012

02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon

More information about this video, as well as full HD version of all four wavelengths and print-resolution stills are public domain and can be viewed and downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/…

This video is public domain and can be downloaded.

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:
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NASA | Earth at Night

Published on Dec 5, 2012

In daylight our big blue marble is all land, oceans and clouds. But the night – is electric.

This view of Earth at night is a cloud-free view from space as acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite (Suomi NPP). A joint program by NASA and NOAA, Suomi NPP captured this nighttime image by the satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The day-night band on VIIRS detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as city lights, gas flares, and wildfires. This new image is a composite of data acquired over nine days in April and thirteen days in October 2012. It took 312 satellite orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of land surface.

This video uses the Earth at night view created by NASA’s Earth Observatory with data processed by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center and combined with a version of the Earth Observatory’s Blue Marble: Next Generation.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Nigh…

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11157

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NASA | Magnificent Eruption in Full HD

Published on Sep 5, 2012

On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled away from the sun at over 900 miles per second. This movie shows the ejection from a variety of viewpoints as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11095

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:
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NASA | SDO’s Ultra-high Definition View of 2012 Venus Transit

Published on Jun 6, 2012

Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate.  SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.

On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event–the transit of Venus across the face of the sun.  This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years.  The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum.  The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light.  304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/…

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:
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Follow the conversation online with #VenusTransit

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NASA | Evolution of the Moon

Published on Mar 14, 2012

From year to year, the moon never seems to change. Craters and other formations appear to be permanent now, but the moon didn’t always look like this. Thanks to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we now have a better look at some of the moon’s history. Learn more in this video!

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10930

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:
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NASA | Tour of the Moon

Published on Mar 14, 2012

Although the moon has remained largely unchanged during human history, our understanding of it and how it has evolved over time has evolved dramatically. Thanks to new measurements, we have new and unprecedented views of its surface, along with new insight into how it and other rocky planets in our solar system came to look the way they do. See some of the sights and learn more about the moon here!

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10929

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:
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