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Triton from Voyager 2

This is via Astronomy Picture of the Day, 26//8/14.

Neptune’s largest moon Triton.

The movie has been stitched together from still pictures taken by Voyager 2 on its fly past.

The Voyager missions must have been Nasa’s most successful unmanned investigations of the Solar System.

Apparently the green colour of the moon is real.

Off to a Comet

Below is a video of the approach by the Rosetta spacecraft to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko as posted on Astronomy Picture of the Day, 11/8/14.

The ambition of this mission is simply mind-boggling.

What weird things comets are though. Not quite what Jules Verne imagined I think.

A Dangerous Neighbourhood

Below is a video of a solar coronal mass ejection on 9/5/14 as observed by NASA’s IRIS satellite.

The eruption occurs at 1.5 million miles per hour. You don’t want to get in the way of that.

Rings around an Asteroid

I haven’t done an astronomy post for ages.

This one intrigued me. An asteroid with a ring system? Yes it would seem.

The animation and occultation measurements below appeared on Astronomy Picture of the Day on 9/4/14.

Saturn’s Hexagonal Polar Storm

This sequqnce appeared on The Daily Galaxy on Tuesday 4/2/14.

Phobos in the Round

This video of the larger of Mars’s two moons, Phobos, was Astronomy Picture of the Day for Dec 25th.

You can’t actually see this rotation from the surface of Mars as Phobos is tide-locked to its primary in the same way Earth’s Moon is to its.

Comet ISON Again

It looks like comet ISON has survived perihelion. At least in part.

This video was Astronomy Picture of the Day for 30/11/13.

Comet ISON Dives Toward the Sun from Babak Tafreshi on Vimeo.

Comet ISON Video

This is a video of comet ISON which, since it has now passed within about one solar diameter of the Sun, may have broken up and faded by now but otherwise promised to become a very bright object in the night sky. The video featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday.

The Sun: a Flash Spectrum

The sun gives out light across the visible spectrum (the colours of the rainbow) and beyond. We see the sun itself as yellow or red according to its position in the sky and what we experience as “white” light is made up of all the colours. If that light is passed through a prism or difraction grating it splits up into these colours.

What about when the sun’s rays are blocked?

Constantine Emmanouilidi caught a great picture of the sun’s spectrum split in this way but during an eclipse. This was Astronomy Picture of the Day for 15/11/13.

Sun's flash spectrum

Thanks to Mr Emmanouilidi for permission to copy his picture.

It was through images similar to this where a line spectrum is obtained that the chemical element helium was discovered in the sun’s atmosphere before it was isolated on Earth.

Rotating Moon

Since it’s tidally locked to its parent planet people from Earth do not normally see the Moon rotating. However the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has built up a series of pictures allowing a video of the rotating Moon to be compiled. This video was Astronomy Picture of the Day for 16/9/13.

It starts with the familiar view from Earth – a side which has an abundance of dark areas known as maria which are relatively low-lying – then the rotation shows the “far” side as much lighter in colour. This lightness is due to lunar highlands.

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