New Horizons flies by Pluto

Enormous heart feature on Pluto. Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI
July 14, 2015

 Oh wow! Today the New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Pluto at 30,800 mph (49,600 km/hr), just 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. I was expecting something cool, but not a heart 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across. The heart is quie near Pluto’s equator (the photo mostly shows the northern hemisphere) and it seems remarkably flat. The best guess is that it’s geologically new, because much of the rest of…


The sun at different wavelenths

September 23, 2014

  Light is made of electromagnetic waves, and our eyes see different wavelengths as different colours. But our eyes can’t see most wavelengths at all, which is a pity – think how different the human body looks when you see it in x-rays. This is the sun at 13 different wavelengths.


A Photo of the Canaries wins Tournament: Earth 2014

The Canary Islands from NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013
April 9, 2014

Every year NASA holds a competition to chose the best photo of Earth. The Canary Islands won this year’s Tournament: Earth is again. (Last year’s winner was a photo of the submarine eruption off El Hierro.)   The Canary Islands sit in the trade winds and the Canary current, both of which come from the north east. This photo, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013, shows long…


R.I.P. Comet ISON (probably)

Comet ISON
November 28, 2013

<   It looks like comet ISON has broken up. I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised. The comet’s closest approach was just 1,165,000 km (724,000 mi) from the surface of the sun. This is not a safe place for a snowball. The image above shows just how close it got. The black disc in the centre of the picture is called a cronograph. It covers up the sun so that...


I hope that wasn’t my prince

Frog caught in a NASA launch
September 13, 2013

  Wow! Yes, that’s a real frog, and a real NASA launch, and no, the photo wasn’t retouched. This is NASA’s LADEE heading to the moon “to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.” The automatic cameras caught this image at the launch Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.” For real. So what’s with the frog? Well, the…


Zoom in on Mars

  Click on the picture to go to the NASA website, where you can explore a million-pixel photo of Mars. You can zoom in anywhere!

June 21, 2013