Big storms are different on Jupiter. On Earth, huge hurricanes and colossal cyclones are centered on regions of low pressure, but on Jupiter, it is the high-pressure, anti-cyclone storms that are the largest. On Earth, large storms can last weeks, but on Jupiter they can last years. On Earth, large storms can be as large as a country, but on Jupiter, large storms can be as large as planet Earth. Both types of storms are known to exhibit lightning. The featured image of Jupiter’s clouds was composed from images and data captured by the robotic Juno spacecraft as it swooped close to the massive planet in August 2020.  A swirling white oval is visible nearby, while numerous smaller cloud swirls extend into the distance.  On Jupiter, light-colored clouds are usually higher up than dark clouds. Despite their differences, studying storm clouds on distant Jupiter provides insights into storms and other weather patterns on familiar Earth.  via NASA https://ift.tt/7baumYg

A nearby star has exploded and humanity’s telescopes are turning to monitor it. The supernova, dubbed SN 2023ifx, was discovered by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki three days ago and subsequently located on automated images from the Zwicky Transient Facility two days earlier. SN 2023ifx occurred in the photogenic Pinwheel Galaxy M101, which, being only about 21 million light years away, makes it the closest supernova seen in the past five years, the second closest in the past 10 years, and the second supernova found in M101 in the past 15 years. Rapid follow up observations already indicate that SN 2023ifx is a Type II supernova, an explosion that occurs after a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses. The featured image shows home spiral galaxy two days ago with the supernova highlighted, while the roll-over image shows the same galaxy a month before. SN 2023ifx will likely brighten and remain visible to telescopes for months. Studying such a close and young Type II supernova may yield new clues about massive stars and how they explode. via NASA https://ift.tt/wKLyWBq

Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That’s because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations. The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent. Some of these miniature water-bears almost became extraterrestrials in 2011 when they were launched toward to the Martian moon Phobos, and again in 2021 when they were launched toward Earth’s own moon, but the former launch failed, and the latter landing crashed. Tardigrades are more common than humans across most of the Earth. Pictured here in a color-enhanced electron micrograph, a millimeter-long tardigrade crawls on moss. via NASA https://ift.tt/fMvqZnG

Galileo s Europa

Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft recorded stunning views of Europa and uncovered evidence that the moon’s icy surface likely hides a deep, global ocean. Galileo’s Europa image data has been remastered here, with improved calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see. Europa’s long curving fractures hint at the subsurface liquid water. The tidal flexing the large moon experiences in its elliptical orbit around Jupiter supplies the energy to keep the ocean liquid. But more tantalizing is the possibility that even in the absence of sunlight that process could also supply the energy to support life, making Europa one of the best places to look for life beyond Earth. What kind of life could thrive in a deep, dark, subsurface ocean? Consider planet Earth’s own extreme shrimp. via NASA https://ift.tt/YnSQtp0

Curly Spiral Galaxy M63

A bright spiral galaxy of the northern sky, Messier 63 is nearby, about 30 million light-years distant toward the loyal constellation Canes Venatici. Also cataloged as NGC 5055, the majestic island universe is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way. Its bright core and majestic spiral arms lend the galaxy its popular name, The Sunflower Galaxy. This exceptionally deep exposure also follows faint, arcing star streams far into the galaxy’s halo. Extending nearly 180,000 light-years from the galactic center, the star streams are likely remnants of tidally disrupted satellites of M63. Other satellite galaxies of M63 can be spotted in the remarkable wide-field image, including faint dwarf galaxies, which could contribute to M63’s star streams in the next few billion years. via NASA https://ift.tt/X7FT3zU

WR 134 Ring Nebula

Made with narrowband filters, this cosmic snapshot covers a field of view about the size of the full Moon within the boundaries of the constellation Cygnus. It highlights the bright edge of a ring-like nebula traced by the glow of ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen gas. Embedded in the region’s interstellar clouds of gas and dust, the complex, glowing arcs are sections of bubbles or shells of material swept up by the wind from Wolf-Rayet star WR 134, brightest star near the center of the frame. Distance estimates put WR 134 about 6,000 light-years away, making the frame over 50 light-years across. Shedding their outer envelopes in powerful stellar winds, massive Wolf-Rayet stars have burned through their nuclear fuel at a prodigious rate and end this final phase of massive star evolution in a spectacular supernova explosion. The stellar winds and final supernovae enrich the interstellar material with heavy elements to be incorporated in future generations of stars. via NASA https://ift.tt/9jDXeFT

Why would a small part of the Sun appear slightly dark? Visible is a close-up picture of sunspots, depressions on the Sun’s surface that are slightly cooler and less bright than the rest of the Sun. The Sun’s complex magnetic field creates these cool regions by inhibiting hot material from entering the spots. Sunspots can be larger than the Earth and typically last for about a week. Part of active region AR 3297 crossing the Sun in early May, the large lower sunspot is spanned by an impressive light bridge of hot and suspended solar gas. This high-resolution picture also shows clearly that the Sun’s surface is a bubbling carpet of separate cells of hot gas. These cells are known as granules. A solar granule is about 1000 kilometers across and lasts for only about 15 minutes. via NASA https://ift.tt/O9awhfc

Most photographs don’t adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun’s corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is unparalleled. The human eye can adapt to see coronal features and extent that average cameras usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The featured image digitally combined short and long exposures taken in Exmouth, Australia that were processed to highlight faint and extended features in the corona during the total solar eclipse that occurred in April of 2023. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields in the Sun’s corona. Looping prominences appear bright pink just past the Sun’s edge. Images taken seconds before and after the total eclipse show glimpses of the background Sun known as Baily’s Beads and diamond ring effect. The next total solar eclipse will cross North America in April of 2024. via NASA https://ift.tt/iY9jJ4U

From afar, the whole thing looks like an eagle. A closer look at the Eagle Nebula, however, shows the bright region is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust. Through this window, a brightly-lit workshop appears where a whole open cluster of stars is being formed. In this cavity, tall pillars and round globules of dark dust and cold molecular gas remain where stars are still forming. Already visible are several young bright blue stars whose light and winds are burning away and pushing back the remaining filaments and walls of gas and dust. The Eagle emission nebula, tagged M16, lies about 6500 light years away, spans about 20 light-years, and is visible with binoculars toward the constellation of the Serpent (Serpens). This picture involved long and deep exposures and combined three specific emitted colors emitted by sulfur (colored as yellow), hydrogen (red), and oxygen (blue). via NASA https://ift.tt/DFo3ufK

What would it be like to fly free in space? At about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was living the dream — floating farther out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured, was floating free in space. During Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984, McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an « untethered space walk ». The MMU worked by shooting jets of nitrogen and was used to help deploy and retrieve satellites. With a mass over 140 kilograms, an MMU is heavy on Earth, but, like everything, is weightless when drifting in orbit. The MMU was later replaced with the SAFER backpack propulsion unit. via NASA https://ift.tt/w0jNFuA