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Mission:
The purpose of the Ozarks Amateur Astronomers Club is to create and foster public interest in astronomy through presentations and public observing nights.
April 29th 2011 NASA Open House

NASA observing night will be on Friday, April 29th, 2011, from 8:00 P.M. to 10:30 P.M., weather permitting. This is a wonderful opportunity to do some amazing observing under a dark sky! You will also have an opportunity to look through one of the university’s larger telescopes!

NASA Night is also one of our biggest fundraising nights, so if anyone is interested in briefly helping out, please let Kevin know. See this link for directions: - NASA Observing Night - - kevcollette

 

News
April 1st, 2011 - Observing Night and Club Meeting
We will be heading to Baker Observatory Friday night, April 1st, for a club observing night. We will be meeting there at the observatory at 8:00 PM but in anyone needs a ride let me know in advance so I can make sure we have enough cars available. I will be picking up those needing a ride from in front of Kemper Hall at 7:15 and leaving by 7:25. Those needing help finding Baker Observatory can follow me out from there. - Scott

 

Baker Observatory Clear Sky Chart:
This is an astronomers forecast showing when it will be cloudy or clear for the next two days at Baker Observatory. Clicking the image will take you to the image host along with more detailed information and forecasts.

 

NASA Watch - SMAP Launched and Deployed
   
NASA Image of the Day
Image of the Day" image. A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory onboard is seen in this long exposure photograph as it launches from Space Launch Complex 2, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. SMAP is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. SMAP will provide high resolution global measurements of soil moisture from space. The data will be used to enhance scientists' understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy, and carbon cycles. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) This image shows Arp 230, also known as IC 51, observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Arp 230 is a galaxy of an uncommon or peculiar shape, and is therefore part of the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies produced by Halton Arp. Its irregular shape is thought to be the result of a violent collision with another galaxy sometime in the past. The collision could also be held responsible for the formation of the galaxy’s polar ring. The outer ring surrounding the galaxy consists of gas and stars and rotates over the poles of the galaxy. It is thought that the orbit of the smaller of the two galaxies that created Arp 230 was perpendicular to the disk of the second, larger galaxy when they collided. In the process of merging the smaller galaxy would have been ripped apart and may have formed the polar ring structure astronomers can observe today. Arp 230 is quite small for a lenticular galaxy, so the two original galaxies forming it must both have been smaller than the Milky Way.  A lenticular galaxy is a galaxy with a prominent central bulge and a disk, but no clear spiral arms.  They are classified as intermediate between an elliptical galaxy and a spiral galaxy. European Space Agency Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Flickr user Det58 A worker is seen preparing the launch gantry to be rolled back from the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory onboard, at the Space Launch Complex 2, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Now scheduled to launch early Friday morning, SMAP is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. SMAP will provide high resolution global measurements of soil moisture from space. The data will be used to enhance scientists' understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy, and carbon cycles. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and his wife, Alexis, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns as part of NASA's Day of Remembrance, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, at Arlington National Cemetery.  The wreaths were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration.  Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky The sun sets behind Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2) with the Delta II rocket and the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory protected by the service structure on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. SMAP is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. SMAP will provide high resolution global measurements of soil moisture from space. The data will be used to enhance scientists' understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy, and carbon cycles. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls The interaction of solar winds and Earth’s atmosphere produces northern lights, or auroras, that dance across the night sky and mesmerize the casual observer. However, to scientists this interaction is more than a light display. It produces many questions about the role it plays in Earth’s meteorological processes and the impact on the planet’s atmosphere. To help answer some of these questions, NASA suborbital sounding rockets carrying university-developed experiments -- the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere Turbulence Experiment (M-TeX) and Mesospheric Inversion-layer Stratified Turbulence (MIST) -- were launched into auroras from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The experiments explore the Earth’s atmosphere’s response to auroral, radiation belt and solar energetic particles and associated effects on nitric oxide and ozone. This composite shot of all four sounding rockets for the M-TeX and MIST experiments is made up of 30 second exposures. The rocket salvo began at 4:13 a.m. EST, Jan. 26, 2015. A fifth rocket carrying the Auroral Spatial Structures Probe remains ready on the launch pad. The launch window for this experiment runs through Jan. 27. Image Credit: NASA/Jamie Adkins > More: M-TeX and MIST Experiments Launched from Alaska Marking the 100th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain National Park on Jan. 26, 2015, Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry Virts posted this photograph, taken from the International Space Station, to Twitter. Virts wrote, "Majestic peaks and trails! Happy 100th anniversary @RockyNPS So much beauty to behold in our @NatlParkService." Image Credit: NASA/Terry Virts The year of 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and applications of light will be joining together for this yearlong celebration to help spread the word about the wonders of light. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory explores the universe in X-rays, a high-energy form of light.  By studying X-ray data and comparing them with observations in other types of light, scientists can develop a better understanding of objects likes stars and galaxies that generate temperatures of millions of degrees and produce X-rays. To recognize the start of IYL, the Chandra X-ray Center is releasing a set of images that combine data from telescopes tuned to different wavelengths of light. From a distant galaxy to the relatively nearby debris field of an exploded star, these images demonstrate the myriad ways that information about the universe is communicated to us through light. In this image, an expanding shell of debris called SNR 0519-69.0 is left behind after a massive star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. Multimillion degree gas is seen in X-rays from Chandra, in blue. The outer edge of the explosion (red) and stars in the field of view are seen in visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope. > More: Chandra Celebrates the International Year of Light Image Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO Located in the northwest corner of Greenland, Leidy Glacier is fed by ice from the Academy Glacier (upstream and inland). As Leidy approaches the sea, it is diverted around the tip of an island that separates the Olriks Fjord to the south and Academy Cove to the north. The resulting crisscross pattern is simply the result of ice flowing along the path of least resistance. This view of the region pictured above was acquired August 7, 2012, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. In April 2012, the feature caught the attention of a NASA pilot, who snapped this picture from the cockpit of a high-flying ER-2 aircraft during a research flight over the Greenland ice cap. More information. Image Credit: NASA/Terra NASA astronaut Scott Kelly stands as he is recognized by President Barack Obama, while First Lady Michelle Obama (lower left corner) and other guests applaud. The President recognized Kelly during the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2015. This March, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will launch to the International Space Station and become the first crewmembers to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory for a year-long mission. While living on the International Space Station, Kelly, Kornienko and the rest of the crew will carry out hundreds of research experiments and work on cutting-edge technology development that will inspire students here at home in science, technology, engineering and math. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) This July 20, 1969 photograph of the interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module shows astronaut Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. during the lunar landing mission. The picture was taken by astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, prior to the landing. Buzz Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on Jan. 20, 1930. Aldrin became an astronaut during the selection of the third group by NASA in October 1963. On Nov. 11, 1966 he orbited aboard the Gemini XII spacecraft, a 4-day 59-revolution flight that successfully ended the Gemini program. During Project Gemini, Aldrin became one of the key figures working on the problem of rendezvous of spacecraft in Earth or lunar orbit, and docking them together for spaceflight. Aldrin was chosen as a member of the three-person Apollo 11 crew that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, fulfilling the mandate of President John F. Kennedy to send Americans to the moon before the end of the decade. Aldrin was the second American to set foot on the lunar surface. Image Credit: NASA Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is one of more than 32 comets imaged by NASA's NEOWISE mission from December 2013 to December 2014. This image of comet Lovejoy combines a series of observations made in November 2013, when comet Lovejoy was 1.7 astronomical units from the sun. (An astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the sun.) The image spans half of one degree. It shows the comet moving in a mostly west and slightly south direction. (North is 26 degrees to the right of up in the image, and west is 26 degrees downward from directly right.) The red color is caused by the strong signal in the NEOWISE 4.6-micron wavelength detector, owing to a combination of gas and dust in the comet's coma. Comet Lovejoy is the brightest comet in Earth's sky in early 2015. A chart of its location in the sky during dates in January 2015 is at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19103 . For more information about NEOWISE (the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer), see http://neowise.ipac.caltech.edu/. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech This image of the interior view from the International Space Station's Cupola module was taken on Jan. 4, 2015. The large bay windows allows the Expedition 42 crew to see outside. The Cupola houses one of the space station's two robotic work stations used by astronauts to manipulate the large robotic arm seen through the right window. The robotic arm, or Canadarm2, was used throughout the construction of the station and is still used to grapple visiting cargo vehicles and assist astronauts during spacewalks. The Cupola is attached to the nadir side of the space station and also gives a full panoramic view of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA Ten years ago, an explorer from Earth parachuted into the haze of an alien moon toward an uncertain fate. After a gentle descent lasting more than two hours, it landed with a thud on a frigid floodplain, surrounded by icy cobblestones. With this feat, the Huygens probe accomplished humanity's first landing on a moon in the outer solar system. Huygens was safely on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. These images of Saturn's moon Titan were taken on Jan. 14, 2005 by the Huygens probe at four different altitudes. The images are a flattened (Mercator) projection of the view from the descent imager/spectral radiometer on the probe as it landed on Titan's surface. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter. NASA supplied two instruments on the Huygens probe, the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer and the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer. > More: NASA and ESA Celebrate 10 Years Since Titan Landing Image Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 11:24 p.m. EST on Jan. 12, 2015. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Image Credit: NASA/SDO On Jan. 12, 1986, the space shuttle Columbia launched at 6:55 a.m. EST from Kennedy Space Center on the STS-61C mission. It was the first spaceflight for now-NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, who was a Pilot on the STS-61C crew along with Mission Commander Robert L. Gibson, Mission Specialists Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Steven A. Hawley and George D. Nelson and Payload Specialists Robert J. Cenker of RCA and U.S. Rep. (now Senator) Bill Nelson. During the six-day flight, crew members deployed the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics and materials processing. The mission was accomplished in 96 orbits of Earth, ending with a successful night landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Jan. 18, 1986. Image Credit: NASA SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 4:47 a.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. The commercial resupply mission will deliver 3,700 pounds of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations and supplies, including critical materials to support 256 science and research investigations on the space station.> More: NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station Aboard SpaceX Resupply MissionImage Credit: NASA/Jim Grossman The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this view of a phytoplankton bloom near Alaska’s Pribilof Islands on Sept. 22, 2014. The Pribilofs are surrounded by nutrient-rich waters in the Bering Sea. The milky green and light blue shading of the water indicates the presence of vast populations of microscopic phytoplankton—mostly coccolithophores, which have calcite scales that appear white in satellite images. Such phytoplankton form the foundation of a tremendously productive habitat for fish and birds. Blooms in the Bering Sea increase significantly in springtime, after winter ice cover retreats and nutrients and freshened water are abundant near the ocean surface. Phytoplankton populations plummet in summertime as the water warms, surface nutrients are depleted by blooms, and the plant-like organisms are depleted by grazing fish, zooplankton, and other marine life. By autumn, storms can stir nutrients back to the surface and cooler waters make better bloom conditions. > More information. Image Credit: NASA/Landsat 8 NOAA's GOES-East satellite provided a look at the frigid eastern two-thirds of the U.S. on Jan. 7, 2015, that shows a blanket of northern snow, lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes and clouds behind the Arctic cold front. A visible picture captured at 11 a.m. EST showed the effects of the latest Arctic outbreak. The cold front that brought the Arctic air moved as far south as Florida, and stretched back over the Gulf of Mexico and just west of Texas. The image shows clouds behind the frontal boundary stretching from the Carolinas west over the Heartland. Farther north, a wide band of fallen snow covers the ground from New England west to Montana, with rivers appearing like veins. The GOES-East satellite image also shows wind-whipped lake-effect snows off the Great Lakes, blowing to the southeast. Meanwhile, Florida, the nation's warm spot appeared almost cloud-free. Image Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project Bearing the marks of a spacecraft that has returned to Earth through a searing plunge into the atmosphere, NASA's Orion spacecraft is perched on a pedestal inside the Launch Abort System Facility at Kennedy Space Center, where it is going through post-mission processing. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, third from right, looks over the Orion spacecraft on the morning of Jan. 6, 2015. At far right is Jules Schneider, Lockheed Martin manager. Standing near Bolden is Paul Cooper, a Lockheed Martin manager. At far left is Kennedy Space Center Associate Director Kelvin Manning. Orion was returned to Kennedy Space Center following a successful Dec. 5, 2014 flight test. Although the spacecraft Bolden looked over did not fly with a crew aboard during the flight test, Orion is designed to carry astronauts into deep space in the future setting NASA and the nation firmly on the journey to Mars.Image Credit: NASA/Cory Huston The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping bird’s-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, the Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And there are lots of stars in this sweeping view -- over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk. This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies that dominate the universe's population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars inside an external spiral galaxy over such a large contiguous area. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington. > More: Hubble's High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (U. of Washington), the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) team, and R. Gendler Clouds can be observed from the International Space Station moving across Earth’s surface, as in this image of New Zealand taken by Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti. Other tiny solid and liquid particles called aerosols are also being transported around the atmosphere, but these are largely invisible to our eyes. To investigate the layers and composition of clouds and tiny airborne particles like dust, smoke and other atmospheric aerosols, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland have developed an Earth-observing instrument called the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System, or CATS. The CATS instrument, set to launch to the space station aboard the fifth SpaceX commercial resupply flight, will be the second NASA Earth-observing instrument to be mounted on the exterior of the station. CATS will provide data about aerosols at different levels of the atmosphere. The data are expected to improve scientists' ability to track different cloud and aerosol types throughout the atmosphere. These datasets will be used to improve strategic and hazard-warning capabilities of events in near real-time, such as tracking plumes from dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires. The information could also feed into climate models to help understand the effects of clouds and aerosols on Earth’s energy balance. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Samantha Cristoforetti There were no fireworks on the sun to welcome in the New Year and only a few C-class flares during the last day of 2014. Instead, the sun starts 2015 with an enormous coronal hole near the south pole. This image, captured on Jan. 1, 2015 by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows the coronal hole as a dark region in the south. Coronal holes are regions of the corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface. Particles moving along those magnetic fields can leave the sun rather than being trapped near the surface. Those trapped particles can heat up and glow, giving us the lovely AIA images. In the parts of the corona where the particles leave the sun, the glow is much dimmer and the coronal hole looks dark. Coronal holes were first seen in images taken by astronauts on board NASA’s Skylab space station in 1973 and 1974. They can be seen for a long time, although the exact shape changes all the time. The polar coronal hole can remain visible for five years or longer. Each time a coronal hole rotates by the Earth we can measure the particles flowing out of the hole as a high-speed stream, another source of space weather. Charged particles in the Earth’s radiation belts are accelerated when the high-speed stream runs into the Earth’s magnetosphere. The acceleration of particles in the magnetosphere is studied by NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission. As Solar Cycle 24 fades, the number of flares each day will get smaller, but the coronal holes provide another source of space weather that needs to be understood and predicted. Image Credit: NASA/SDO Caption: Dean Pesnell Discovered on Jan. 1, 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi of Italy, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt - the strip of solar system real estate between Mars and Jupiter. On March 6, 2015, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will arrive at Ceres, marking the first time that a spacecraft has ever orbited two solar system targets. Dawn previously explored the protoplanet Vesta for 14 months, from 2011 to 2012, capturing detailed images and data about that body. Dawn has entered its approach phase toward Ceres, and the next couple of months promise continually improving views prior to arrival. By the end of January, the spacecraft's images and other data will be the best ever taken of the dwarf planet. This image of Ceres was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope between December 2003 and January 2004. Hubble images of Vesta and Ceres helped astronomers plan for the Dawn spacecraft’s tour. Astronomers enhanced the sharpness in the image to bring out features on Ceres' surface, including brighter and darker regions that could be asteroid impact features. The observations were made in visible and ultraviolet light. The colors represent the differences between relatively red and blue regions. These differences may simply be due to variation on the surface among different types of material. Ceres' round shape suggests that its interior is layered like those of terrestrial planets such as Earth. Ceres may have a rocky inner core, an icy mantle, and a thin, dusty outer crust inferred from its density and rotation rate of 9 hours. Ceres is approximately 590 miles (950 kilometers) across. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/J. Parker (SWRI), P. Thomas (Cornell U.), L. McFadden (U-Md., College Park), and M. Mutchler and Z. Levay (STScI) This image captures the stunning NGC 6535, a globular cluster 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent) that measures one light-year across. Globular clusters are tightly bound groups of stars which orbit galaxies. The large mass in the rich stellar centre of the globular cluster pulls the stars inward to form a ball of stars. The word globulus, from which these clusters take their name, is Latin for small sphere. Globular clusters are generally very ancient objects formed around the same time as their host galaxy. To date, no new star formation has been observed within a globular cluster, which explains the abundance of aging yellow stars in this image, most of them containing very few heavy elements. NGC 6535 was first discovered in 1852 by English astronomer John Russell Hind. The cluster would have appeared to Hind as a small, faint smudge through his telescope. Now, over 160 years later, instruments like the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the NASA/ European Space Agency (ESA) Hubble Space Telescope allow us to marvel at the cluster and its contents in greater detail. European Space Agency Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine This photo was captured from outside the enormous mouth of NASA's giant thermal vacuum chamber, called Chamber A, at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Previously used for manned spaceflight missions, this historic chamber is now filled with engineers and technicians preparing a lift system that will be used to hold the James Webb Space Telescope during testing. The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. > Related: Amazing View of Engineers Preparing NASA's Gigantic Space Simulation Chamber for Massive Test Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA) took this photograph of the Alps from the International Space Station, and posted it to social media on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. She wrote, "I'm biased, but aren't the Alps from space spectacular? What a foggy day on the Po plane, though! #Italy" Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Samantha Cristoforetti This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the galaxy IC 335 in front of a backdrop of distant galaxies. IC 335 is part of a galaxy group containing three other galaxies, and located in the Fornax Galaxy Cluster 60 million light-years away. As seen in this image, the disk of IC 335 appears edge-on from the vantage point of Earth. This makes it harder for astronomers to classify it, as most of the characteristics of a galaxy’s morphology — the arms of a spiral or the bar across the center — are only visible on its face. Still, the 45 000 light-year-long galaxy could be classified as an S0 type. These lenticular galaxies are an intermediate state in galaxy morphological classification schemes between true spiral and elliptical galaxies. They have a thin stellar disk and a bulge, like spiral galaxies, but in contrast to typical spiral galaxies they have used up most of the interstellar medium. Only a few new stars can be created out of the material that is left and the star formation rate is very low. Hence, the population of stars in S0 galaxies consists mainly of aging stars, very similar to the star population in elliptical galaxies. As S0 galaxies have only ill-defined spiral arms they are easily mistaken for elliptical galaxies if they are seen inclined face-on or edge-on as IC 335 here. And indeed, despite the morphological differences between S0 and elliptical class galaxies, they share some common characteristics, like typical sizes and spectral features. Both classes are also deemed "early-type" galaxies, because they are evolving passively. However, while elliptical galaxies may be passively evolving when we observe them, they have usually had violent interactions with other galaxies in their past.  In contrast,  S0 galaxies are either aging and fading spiral galaxies, which never had any interactions with other galaxies, or they are the aging result of a single merger between two spiral galaxies in the past. The exact nature of these galaxies is still a matter of debate. European Space Agency Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA This image of an area on the surface of Mars, approximately 1.5 by 3 kilometers in size, shows frosted gullies on a south-facing slope within a crater. At this time of year, only south-facing slopes retain the frost, while the north-facing slopes have melted. Gullies are not the only active geologic process going on here. A small crater is visible at the bottom of the slope. The image was acquired on Nov. 30, 2014, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. > More information and image products Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona Caption: Livio Tornabene, Ryan Hopkins, Kayle Hansen and Eric Pilles The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:28 p.m. EST on Dec. 19, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This flare is classified as an X1.8-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc. > Video: Holiday Lights on the Sun Image Credit: NASA/SDO
   

Last Updated March 15th, 2008 by Scott Maasen CETsr. 2008 Ozarks Amateur Astronomers Club. All Rights Reserved.