Self Care – Astronomy Picture of the Week: Propeller Belts of Saturn

I’m still pulling from Cassini’s Grand Finale mission. Is it at all strange that I’m so sad about this? I don’t want to say I feel like I’ve built some kind of bond or something with Cassini. It’s just that Saturn’s always been my favorite planet, and for as long as I’ve been interested, Cassini’s been our window to it.

And now, Cassini’s incredible life is coming to an end. And I’m sad about that.

But anyways…

Cassini shot this amazing, extremely sharp image of some features in Saturn’s A ring called propeller belts. As always, click on the image for the tiff download…

Also, I’m putting this one below the fold…

[Read more…]

Reminder: GGS, AP of the W, and Self Care in General All Open for Submissions

I just want to remind readers that Self Care in general, as well as Great Guitar Solos and Astronomy Picture of the Week are open for submissions. I’m eventually going to run out of stuff to post in these series, and would love to know what space pictures/videos/ideas you find interesting, what guitar solos you love, and what videos, pictures, recipes, etc you just enjoy and make you feel good, so I can post them here.

Don’t be shy! I’m genuinely curious, and I’d be happy to share it!

Self Care – Astronomy [Video] of the Week: Cassini’s Grand Finale

This, to be honest, is really sad for me.

Saturn has always been my favorite planet, so Cassini holds a very special place in my heart. I love Cassini. I follow it on Twitter, and follow updates very closely. Cassini has been in space for 20 years, and at Saturn 13 years. It’s been an amazing run, with so many incredible findings about Saturn and it’s wondrous and fascinating moons.

But time is running out. Cassini is running out of fuel. So NASA has planned a Grand Finale. An epic, bittersweet grand finale.

First, Cassini will dive between Saturn and it’s rings. It’s already done that once, on April 26. And it’s geared up to do it 21 more times.

Then, on September 15, Cassini will… um…

[Read more…]

Self Care – Astronomy Picture(s and Video) of the Week: Milky Way-like Galaxies in Early Universe Embedded in ‘Super Halos’

Yet another really cool Astronomy discovery, this one announced back on March 23rd

Composite ALMA and optical image of a young Milky Way-like galaxy 12 billion light-years away and a background quasar 12.5 billion light-years away. Light from the quasar passed through the galaxy's gas on its way to Earth, revealing the presence of the galaxy to astronomers. New ALMA observations of the galaxy's ionized carbon (green) and dust continuum (blue) emission show that the dusty, star-forming disk of the galaxy is vastly offset from the gas detected by quasar absorption at optical wavelengths (red). This indicates that a massive halo of gas surrounds the galaxy. The optical data are from the Keck I Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman & J. Xavier Prochaska; Keck Observatory

Composite ALMA and optical image of a young Milky Way-like galaxy 12 billion light-years away and a background quasar 12.5 billion light-years away. Light from the quasar passed through the galaxy’s gas on its way to Earth, revealing the presence of the galaxy to astronomers. New ALMA observations of the galaxy’s ionized carbon (green) and dust continuum (blue) emission show that the dusty, star-forming disk of the galaxy is vastly offset from the gas detected by quasar absorption at optical wavelengths (red). This indicates that a massive halo of gas surrounds the galaxy. The optical data are from the Keck I Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman & J. Xavier Prochaska; Keck Observatory

[Read more…]

Self Care – Astronomy Picture[s and Video] of the Week: Spacewalks

Spacewalks are honestly rather fascinating. I’ve been enjoying pics and videos of them for a long time, now.

I think everyone here already knows what a spacewalk is, but here’s the Wikipedia breakdown (of Extravehicular Activity, of which a spacewalk is the most common type), just in case…

Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere. The term most commonly applies to a spacewalk made outside a craft orbiting Earth (such as the International Space Station), but also has applied to lunar surface exploration (commonly known as moonwalks) performed by six pairs of American astronauts in the Apollo program from 1969 to 1972. On each of the last three of these missions, astronauts also performed deep-space EVAs on the return to Earth, to retrieve film canisters from the outside of the spacecraft. Astronauts also used EVA in 1973 to repair launch damage to Skylab, the United States’ first space station.

A “Stand-up” EVA (SEVA) is where the astronaut does not fully leave a spacecraft, but is completely reliant on the spacesuit for environmental support.[1] Its name derives from the astronaut “standing up” in the open hatch, usually to record or assist a spacewalking astronaut.

EVAs may be either tethered (the astronaut is connected to the spacecraft; oxygen and electrical power can be supplied through an umbilical cable; no propulsion is needed to return to the spacecraft), or untethered. Untethered spacewalks were only performed on three missions in 1984 using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), and on a flight test in 1994 of the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER), a safety device worn on tethered U.S. EVAs.

The Soviet Union/Russia, the United States, and China have conducted EVAs.

[Read more…]