• 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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,
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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.
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  • 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
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  • 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
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