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Happy Halloween from NASA Goddard
Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
This trick that the planet is looking back at you is actually a Hubble treat: An eerie, close-up view of Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system. Hubble was monitoring changes in Jupiter’s immense Great Red Spot (GRS) storm on April 21, 2014, when the shadow of the Jovian moon, Ganymede, swept across the center of the storm. This gave the giant planet the uncanny appearance of having a pupil in the center of a 10,000 mile-diameter “eye.” For a moment, Jupiter “stared” back at Hubble like a one-eyed giant Cyclops.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)
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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.
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Launch of the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (Archive: NASA, Marshall, 4/1991)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
On April 5, 1991, the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory (CGRO) was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis from Kennedy Space Center. Named in honor of Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Arthur Holly Compton, CGRO was the second of NASA’s “Great Observatories” following the Hubble Space Telescope 1990 launch and was at the time of launch, the heaviest astrophysical payload ever flown on board the Shuttle. The purpose of the CGRO mission was to use its collection of four primary instruments to detect the broad range of high energy radiation known as gamma-rays. The Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) instrument, which served as the all-sky monitor for gamma-ray bursts on the observatory, was built in-house by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Principal Investigator (PI) for BATSE was Dr. Gerald J. Fishman, who in 2011, claimed a shared the Shaw Prize alongside Italian astronomer, Enrico Costa. The observatory was safely deorbited and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on June 4, 2000.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC
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Black-footed albatross practicing their courting at Midway Atoll. Photo credit: Eric VanderWerf
Image by USFWS Pacific
In the early morning hours of February 17, fifteen black-footed albatross chicks made a special landing at Honolulu International Airport. These former residents of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial were flown from the remote atoll and then transported from the airport to their new home at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, on the north shore of Oʻahu.
These small, fluffy chicks are part of a pioneering effort to establish a new albatross colony in the main Hawaiian Islands. Black-footed albatross nest only on low-lying islands and are at risk of losing their nesting habitat due to rising sea-levels and increasing storm surges.
The three week old chicks will be hand fed a diet of fish and squid and closely monitored by biologists for four to five months, until they are able to fly out to sea and feed themselves. Black-footed albatross chicks imprint on their birth colony at about one month of age and they will return to breed at the same colony as adults. By moving the chicks at this critical one-month period, they will imprint on their new home at the Refuge and become the seeds of a new colony, when they return as adults to raise their own chicks.
Partners on this project include Pacific Rim Conservation, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.