ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/06/2020

Payloads Space Tango MultiLab Locker (TangoLab-2): The crew removed Card 014 and stowed it for return and installed sample cards 001 and 012 recently flown on NG-14 as part of TangoLab-2 Mission 18 operations. TangoLab-2 is a reconfigurable general research facilities designed for microgravity research and development and pilot manufacturing in the ISS. NanoRacks Platforms: …

from NASA

Ou4: A Giant Squid in a Flying Bat

A very faint but very large squid-like nebula is visible in planet Earth’s sky — but inside a still larger bat. The Giant Squid Nebula cataloged as Ou4, and Sh2-129 also known as the Flying Bat Nebula, are both caught in this cosmic scene toward the royal royal constellation Cepheus. Composed with 55 hours of narrowband image data, the telescopic field of view is 3 degrees or 6 Full Moons across. Discovered in 2011 by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the Squid Nebula’s alluring bipolar shape is distinguished here by the telltale blue-green emission from doubly ionized oxygen atoms. Though apparently completely surrounded by the reddish hydrogen emission region Sh2-129, the true distance and nature of the Squid Nebula have been difficult to determine. Still, a more recent investigation suggests Ou4 really does lie within Sh2-129 some 2,300 light-years away. Consistent with that scenario, Ou4 would represent a spectacular outflow driven by HR8119, a triple system of hot, massive stars seen near the center of the nebula. The truly giant Squid Nebula would physically be nearly 50 light-years across. via NASA

ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/05/2020

Payloads Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle Schools (EarthKAM): The crew deactivated and stowed the EarthKam hardware. EarthKAM allows thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew’s perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted on-board the ISS. This enables them to photograph the Earth’s coastlines, …

from NASA

Mars Approach 2020

Look to the east just after sunset tonight and you’ll see a most impressive Mars. Tonight, Mars will appear its biggest and brightest of the year, as Earth passes closer to the red planet than it has in over two years — and will be again for another two years. In a week, Mars will be almost as bright — but at opposition, meaning that it will be directly opposite the Sun. Due to the slightly oval shape of the orbits of Mars and Earth, closest approach and opposition occur on slightly different days. The featured image sequence shows how the angular size of Mars has grown during its approach over the past few months. Noticeably orange, Mars is now visible nearly all night long, reflecting more sunlight toward Earth than either Saturn or Jupiter. Even at its closest and largest, though, Mars will still appear over 100 times smaller, in diameter, than a full moon. via NASA

NGC 5643: Nearby Spiral Galaxy from Hubble

What’s happening at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 5643? A swirling disk of stars and gas, NGC 5643’s appearance is dominated by blue spiral arms and brown dust, as shown in the featured image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The core of this active galaxy glows brightly in radio waves and X-rays where twin jets have been found. An unusual central glow makes M106 one of the closest examples of the Seyfert class of galaxies, where vast amounts of glowing gas are thought to be falling into a central massive black hole. NGC 5643, is a relatively close 55 million light years away, spans about 100 thousand light years across, and can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Wolf (Lupus). via NASA