What's happening at the center of spiral galaxy M106? A swirling disk of stars and gas, M106's appearance is dominated by blue spiral arms and red dust lanes near the nucleus, as shown in the featured image. The core of M106 glows brightly in radio waves and X-rays where twin jets have been found running the length of the galaxy. An unusual central glow makesM106 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. M106, also designated NGC4258, is a relatively close 23.5 million light years away, spans 60 thousand light years across, and can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici).
NASA has hired artist Ted Southern and his company Final Frontier Designs to design lightweight, cost-effective spacesuits for civilian travelers. Previously to this, Ted’s most high-profile work was probably the elaborate, glitter-covered wings you ignore during theVictoria’s Secret fashion show. He’s also designed costumes for Cirque du Soleil and Broadway. So yes, space is about to get fabulous.
wo hours before closest approach to Neptune in 1989, the Voyager 2 robot spacecraft snapped this picture. Clearly visible for the first time were long light-colored cirrus-type clouds floating high in Neptune's atmosphere. Shadows of these clouds can even be seen on lower cloud decks. Most of Neptune's atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium, which is invisible.Neptune's blue color therefore comes from smaller amounts of atmospheric methane, which preferentially absorbs red light. Neptune has the fastest winds in the Solar System, with gusts reaching 2000 kilometers per hour. Speculation holds that diamonds may be created in the dense hot conditions that exist under the cloud tops of Uranus and Neptune. Twenty-six years later,NASA's New Horizons is poised to be the first spacecraft to zoom past Pluto this July.
The private spaceflight companies Boeing and SpaceX are on track to start launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, representatives of both firms said Monday (Jan. 26).
In September 2014, SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts under NASA's commercial crew program to help them start flying astronauts on missions to the space station from U.S. soil in the next few years. SpaceX and Boeing are planning to launch a series of tests of their spaceships — capsules called Dragon V2 and the CST-100, respectively — from this year through 2017. The tests will make sure the launch systems are in good shape before the spacecraft make their first official runs to and from the station.