From 400 kilometres away, Calgary fits nicely in a single photo frame.
U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir tweeted a shot of Cowtown on Monday afternoon from the International Space Station, wishing people below a good night.
Although the tweet came late afternoon for residents of Calgary, the ISS functions on Greenwich Mean Time, meaning it was nearly midnight for Meir.
Meir suggested she had at least passed through Calgary on her way to Banff. According to her Wikipedia entry, she completed her post-doctoral work at the University of British Columbia.
The 42-year-old marine biologist and psychologist has been aboard the ISS since Sept. 25, 2019. In October she took part in the first all-female spacewalk to replace a faulty power unit.
Meir’s photo shows at least one significant change from another time we got to see Calgary from the ISS.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s photo from nearly seven years ago lacks a portion of the ring road in the city’s southeast. It also has a more distinctly orange hue. That’s because the city has changed its street lights from high-pressure sodium vapour lamps to more energy-efficient LEDs.
According to the city’s website, the replacement of 80,000 street lights cost $32 million up front but resulted in an ongoing savings of $5 million per year in energy costs.
U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly captured Calgary midway through the street light transition. In his November 2015 photo, certain communities — mainly in the southwest — stand out with their new whiter LED street lights.
The city could soon have a hometown astronaut snapping photos form the ISS. Calgary-born Jenny Sidey-Gibbons is set to graduate from NASA’s astronaut candidate program, qualifying her to fly in space. The graduation ceremony will be available for streaming on NASA TV beginning at 8:30 a.m. Calgary time on Friday.
Sidey-Gibbons and fellow Albertan Joshua Kutryk — the other Canadian astronaut set to graduate — may not be limited to low-earth orbit in their upcoming missions. The U.S. is ramping up its Artemis mission with an eye to going back to the moon. The Canadian Space Agency has signed on to take part in that potential mission.
NGC 5068 is located about 17 million light-years from Earth. For perspective, the Milky Way’s neighborhood of galaxies called the Local Group, is 5 million light-years away. So, this galaxy is beyond what we might consider close.
Each individual dot of white light you can see is a star, per Mashable. NASA said there are thousands upon thousands of stars in this image. And many of them are hanging out at the galaxy’s center, which you can see in the upper left as a bright bar of white light.
This region appears so bright because that’s where most of the stars are concentrated. That’s also where all the action is.
James Webb peers into the hearts of many galaxies to uncover their secrets
Most galaxies have an ultra-bright center due to warm dust that’s heated by massive bursts of star formation, according to the Harvard Smithsonian. And it’s this star formation that astronomers are interested in studying more with the help of JWST.
In fact, NGC 5068 is just one in a series of other galaxies Webb is observing for a project to help us better understand star formation. Webb has also taken images of the spiral galaxy IC 5332:
And the heart of galaxy M74, aka the “Phantom Galaxy”:
Infrared wavelengths are too long for the human eye to detect. But they’re especially important for studying in space because they allow JWST to peer past obstructive visual light that would otherwise block our ability to see into the hearts of galaxies and their bustling environments of star formation.
“By observing the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, astronomers hope to kick-start major scientific advances with some of the first available data from Webb,” NASA said.
Innovation is triggered by many drivers. One of these is the constant need for ESA to develop innovative solutions, such as unique spacecraft technologies.
In this first video, Nicolas recalls how he and his team had to think outside the box to find a solution for ESA to communicate with Ulysses. The spacecraft was flying around the north pole of the Sun, which is much farther in deep space than satellites had been launched up to that point.
The success of this solution motivated the decision to build ESA’s first deep-space communications antennas in New Norcia, in Australia, thus enabling many ESA scientific firsts in deep-space exploration.
The antennas would, some decades after, be critically important receivers for the messages sent by the very distant Rosetta probe, on its quest to find and land on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and other ESA science and exploration missions such as Mars Express, Venus Express and Cassini-Huygens.
With 35 years of experience at ESA, Nicolas Bobrinsky is the former Head of Ground Systems Engineering & Innovation Department. He initiated and further managed the Space Situational Awareness and later the ESA Space Safety Programme.
In four episodes of this new series of ESA Masterclass, Nicolas takes us through major events in his career at ESA, covering cornerstone missions, first attempts, overcoming technical challenges, leading diverse teams and solving the unexpected problems that are part of any space endeavour.
Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope. It covers longer wavelengths of light, with greatly improved sensitivity, allowing it to see inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today as well as looking further back in time to observe the first galaxies that formed in the early universe.
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>James Webb Space Telescope has captured a detailed image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068. Part of a project to record star formation in nearby galaxies, this initiative provides significant insights into various astronomical fields. The telescope’s ability to see through gas and dust, typically hiding star formation processes, offers unique views into this crucial aspect of galactic evolution.
A delicate tracery of dust and bright star clusters threads across this image from the James Webb Space Telescope. The bright tendrils of gas and stars belong to the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, whose bright central bar is visible in the upper left of this image – a composite from two of Webb’s instruments. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson revealed the image on June 2 during an event with students at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland.
In this image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, from the James Webb Space Telescope’s MIRI instrument, the dusty structure of the spiral galaxy and glowing bubbles of gas containing newly-formed star clusters are particularly prominent. Three asteroid trails intrude into this image, represented as tiny blue-green-red dots. Asteroids appear in astronomical images such as these because they are much closer to the telescope than the distant target. As Webb captures several images of the astronomical object, the asteroid moves, so it shows up in a slightly different place in each frame. They are a little more noticeable in images such as this one from MIRI, because many stars are not as bright in mid-infrared wavelengths as they are in near-infrared or visible light, so asteroids are easier to see next to the stars. One trail lies just below the galaxy’s bar, and two more in the bottom-left corner. Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST Team
NGC 5068 lies around 20 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. This image of the central, bright star-forming regions of the galaxy is part of a campaign to create an astronomical treasure trove, a repository of observations of star formation in nearby galaxies. Previous gems from this collection can be seen here (IC 5332) and here (M74). These observations are particularly valuable to astronomers for two reasons. The first is because star formation underpins so many fields in astronomy, from the physics of the tenuous <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter, along with solid, liquid, and gas. It is an ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons. It was first described by chemist Irving Langmuir in the 1920s.
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>plasma that lies between stars to the evolution of entire galaxies. By observing the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, astronomers hope to kick-start major scientific advances with some of the first available data from Webb.
This view of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, from the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument, is studded by the galaxy’s massive population of stars, most dense along its bright central bar, along with burning red clouds of gas illuminated by young stars within. This near-infrared image of the galaxy is filled by the enormous gathering of older stars which make up the core of NGC 5068. The keen vision of NIRCam allows astronomers to peer through the galaxy’s gas and dust to closely examine its stars. Dense and bright clouds of dust lie along the path of the spiral arms: These are H II regions, collections of hydrogen gas where new stars are forming. The young, energetic stars ionize the hydrogen around them, creating this glow represented in red. Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST Team
The second reason is that Webb’s observations build on other studies using telescopes including the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories. Webb collected images of 19 nearby star-forming galaxies which astronomers could then combine with Hubble images of 10,000 star clusters, spectroscopic mapping of 20,000 star-forming emission nebulae from the <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
Very Large Telescope
The Very Large Telescope array (VLT) is a visible and infrared wavelength telescope facility operated by the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. It is the world’s most advanced optical instrument, consisting of four Unit Telescopes with main mirrors of 8.2m diameter and four movable 1.8m diameter Auxiliary Telescopes.
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>Very Large Telescope (VLT), and observations of 12,000 dark, dense molecular clouds identified by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). These observations span the electromagnetic spectrum and give astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to piece together the minutiae of star formation.
With its ability to peer through the gas and dust enshrouding newborn stars, Webb is particularly well-suited to explore the processes governing star formation. Stars and planetary systems are born amongst swirling clouds of gas and dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble or the VLT. The keen vision at infrared wavelengths of two of Webb’s instruments — MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) and NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) — allowed astronomers to see right through the gargantuan clouds of dust in NGC 5068 and capture the processes of star formation as they happened. This image combines the capabilities of these two instruments, providing a truly unique look at the composition of NGC 5068.
The James Webb Space Telescope stands as the apex of space science observatories worldwide. Tasked with demystifying enigmas within our own solar system, Webb will also extend its gaze beyond, seeking to observe distant worlds orbiting other stars. In addition to this, it aims to delve into the cryptic structures and the origins of our universe, thereby facilitating a deeper understanding of our position within the cosmic expanse. The Webb project is an international endeavor spearheaded by NASA, conducted in close partnership with the <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe’s space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA’s flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.