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Composite image of Saturn’s aurora. Hubble Space Telescope, January 2004.
It looks lovely. Take a minute to go watch it!
“A wide field meteor camera at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center recorded this spectacular meteor breaking up in Earth’s atmosphere on Sept. 30, 2011, 8:37 p.m. EDT. Also visible is a star-like object moving slowly toward the upper middle of the field of view — the upper stage of the Zenit booster that launched the Russian Cosmos 2219 intelligence satellite back in 1992. Orbiting 500 miles above Earth, this empty rocket body can get bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye.”
Born from clouds of gas and dust, stars like our Sun spend most of their lifetime slowly burning their primary nuclear fuel, hydrogen, into the heavier element helium. After leading this bright and shiny life for several billion years, their fuel is almost exhausted and they start swelling, pushing the outer layers away from what has turned into a small and very hot core. These “middle-aged” stars become enormous, hence cool and red — red giants. All red giants exhibit a slow oscillation in brightness due their rhythmic “breathing” in and out, and one third of them are also affected by additional, slower and mysterious changes in their luminosity. After this rapid and tumultuous phase of their later life, these stars do not end in dramatic explosions, but die peacefully as planetary nebulae, blowing out everything but a tiny remnant, known as white dwarf.
last night i laid under the stars on an old camp site bench and listened to the crickets sing. the desert air was blowing across my face and all i could do was think about what a beautiful world we live in, it has it’s faults but it sure can be absolutely wonderful.
I need a night like this. Beautiful photo Marielle