Phytoplankton Bloom in the Norwegian Sea
The waters off Iceland rank among the world’s most productive fisheries. The reason for the abundance is an ample supply of phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain. Like any plant, microscopic phytoplankton need sunlight and nutrients to survive. Iceland’s coastal waters offer both during the long days of summer.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this true-color image of a large phytoplankton bloom in the Norwegian Sea, off of Iceland, on July 6, 2013. The range of colors from milky blue to green suggests that a range of different species make up this bloom, most likely including diatoms and perhaps chalky white coccolithophores, says Sergion Signorini, and ocean scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Floating in the water, phytoplankton act like tracers, revealing the course of mixing currents and the swirling eddies where they clash. A branch of the North Atlantic Current (the Gulf Stream) flows north, bringing warm Atlantic water to mix with the cold Arctic currents circling in from the east.
Image Credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz
Supermoon in Washington
A supermoon rises behind the Washington Monument, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Washington. This year the supermoon is up to 13.5 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a typical full moon is. This is a result of the Moon reaching its perigree - the closest that it gets to the Earth during the course of its orbit. During perigree on June 23, the moon was about 221,824 miles away, as compared to the 252,581 miles away that it is at its furthest distance from the Earth (apogee).
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Strong Storms Over Oklahoma
This image of the storm system that generated the F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma was taken by NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard one of the Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites. The image was captured on May 20, 2013, at 19:40 UTC (2:40 p.m. CDT) as the tornado began its deadly swath.
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team
The Twin Rectangular Jet model, installed on the Nozzle Acoustic Test Rig in the Aeroacoustic Propulsion Laboratory at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, is being tested to determine the acoustic impact of engine configurations on low sonic boom aircraft for the High Speed Project of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program.
The High Speed Project is a multi-center effort to develop and test the technologies of a new generation of aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds. Glenn’s research involves predicting the airport noise of these novel aircraft by examining innovative airframes and propulsion integration that are different from the conventional tube-and-wing aircraft observed at commercial airports.
Inside the aeroacoustic dome, this generic, low-fidelity aircraft engine exhaust model features twin rectangular nozzles. Researchers are investigating the impact of having the propulsive exhaust come from the slot nozzles atop the aircraft. Testing the proposed components of these high- speed aircraft will help manufacturers meet the noise standards required around the nation’s airports.
Image Credit: NASA/Bridget R. Caswell
Astronaut Chris Cassidy
Expedition 35 Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy, who currently is living and working aboard the International Space Station, is captured in a close-up image in the Quest Airlock prior to a spacewalk.
On Thursday, May 16, 2013, at noon EDT, NASA is hosting a Google+ Hangout connecting the Space Station and “Star Trek Into Darkness” crews. Cassidy; astronauts Michael Fincke and Kjell Lindgren at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston; director J.J. Abrams, screenwriter and producer Damon Lindelof; and stars of the film, Chris Pine, Alice Eve and John Cho will take part in the event. The participants will ask questions of each other and take questions from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City (home of the space shuttle Enterprise), the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and social media followers.
Image Credit: NASA
Black Hole-Powered Jets Plow Into Galaxy
This composite image of a galaxy illustrates how the intense gravity of a supermassive black hole can be tapped to generate immense power. The image contains X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), optical light obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (gold) and radio waves from the NSF’s Very Large Array (pink).
This multi-wavelength view shows 4C+29.30, a galaxy located some 850 million light years from Earth. The radio emission comes from two jets of particles that are speeding at millions of miles per hour away from a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. The estimated mass of the black hole is about 100 million times the mass of our Sun. The ends of the jets show larger areas of radio emission located outside the galaxy.
The X-ray data show a different aspect of this galaxy, tracing the location of hot gas. The bright X-rays in the center of the image mark a pool of million-degree gas around the black hole. Some of this material may eventually be consumed by the black hole, and the magnetized, whirlpool of gas near the black hole could in turn, trigger more output to the radio jet.
Most of the low-energy X-rays from the vicinity of the black hole are absorbed by dust and gas, probably in the shape of a giant doughnut around the black hole. This doughnut, or torus blocks all the optical light produced near the black hole, so astronomers refer to this type of source as a hidden or buried black hole. The optical light seen in the image is from the stars in the galaxy.
Image Credit: NASA
Repairing the Station in Orbit
Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy (pictured) and Tom Marshburn (out of frame) completed a spacewalk at 2:14 p.m. EDT May 11, 2013 to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station’s far port truss (P6) leaking ammonia coolant. The two NASA astronauts began the 5-hour, 30-minute spacewalk at 8:44 a.m.
A leak of ammonia coolant from the area near or at the location of a Pump and Flow Control Subassembly was detected on Thursday, May 9, prompting engineers and flight controllers to begin plans to support the spacewalk. The device contains the mechanical systems that drive the cooling functions for the port truss.
Image Credit: NASA
Springtime in the Bay of Biscay
Springtime in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of France, as in most places, is a season of abundant growth. On April 20, 2013, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the dynamic growth of a springtime phytoplankton bloom.
The swirling colors indicate the presence of vast numbers of phytoplankton – tiny plant-like microorganisms that live in both fresh and salt water. Although these organisms live year-round in the Bay of Biscay, it is only when conditions are right that explosive blooms occur. In spring, the lengthening sunlight, the increased nutrient load swept into the Bay from ocean currents and from snowmelt carried by freshwater rivers, combined with warming waters create the perfect conditions to spur phytoplankton in to tremendous growth. The result is a swirling, multi-hued discoloration that can be easily seen from space.
Each year, typically from March through April, such blooms occur in the Bay of Biscay. By May, however, conditions are not as favorable and the blooms fade, then disappear.
Image Credit: NASA GSFC