Poll: Astronomy Picture of the Week for March 6-12

See new, spectacular, or mysterious sky images.

Please vote for the TWO best APODs (image and text) of March 6-12

Poll ended at Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:24 pm

A Solar Prominence Eruption from SDO
92
24%
Titan, Rings, and Saturn from Cassini
104
27%
The International Space Station Expands Again
46
12%
Discovery in Twilight
60
15%
AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula
62
16%
Mare Orientale
24
6%
 
Total votes: 388

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owlice
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Poll: Astronomy Picture of the Week for March 6-12

Post by owlice » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:24 pm

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Please vote for the TWO best Astronomy Pictures of the Day (image and text) of March 6-12, 2011.
(Repeated APODs are not included in the poll.)

All titles are clickable and link to the original APOD page.

We ask for your help in choosing an APOW as this helps Jerry and Robert create "year in APOD images" review lectures, create APOM and APOY polls that can be used to create a free PDF calendar at year's end, and provides feedback on which images and APODs were relatively well received. You can select two top images for the week.

Please create a video using these APOD images! I've done a couple or three just to prime the pump, but I KNOW some dozen or more of you reading this can do a better job than I! The best submitted video will be linked to from APOD. (Make your mother proud!!) Submitted videos must attribute the images as shown in APOD; please also credit any additional elements, such as music, and secure copyright permissions or use that which is in the public domain. We encourage the use of original music and your own performance of music out of copyright. Yes, your garage band playing an original song or your musical child and/or your favorite music teacher playing something old would make a GREAT soundtrack! (Imagine how thrilled they would be to see their names in the credits!) This site has links to sites which offer royalty-free music at no charge, which can also be used (within the licensing guidelines).

Videos can be submitted by placing a link to it in this thread.

Thank you!
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Click to play embedded YouTube video.
One of the most spectacular solar sights is an erupting prominence. Two weeks ago, NASA's Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamic Observatory spacecraft imaged an impressively large prominence erupting from the surface. The dramatic explosion was captured in ultraviolet light in the above time lapse video covering 90 minutes, where a new frame was taken every 24 seconds. The scale of the prominence is huge -- the entire Earth would easily fit under the flowing curtain of hot gas. A solar prominence is channeled and sometimes held above the Sun's surface by the Sun's magnetic field. A quiescent prominence typically lasts about a month, and may erupt in a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) expelling hot gas into the Solar System. The energy mechanism that creates a solar prominence is still a topic of research. As the Sun progresses toward Solar Maximum in the next few years, solar activity like eruptive prominences are expected to become more common.
How thin are the rings of Saturn? Brightness measurements from different angles have shown Saturn's rings to be about one kilometer thick, making them many times thinner, in relative proportion, than a razor blade. This thinness sometimes appears in dramatic fashion during an image taken nearly along the ring plane. The robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn has now captured another shot that dramatically highlights the ring's thinness. The above image was taken in mid January in infrared and polarized light. Titan looms just over the thin rings, while dark ring shadows on Saturn show the Sun to be above the ring plane. Close inspection of the image will show the smaller moon Enceladus on the far right. Cassini, humanity's first mission to orbit Saturn, currently has operations planned until 2017.
The developing International Space Station (ISS) has changed its appearance again. In a recently completed rendezvous, the Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery, in its final flight, visited the ISS and added components that included the Leonardo Multi Purpose Logistics Module. The ISS and many of its modules and expansive solar panels are visible in the above picture taken by the Discovery Crew after leaving the ISS to return to Earth. The world's foremost space outpost can be seen developing over the past several years by comparing the above image to other past images. Also visible above are many different types of modules and supply ships. Construction began on the ISS in 1998.
As evening twilight faded on March 7, sky gazers around planet Earth enjoyed a beautiful pairing of young crescent Moon and brilliant planet Jupiter. Along with stars setting in the west, the two bright celestial beacons, Moon above and Jupiter below, leave short trails in this well-planned time exposure, a composite of 54 individual frames each 4 seconds long. On its final flight, the Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station form the second close pairing in the night skyscape. Still glinting in the sunlight in low Earth orbit, they gracefully trace overlapping arcs from lower right to upper left. Moon, Jupiter, Discovery, and ISS are reflected in the calm waters of Lake Bakonybél, Hungary. Want to see the sequence of frames as a short youtube video? Check it out here. In the video, the trails of the ISS and Discovery are seen to separate as the pair passes above the Moon.
AE Aurigae is the bright star below and left of center in this evocative portrait of IC 405, also known as the Flaming Star Nebula. Embedded in the cosmic cloud, the hot, variable O-type star energizes the glow of hydrogen along convoluted filaments of atomic gas, its blue starlight scattered by interstellar dust. But AE Aurigae wasn't formed in the nebula it illuminates. Retracing the star's motion through space, astronomers conclude that AE Aurigae was probably born in the Orion Nebula. Close gravitational encounters with other stars ejected it from the region, along with another O star, Mu Columbae, over two million years ago. The runaway stars have drifted in opposite directions ever since, separating at about 200 kilometers per second. This sharp, detailed image of IC 405 spans over 5 light-years at the nebula's estimated distance of 1,500 light-years in the northern constellation Auriga, the Charioteer.
Shaped like a target ring bull's-eye, the Mare Orientale is one of the most striking large scale lunar features. Located on the Moon's extreme western edge, it is unfortunately difficult to see from an earthbound perspective. Still, this mosaic of the multi-ring impact basin, the youngest of the large lunar basins shows off intriguing details (full resolution mosaic), based on Wide Angle Camera images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Only partially flooded by lava the Mare Orientale is over 3 billion years old, about 600 miles (950 kilometers) across and was formed by the impact of an asteroid sized object. The collision caused ripples in the lunar crust resulting in the concentric circular features. Though it may seem a little ironic to denizens of the space age who recognize the Moon as a dry and airless world, a dark, smooth lunar region is called a mare (plural maria), Latin for sea, because astronomers once thought such regions might actually be seas.

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