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Our Solar Dynamics Observatory watched an active region on the Sun — an area with intense, complex magnetic activity — rotate into view on April 18-19, seen here in extreme ultraviolet. These bright, towering arches consist of charged particles spiraling along magnetic field lines that were revealed in this view in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. They rise up above the Sun's surface many times the size of Earth. This view covers just 16 hours of activity and our scientists are keeping their eyes on this region to see if it has the potential to produce solar storms. Video Credit: NASA/SDO

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "Ice, ice baby! Sea ice is seen outside in this view from our P-3 research aircraft's bubble windows during a flight cond" - 1761909645359784499
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Ice, ice baby! Sea ice is seen outside in this view from our P-3 research aircraft's bubble windows during a flight conducted on April 16, 2018, to gather data as part of our Operation IceBridge mission. Using a fleet of research aircraft, Operation IceBridge monitors Earth's polar ice to better understand annual changes in the thickness of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets. IceBridge collects data to bridge the gap between ICESat and the forthcoming ICESat-2 satellites. This mission is part of a focus on Earth's frozen regions at a time when decades of observations from the ground, air and space have revealed signs of change in Earth's ice sheets, sea ice, glaciers, snow cover and permafrost. Collectively, scientists call these frozen regions of our planet the "cryosphere." Ongoing changes with the cryosphere, while often occurring in remote regions, have impacts on people all around the world: sea level rise affects coastlines globally, more than a billion people rely on water from snowpack, and the diminishing sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean plays a significant role in Earth's climate and weather patterns. Image Credit: NASA

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "What would you name this massive galaxy cluster? Despite its beauty, it bears the distinctly unpoetic name of PLCK G308." - 1761264353243152022
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What would you name this massive galaxy cluster? Despite its beauty, it bears the distinctly unpoetic name of PLCK G308.3-20.2. Galaxy clusters can contain thousands of galaxies all held together by the glue of gravity. At one point in time they were believed to be the largest structures in the universe — until they were usurped in the 1980s by the discovery of superclusters. These massive formations typically contain dozens of galaxy clusters and groups and span hundreds of millions of light-years. However, clusters do have one thing to cling on to: superclusters are not held together by gravity, so galaxy clusters still retain the title of the biggest structures in the universe bound by gravity. Credit: ESA/@NasaHubble/NASA  

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LIFTOFF! Our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched at 6:51 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to search for unknown worlds beyond our solar system. When a planet crosses in front of the star it’s orbiting, that event is called a transit – and the telltale sign of a transit is a drop in the brightness of that star’s light. TESS is heading into high Earth orbit, where it will rely on the transit method to locate planets that are outside our solar system, but close enough to study with ground-based telescopes. Since its launch in 2009, our Kepler space telescope has discovered nearly 2,700 of these worlds orbiting other stars known as “exoplanets” using the transit method. Now Kepler, the past master of transits, is passing the torch of discovery to TESS whose adventure is just beginning... Credit: NASA

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How do we spot something as tiny and faint as a planet trillions of miles away? The trick is to look at the star! So far, most of the exoplanets – worlds beyond our solar system – we’ve found were detected by looking for tiny dips in the brightness of their host stars! These dips are caused by the planet passing between us and its star – an event called a “transit.” Our newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), will seek out transits around 200,000 of the nearest and brightest stars in the sky. TESS is slated to launch tomorrow, April 18, at 6:51 p.m. EDT on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credit: @NASAGoddard

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "Today, on the other side of the globe, an astronomy experiment to study how stars are born took flight.

To the casual o" - 1759149881351329942
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Today, on the other side of the globe, an astronomy experiment to study how stars are born took flight. To the casual onlooker, the space between the stars is benign and quiet. But, vast clouds of neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles drift in this area called the interstellar medium — that may, over millions of years, evolve into new stars and even planets. These clouds have very low densities and the only way to study them is to measure how a cloud is affected by a star — and its associated outpouring of stellar material, the stellar wind — moving through it. This afternoon at 12:47 p.m. EDT, the fourth iteration of our Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS-4) mission lifted off from the Kwajalein Atoll in The Republic of the Marshall Islands aboard a Black Brant IX research rocket to study these floating interstellar reservoirs and the earliest stages of star formation. The CHESS-4 instrument was developed by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Credit: NASA

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Today at the National Space Foundation's 34th , Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) congratulated Acting Administrator Lightfoot on his 30 years of service and reemphasized plans to return humans to the Moon. To learn more about our missions what's next for us visit nasa.gov. Credit: @SpaceFoundation

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What’s up for April in the night sky? The Lyrid Meteor Shower, which peaks on April 22! Mid-April, start looking for the Lyrid meteors, which are active from April 14 – 30. In the early morning sky, a patient observer will see up to a dozen or more meteors per hour. Observers in the United States should see good meteor rates on the nights before and after the April 22 peak. A bright first quarter Moon plays havoc with sky conditions, but Lyra will be high overhead after the Moon sets at midnight, so that’s the best time to look for Lyrids! Credit: NASA

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "For phytoplankton in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain, ideal conditions to flourish recently included a combination of amp" - 1756767774795004113
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For phytoplankton in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain, ideal conditions to flourish recently included a combination of ample sunlight and nutrients, a long stretch of warm weather, and calm winds. Colorful blooms of phytoplankton appeared on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain several times in March 2018, seen here on March 3, 2018 by the Landsat 8 satellite. Lake Pontchartrain and other nearby lakes and inlets compose a huge estuary east of the Mississippi Delta. Unusually warm temperatures in February and March helped spur the early spring bloom, even before nutrients from the Upper Mississippi River could pour into the region. Blooms become more likely when excess river nutrients reach the lake through the Bonnet Carré Spillway. During flood season, the spillway is occasionally opened to divert excess water from the Mississippi River and relieve pressure on levees near New Orleans. On March 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started to open the spillway in response flooding along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Such inputs of nutrients—often fertilizer from the Mississippi watershed—can set the stage for large blooms of algae and cyanobacteria—single-celled organisms that can contaminate drinking water and pose a risk to human and animal health. Satellite imagery can help identify the occurrence of a phytoplankton bloom, but direct sampling is required to discern the species. Image credit: NASA/@USGS

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "Sunrise is seen creeping across Earth as the green glow of the southern hemisphere's aurora dances below the Internation" - 1755370653743258519
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Sunrise is seen creeping across Earth as the green glow of the southern hemisphere's aurora dances below the International Space Station (@iss). NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold snapped this image from his perch high above the planet on humanity's orbiting laboratory on April 9. The glimmering lights of auroras provide spectacular views, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from our Sun. Auroras are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the Sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind or from giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs. After a trip toward Earth that can last three days, the solar particles and magnetic fields cause the release of particles already trapped near Earth, which in turn trigger reactions in the upper atmosphere in which oxygen and nitrogen molecules release photons of light. The result: the Northern and Southern lights. Credit: NASA/@Astro_Ricky

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "This seemingly endless winter has brought many intense and powerful storms, with cold fronts sweeping across much of the" - 1754728849867922141
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This seemingly endless winter has brought many intense and powerful storms, with cold fronts sweeping across much of the United States. On a much grander scale, astronomers have discovered enormous cosmic “weather systems” that are millions of light years in extent. A gigantic and resilient "cold front" hurtling through the Perseus galaxy cluster has been studied using data from our Chandra X-ray Observatory (@nasachandraxray). This cosmic weather system spans about two million light years and has been traveling for over 5 billion years, longer than the existence of our Solar System. This graphic shows the cold front in the Perseus cluster. The cold front is the long vertical structure on the left side of the image. It is about two million light years long and has traveled away from the center of the cluster at about 300,000 miles per hour. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/S. Walker, ESA/XMM, ROSAT

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "Graceful arcs in the center of this galaxy-packed Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) image are an example of a cosmic " - 1753910185455507207
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Graceful arcs in the center of this galaxy-packed Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) image are an example of a cosmic phenomenon known as an Einstein ring. Created as the light from distant objects, like galaxies, pass by an extremely large mass, like the galaxy cluster seen here. This galaxy cluster - a monstrous collection of hundreds of galaxies all shackled together in the unyielding grip of gravity has a mass large enough to severely distort the space-time around it, creating the odd, looping curves that almost encircle the center of the cluster. In this image, the light from a background galaxy is diverted and distorted around the massive intervening cluster and forced to travel along many different light paths toward Earth, making it seem as though the galaxy is in several places at once. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "What a beauty! Jupiter’s sweeping planetary pageantry of intricate, swirling clouds was eyed by our Juno spacecraft (@NA" - 1753067911221823879
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What a beauty! Jupiter’s sweeping planetary pageantry of intricate, swirling clouds was eyed by our Juno spacecraft (@NASAJuno) on April 1 as the spacecraft performed its twelfth close flyby of the gas giant. At the time the image was taken, Juno was about 7,659 miles (12,326 km) from the tops of the clouds of the planet. In Greek and Roman mythology, Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief. It was Jupiter's wife, the goddess Juno, who was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter's true nature. Our Juno spacecraft arrived at planet Jupiter on July 4, 2016, not seeking signs of misbehavior, but to help us to understand the planet's structure and history. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

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Special delivery! This time-lapse video packs 90 minutes from the SpaceX (@SpaceX) Dragon resupply ship arrival at the International Space Station (@ISS) on April 4 into just one minute. Captured here is the rendezvous and capture maneuvers as the Dragon cargo craft delivered more than 5,800 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies to the crew living aboard the orbiting laboratory, including science that studies thunderstorms on Earth, space gardening, potential pathogens in space, new ways to patch up wounds and more. The Dragon spacecraft will spend approximately one month attached to the station. Once the Dragon cargo craft leaves the station, it will conduct its deorbit burn to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. Video credit: NASA

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "Saturn’s brilliant, icy moon, Enceladus, shines amid the perfect backdrop of Saturn's ring-shadowed cloud tops in this i" - 1751714988386441830
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Saturn’s brilliant, icy moon, Enceladus, shines amid the perfect backdrop of Saturn's ring-shadowed cloud tops in this image captured by our Cassini spacecraft on June 28, 2007. Enceladus’ bright white surface results in part from a snow of material originating from the towering plume of icy particles at Enceladus’ south pole. The Cassini spacecraft took this image during its time at Saturn, which ended on Sept. 15, 2017. While the Cassini spacecraft is gone, an enormous collection of data about Saturn – the giant planet, its magnetosphere, rings and moons – will continue to yield new discoveries for decades to come. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "A stunning work of art, or an image of our beautiful planet?

The transformative power of water, wind and gravity is on " - 1751004071902478863
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A stunning work of art, or an image of our beautiful planet? The transformative power of water, wind and gravity is on full display in this eye-catching satellite image of Iraq's Ga'ara Depression. Geologists call the rock at the bottom of the basin the Ga'ara Formation. It is made up of alternating layers of sandstone and soft claystone that formed roughly 300 million years ago, when the area was covered by a shallow sea. Later, types of carbonate rock (dolomite, limestone, and marl) were layered on top of the Ga'ara Formation, and the entire sequence of rock was gradually pushed up into a dome shape by tectonic forces. Our @NASA_EO Landsat 8 acquired this image of the basin on August 27, 2017. It is derived from observations of shortwave infrared, near infrared and green light, a combination that makes it easier to distinguish different rock and soil types and to detect the presence of moisture. While geologists think rockslides and flowing water were especially influential in carving out this depression, wind played a key role as well. During drier periods, fine sand on the basin floor often gets lifted by wind storms and blown out of the basin in an easterly direction. Credit: NASA/Landsat/Joshua Stevens/U.S. Geological Survey

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How far is the farthest star we've ever seen? More than halfway across the universe, an enormous blue star nicknamed Icarus was spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) through a quirk of nature that amplified the star's feeble glow. The star, harbored in a very distant spiral galaxy, is so far away that its light has taken 9 billion years to reach Earth. It appears to us as it did when the universe was about 30 percent of its current age. This video shows a galaxy cluster located about 5 billion light-years from Earth. This massive cluster of galaxies sits between the Earth and the galaxy that contains the distant star. Thanks to a lucky alignment between the cluster, a dense object within it and a distant star, the image of the distant star was magnified by a factor of 2000, making it visible by the Hubble Space Telescope. Like the galaxy in which the star is located, the star is actually visible several times. However, the light from the second image of the star was redirected by another massive object in the cluster and only became visible when this object moved out of the line of sight. The video shows the position of the two images of the star within the cluster. Credit: @europeanspaceagency/Hubble, NASA

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What’s up for April in the night sky? This month, you won’t want to miss red Mars and golden Saturn in the south-southeast sky. By April 7, the Moon joins the pair and if you’re in a dark area, you may see some glow from the nearby Milky Way. Credit: NASA

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LIFTOFF! A  🐉 went soaring into the sky atop a @SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket! The Dragon cargo craft will deliver more than 5,800 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies to the crew living aboard the International Space Station (@iss), including science that studies thunderstorms on Earth, space gardening, potential pathogens in space, new ways to patch up wounds and more. Liftoff was at 4:00 p.m. EDT. This was SpaceX’s 14th resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory. Photo credit: NASA

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "The spiral galaxy seen here by our Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) is located about 130 million light-years away an" - 1747502733033772652
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The spiral galaxy seen here by our Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) is located about 130 million light-years away and is classified as an Sc spiral galaxy. But its spiral arms - the dominating feature of spiral galaxies - are almost impossible to see, because it presents itself at an almost perfectly edge-on angle. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, this galaxy was host to a fascinating and rare event in 2003. A faint supernova appeared about 8,000 light-years below the central bulge. Supernovae are the huge, violent explosions of dying stars, and the one that exploded in this galaxy - not visible in this much later image - was classified as a Type Ib/c supernova. It was particularly interesting because its spectrum showed strong signatures of calcium. Calcium-rich supernovae are rare and hence of great interest to astronomers. Astronomers still struggle to explain these particular explosions as their existence presents a challenge to both observation and theory. In particular, their appearance outside of galaxies, their lower luminosity compared to other supernovae, and their rapid evolution are still open questions for researchers. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "From space, the sprawling Indonesian islands of Java, Bali and Lombok appear perfectly arranged. In this majestic view, " - 1747255570567531902
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From space, the sprawling Indonesian islands of Java, Bali and Lombok appear perfectly arranged. In this majestic view, captured from 250 miles above courtesy of astronaut Ricky Arnold (@Astro_Ricky) aboard the International Space Station (@iss), the impeccably aligned islands are disconnected only by tiny passages of water called straits. The Lombok Strait, which separates Bali and Lombok, is a slice of an invisible boundary called the Wallace Line. The margin, which runs between Asia and Australia, was created by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1859 and was drawn to separate the wildlife of Australia from the wildlife of Southeast Asia. This study of the geographical distribution of species and ecosystems is called biogeography and was formed from the work of Wallace and other biologist and explorers. There are currently six people living on the space station. While living aboard humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory, they will work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science. Credit: NASA/@Astro_Ricky

image by NASA (@nasa) with caption : "Just six days after arriving at their new home in space, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel (@astro_feustel) and Ricky Arnold " - 1745969640447946208
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Just six days after arriving at their new home in space, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel (@astro_feustel) and Ricky Arnold (@astro_ricky) ventured outside the International Space Station (@iss) to complete the fourth spacewalk this year. In 6 hours, 10 minutes, the veteran spacewalkers successfully installed wireless communications antennas, replaced a camera system and removed suspect hoses from a cooling system. The team also completed prep work for future spacewalk activities, referred to as get-ahead tasks, wrapping up at 3:43 p.m. EDT. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 54 days and 10 hours working outside the station in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Image Credit: Roscosmos/Oleg Artemyev