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Top Ten Space Pictures: Best of 2009 | National Geographic

(2010-01-01 11:39:22)
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Top Ten Space Pictures: Best of 2009 | National Geographic

 

Space Shuttle Spied En Route to Hubble

Using a telescope with a special solar filter, photographer Thierry Legault captured the tiny silhouette of the space shuttle Atlantis crossing in front of the sun in May.

The tightly cropped shot shows Atlantis in orbit--a day before the shuttle latched on to the Hubble Space Telescope so that astronauts could perform a series of spacewalks to repair and upgrade the iconic instrument.

“亚特兰蒂斯”号前往哈勃途中

摄影师蒂埃里·莱格特利用一台拥有特殊太阳滤光器的望远镜,捕捉到“亚特兰蒂斯”号航天飞机5月从太阳前面飞过时的微小轮廓。这张照片显示了进入轨道的 “亚特兰蒂斯”号,一天后它将靠近哈勃太空望远镜,以便宇航员能执行一系列太空行走,对哈勃望远镜上的先进设备进行维修和升级。

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Shock Wave Spits Out High-Speed Particles

Meet the Large Hadron Collider's role model: A shock wave that acts as a superefficient particle accelerator.

In June scientists with the Chandra X-ray Observatory released this picture of a shock wave plowing through the supernova remnant RCW 86, seen above in both x-ray and visible light. Although the shock wave is moving rapidly, its energy is not heating the surrounding gas as much as it should, scientists say. The new image shows that the extra energy is instead powering up particles and firing them out into space at nearly the speed of light.

冲击波喷发出高速运行的粒子

看一看大型强子对撞机的榜样吧:扮演超高效粒子加速器角色的冲击波。6月,钱德拉X射线天文台的科学家公布了这张冲击波穿过超新星残余物RCW 86的照片,这张照片是从X射线和可见光范围拍的。科学家表示,虽然冲击波运行速度很快,但是它释放出来的能量并没像它应该做的那样,加热周围的气体。这张新图片显示,额外的能量给粒子提供动力,使它们以接近光速的速度冲向太空。

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Saharan "Land of Terror" Revealed

White salt flats seem to melt over dark sandstone hills in the Tanezrouft Basin, as seen in a picture released in October by the European Space Agency. In partnership with the ESA, Japan's Advanced Land Observing Satellite captured this image in June with an instrument that charts land cover and vegetation in visible and near-infrared light.

The Tanezrouft Basin, in south-central Algeria, is one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara, and is sometimes called the land of terror. The bouquet of yellow seen in the upper right is Erg Mehedjibat, a small cluster of star-shaped sand dunes that grow upward rather than side to side.

撒哈拉“恐怖之地”

从欧洲航天局10月公布的这张照片上看,塔奈兹鲁夫特盆地上的白色盐碱地似乎融化了黑色砂岩山。欧洲航天局与日本合作,6月利用日本的先进陆地观测卫星拍到这张图片,它采用的一种仪器从可见光和近红外线范围内记录了这一地区陆地和植被的覆盖情况。位于阿尔及利亚中南部的塔奈兹鲁夫特盆地是撒哈拉沙漠中一处最荒凉的地方,有时这里被称作“恐怖之地”。右上侧的黄色带状物是Erg Mehedjibat区域,它由一群小型星状沙丘组成,这些沙丘向上生长,而非并列生长。

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Geminid Meteor Pierces the Night

Like a silver spear cast from the heavens, the bright streak of a Geminid meteor pierces the night sky over California's Mojave Desert during the annual meteor shower's December 2009 peak.

Geminids are slower than other shooting stars and are known to make beautiful long arcs across the sky. This could be because they're born of debris from a dormant comet and so are made mostly of hard, sun-baked rock that takes longer to burn up in Earth's atmosphere, experts suggest.

双子座流星划过夜空

在2009年12月每年一次的流星雨达到顶峰时,从加利福尼亚州莫哈维沙漠上空经过,划破夜空的一颗明亮的双子座流星,就像投进太空的一把银枪。双子座流星雨比其他流星雨的速度更慢,它们在穿过夜空时,身后会留下长长的美丽弧线。专家表示,这可能是因为它们诞生于一颗潜伏彗星的碎片,主要由非常坚硬、被太阳烤干的岩石构成,因此在地球大气层里燃烧的速度更慢。

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Hubble Catches Space "Butterfly"

A dying star on the verge of exploding creates a cosmic "butterfly" in a picture from the Wide Field Camera 3--a new camera installed in May during the Hubble Space Telescope's final servicing mission. The Hubble team released some of the first pictures taken by the upgraded telescope in September.

Known as a planetary nebula, this structure lies roughly 3,800 light-years away. Optical filters in the space telescope allowed astronomers to precisely determine the nebula's chemical makeup, temperature, and density, and to trace the stages of the star's demise.

The central star, now obscured by a dense band of dust, was once five times the mass of the sun. Over the past two thousand years the star has expelled most of its outer gas envelope to create the ghostly "wings," which together span about two light-years.

哈勃望远镜发现太空“蝴蝶”

从大视野照相机3拍到的这张图片上看,一颗濒临爆炸的垂死恒星产生了一个宇宙“蝴蝶”。宇航员在5月执行第五次哈勃太空望远镜维修任务时,把这台新相机安装在它上面。9月哈勃科研组公布了这台升级后的望远镜拍到的第一批照片。“蝴蝶”状天体是一个行星状星云,这个结构延伸长度大约是3800光年。天文学家借助哈勃太空望远镜的光学过滤器,可以准确查明该星云的化学组成、温度和密度,并追踪恒星的死亡过程。位于星云中间的恒星在尘埃团的影响下,显得特别昏暗。它的质量曾是我们的太阳的5倍。在过去2千年间,这颗恒星把包裹在它外层的大部分气体都驱散开,形成如梦如幻的“蝴蝶翅膀”,这两个“翅膀”的延伸长度大约是2光年。

20091224132727827

Saturn Moon Seen in the Raw

The tiny moon Rhea hangs like a pearl in front of Saturn's rings, as seen in a "raw" picture from the orbiting Cassini spacecraft. The image has been rotated, but otherwise the scene appears just as the orbiter saw things in early November.

The spacecraft's namesake, Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, discovered Rhea in 1672. In 2008 astronomers had announced that Rhea may be the first known moon with its own system of faint rings.

珍珠般悬在天际的土卫五

这幅罕见的照片由“卡西尼”号飞船拍摄,悬在土星环前方的小卫星土卫五就像是一粒珍珠。11月初,绕轨道运行的“卡西尼”号欣赏到这一罕见的景象。文中刊登的照片并非“原版”,而是进行了旋转。

“卡西尼”这个名字来源于意大利天文学家乔凡尼·多美尼科·卡西尼,正是他在1672年发现了土卫五。天文学家2008年宣布,土卫五可能是第一颗已知拥有自身昏暗环系统的卫星。

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/rawimagedetails/index.cfm?imageID=205977

Hubble Makes a Holiday "Wreath"

Just in time for the December holidays, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope released their version of a colorful wreath: a new picture of the young stellar cluster R136. The festive grouping sits in a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy.

In the image, gassy garlands of red (hydrogen) and green (oxygen) surround icy blue "diamonds," which are actually some of the most massive stars known--several are more than a hundred times the mass of our sun.

宇宙中圣诞节日景象

借助于哈勃太空望远镜,天文学家得以发现这个五彩缤纷的花冠,也算是为即将到来的圣诞节送上的一份礼物。这个宇宙花冠照实际上代表一个年轻的星团——R136,所呈现的节日景象位于大麦哲伦云内的一个恒星诞生区。大麦云是银河系的一个卫星。

照片中,红色(氢气)和绿色(氧气)气体花冠环绕在冰蓝色“钻石”周围。这里的“钻石”实际上是一些已知的大质量恒星,其中一些的质量是太阳的100倍。

20091224132730552

Mars's "Labyrinth of the Night" Illuminated

Dunes ripple across Mars's Noctis Labyrinthus--a sprawling region of flatlands cut by canyons, troughs, and pits--in an August picture taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and released in October.

The snapshot, taken by the orbiter's HiRISE camera, shows light-colored layers of iron-bearing sulfates and clay minerals exposed near the dune field, which is close to the Martian equator.

火星沙丘波纹

照片由火星侦察轨道器于8月拍摄,10月对外公布,展示了穿过“诺克提斯迷宫”的沙丘波纹。“诺克提斯迷宫”是一个平地,被峡谷,槽谷和深坑所分割。在这幅由火星侦察轨道器HiRiSE(高分辨率成像科学实验的英文缩写)照相机拍摄的照片中,我们可以看到浅色层的含铁硫酸盐以及暴露在沙丘地带附近的粘土矿物。这片沙丘位于火星赤道附近。

2009122413273259

Green Comet Makes Its Debut

Comet Lulin is framed by red-lit trees in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park in a picture taken February 23. The green, "two tailed" comet made its closest approach to Earth in February, swinging past at about 38 million miles (61 million kilometers). And considering the comet's nearly parabolic orbit, experts said, that first visit may have been its last.

Because of its angle of approach, Lulin appeared to have a second anti-tail pointing toward the sun as it neared Earth. Vaporizing ices from the comet included cyanogen and diatomic carbon, both gases that glow green in sunlight out in the vacuum of space.

双尾彗星鹿林

照片在2月23日拍摄于弗吉尼亚的仙纳度国家公园,一棵棵红树像边框一样分布在鹿林彗星周围。这颗绿色双尾彗星2月时与地球间的距离达到最低点,此时的距离大约在3800万英里(约合6100万公里)左右。专家们表示,鉴于其近抛物形轨道,鹿林彗星的第一次造访也可能是最后一次。

由于靠近时的角度,鹿林彗星在逐渐接近地球时似乎拥有另一条指向太阳的反彗尾。这颗彗星蒸发的冰中含有氰和二价碳,在太空真空环境下被阳光照射时,两种气体均发出绿光。

20091224132734592

NASA Rocket Gets Cloud Cover

A cone of moisture surrounds part of NASA's Ares I-X rocket during its suborbital test flight over Florida's Kennedy Space Center in October.

Such "sonic boom clouds" can occur when aircraft fly fast enough to cool the air around them, causing moisture in the air to condense. Shortly after launch, the Ares I-X rocket was traveling at more than four times the speed of sound.

The rocket's six-minute, U.S. $450-million flight was designed to help NASA refine its plans for Ares I, the next-generation craft that--combined with the Orion crew capsule--is slated to replace the aging space shuttle as the U.S.'s primary means of ferrying humans and cargo into space.

战神火箭的蒸汽锥

10月,美国宇航局的战神I-X火箭在佛罗里达州肯尼迪航天中心进行亚轨道试飞。飞行过程中,火箭上方被一个蒸汽锥环绕。类似这样的“音爆云”会在飞行器达到足以将周围空气冷却的速度时出现,空气中的湿气最终被液化。发射后不久,战神I-X的飞行速度便达到音速的4倍。

此次试飞历时6分钟,耗资4.5亿美元,用于帮助宇航局改进其战神I计划。战神I是下一代太空运输工具,负责搭载“猎户座”乘员舱。它们将取代老化的航天飞机,成为美国向太空运送人员和货物的主要手段。

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