In honor of July 4th NASA has a cool 'picture of the day' that I have added as our team pic for a while. I also like the shot because if reminds me of a ribbon of road (nice regardless of nationality). Below is the information from the NASA website, credits, etc.
Stars and a Stripe in Celestial Fireworks
A delicate ribbon of gas floats eerily in our galaxy. A contrail from an alien spaceship? A jet from a black-hole? Actually this image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is a very thin section of a supernova remnant caused by a stellar explosion that occurred more than 1,000 years ago.
Around May 1, 1006 A.D., observers from Africa to Europe to the Far East witnessed and recorded the arrival of light from what is now called SN 1006, a tremendous supernova explosion caused by the final death throes of a white dwarf star nearly 7,000 light-years away. The supernova was probably the brightest star ever seen by humans, and surpassed Venus as the brightest object in the night time sky, only to be surpassed by the moon. It was visible even during the day for weeks, and remained visible to the naked eye for at least two and a half years before fading away.
It wasn't until the mid-1960s that radio astronomers first detected a nearly circular ring of material at the recorded position of the supernova. The ring was almost 30 arcminutes across, the same angular diameter as the full moon. The size of the remnant implied that the blast wave from the supernova had expanded at nearly 20 million miles per hour over the nearly 1,000 years since the explosion occurred.
Today, SN 1006 has a diameter of nearly 60 light-years, and it is still expanding at roughly 6 million miles per hour. Even at this tremendous speed, however, it takes observations typically separated by years to see significant outward motion of the shock wave against the grid of background stars. In the Hubble image as displayed, the supernova would have occurred far off the lower right corner of the image, and the motion would be toward the upper left.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
NASA materials may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service or activity, or used in any other manner that might mislead. This image is not copyrighted: photographs may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA.
More information about the image from the website: NASA Center: Johnson Space Center Image # : AS17-148-22727 Date : 12/07/1972
View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the Moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica South polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the South polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the Northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the Northeast.
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