Tonight is a good night for meteors:

Peak nights for watching the Geminids meteor shower, considered one of the most spectacular of the year; a quarter moon will brighten the sky around midnight, so NASA recommends taking a look around 9 or 10 p.m. or in the pre-dawn hours.

Or of the Earth if you’re on the International Space Station (taken by Commander Barry Wilmore; Credit: NASA):


And today is a good day for the Count.

Inauguration from space

Here’s a picture of Washington DC taken from the international space station (Credit: NASA):


Can you see the crowd? It would be tough, especially since was taken the day before the inauguration.

Here’s a picture of the rings of Saturn (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute):


You can see two of the moons through the gaps in the rings, in fact the gaps in the rings are caused by the moons–obviously these moons really want to be in the picture.

SpaceX launches

The first of the SpaceX missions to resupply the International Space Station has lifted off (Credit:  NASA/Rick Wetherington and Tony Gray; NASA):

You can read about what’s happening at the Space Station here.

Pretty pictures

No politics for today, just some pictures from NASA. The first is the launch of the latest Soyuz mission to the Space Station. I really like the appearance of the Soyuz (Credit:NASA/Carla Cioffi):

and then there’s this picture of a carbon star spitting out a layer of helium (Credit: ESA/NASA):

Mars and SpaceX

The commercial SpaceX Dragon capsule has been captured by the space station. Here’s a picture of it as it approached the space station (Credit: NASA):

In unrelated news, the Mar’s Rover Opportunity is still around and still taking pictures (this is a false color image, credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.):

Space stuff

The initial launch for SpaceX is now set for tomorrow morning:

Mission plans call for an extensive set of tests in space requiring the Dragon spacecraft to show that it can move precisely in orbit and approach the space station carefully. Only after these tests are successful will the spacecraft be allowed to approach the orbiting laboratory close enough to be grappled and berthed by the station’s robotic arm.

And since I’m talking about space, here’s s picture of the Andromeda Galaxy (Credit: GALEX, JPL-Caltech, NASA):

Update: The SpaceX launch was aborted this morning, they might try again as early as Tuesday.

Space stuff

A few nice pictures for today. The first is an outburst from a black hole (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Curtin University/R. Soria et al., Optical: NASA/STScI/ Middlebury College/F. Winkler et al.):

The next two look at SpaceX, the private company that is in line to take over cargo transport into space (Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann):

and a more recent picture (Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann April 26, 2012):

The launch is scheduled for the near future, but there is no firm date yet. You can look here for more information.

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