This month NASA added Instagram to its already vast media presence. So next time a pic-stitch of a friend's dinner pops up on your news feed, remember that sometimes, social media is used for good, and go check out NASA's profile to see an amazing intergalactic photo.
1. Supermassive Black Hole
Yes, that is the technical term. Supermassive. Last year NASA launched a spacecraft solely dedicated to hunting down black-holes. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured photos of its first 10 supermassive black-holes. These enormous black holes surrounded by thick disks of gas are at the center of galaxies between 0.3 and 11.4 billion light-years from Earth.
2. Earth From Outer Space
This photo of Earth was taken from a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) on September 7, 2013. This type of satellite orbits with the earth, allowing it to hover over the same area of the planet and relay information about emerging weather patterns. An improved fleet of GOES satellites will be launched in 2015 and is dubbed the GOES-R series.
3. Spiral in the Constellation of Antila
The Hubble telescope caught a glimpse of a spiral galaxy 110 million light years away. The bright center of the galaxy is thought to be caused by the ejection of huge amounts of super hot gas from the region around a central black hole, while the outer portions are composed of hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen.
4. The Latest Launch: LADEE
Last Friday the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) was launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia with its sights on the moon. LADEE is an unmanned mission to orbit the moon and gather information about the lunar atmosphere and conditions near the surface of the moon.
5. Magmatic Lunar Water
Since the discovery of water on the Moon about five years ago, scientists have been trying to discern where this water came from. Prevailing theories have been solar winds or water containing meteorites, but a recent publication in Nature Geosciences suggests the water was there when the Moon formed. Mineral grains from the Bullialus crater, pictured here, were analyzed for hydroxyl, a sub-component of water molecules, consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom.
6. Extraterrestrial Group Selfie
While in low orbit on Expedition 36 of the International Space Station, these astronauts find the time to take a picture. In the top half of the photo from left to right are Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, Chris Cassidy, and Fyodor Yurchikhin. In the bottom row from left to right is Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg of NASA and Alexander Misurkin. Nyberg is the 50th woman in space.
7. Earth Rising on the Moon
This image from Apollo 11, the first successful mission to send humans to the moon, shows the reverse perspective of our daily reality — the Earth rising above the horizon of the moon. Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, sending Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin on a little over eight-day mission that ended the Space Race.