It is the largest and most complex star forming region in the entire galactic neighborhood. Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy orbiting our Milky Way galaxy, the region’s spidery appearance is responsible for its popular name, the Tarantula Nebula.
Here, we have the Saturn V rocket, housed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida, just a few miles from Launch complex 39, where these beasts once roared into the sky.
When we look at the enormous first stage of the Saturn V rocket, called an S-IC, we think “spaceship”. Truthfully, the Saturn V first stage never actually made it into space. The stage only burned for the first 150 seconds of flight, then dropped away from the rest of the rocket, all while remaining totally inside Earth’s atmosphere. The S-IC stage is merely an aircraft.
Even more truthfully, the S-IC stage displayed here at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, never flew at all. It is a static test article, fired while firmly attached to the ground, to make sure the rocket would actually hold together in flight. Obviously, these tests were successful, (e.g. she didn’t blow up), and she sits on our Apollo museum today. I wrote more about this particular stage in a previous post, (click here to view.)
The rest of the rocket, the second and third stages, called the S-II and S-IVB stages, did fly into space. The S-II put the manned payload into orbit, and the S-IVB was responsible for initially propelling that payload from earth orbit to the moon, an act called “trans-lunar injection” (TLI).
The particular rocket in this display, except for the first stage, is called SA-514. 514 was going to launch the cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 moon missions.
The command/service module (CSM) in the photos is called CSM-119. This particular capsule is unique to the Apollo program, because it has five seats. All the others had three. 119 could launch with a crew of three, and land with five, because it was designed it for a possible Skylab rescue mission. It was later used it as a backup capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
Galactic Center of Our Milky Way
The Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory — collaborated to produce an unprecedented image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy.
Observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. The center of the galaxy is located within the bright white region in the upper portion of the image. The entire image covers about one-half a degree, about the same angular width as the full moon.
Each telescope’s contribution is presented in a different color:
- Yellow represents the near-infrared observations of Hubble. They outline the energetic regions where stars are being born as well as reveal hundreds of thousands of stars.
- Red represents the infrared observations of Spitzer. The radiation and winds from stars create glowing dust clouds that exhibit complex structures from compact, spherical globules to long, stringy filaments.
- Blue and violet represents the X-ray observations of Chandra. X-rays are emitted by gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosions and by outflows from the supermassive black hole in the galaxy’s center. The bright blue blob toward the bottom of the full field image is emission from a double star system containing either a neutron star or a black hole.
45 years ago, at 9:32 AM ET, Apollo 11 launched to begin what would be the greatest adventure in human history.
This Hubble image shows the two galaxies interacting. NGC 2936, once a standard spiral galaxy, and NGC 2937, a smaller elliptical, bear a striking resemblance to a penguin guarding its egg.
Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Saturn’s Moons and Rings
"From on high, the Cassini spacecraft spies a group of three ring moons in their travels around Saturn. Her moon Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) is seen at top, while her moon Pandora (84 kilometers, or 52 miles across) hugs the outer edge of the narrow F ring. More difficult to spot is Pan (26 kilometers, or 16 miles across), which is a mere speck in this view. Pan can be seen in the Encke Gap, near center right. (See PIA08389 for a labeled Cassini map of the rings.) The speck seen between the A and F rings at left is a background star.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 40 degrees above the ringplane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view.”