November 26 | 2017
It's here on Earth, as seen by European astronaut Paolo Nespoli (@Astro_Paolo), who shared this image saying it featured "the maze of canyons, mesas, and mounds" from Canyonlands National Park (@canyonlandsnps) in Utah. He noted that this landscape was "created by the Colorado River and the Green River. " Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 50 years. Beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s, astronauts have taken more than 1.5 million photographs of the Earth. Today, the International Space Station (@ISS) continues the tradition of Earth observation from human-tended spacecraft. Operational since November 2000, the station is well suited for documenting Earth features as it maintains an altitude between 220-286 miles (354-460 km) above the Earth. That provides an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world. Image credit: ESA/
Darker, cooler areas on the Sun – known as sunspots – have been absent for almost two weeks, as of Feb. 1.
February 06 | 2018
A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features. This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle. Credit: NASA/SDO