J. P. Major

J. P. Major
Dallas, Texas, USA
December 26
Editor / Author
Astronomy news and photos from around our solar system! More on Twitter @JPMajor


JUNE 30, 2012 11:09PM

Titan's North Pole

Lights In The Dark posted a photo:

Titan's North Pole

Color-composite image showing Titan's northern pole, made from raw images acquired by Cassini on June 26, 2012. The structure of Titan's north polar hood can be seen just inside the terminator.

Color and contrast have been boosted to… Read full post »

Color-composite raw image of Titan (NASA/JPL/SSI/J. Major)

As Titan travels around Saturn during its 16-day elliptical orbits, it gets rhythmically squeezed by the gravitational pull of the giant planet — an effect known as tidal flexing. Now, if this cloud-covered moon were mostly composed/… Read full post »

Polar mesospheric “noctilucent” clouds as seen from the space station (NASA)

Glowing high-altitude ice clouds were spotted over western Asia by the crew of the International Space Station on June 13 during one of their 16 daily orbits of the planet… the photo above shows the… Read full post »

JUNE 23, 2012 3:19PM

Curiosity’s “Crazy” Landing

“When people look at it, it looks crazy. It’s a very natural thing. Sometimes when we look at it it looks crazy. It is the result of reason, engineering, thought… but it still looks crazy.”

– Adam Steltzner, EDL Engineer

On August 5, after nearly 11 months of travel,… Read full post »

Laser altimeter data from NASA’s LRO spacecraft shows water ice in a lunar crater’s surface material

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found water ice lining a deep crater located on the Moon’s south pole — as much as 22% of the surface material of the crate/… Read full post »

The latest image of Earth from NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite. (NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP)

This latest portrait of Earth from NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite puts the icy Arctic in the center, showing the ice and clouds that cover our planet’s northern pole. The image you see here was created fro/… Read full post »

Cassini image acquired May 23, 2012 (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Cassini’s at it again! After its last flyby of Titan the spacecraft changed course, heading up and away from Saturn’s equatorial plane at an angle that will allow it to better study the rings and the planet’s polar regions.

T… Read full post »

JUNE 1, 2012 12:39PM

Dragon’s Splashdown! (VIDEO)

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule awaiting recovery in the Pacific on May 31, 2012. (SpaceX)

This just in! A video of the SpaceX Dragon capsule descent and splashdown into the Pacific at 8:42 a.m. PT on May 31, 2012, taken from a P3 chase plane. I think a lot of people (including… Read full post »

MAY 31, 2012 4:10PM

The Dragon Returns!

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule awaiting recovery in the Pacific on May 31, 2012. (SpaceX)

This morning, at 4:49 a.m. CDT, after 5 days, 16 hours and 5 minutes attached to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon craft was released and made its return to Earth. It splashed down in/… Read full post »

MAY 30, 2012 10:15PM

Annular Eclipse Seen From The Moon

Animation of four LROC images of the annular eclipse (CLICK TO PLAY) NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The May 20 annular eclipse may have been an awesome sight for skywatchers across many parts of the Earth, but it was also being viewed by a robotic explorer around the Moon!

During the event… Read full post »

MAY 25, 2012 1:08PM

A Dragon Is Berthed!

The SpaceX Dragon capsule is now a part of the ISS (NASA TV)

Space history has been made today! At 11:02 a.m. CDT, NASA’s Houston mission control announced a successful berth of the SpaceX Dragon capsule to the Harmony Node of the International Space Station, making it the first commerc… Read full post »

In the dark hours before dawn this morning, Tuesday May 22, 2012, history was once again made along Florida’s warm and humid space coast. After a series of extensions and delays — and even one literal last-second scrub — SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon capsule aboard/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 21, 2012 3:01AM

And The Sun Is Eclipsed By The Moon

If you didn’t get a chance to see the annular eclipse from where you are, either due to weather or location, here’s a shot of it I managed to grab from Dallas, TX just as the Sun emerged from some low clouds and right before it set beyond the trees.It… Read full post »

MAY 21, 2012 2:43AM

Annular Eclipse - May 20, 2012

Lights In The Dark posted a photo:

Annular Eclipse - May 20, 2012

Another solar eclipse photo from Dallas... includes a Southwest plane on takeoff from Love Field.

MAY 20, 2012 10:03PM

Annular Eclipse on May 20, 2012

Lights In The Dark posted a photo:

Annular Eclipse on May 20, 2012

Captured from Dallas, TX.

MAY 20, 2012 5:47PM

Watch Tonight’s Eclipse Live!

If you can’t see the annular eclipse occurring tonight from where you are, you can watch it LIVE here on LITD! The feed above (providing it’s not over capacity) will be aired from Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico, beginning at 9 pm Eastern time — right in prime U.S./… Read full post »

MAY 18, 2012 12:00AM

Is Earth Alive?

Image of Earth as seen by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft in 2009.

Proposed by scientists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 70s, the Gaia theory suggests Earth is a self-supporting singular life form, similar to a cell. The theory claims that, rather than being merely a stage upon which/… Read full post »

MAY 16, 2012 11:02PM

Three Devils, One Image

HiRISE image showing three dust devils on Mars

The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Oribiter captured this image of Mars’ surface, showing the presence of three different dust devils in the same region.

Dust devils are common during the springtime on Mars’ nort… Read full post »

The curious, 20-km tall central ridge of Iapetus, a.k.a. the Voyager Mountains

Saturn’s 914-mile (1471-km) -wide Iapetus (pronounced eye-AH-pe-tus) has a particularly curious feature: a chain of 20-kilometer (12-mile) high mountains encircling the moon’s equator. On the anti-Saturn… Read full post »

MAY 11, 2012 10:25PM

Take a Look at Titan!

Color-composite image of Saturn and Titan from Cassini data (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Here’s a great shot of Titan and Saturn acquired by Cassini on May 6, 2012 just after a pass by the haze-covered moon. It’s a color-composite made from images taken in Cassini’s red, green and blue color channels,/… Read full post »

Can’t see the video below? Click here.

Because I wanted to know, so I decided to ask him. And thanks to “Team Coco†and Google Plus, I was able to — last night at 9:30 p.m. Central/7:30 p.m. Pacific, to be exact!

On Monday afternoon, Team Coco — that is, the/… Read full post »

Can’t see the video below? Click here.

The 15th and latest installment of the awesome Symphony of Science videos is out, and like all those before it it’s a fun, inspirational and educational trip through the cosmos with voiceovers by leading astronomers and physicists. These are great,… Read full post »

MAY 8, 2012 4:25PM

The Surface of an Asteroid

Craters and ridges abound on the surface of Vesta, the solar system’s second-largest asteroid.

Bright craters, dark craters… craters shaped like butterflies… they’re all represented here in a panorama made from images acquired by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, currently orbiting the 3/… Read full post »

MAY 6, 2012 2:12PM

Super Moon vs Super Sun Halo

Lights In The Dark posted a photo:

Super Moon vs Super Sun Halo

The May 5 "super moon" was followed today by an impressive double sun halo over Dallas, TX USA. The first shot was with a Nikon D7000, the second with my iPhone (and a sunglasses filter!)

Coincidence????? (Probably.) But the… Read full post »

MAY 6, 2012 12:05PM

Super Moon’s Big Night

May 5, 2012 super moon. © Jason Major

Did you get a chance to see last night’s “super Moon”? Weather permitting, it put on a nice show — especially as it rose above the horizon! The photo above was taken at about 9:00 p.m. central time from Dallas, TX. It was a… Read full post »