Thanks to astronomy, we are now aware of the beauty, wonders and mysteries of space. International Astronomy Day, on May 14, marks the discoveries and achievements we've made in the field.
You can get even closer to astronomy by visiting your local planetarium, checking out any special Astronomy Day events in your area or even by enjoying a quiet night in the peace of your own backyard gazing up at the stars.
You can also find a lot of resources online about astronomy, as well as sites that feature some of the most beautiful and intimate photos taken of space. Instagram in particular hosts a variety of photos, some by astronauts who are in space right now and who wish to share the beauty of the stars with others.
Here are the best Instagram accounts to check out this International Astronomy Day.
Probably the most obvious account to follow on Instagram is NASA, which posts photos on a regular basis of many of its discoveries and images related to new discoveries. There's always something beautiful to see here, and you might just learn a little more about astronomy in the process.
About half the carbon dioxide emitted into Earth's atmosphere each year ends up in the ocean, and plankton absorb a lot of it. Our North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) mission is ready to set sail to study the world’s largest plankton bloom and how it gives rise to small organic particles that leave the ocean and end up in the atmosphere, ultimately influencing clouds and climate. Each spring, the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean host a huge natural bloom of phytoplankton—microscopic, plant-like organisms that are important for carbon cycling and also could influence clouds and climate. During a critical phase of the bloom in May, researchers will take measurements by sea and air. Between campaigns, satellite data helps to provide a big-picture view. Seen here is one such bloom in the North Atlantic. Image Credit: NASA/NOAA-Suomi NPP/VIIRS #nasa #space #atlanticocean #naames #nasasocial #phytoplankton #science #earthexpedition #earth #ocean
A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on May 11, 2016 at 1:56pm PDT
NASA isn't the only agency busy exploring the far reaches of our galaxy. The European Space Agency (ESA) also has a lot of active missions and often shares photos from those. Perhaps one of the more recent spectacular photos was the first taken from Sentinel-1B.
The best photos of Earth don't actually happen on Earth: if you really want to see the beauty of our green and blue planet, check out the Instagram account of the International Space Station (ISS). Not only that, but you can also get a sneak peek into what life is like for the astronauts onboard the station.
The @SpaceX Dragon cargo craft completed its mission at the International Space Station today. Astronauts Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) and Jeff Williams (@astro_jeffw) were at the robotics controls and released Dragon from the Canadarm2 at 9:19 a.m. EDT/1:19 p.m. UTC. Dragon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean loaded with more than 3,700 pounds of cargo and science samples for return to @NASA. #nasa #international #space #station #canada #canadarm2 #internationalspacestation #spacestation #spacex #dragon #outofthisworld #outerspace #orbit #astronaut #cosmonaut A video posted by International Space Station (@iss) on May 11, 2016 at 1:05pm PDT
Tim Peake is the first British astronaut to step foot on the ISS, and while he’s there, he’s posting photos directly from his point of view while residing in space. His adventures offer a fresh take on life on the ISS, as well as illustrate just how small our planet is from way up there.
The busy port of Antwerp. #Antwerpen #belgium @stad_antwerpen A photo posted by Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) on May 13, 2016 at 9:47am PDT
Have you ever wondered what it’s like preparing to become an astronaut and taking the first steps that eventually lead to space missions? NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch posts photos detailing her training in hopes of encouraging future astronauts with dreams of visiting the stars.
Space plumber! 2 yrs ago, we start our @iss systems training. Don't want to miss this lesson. #astronautcandidateTBT A photo posted by Christina Hammock Koch (@astro_christina) on May 5, 2016 at 8:24pm PDT