The year 2019 was an amazing one for space photography. From rocket launches to the northern lights, cosmic views dazzled us as the year made its annual trip around the sun.
Here are 100 of our favorite space images from the last 365 days to get you pumped up for the year 2020 in space!
In this timelapse image of the Great South American Eclipse on July 2, the sun sets behind the Andes mountains as the moon crosses directly in front of it, creating a stunning "diamond ring" effect in the evening sky.
Full Story: Total Solar Eclipse Thrills Skywatchers Across South America (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Chirag Upreti) Astrophotographer Gerald Rhemann captured this view of the bright-green Comet 2018/Y1 Iwamoto, which swung by the sun in February 2019. See more beautiful images of the comet in this photo gallery. (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Gerald Rhemann) A satellite flare lights up the sky over the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) array on Paranal mountain in Chile in this sparkling image by ESO photo ambassador Roger Wesson. The four main unit telescopes that make up VLT are pictured here. Not pictured are the array's four smaller auxiliary telescopes. (Image credit: R. Wesson/ESO) Two meteors dart across the sky near the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbor, in this starry image captured by astrophotographer Omid Qadrdan during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Andromeda's tiny satellite galaxy Messier 110 is also visible in this photo, appearing as a fuzzy "star" above and to the left of the galaxy's bright core. (Image credit: Omid Qadrdan) A view by astrophotographer Miguel Claro, taken from the Very Large Telescope array in Chile, shows four auxiliary telescopes under the Large and Small Magellanic clouds and the Milky Way.
Full Story: Galaxies Sparkle Above the Very Large Telescope in This Gorgeous Night-Sky Photo (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) When observed in the darkest of skies, the Milky Way galaxy can glitter and gleam with all the colors of the rainbow. This view, captured from the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Portugal, showcases many features of the night sky that are invisible to much of the world due to light pollution.
Full Story: Rising Milky Way Shines Bright in Portugal's Darkest Skies (Video) (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) Holy smokes! An aurora resembling a large, green dragon lit up the night skies over Iceland in early 2019, and NASA scientists aren't exactly sure why it showed up when it did.
Full Story: A 'Dragon Aurora' Appeared in the Sky Over Iceland, and NASA Is a Little Confused (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Jingyi Zhang & Wang Zheng) Dragons weren't the only supernatural beings to haunt the skies during the light show; a picture of a phoenix aurora was snapped the same night.
Full Story: A 'Dragon Aurora' Appeared in the Sky Over Iceland, and NASA Is a Little Confused (Image credit: Jingyi Zhang & Wang Zheng) Colorful cosmic "fireworks" decorate the night sky over the La Silla observatory in Chile in this gorgeous image by the European Southern Observatory's resident astrophotographer Petr Horálek. Above the Milky Way and to the left are two nebulas that appear to form a question mark in the sky: an arc known as Barnard's Loop and the nearly-circular Angelfish Nebula right below it. These two nebulas are part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. (Image credit: Petr Horálek/ESO) A meteor blazes across the Milky Way galaxy in this colorful view from the La Silla Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert, captured by European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi. The starry night sky and orange airglow near the horizon are reflected in the dish of the Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST). (Image credit: B. Tafreshi/ESO) A brilliant aurora appears to rise like a glowing, green smoke plume from Concordia research station in Antarctica in this photo by European Space Agency (ESA) photographer Alessandro Mancini. (Image credit: A. Mancini/ESA/IPEV/PNRA) The Milky Way galaxy shimmers over Portugal's Lake Alqueva in this sunset view by astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição. To the left of the galaxy's dusty core, the brightest object in the sky is the planet Mars. (Image credit: Sérgio Conceição) A telescope with an open dome looks like Pac-Man preparing to gobble down the full moon in this photo from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope array. Located at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, the array consists of four of these 1.8-meter auxiliary telescopes and four larger main telescopes. (Image credit: Eric Lagadec/ESO) Is this galaxy shaped like a spiral, or is it more of an elliptical? Astronomers have long debated the answer to this question, because it seems to have properties of both. Known as Centaurus A, or NGC 5128, this strange galaxy is located in the southern constellation of Centaurus, and it lies somewhere between 10 and 16 million light-years away from Earth; its exact distance is another question that is still up for debate. Astrophotographer Ron Brecher created this glittering view of the galaxy using data acquired from an observatory in New South Wales, Australia. (Image credit: Ron Brecher) (opens in new tab) A colorful panorama that looks like the view from inside an astronaut's helmet shows the breadth of the Milky Way galaxy as it stretches across the night sky from one horizon to the other. Three prominent celestial objects form a large triangle in this view: Mars, the Andromeda galaxy and the bright star Vega.
Full Story: A Cosmic Perspective: Pretty Panoramic Milky Way Photo Resembles an Astronaut's-Eye View (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) (opens in new tab) Multiple bright Perseid meteors streak through the skies over Macedonia in this fisheye view captured by astrophotographer Stojan Stojanovski on Aug. 12.
Related: Amazing Photos of the Perseid Meteor Shower 2019 (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Stojan Stojanovski) The flash of a meteor impact is visible at lower left in this gorgeous shot of the "Super Blood Wolf Moon" total lunar eclipse of Jan. 20-21, 2019, captured by Brett Ashton.
Full Story: A Meteorite Slammed into the Moon During Lunar Eclipse (opens in new tab) Venus, Jupiter and the full moon light up the morning sky in this panoramic photo captured during the final stage of the "Super Blood Wolf Moon" total lunar eclipse on Jan. 21. Astrophotographer Miguel Claro captured this photo from Mina de São Domingos at the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Mértola, Portugal.
Full Story: Venus and Jupiter Shine Over a Dreamy Lunar Eclipse (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) (opens in new tab) The full moon of July, also known as the Thunder Moon, passed through Earth's shadow on July 16-17. Astrophotographer Zaid Abbadi captured the partial lunar eclipse from Amman, Jordan, and created this composite image showing the moon's path across the sky as its surface gradually darkened in the Earth's shadow. (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Zaid Abbadi) Kevin Clarke captured this composite photo of the total lunar eclipse of January 2019 from his backyard near Fort Collins, Colorado. He used two different cameras and some photo editing to get both the eclipsed moon and the faint halo in the shot. Related: Amazing Photos of the Super Blood Wolf Moon of 2019 (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Kevin Clarke) Captured in the visible light spectrum, this deep-space image by astrophotographer Miguel Claro paints a sharp and colorful picture of the great Orion Nebula. Also known as Messier 42 (M42), the Orion Nebula spans about 24 light-years across and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.
Full Story: Gorgeous Orion Nebula Glows in Stunning Red and Blue Light (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) A colorful night sky sparkles over the La Silla Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert in this cosmic shot by European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Petr Horálek. As bright-green airglow looms near the horizon, red emission nebulas decorate the Orion constellation overhead. One of them is Barnard's Loop, which forms an arc around the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. (Image credit: P. Horálek/ESO) Saddled up in the Orion Molecular Cloud is a horse-shaped object known as the Horsehead Nebula. This equestrian shape is a dark absorption nebula where dense clouds of dust and gas make it difficult for any light to shine through it. Also known as Barnard 33, the nebula is located about 1,500 light-years away from Earth in the Orion constellation. To its left is a bright emission nebula named NGC 2024, or the Flame Nebula. Astrophotographer Ron Brecher released this image in January 2019, and you can see an annotated version here. (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Ron Brecher) (opens in new tab) A bright Perseid meteor dashes across the sky above a blazing wildfire near the village of Velmej in Macedonia. Astrophotographer Stojan Stojanovski said he waited more than 3 hours to capture this shot of a Perseid meteor above the fire, while he saw about 10 to 15 meteors per hour overall.
Related: Amazing Photos of the Perseid Meteor Shower 2019 (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Stojan Stojanovski) In this photo by astrophotographer Jeff Berkes, a bright-pink Perseid meteor shines above an old shipwreck on the coast of New Jersey. He captured this photo early in the morning of Aug. 11, or about two days before the peak of the meteor shower.
Related: Amazing Photos of the Perseid Meteor Shower 2019 (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Jeff Berkes) This composite image of the total solar eclipse of July 2, 2019, captured by astrophotographer Miguel Claro, shows faint earthshine on the lunar surface during totality. The image combines a series of shots taken with different exposures over the course of 2 minutes and combined to reveal a greater range of light than is visible with the human eye. The sequence was captured in the small town of Lambert, located about 19 miles (30 kilometers) northeast of La Serena, Chile.
Full Story: Earthshine's Faint Illumination of the Moon Captured in Glorious Eclipse Photo (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) Details of the sun's brilliant corona come to light during the total solar eclipse of July 2 in this composite of polarized images captured from the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile. (Image credit: ESA/CESAR) This image by astrophotographer Miguel Claro shows a wide-field view of the Lagoon Nebula, captured from the Cumeada Observatory, headquarters of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Portugal. Also known as M8, the Lagoon Nebula is a magnificent colorful complex of hot gas and dark nebulosity located in the Sagittarius constellation.
Full Story: The Lagoon Nebula Glistens in Starry Deep-Space Image (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) Alexander Krivenyshev of WorldTimeZone.com captured this alignment of Saturn, the crescent moon, Venus, Jupiter and the red supergiant star Antares over Manhattan during the predawn hours of Feb. 1, 2019. (Image credit: Alexander Krivenyshev (WorldTimeZone.com)) Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner passes by the open star cluster M37 in this deep-space image by astrophotographer Miguel Claro.
Full Story: Comet 21P Crosses Paths with a Star Cluster in Sparkling Deep-Space Image (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) (opens in new tab) Earth's shadow and the Belt of Venus loom above the horizon behind the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in this panorama by astrophotographer Chirag Upreti. (Image credit: Chirag Upreti) The Milky Way galaxy and one of its cosmic neighbors shimmer over the La Silla Observatory in Chile in this night sky photo by European Southern Observatory photographer Petr Horálek. That galactic neighbor is a dwarf galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, and directly beneath it is the 7-foot (2.2 meters) MPG-ESO telescope, which scans the cosmos for high-energy gamma ray bursts, or the most powerful explosions in the universe. The smaller telescope on the left is the 3-foot (1 meter) Schmidt telescope, which has been studying galaxies, star clusters, dwarf planets and supernovas for nearly 50 years. (Image credit: P. Horálek/ESO) A bright Perseid meteor darts through a purple sky early Monday morning (Aug. 12) in this shot by astrophotographer Chris Bakley in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. In the distance about halfway down the photo, another fainter meteor can be seen dashing to the left. (Image credit: Chris Bakley) Two sounding rockets created a colorful light display in the night sky as they launched on a mission to study Earth's auroras. NASA's Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment (AZURE) mission launched two Black Brant XI-A sounding rockets on April 5, 2019, from the Andøya Space Center in Norway. (Image credit: Lee Wingfield/NASA) A skywatcher gazes up at the Milky Way galaxy's dusty core in this glittering photo taken from the Chajnantor plateau in Chile's Atacama Desert. This plateau is one of the highest and driest places on Earth, which makes it a great location for stargazing. For that reason, it was chosen to be the home of the European Southern Observatory's Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). (Image credit: P. Horálek/ESO) Astrophotographer Miguel Claro captured this spectacular vertical panorama or the aurora borealis from the Arctic Circle. Can you see the shape of a bird flying with a running rabbit?
Full Story: Bright Green Aurora Bird Takes Flight with a Running Rabbit Over Iceland (Photo) (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) Flying through the cosmos some 3,400 light-years away from Earth is a bird-shaped cloud of dust and gas known as the Seagull Nebula, or Sharpless 2-296. The European Southern Observatory's VLT Survey Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile captured this new view of the cosmic seagull, which is rich with new star formation.
Full Story: Space Seagull! Telescope Captures a Celestial Gull in Flight (Video) (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESO/VPHAS/N.J. Wright (Keele University)) A meteor, Jupiter and the Milky Way galaxy light up the night sky above the snow-capped Mount Rainier in Washington state in this stunning image by astrophotographer Tony Corso. He captured the photo during the peaks of two dueling meteor showers, the Southern Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids on July 29. (Image credit: Tony Corso) The Milky Way glistens above four antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a telescope array in northern Chile. The antennas, which are located at ALMA's Array Operations Site near on Chajnantor plateau, are at an altitude of about 16,400 feet (5,000 meters), and it's the second-highest facility in the world. (Image credit: José Francisco Salgado/ESO) Astrophotographer Yuri Beletsky captured the Super Blood Wold Moon of Jan. 20-21 peeking through some foliage during a break in the cloud-covered sky over Santiago, Chile. (opens in new tab) The Milky Way galaxy and one of its cosmic neighbors shimmer over the La Silla Observatory in Chile in this night sky photo by European Southern Observatory photographer Petr Horálek. That galactic neighbor is a dwarf galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, and directly beneath it is the 7-foot (2.2 meters) MPG-ESO telescope, which scans the cosmos for high-energy gamma ray bursts, or the most powerful explosions in the universe. The smaller telescope on the left is the 3-foot (1 meter) Schmidt telescope, which has been studying galaxies, star clusters, dwarf planets and supernovas for nearly 50 years. (Image credit: P. Horálek/ESO) A close-up of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex, captured by astrophotographer Miguel Claro from the Cumeada Observatory, the headquarters of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal.
Full Story: Rho Ophiuchi's Colorful Cosmic Clouds Glisten in Starry Deep-Space Photo (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Miguel Claro) The Milky Way glistens above the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile in this stunning night-sky view by European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi. (Image credit: B. Tafreshi/ESO) A total solar eclipse darkens the sky above the La Silla Observatory in Chile in this aerial shot captured via drone during totality. Thousands of spectators had gathered at the observatory to see the eclipse. In the foreground are several of the telescopes that belong to the observatory, while the Andes Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop. (Image credit: R. Lucchesi/ESO) A long-exposure photo of a Falcon 9 rocket launch shows the rocket's liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the separation of the booster and the upper stage, followed by the booster's descent for a drone-ship landing as the payload cruises into orbit. The SpaceX rocket pictured here launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station on May 4.
Related: SpaceX's Amazing Dragon CRS-17 NASA Cargo Launch (and Landing!) in Photos (opens in new tab) (Image credit: SpaceX) A lunar "halo" lights up the night sky above the 3.6-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. This phenomenon happens when the moon is at an altitude of about 22 degrees above the horizon, where light refracts through icy cirrus clouds. "Light rays that do this tend to 'bunch up' at the angle that represents the least amount of deviation from their original path. For the particular shape of ice crystal lurking within the cirrus clouds, this minimum deviation angle happens to be around 22 degrees," ESO officials said in a description. (Image credit: B. Tafreshi/ESO) How do you spot a "shooting star"? Well, you don't look for eight legs; that's for sure. But a NASA camera designed to photograph meteors spotted more than it bargained for during the Perseid meteor shower, when a curious spider stopped by. The photograph was taken at Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter near Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 5.
Full Story: Skywatching Spider Photobombs 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA) In this photo from the International Space Station, star trails circle above the Earth while bright lightning flashes and city lights illuminate the planet's surface and skies. The image is a composite that combines more than 400 photos captured by NASA astronaut Christina Koch over the span of 11 minutes, when the space station was traveling from Namibia toward the Red Sea. (Image credit: NASA) A photo of Earth at sunrise shows Venus, our closest neighboring planet, shining in the distance above Earth's shimmering blue horizon. The image was captured by NASA astronaut Christina Koch from aboard the International Space Station. The blue hue seen in the picture is sunlight refracting in our planet's atmosphere.
Full Story: Astronaut Snaps Stunning View of Venus Over an Earth Sunrise (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA) The International Space Station stands out against the lunar backdrop in this composite image from NASA. The photos, taken on March 16 from Chantilly, Virginia, captured the space station as it passed in front of the moon, traveling at roughly 5 miles (8 kilometers) per second.
Full Story: Watch the International Space Station Photobomb the Moon in These Awesome NASA Views (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky) A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three Expedition 61 crewmembers approaches the International Space Station in this incredible shot by NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who captured this view from a window of the orbiting laboratory on Sept. 25, 2019. (Image credit: Christina Koch/NASA) The full moon of June, also known as the Strawberry Moon, looms above Earth's horizon in this photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. The image was captured on June 17 as the space station was orbiting 254 miles (409 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Guam. (Image credit: NASA) European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano "stands" on the end of the International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm during the first of four spacewalks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment together with NASA astronaut Drew Morgan, on Nov. 15, 2019. (Image credit: ESA) European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano passes over the Paraguaná Peninsula of Venezuela while working outside the International Space Station on Monday (Dec. 2). This was the third spacewalk that Parmitano conducted together with NASA astronaut Drew Morgan. The spacewalking duo have been working to repair a particle detector experiment outside the station known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. (Image credit: NASA) NASA astronaut Anne McClain snapped this photo of SpaceX's Crew Dragon approaching the International Space Station on March 3, 2019, calling it "a dawn of a new era in spaceflight."
Full Story: Astronaut Snaps Breathtaking Photo of SpaceX's Crew Dragon Near Space Station (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Anne McClain/NASA/ Twitter) (opens in new tab) A sheet of clouds blankets the sky over the Pacific Ocean as light from the setting sun reflects off the surface of the water in this view from the International Space Station. An Expedition 59 astronaut captured this photo on Tuesday (June 11) when the space station was flying into the sunset about 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) off the coast of San Francisco. (Image credit: NASA) An astronaut captured this image of the crescent moon from the International Space Station while the orbiting laboratory was above the Sea of Japan.
Full Story: The Crescent Moon Looks Absolutely Gorgeous from Space in This Astronaut Photo (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA) The moon's shadow passes south of Hurricane Barbara during the total solar eclipse of July 2, in this photo captured by the NOAA/NASA GOES West satellite.
Full Story: Twofer! Total Solar Eclipse, Hurricane Barbara Spotted From Space (Photo) (opens in new tab) (Image credit: CIRA/NOAA.) NASA astronaut Nick Hague of the Expedition 60 crew snapped this photo of the eye of Hurricane Dorian, a Category 4 storm, from the International Space Station on Sept. 2, 2019 as the storm stalled over the northern Bahamas. (Image credit: Christina Koch/NASA via Twitter) An enormous plume of smoke and ash rises above the clouds after the Raikoke volcano erupted in the North Pacific Ocean in June. An astronaut captured this view of the plume from the International Space Station on June 22.
Full Story: Raikoke Volcano's Eruption Seen from Space (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA) Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques snapped this photo of the launch trail left by the Progress 72 cargo spacecraft on April 4 from the International Space Station.
Full Story: Wow! Astronaut Spots Cargo Ship Launch from Space Station (opens in new tab) (Image credit: David Saint-Jacques/ Twitter) The interstellar comet Borisov appears to come face-to-face with a distant spiral galaxy in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble captured this image on Dec. 12, as the interstellar comet was racing through the inner solar system. At the time, the object was about 260 million miles (420 million kilometers) from Earth, while the unnamed background galaxy (officially designated 2MASX J10500165-0152029), is nearly half a billion light-years away. The galaxy appears smudged because Hubble was tracking the motion of the comet, which was zooming through space at a speed of about 109,000 mph (175,000 km/h). (Image credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble/D. Jewitt (UCLA)) This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the gradual self-destruction of the asteroid (6478) Gault, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails. The longer tail stretches more than 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) and is roughly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) wide. The shorter tail is about a quarter as long. The streamers will eventually disperse into space.
Full Story: Rare Disintegrating Asteroid Spied by Hubble Telescope (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory)) When the Hubble Space Telescope turned its gaze toward the remote galaxy known as the "Sunburst Arc," it saw not one but 12 separate images of the lone cosmic object. That's because there's a massive galaxy cluster in the foreground warping the light with its intense gravitational pull. This illusion is known as gravitational lensing, a phenomenon that Albert Einstein first described in his theory of general relativity. "This 'funhouse mirror' effect not only stretches the background galaxy image, but also creates multiple images of the same galaxy," NASA officials said in a statement. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/E. Rivera-Thorsen ) The spiral galaxy NGC 1706 may look a bit isolated drifting through the cosmos in this Hubble Space Telescope image, but this lonely galaxy has no shortage of neighbors. NGC 1706 belongs to a group of dozens of galaxies, all of which are held together by their mutual gravitational pull. (Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble) Hubble Space Telescope team members celebrated the mission's 20th anniversary on April 19, 2019. In honor of that milestone, the team released a Hubble image featuring the hourglass-shaped Southern Crab Nebula. Not to be confused with the Crab Nebula found in the constellation Taurus, the Southern Crab Nebula is the beautifully symmetrical structure created by an uneven binary star system in which one star has already exploded and turned into a white dwarf. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/STScI) Scientists used images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 to piece together this portrait of a galaxy called NGC 3175. The galaxy has given its clunky name to a cluster of neighbors that astronomers consider quite similar to our own galaxy clique, the Local Group. But NGC 3175 and its companions are located about 50 million light-years away from us. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario et al.) A tiny sliver of the crescent moons gleams above Earth's blue horizon just before sunrise in this stunning view from the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Christina Koch shared this image from space on Monday (Oct. 28), one day after the moon reached its new phase. (Image credit: Christina Koch/NASA/ Twitter) Lime-green auroras shimmy over the South Pole in this view from the International Space Station. "Years ago at the South Pole, I looked up to the aurora for inspiration through the 6-month winter night," NASA astronaut Christina Koch tweeted from space. "Now I know they’re just as awe inspiring from above." In the foreground of the image, two Russian spacecraft are docked to the orbiting lab: the Soyuz MS-12 crew spacecraft and the Progress 72 cargo vessel. (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Christina Koch/NASA/ Twitter) The first-quarter moon rises over Earth's thin, blue atmosphere in this photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. One of the six Expedition 61 crewmembers on board captured this view on Oct. 5, when the moon was waxing. It became full on Sunday (Oct. 13), and the moon will once again be half illuminated on Monday (Oct. 21) when it reaches its third quarter phase. (Image credit: NASA) The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors, gets a new close-up in this image from the European Southern Observatory's VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. VISTA, which stands for the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy, has been studying this dwarf galaxy and its smaller galactic sibling, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), for the past decade to image the two galaxies in unprecedented detail. The LMC is located about 163,000 light-years away from Earth, while the SMC is slightly farther away at a distance of 200,000 light-years. Both are satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. (Image credit: ESO/VISTA VMC) NASA astronaut Christina Koch captured this image of the SpaceX CRS-18 Dragon cargo spacecraft flying over the Canadian Rocky Mountains on its way back to Earth. The spacecraft departed from the International Space Station on Aug. 27, carrying over a ton of science experiments and other gear to Earth for analysis by NASA staff. (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Christina Koch/Twitter) Wispy, green auroras shimmer over Antarctica in this photo captured from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, a research site operated by the National Science Foundation. Daniel Michalik, a research fellow with the European Space Agency, captured this single-exposure image while braving temperatures as long as minus 72 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius). In the foreground of the image and trailing off into the distance are antennas and wires that make up the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN), which monitors geomagnetic activity in Earth's upper atmosphere. (Image credit: D. Michalik/NSF/SPT) The colorful core of the Milky Way sparkles above the European Southern Observatory's Residencia, a building featured in the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" that was destroyed in a dramatic explosion (with the help of computer graphics, not real explosives). Residencia houses astronomers and other visitors at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, which is home to the Very Large Telescope Array and several other telescope facilities. (Image credit: Yuri Beletsky (LCO)/ESO) In this peculiar-looking panoramic shot of the Paranal Observatory in Chile, the Milky Way appears to form two tornado-shaped columns of starlight that extend down from the heavens to Earth's surface. This illusion is the result of the photographer, the European Southern Observatory's Petr Horálek, projecting an entire 360-degree panorama onto a flat, rectangular image. In reality, the Milky Way arcs across the sky from one horizon to the other; the fact that it appears to spread out across the top of this image is merely a product of the illusions. Also visible here are the Magellanic Clouds, the Pleiades star cluster, the bright planet Jupiter and several nebulas. (Image credit: P. Horálek/ESO) What looks like a delicate dance between two galaxies is actually a slow-motion collision of colossal proportions in this Hubble Space Telescope photo. The two galaxies, called UGC 2369, are merging into one about 424 million light-years from Earth.
Full Story: Hubble Telescope Spots Two Galaxies in a Doomed (but Dazzling) Dance (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA/A. Evans) While capturing an image of the Crab Nebula, the Hubble Space Telescope inadvertently also caught a view of an asteroid in our solar system passing across the foreground. The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant located approximately 6,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. An asteroid, designated 2001 SE101, can be seen streaking across the frame from the bottom left toward the top right of the image. Citizen scientist Melina Thévenot from Germany discovered the asteroid photobomb in this 2005 Hubble image as part of the European Space Agency's "Hubble Asteroid Hunter" citizen science project. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA/M. Thévenot) The Event Horizon Telescope, a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration, captured this image of the supermassive black hole and its shadow that's in the center of the galaxy M87.
Full Story: Eureka! Scientists Photograph a Black Hole for the 1st Time (opens in new tab) (Image credit: EHT Collaboration) In a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, giant "bubbles" of dust and gas are bursting with new star formation. According to NASA, each of these bubbles contains hundreds of thousands of stars. These cosmic bubbles get their shape from stellar winds radiation emitted from massive young stars, which can push the cloud's material outward, causing it to "inflate," or expand. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) What looks like a long, narrow stretch of stars in this Hubble Space Telescope image is actually a spiral galaxy just like the Milky Way. From our position in the cosmos, we view this galaxy edge-on. Named NGC 3432, this galaxy is located about 45 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Leo Minor. (Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble/A. Filippenko/R. Jansen; CC BY 4.0) The oddly shaped galaxy Centaurus A glistens in deep space in this view from the European Space Agency's new SPECULOOS observatory in Chile. This was one of the "first light" images from SPECULOOS (which stands for "Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars"). Centaurus A, also known as NGC 5128, is one of the brightest objects in the night sky of the Southern Hemisphere. It's located 11 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus. Astronomers believe that Centaurus A was once an elliptical galaxy that collided with a small spiral galaxy, and that this collision is responsible for the galaxy's irregular shape. (Image credit: ESO/SPECULOOS Team/E. Jehin) The moon lights up the star-filled night sky as an effect called "airglow" gives Earth's atmosphere a subtle green glow in this photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. This green luminescence is the result of interactions between atmospheric particles and ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. (Image credit: Nick Hague/NASA) Good morning from the International Space Station! NASA astronaut Nick Hague tweeted this photo of a nearly-full moon setting behind the Earth as a fluffy sheet of clouds covers the land below. A few snow-capped mountains can be seen through a break in the clouds to the bottom right of the image. (Hague did not specify which mountain range is in the photo.) (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Nick Hague/NASA/ Twitter) Swimming through a group of galaxies more than 200 million light-years away from Earth is the so-called "jellyfish" galaxy named ESO 137-001. This celestial jellyfish is a spiral galaxy much like the Milky Way, but it has long "tentacles" of hot gas streaming away from the galactic disk. Scientists aren't sure how the gas is being stripped away, but NASA's James Webb Space Telescope may be able to shed some light on the origin of those tentacles by studying them in unprecedented detail after its planned launch in 2021. This view combines visible-light imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope and X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/CXC) A raging storm, triggered by a powerful quasar, is brewing at the center of a teacup-shaped cosmic structure that lies in a distant galaxy known as SDSS 1430+1339.
Full Story: NASA's Chandra Space Telescope Captures the Tempest in a Cosmic 'Teacup' (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Cambridge/G. Lansbury et al; Optical: NASA/STScI/W. Keel et al.) This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3717, a dusty swirl of stars about 60 million light-years away. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario) Behold: the sharpest view of the Triangulum Galaxy ever! This composite image combines 54 frames captured by the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Also known as Messier 33, the Triangulum Galaxy is located about 3 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Triangulum. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/M. Durbin/J. Dalcanton/B. F. Williams) NGC 7773, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, is a barred spiral galaxy — like the Milky Way. Older spiral galaxies are more likely to have the bar across their center that's pictured here, suggesting bars indicate a galaxy's maturity.
Full Story: This Gorgeous Spiral Galaxy Photo May Hold Clues About Our Milky Way's Inner Workings (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Walsh) The venerable Hubble Space Telescope has captured a flock of "cosmic ducks" in space. The new image shows a portion of Messier 11 (M11), which is also known as the Wild Duck Cluster because the brightest stars create a "V" shape that resemble wild ducks in flight. The formation is located in a southern sky constellation called Scutum (the Shield).
Full Story: Cosmic 'Wild Ducks' Flock Together in Dazzling in Hubble Telescope Photo (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble/P. Dobbie et al.) In this new image from the Hubble Space Telescope, what looks like a top-down view of a jellyfish glowing in deep space is actually the planetary nebula NGC 2022. The cosmic orb of ionized gas was expelled from a dying red giant star located at its center. As the star sheds material into space, its core shrinks and grows hotter while emitting ultraviolet radiation that illuminates its gassy shell. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Wade) The Cosmic Bat nebula, also known as NGC 1788, was found tucked away in one of the darkest corners of the Orion constellation. The nebula's hazy wings appear to stretch outward through interstellar space, while young stars illuminate its core.
Full Story: Cosmic Bat Nebula Photographed by ESO's Very Large Telescope (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESO) The Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys captured this image of two merging galaxies collectively known as Arp-Madore 2026-42.
Full Story: Space Ghost! Spooky Face with Glowing Eyes Glares at Us All in This Creepy Hubble Photo (opens in new tab) (Image credit: NASA/ESA/J. Dalcanton/B.F. Williams/M. Durbin/University of Washington) A new galactic image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows some interesting stuff lurking in cosmic dust, all from an unusual point of view. The venerable observatory turned its attention to NGC 3169, a spiral galaxy about 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Sextans, the Sextant. The "sharply angled perspective" that the space telescope imaged shows a sort of cosmic barrier that makes the viewer feel as though they're peering over the edge to see the galaxy's center, Hubble scientists said in a description of the image.
Full Story: Hubble Captures Spiral Galaxy with 'Barrier' of Dust (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble/L. Ho) Located around 10,000 light years away in the constellation Centaurus, a planetary nebula glows in this image by Hubble Space Telescope. A planetary nebula is the final stages in the life of a red giant star, as it ejects layers of ionized gas and the core of the star collapses in on itself. Observing planetary nebulas gives us a glimpse into the future of our own sun. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Wade et al) Earth's jet streams have nothing on Jupiter's, as seen in a stunning image from NASA's Juno mission. The image shows a region called Jet N6, in Jupiter's northern hemisphere. On the left is a large, circular storm; on the right, rippling clouds stretch through the jet stream band. The Juno probe captured this image on Feb. 12, during its 18th scheduled close flyby of the planet, a maneuver known as a perijove. The spacecraft was about 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) above the clouds at the time. (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Kevin M. Gill/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS) Sand dunes ripple near Mars' north pole in this image captured by the European/Russian Trace Gas Orbiter. The photo was taken on May 25, 2019, and released on Sept. 16.
Full Story: Sand Dunes Snake Near Mars' North Pole (opens in new tab) (Image credit: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) Need more space? Subscribe to our sister title "All About Space" Magazine (opens in new tab) for the latest amazing news from the final frontier! (Image credit: All About Space) (opens in new tab)
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