Space Image of the Day Gallery (November 2013)

Image of the Day Archives

NASA, ESA and Orsola De Marco (Macquarie University)

For older Image of the Day pictures, please visit the Image of the Day archives. Pictured: NGC 2467.

Tonight When I Chase the Dragon

Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

Friday, Nov. 1, 2013: The Black Dragon Nebula (IC 4678) occupies space between us and a dense spiral arm of our galaxy. The nebula, a huge complex of gas and dust, creates a distinct silhoutte as dust in the foreground blots out light from background stars. IC 4678 lies about 5,000 light years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius, near the well-known Trifid and Lagoon Nebulas.

— Tom Chao

Three to Get Ready

ESA/M. Shafiq

Monday, Nov. 4, 2013: Looking a bit like alien invading spacecraft, the three Swarm satellites stand ready to join the launch adapter in Plesetsk, Russia. Despite the ominous appearance, the satellite constellation has a benign purpose — to study the Earth’s magnetic field. Swarm represents the European Space Agency’s next Earth Explorer mission, following GOCE, SMOS and CryoSat. The launch will be delayed by about one week from the original date of November 14, 2013, as the mission’s launch service provider, Eurockot, decided to replace a unit in the Breeze upper stage of the Rockot launcher.

— Tom Chao

The Sun Is Eclipsed by the Moon

Nafe Alamri

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013: Photographer Nafe Alamri sent in a photo of the hybrid eclipse taken from Al Qunfudhah, Saudi Arabia, at 5:29 pm local time on Nov. 3, 2013. The eclipse path ended near Al Qunfudhah, which lies on the Red Sea in southwestern Saudi Arabia. [See more images of the hybrid eclipse of 2013.]

— Tom Chao

Melancholy and Mystery of Tethys

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013: Cassini spacecraft caught Tethys, one of Saturn’s moons, on May 16, 2013, when the moon lay at a distance of about 684,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from the spacecraft. Named after the Titan, Tethys, out of Greek mythology, the names of the craters visible here also refer to ancient Greece, being taken from characters in the The Iliad and The Odyssey. Penelope crater (upper left) takes its name from the wife of Greek hero Odysseus. Melanthius crater lies near center, at the day/night terminator, with Dolius crater above it. The character of Dolius served as gardener to Odysseus and Penelope, while Melanthius was one of Dolius' children.

— Tom Chao

Explosions in the Sky

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013: A new Hubble Space Telescope image shows spiral galaxy NGC 6984. A supernova has just appeared in this galaxy, supernova SN 2013ek, visible as the bright object just slightly above and right of the galaxy's center. Last year, NGC 6984 also hosted a supernova, SN 2012im. Astronomers classify SN 2012im as a Type Ic supernova, while the more recent SN 2013ek falls into the Type Ib category. Both of these types arise from the core collapse of massive stars that have shed or lost their outer layers of hydrogen at the ends of their lives. Hubble made the observations for the new image on August 19, 2013, with the aim of pinpointing the location of this new explosion more precisely. The two supernovas are possibly linked, but astronomers are not sure how, if at all.

— Tom Chao

Out of the Sun


Friday, Nov. 8, 2013: A still frame from a video made by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory shows a flare dramatically bursting out of the sun. A pair of active regions produced this intense action over the two days of Oct. 26-28, 2013. The sun currently approaches its maximum level of activity, and this image taken in extreme ultraviolet light suggests what the peak will look like.

— Tom Chao

The Prairie Sky Is Wide and High

Mickey Welsh

Monday, Nov. 11, 2013: Sky watcher Mickey Welsh sent in a photo of the moon and Venus taken in Irving, TX, on Nov. 6, 2013. He notes in an e-mail to that he did not notice the meteor streaking through the frame until he downloaded the photo onto his computer. Irving lies outside Dallas, TX, and housed the former Texas Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys football team used to play before moving to AT&T Stadium in 2009.

— Tom Chao

Arc in the Sky


Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013: Canada's automated aurora camera tweeted this photo on Nov. 9, 2013. The tweet read: "Latest #photo of #aurora borealis above #Yellowknife, NWT taken at 00:34 MST on November 9, 2013." [For more photos of auroras, please see Northern Lights: Amazing Aurora Photos of 2013.]

— Tom Chao

The Clearest View

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013: Hubble Space Telescope has produced the best image of the Antennae Galaxies, following its earlier photos from 1997 and 2006. Improvements made during the servicing missions allowed this achievement to occur. Two formerly spiral galaxies, NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, have torn at each other gravitationally for the past few hundred million years, pulling stars from each other into a streaming arc between them. Eventually they will form one large elliptical galaxy. The galaxies derive their names from features not visible in this image—far-flung stars and gas streamers stretching out into long antenna-like structures. [See more Hubble Space Telescope images.]

— Tom Chao

The Brightest Stars

ESO/B. Tafreshi

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013: The Carina Nebula glows in the sky above Chajnantor Plateau, in the Chilean Andes. In the foreground, shadowy figures of antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) stand. Carina Nebula lies about 7500 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Carina (The Keel). The cloud of glowing gas and dust represents the one of brightest nebulas in the sky. It contains several of the Milky Way’s brightest and most massive known stars, such as Eta Carinae. ESO Photo Ambassador Babak Tafreshi captured this panoramic view. [See our gallery of strange-shaped nebulas.]

— Tom Chao

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Tom Chao
Tom Chao has contributed to as a producer and writer since 2000. As a writer and editor, he has worked for the Voyager Company, Time Inc. New Media, HarperCollins and Worth Publishers. He has a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tom on Google+.