Space Image of the Day Gallery (October 2014)

Galaxy of a Different Color

ESA/Hubble & NASA ; Acknowledgement: Josh Barringto

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014: This image by Hubble Space Telescope depicts a portion of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small nearby galaxy orbiting our galaxy, the Milky Way. Specifically, in this photo we see the Tarantula Nebula's outlying areas. A filter passing near-infrared light causes this image to appear quite different than most photos of the LMC. Usually an R filter passes red light highlighting hydrogen gas, but here other emission lines glow with blue and green hues. Image released Oct. 13, 2014.

— Tom Chao

At the End of the Trail

BG Boyd/

Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014: Astrophotgrapher BG Boyd of Tucson, Arizona, sent in a photo of a Draconid meteor next to the Milky Way, taken on Oct. 10, 2014, on Douglas Springs Trail. He writes in an email message to “I went out pretty early (45 minutes after sunset) on the evening of the 10th to see if I could catch any meteors before the waning gibbous moon rose into the sky. I was lucky enough to see several, and actually captured this one just to the left of the Milky Way.”

— Tom Chao

Moon and Rings

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Friday, Oct. 17, 2014: Saturn’s moon Tethys appears as if impaled on the A and F rings in this photo by Cassini spacecraft. Tethys (660 miles, or 1,062 kilometers across) consists, similar to the ring particles, primarily of ice. The moon appears through the Keeler gap in the A ring, kept clear by the small moon Daphnis (not pictured). Cassini spacecraft obtained the image in visible light on July 14, 2014.

— Tom Chao

Hail to the Princess Aurora


Monday, Oct. 20, 2014: Canada's automated aurora camera tweeted this photo, writing: "AURORAMAX GALLERY • Latest photo of #aurora borealis above #Yellowknife NWT taken at 00:50 MDT on Sept 28, 2014."

— Tom Chao

Landforms on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014: Geologic diversity on Mars is shown in this image of the eastern Elysium Planitia region. Abutting this field is a mesa, which displays dark streaks on its slopes. Perhaps these streaks are caused by freshly disturbed darker material that hasn’t faded yet. Dust avalanches like these commonly occur in dust-covered Martian regions. Further south, a line of pits and also fretted terrain are visible, then a network of channels and depressions dominating the southern part of the image. The photo, taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, was released on Oct. 15, 2014.

— Tom Chao

Baby, I Can See Your Halo

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014: Galaxy NGC 4526 shows dark dust lanes and a bright glow that give it the appearance of a halo. NGC 4526 represents one of the brightest lenticular galaxies, a category between spirals and ellipticals. Two known supernova explosions have been sighted in it, during 1969 and 1994. An enormous supermassive black hole lies at its center with the mass of 450 million suns. NGC 4526 is part of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Image released Oct. 20, 2014.

— Tom Chao

Very Hot and Very Flat and That Is That in Bonneville

ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014: Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) obtained this photo of the western United States from a point over Nebraska in early October 2014. From left to right along the Earth’s horizon, we see Phoenix, Arizona, then Los Angeles, San Francisco, and finally Portland, Orgeon. The bright area in the foreground represents the Ogden-Salt Lake City-Provo region of Utah with the Bonneville Salt Flats just above. Green airglow appears over the Earth. Moonlight glints from the solar arrays of the ISS in the foreground.

— Tom Chao

Out on a Limb

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014: Alver crater appears on the limb of Mercury, just on the horizon. Secondary crater chains leading toward the top right appear to originate from the Rembrandt basin to the north. MESSENGER spacecraft used its Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) to obtain this image, released Oct. 22, 2014.

— Tom Chao

So When You Look Into the Sun

Chris Schur/

Monday, Oct. 27, 2014: Astrophotographer Chris Schur sent in a photo of the partial solar eclipse, taken in northern Arizona, on Oct. 23, 2014. He used a calcium filter, which isolates a narrow band of light, showing magnetic features on the sun. He writes in an email message to "Finally [I] do not have to deal with our Arizona monsoon any more, [as] the sky cleared out nicely for the morning sunspot shootout and later for the partial eclipse, which [covered] 44 percent [of the sun's disk] here in northern Arizona…. Not too many shots of the partial eclipse will be with calcium filters!"

— Tom Chao

Artificial Star

ESO/J. Girard

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014: A laser beam slices upwards from Unit Telescope 4 of ESO's Very Large Telescope, at Paranal Observatory in Chile. To the left of the beam, the two Magellanic Clouds appear as fuzzy blobs. On the right of the beam, bright star Canopus shines. The laser creates an artificial star about 90 kilometers from the ground, providing a guide for the adaptive optics of the telescope to reduce distortion from water vapor, pollution and turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Image released Oct. 27, 2014.

— 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+.