Space Image of the Day Gallery (December 2014)

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1398

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Monday, Dec. 29, 2014: Astronomer Adam Block, with guest astronomer Bob Taylor, obtained this image of galaxy NGC 1398 in October 2014. This barred spiral galaxy NGC 1398 lies 65 million light-years away in the constellation of Fornax, and is part and makes up part of the Fornax cluster of galaxies.

— Tom Chao

Red Planet, Blue Planet

Sam Cristoforetti (via Twitter as @AstroSamantha)

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2014: On Dec. 18, 2014, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti tweeted a photo of Earth. taken from the International Space Station. She wrote: “Fascinated by the almost Martian landscape as we flew over #Algeria to the Mediterrean. #HelloEarth #Futura42.” “Futura” refers to the name of her mission, and 42 stands for the Expedition 42/43 crew of which she is a part.

Raise the Bar

Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014: Barred spiral galaxy Messier 91 makes up one of the members of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. It lies about 63 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Coma Berenices. Messier 91 shows four components distinctly in this image: a yellow central bulge consisting of older stars, the stellar bar at center, spiral arms full of numerous newer blue stars, forming the main disk, and an outer stellar halo with a diffuse quality, possibly showing that tidal interaction with another galaxy took place in the past.

— 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+.