Space Image of the Day Gallery (January 2015)

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.

Lake Malawi from Space

Terry W. Virts (via Twitter as @AstroTerry)

Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015: On Dec. 18, 2014, NASA astronaut Terry W. Virts tweeted this photo of Lake Malawi, as seen from the International Space Station. He wrote: “Our #beautiful Earth. #Africa Great Lake with #Mozambique, #Malawi, #Tanzania, #Zambia.” North is just to the left of the top center of the image.

— Tom Chao

Flying Through the Stars


Friday, Jan. 2, 2015: Stars create long streaks over the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile, in this composite image, which also includes a few streaks produced by passing airplanes traveling the busy nearby flight path between Calama to Santiago. Image released Dec. 29, 2014.

— Tom Chao

In Star-Clustered Reaches

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Gilles Chapdelaine

Monday, Jan. 5, 2015: Globular cluster NGC 6535 lies 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent). Globular clusters consist of tightly bound groups of stars orbiting galaxies. English astronomer John Russell Hind discovered NGC 6535 in 1852. Image released Dec. 29, 2014.

— Tom Chao

If I Was a Sculptor

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015: Red giant star R Sculptoris glows 1500 light-years from Earth, lying in the constellation of Sculptor. Researchers recently determined that the material surrounding R Sculptoris forms a spiral structure, perhaps caused by an unseen companion star orbiting the star. R Sculptoris sits outside the plane of the Milky Way, and viewers can easily see it using a moderately sized amateur telescope. An artificially mask blocks out the black region at the center of the image.

— Tom Chao

You See Right Through Me

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015: A star, seen as a bright point of light towards the lower right of this image, shines through Saturn’s outer A ring. Scientists can use this planned stellar occultation to observe structures within the rings and the variation of the structures by location. Cassini spacecraft took the image in visible light on Oct. 8, 2013.

— Tom Chao

One Wolf Moon

Jennifer Rose Lane

Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015: Astrophotographer Jennifer Rose Lane sent in a photo of the full moon, taken on Jan. 5, 2015, in Chapmanville, West Virginia. The full moon of January is known as the "Wolf Moon" or "Old Moon."

— Tom Chao

The Mighty Thor

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Friday, Jan. 9, 2015: Emission nebula NGC 2359 ("Thor's Helmet") lies about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major. Thor's Helmet stretches about 30 light-years across. Its center contains a bright and massive Wolf-Rayet star that blows a giant bubble through the surrounding molecular cloud, producing the interestingly shaped nebula.

— Tom Chao

The Moon'll Send You on Your Way

Terry V. Virts (via Twitter as @AstroTerry)

Monday, Jan. 12, 2015: NASA Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this photo from the International Space Station on Jan. 7, 2015, writing, "Moonlit Earth and station with some stars in the night sky."

— Tom Chao

Eye to the Telescope

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: J. Barrington

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015: Galaxy NGC 6861 represents the second brightest member of a group of galaxies called the Telescopium Group, also known as the NGC 6868 Group, in the small constellation of Telescopium (The Telescope). Scottish astronomer James Dunlop discovered NGC 6861 in 1826. A disc of dark bands circles the center of the galaxy. These dust lanes typically distinguish a spiral galaxy. However, the oval shape of the galaxy suggests it is an elliptical galaxy. In fact, NGC 6861 is neither in the spiral or elliptical family of galaxies, but rather is a lenticular galaxy, combining features of both spirals and ellipticals. Image released Jan. 12, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Chain of Loops

Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015: Coronal loops linked several active regions with dynamic magnetic connections across the face of the sun, Jan. 3-6, 2015. Active regions on the sun possess magnetic north and south polarity, and the arcing loops seek out the opposite pole to complete a connection. Unusually, in this instance the loops line up and link together. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory made this image in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

— 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+.