Space Image of the Day Gallery (March 2015)

Echoes of the Past

Connor Hicks

Monday, March 16, 2015: Astrophotographer Connor Hicks submitted a photo of star trails over the

The Telescopes

ESO/J. Colosimo

Tuesday, March 17, 2015: The four Auxiliary Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Array stand against an star-filled night sky on Cerro Paranal in Chile, at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The Auxiliary Telescopes each measure 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter. Above the site, the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds hang prominently, visible only in the southern sky. These two irregular dwarf galaxies make up part of the Local Group, being companion galaxies to our own galaxy, the Milky Way. John Colosimo took the photo and submitted it to the Your ESO Pictures Flickr group. Image released March 16, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxy PGC 51017

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Alessandra Aloisi (STScI) and Nick Rose

Wednesday, March 18, 2015: This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows blue compact dwarf galaxy PGC 51017, also known as SBSG 1415+437. Astronomers had thought that SBS 1415+437 represented a very young galaxy undergoing its first burst of star formation, but more recent studies have suggested that the galaxy has passed that stage, containing stars over 1.3 billion years old. In fact, it seems like our nearby region of the universe may not contain any galaxies currently undergoing their first burst of star formation.

— Tom Chao

Rare Blue

Mia Stålnacke

Thursday, March 19, 2015: Astrophotographer Mia Stålnacke sent in a photo of an auroral display over of Kiruna, Sweden, taken on March 17, 2015. She writes in an email message to "Last night was, as you know, spectacular! … I've been shooting the aurora for years now but last night topped everything else! For the first time ever I managed to catch the blue aurora!" Ionized nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere emit the blue color when regaining an electron after ionization.

— Tom Chao

Red Hot

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

Friday, March 20, 2015: The north polar region of Mercury appears in colors corresponding to the maximum biannual surface temperature, ranging from >400 K (red) to 50 K (purple). Being the closest planet to the sun, Mercury can attain high temperatures in its sunlit areas, shown by the red color of the majority of the image. However, some craters near Mercury's poles possess regions permanently shadowed, and the maximum temperatures in these areas can dip down very low.

— Tom Chao

Danish Modern

ESO/B. Tafreshi (

Monday, March 23, 2015: The Milky Way shines above the dome of the Danish 1.54-meter telescope that has operated at La Silla Observatory in Chile since 1979.

— Tom Chao

Splendid Isolation

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Tuesday, March 24, 2015: Spiral galaxy NGC 5023 appears edge-on to the Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy lies over 30 million light-years away, and it makes up part of the M51 group of galaxies. NGC 5023 is relatively isolated from the group’s other galaxies. Image released March 23, 2015.

— Tom Chao

'Hidden in Plane Sight'

Daniel Mackintosh

Wednesday, March 25, 2015: Astrophotographer Daniel Mackintosh sent in a photo of the March 20, 2015, solar eclipse taken over Aberdeen Beach, Scotland. He writes in an email message to "I had such a great time down at Aberdeen Beach watching the eclipse and the excitement was only amplified when I luckily caught this snap of a plane passing by the eclipse." The Grampian Eye ferris wheel appears at left. [See more photos of the eclipse.]

— Tom Chao

Good Shepherd

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Thursday, March 26, 2015: Cassini spacecraft caught Saturn's moons (R to L) Pandora, Prometheus, and Pan floating among the planet’s rings. Some moons can shape nearby rings with gravity, keeping the rings’ edges from spreading, "shepherding" them, so to speak. Pan shapes and controls the locations of the inner and outer edges of the Encke gap. However, researchers have yet to determine what effect Prometheus and Pandora have on the F ring's configuration. Cassini spacecraft obtained the image in visible light on Jan. 2, 2015. Image released March 23, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Ready to Soar

NASA/Victor Zelentsov

Friday, March 27, 2015: A photograph shows the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft as seen through metal beams after the vehicle rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on March 25, 2015. The rocket will carry NASA astronaut Scott Kelly with Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to the International Space Station on the scheduled launch date of March 28, 2015. Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016 after a full one-year stay in space. [Watch the launch live.]

— 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+.