Space Image of the Day Gallery (June 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.


Chris Cook Photography

Monday, June 1, 2015: Astrophotographer Chris Cook took a self-portrait under the night sky over Nobska Lighthouse at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on May 16, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Stream of Stars

Jon Secord/

Tuesday, June 2, 2015: Astrophotographer Jon Secord sent in a photo of the Milky Way taken in Zion National Park on May 19, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Look into the Center

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Wednesday, June 3, 2015: Elliptical galaxy Messier 84 lies about 60 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). The galaxy sits in the very heavily populated center of the Virgo Cluster. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image does not encompass the entire galaxy, but only the intriguing center, and may be the best image of the region ever obtained. Image released June 1, 2015.

— Tom Chao

We Come from the Land of the Ice and Snow

ESO/B. Tafreshi (

Thursday, June 4, 2015: Snow and ice structures called penitentes stand under the night sky in the Atacama Desert of Chile. These structures form mostly at high altitudes, where the low pressure, moisture and temperature combine to create this intriguing, uncommon behavior in ice freezing. The blades of ice tend to orient themselves towards the sun. Above, the night sky looms, with Sirius, the large blue star, brightest in the sky, above the hill. To the left of Sirius is Betelgeuse, red supergiant in Orion constellation. Canopus is the second-brightest star after Sirius, here seen at the right-hand side. Image released June 1, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Summer’s Here

Ruslan Merzlyakov

Friday, June 5, 2015: Astrophotographer Ruslan Merzlyakov sent in a photo of noctilucent clouds taken by the Limfjord in Nykøbing Mors, Denmark, on June 2, 2015. Noctilucent (“night-shining”) clouds are composed of ice crystals high up in the Earth’s atmosphere, visible after the sun has set. These clouds appear during the summer, as Merzlyakov points out in an email message to “Now it is [the] real start of the summer!”

— Tom Chao

Some Craters Are Newer Than Others

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Monday, June 8, 2015: The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft obtained this closeup image of a new (relatively speaking) impact crater in the Sirenum Fossae region of Mars on March 30, 2015. The crater is new in terms of a geological time scale, but quite old as it relates to humans. This impact crater appears recent as it possesses a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta. Gullies have carved the steep inner slopes and these include possible recurring slope lineae on the equator-facing slopes. Fresh craters often contain steep, active slopes, so researchers will monitor this crater for changes. Also, the bedrock shows a diverse lithology. The crater stretches a little more than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in width. Image released June 5, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Moon, June, Balloon


Tuesday, June 9, 2015: A balloon lifts NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator into the Earth's upper atmosphere with the moon in the background on June 8, 2015. The craft launched from the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The “flying saucer”-shaped test vehicle was making its second test flight to evaluate new technologies of a supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator and a supersonic parachute. After a rocket powered the vehicle to about 180,000 feet (54,900 m.), the parachute deployed as planned but failed to open completely.

— Tom Chao

Fast Changes

ESO/Manu Mejias

Wednesday, June 10, 2015: The Crab Nebula, also known as Messier 1, NGC 1952 and Taurus A, represents the remnant of a supernova explosion which was observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054. The tangled filaments seen here emerge as the remains of the exploded star, which continues to expand outwards at about 930 miles (1500 kilometers) per second. At the center of the nebula lie two faint stars. One of these is the Crab Pulsar, or CM Tau, which in an earlier state caused the supernova. Radiation of all wavelengths streams from the star strongly, producing a wave of material that deforms the inner portions of the nebula. The changes are taking place so fast that astronomers can observe the reshaping, a rare opportunity for research. Image released June 8, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Just Around the Corner

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Thursday, June 11, 2015: Our Milky Way galaxy makes up part of a gathering of fifty galaxies known as the Local Group. Astronomers call the sphere of space immediately around our galaxy the Local Volume, a region roughly 35 million light-years in diameter, containing several hundred known galaxies. Here, this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image depicts a dwarf irregular galaxy known as PGC 18431, one of these galaxies. These Hubble observations will help probe how Local Volume galaxies cluster together and move. Image released June 8, 2015.

— Tom Chao

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Friday, June 12, 2015: The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft touches down on Earth, carrying Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts of NASA, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from the European Space Agency (ESA), near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on June 11, 2015. The spaceflyers have spent more than six months aboard the International Space Station. This photo shows the capsule’s braking rockets firing seconds before touchdown.

— 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+.