Space Image of the Day Gallery (August 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.


Roberto Porto

Monday, August 3, 2015: Astrophotographer Roberto Porto sent in a photo of the Blue Moon showing a 22-degree halo, taken in Castilla (Castile), Spain, on July 31, 2015. The term "Blue Moon" refers to a 2nd full moon in a month. The 22-degree halo around the moon results from ice crystals in the atmosphere, the hexagonal structure of which refract the moonlight to the observer.

— Tom Chao

'Lighting Libertas'

Jim Abels/

Tuesday, August 4, 2015: Astrophotographer Jim Abels caught the Blue Moon of July 31, 2015, and the Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. He writes in an email message to "I planned the location out by using Photographer's Ephemeris app on my phone to determine the location of the moon rising. I waited until the moon lined up with the torch to capture this shot."

— Tom Chao

The Flash


Wednesday, August 5, 2015: Sakurai's Object, the red smudge at bottom of this image, is a rare small white dwarf star undergoing a helium flash. A low-mass star usually ends its life as a white dwarf. Infrequently, the star reignites in a helium flash, expanding again to a red giant state, ejecting gas and dust, then again shrinking back to being a white dwarf. Image released Aug. 3, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Little Gem

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (

Thursday, August 6, 2015: NGC 6818, also known as the Little Gem Nebula, lies in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), at a distance of roughly 6000 light-years away from us. The stellar wind from the central star, now entering the final stages of its life, propels its outer layers into space, creating a glowing bubble of gas called a planetary nebula. Image released August 3, 2015.

— Tom Chao

'Nauset Galactic'

Tim Little/Cape Night Photography

Friday, August 7, 2015: Astrophotographer Tim Little sent in a photo of the Milky Way over Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham, Massachusetts. He writes in an email message to "The Milky Way had not quite aligned as shown here when I arrived so I spent the better part of an hour shooting the area until the time finally came to capture this image. The projected pattern on the side of the lighthouse was the result of a nearby flood light shining through the trees and a pleasant surprise as it was not visible to the naked eye." Image submitted August 4, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Night & Day

Scott Kelly (via Twitter as ‏@StationCDRKelly)

Monday, August 10, 2015: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted this photo from the International Space Station on Aug. 5, 2015. He wrote: “Day 131. Nighttime comes and glows. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace.” Scott Kelly launched to the space station on March 27, 2015, for his one year mission.

— Tom Chao

Lost My Shape

ESA/Hubble and NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast); Acknowledgements: Nick Rose and Flickr user penninecloud

Tuesday, August 11, 2015: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 428 lies approximately 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). A residual spiral shape remains, but the galaxy's structure appears distorted and warped, possibly resulting from a collision between two galaxies. William Herschel discovered NGC 428 in December 1786. Image released Aug. 10, 2015.

— Tom Chao

Waving at You

Roscosmos (via Facebook)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015: On Aug, 10, 2015, Roscosmos cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko wave at the camera during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The spacewalkers completed a variety of tasks outside the Russian segment of the complex and carried out a detailed photographic inspection of the outpost’s exterior. [See full story.]

— Tom Chao

In the Air Tonight

Matthew Moses/Moses Images

Thursday, August 13, 2015: Astrophotographer Matthew Moses sent in a photo of a Perseid meteor, a satellite, and an airplane streaking through the night sky over the Davidson windmill east of Superior, Wisconsin, taken on Aug. 12, 2015. The windmill dates from 1900 and appears in the National Register of Historic Places.

— Tom Chao

Get Out of My Yardangs

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Friday, August 14, 2015: The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows an area of Mars with a strong distinction between a relatively smooth region and neighboring sharp ridges, called yardangs. Researchers think the yardangs formed by the action of wind erosion, as softer materials blew out of the region. Image released Aug. 12, 2015.

— 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+.