Best Space Photos of the Week – Feb. 6, 2016

Stripes, rings and shadows

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Cassini's wide-angle camera captured this image of Saturn. We can see dark and light stripes created by methane in the atmosphere. Also, the rings cast shadows across the southern pole of the planet. Read more.

A savage transition

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

In the southern constellation of Eridanus, Galaxy NGC 1487 floats. This galaxy consists of two or more galaxies that have collided and are merging into one, larger galaxy.

The beautiful status quo


Nearly 60 million light-years away in the Fornax constellation a stunning barred spiral galaxy lives. The orientation of the image allows us to see the spiral arms and central structure with great clarity. This galaxy fits into one of the two main categories of galaxies seen in the Universe, according to experts.

SHOUT out for El Niño


NASA's Global Hawk, a remotely piloted aircraft, will assist the NOAA in its El Niño Rapid Response Field Campaign this month. By making several flights over the Pacific Ocean the craft will gather data on El Niño-related storms.

An old young

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

With its narrow-angle camera, Cassini snapped this image of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The image reveals the icy moon's unexpected and even brightness as well as the geologically young furrows of the rock's terrain.

Cosmonaut shot


Outside the ISS, two cosmonauts completed a spacewalk including tasks to maintain many of the experiments on the exterior of the station. They also released a ceremonial flash drive into orbit. Read more.

Curiosity selfie


In the Namib Dune on Mars, Mars rover Curiosity took a selfie and sent it home. While exploring the dark martian sands in the Bagnold Dunes the rover is sampling the first dunes beyond Earth. Read more.

Skywatcher sees planets

Paul Andrew

Astrophotographer Paul Andrew captured 5 planets and the moon in the night sky as seen from the White Cliffs of Dover in the southeast of the United Kingdom on Feb. 3, 2016. Learn how and when to see the planets.

Atlas V launch


The last of a constellation of GPS satellites went into space, joining 29 other navigational satellites. These satellites provide global positioning, navigation and timing data to civilian and military entities. Read more.

Hills of water ice on Pluto


Water-ice mini-mountains glide slowly across Pluto's surface, possibly transported by nitrogen-ice glaciers. The New Horizon's spacecraft image indicates the now famous "heart" is littered with groups of these water-ice hills. Read more.

China’s 5 T-1

Chinese National Space Administration, Xinhuanet

China's Change'e 5-T1 brought home a rarely seen view of home — our blue marble is small as seen from the other side of the Moon. Download the wallpaper.

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