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Space Photos: The Most Amazing Images This Week!

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) captured this unprecedented image of two circumstellar disks, in which baby stars are growing, feeding with material from their surrounding birth disk.
(Image: © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Alves et al.)

An asteroid passes through the foreground of a Crab Nebula image, museum representatives describe the funny smell a meteorite gives off and China unveils its Mars explorer. These are just some of the top photos this week from 

HiRISE Snaps View of InSight on Mars

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

NASA's InSight Mars lander appears in this newly released bird's eye view taken by HiRISE, or High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, a camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. "Taken on Sept. 23, 2019, at an altitude of 169 miles (272 kilometers) above the surface, the new image is NASA's best view yet of InSight from space," NASA officials wrote on Wednesday (Oct. 16) in a description of the photo.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Full Story: NASA Spots InSight Mars Lander and Curiosity Rover from Space (Photos)

China Unveils Mars Explorer

(Image credit: International Launch Services)

On Wednesday (Oct. 9), a Russian Proton rocket launches Eutelsat's 5 West B communications satellite and Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle-1 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Eutelsat is a European satellite provider and sent up their new satellite to replace the 17-year-old 5 West A spacecraft. Virginia-based Northrop Grumman sent its vehicle into space on a servicing mission to extend the life of the 18-year old Intelsat 901 communications satellite by five years.

Full Story: First-of-Its-Kind Satellite Servicing Spacecraft Launches on Russian Rocket

Awaiting Crew Dragon Abort Test

(Image credit: NASA)

This used Falcon 9 rocket will carry SpaceX's Crew Dragon up into the skies for in-flight abort test. The rocket is currently at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida for a launch in November 2019. If all goes well. The test will demonstrate that a Crew Dragon carrying passengers can successfully get out of harm's way in the event of a launch emergency.

Full Story: SpaceX May Launch Crucial Crew Dragon Abort Test Next Month, Elon Musk Says

Stellar Pretzel

(Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Alves et al.)

Baby stars are growing and feeding from the material surrounding them in this new image from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile. ALMA spotted this scene in the Pipe Nebula, an immense dark cloud of interstellar dust near the center of the Milky Way in the constellation Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer) about 600 to 700 light-years from Earth. 

Full Story: Twin Baby Stars Caught Feeding from Their Mother, a Twisted 'Pretzel' of Interstellar Dust

ICON's Solar Array Test

(Image credit: Daniel Quinajon/NASA)

NASA's ICON, or Ionospheric Connection Explorer, mission launched this week (Oct. 10) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, but the road to space was not without delays and extensive testing. In this image taken on May 4, 2018, the satellite's solar array is put through an illumination test to check for imperfections and to confirm that the solar arrays are functioning properly, according to a NASA description. 

Full Gallery: ICON: NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer Satellite Mission in Pictures


(Image credit: NASA TV)

After more than a year of delays, NASA's ICON satellite launched into orbit on Oct. 10, 2019, rocketing into space at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT) atop a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket.  The Pegasus XL rocket is a three-stage solid-fueled booster designed to be dropped from an altitude of 39,000 feet to launch a satellite. For ICON, the Stargazer pilot took off from the Skid Strip runway of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, then flew out over the Atlantic Ocean to a drop point about 50 miles east of Daytona Beach. — Tariq Malik

Full Gallery: ICON: NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer Satellite Mission in Pictures

Largest galaxy: IC 1101

(Image credit: Subaru/ P. Capak (SSC/Caltech))

Our Milky Way galaxy is around 100,000 light-years across, but that's fairly average for a spiral galaxy. In comparison, the largest known galaxy, called IC 1101, is 50 times larger and about 2,000 times more massive than our galactic home. Stretching for an impressive 5.5 million light-years, IC 1101 is so big that, if placed where the Milky Way is now, its edge would reach past our nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda. — Adam Mann

Full Gallery: Cosmic Record Holders: The 12 Biggest Objects in the Universe

Largest Nebula: The Tarantula Nebula

(Image credit: NASA)

Both the largest known nebula and most active star-forming region in our local galactic neighborhood, the Tarantula Nebula stretches for more than 1,800 light-years at its longest span. Also known as 30 Doradus, the object is located 170,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy that orbits our Milky Way. Rather than a killer arachnid, this Tarantula is a stellar nursery — within its beautiful folds of gas and dust young stars are being born.

A Dusty Spiral

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario)

This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3717, a dusty swirl of stars about 60 million light-years away. The galaxy is located in the direction of the constellation Hydra, the Sea Serpent, and is tilted in this view so that Hubble gets a sense of its spiral shape, but not an edge-on view. — Tariq Malik

Say Cheese!

Now here's an office with the ultimate view. NASA astronaut Drew Morgan poses for a photo during a spacewalk on Sunday, Oct. 6, to kick off an epic 10-spacewalk marathon to swap out old batteries on the station's solar array grid with new ones. Morgan wasn't alone on the spacewalk. NASA astronaut Christina Koch ventured outside with Morgan as the EVA (extravehicular activity) lead. She wore a red-striped spacesuit and actually took this picture! (You can see Koch taking the photo in the reflection of Morgan's visor). Read our full story here for a wrap up of the spacewalk. The next EVA in the series is on Friday, Oct. 11. — Tariq Malik

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