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Space photos: The most amazing images this week!

Climate continues to stoke the wildfires raging in the United States, scientists study bright boulders on an asteroid and the Hubble Space Telescope caught a view of the swirling storms in Jupiter's clouds. These are some of the top photos this week from Space.com. 

The Pinwheel Galaxy viewed from the moon wind 'rose'

chang'e 3 lunar lander

The stellar wind produced by the star R Aquilae forms a rose-like pattern. (Image credit: CNSA/CLEP)

China's Chang'e 3 mission will mark the 7th anniversary of its moon landing in December. The lander is still operational and some instruments are thought to still work, like its Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope. The telescope made observations like the one in this image, which shows the Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 101).

Full story: China's Chang'e 3 lunar lander still going strong after 7 years on the moon

Bright boulders on asteroid

The unusual perspective in this photo of the Andromeda galaxy nabbed accolades for French astrophotographer Nicolas Lefaudeux. (Image credit: 2020 Tatsumi et al.)

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft captured these images of the surface on asteroid Ryugu. Usually bright rocks stand out from the material that makes up the bulk of asteroid Ryugu. Researchers think these bright boulders are likely the result of Ryugu's parent body colliding with silicon-rich asteroids before or during Ryugu's formation. 

Full story: Strange bright rocks reveal glimpse of asteroid Ryugu's violent past

Wildfire threatens Mount Wilson Observatory

The southern-facing HPWREN live webcam on the Mount Wilson Observatory took this image at 7:51 p.m. PDT on Sept. 17 (0251 GMT on Sept. 18), and it shows activity associated with the Bobcat Fire. (Image credit: Mount Wilson Observatory)

The southern-facing HPWREN live webcam on the Mount Wilson Observatory in southern California took this image at 7:51 p.m. PDT on Sept. 17 (0251 GMT on Sept. 18), and it shows activity associated with the Bobcat Fire. The wildfire began on Sept. 6 and has burned across 113,986 acres as of Sept. 25. 

Full story: Historic Mount Wilson Observatory survives close call with Southern California's Bobcat Fire

NASA satellite sees storms and fires in and near the U.S.

Storms and wildfires rage in the same satellite photo snapped by NASA's Aqua satellite.  (Image credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System. )

NASA's Aqua satellite captured six tropical storms and more than 100 different U.S. wildfires in a single photo snapped on Tuesday (Sept. 15). When the photo was taken, there were six named storms total in its view — Sally off the Gulf Coast, Paulette, Rene, Teddy and Vicky in the Atlantic Ocean and Karina in the Pacific.

Full story: Tropical storms and billowing wildfire smoke rage in the same NASA satellite photo

Jupiter's striking storms

This new, stunning image of Jupiter, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, was captured on Aug. 25, 2020 and shows the planet's turbulent, swirling storms. In the photo, you can see the ripples in the planet's atmosphere, Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot and the planet's striking colors.  (Image credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), and the OPAL team)

This new, stunning image of Jupiter, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, was captured on Aug. 25, 2020 and shows the planet's turbulent, swirling storms. In the photo, you can see the ripples in the planet's atmosphere, Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot and the planet's striking colors.

Guiding light

Unit Telescope 4 of the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile fires its "laser guide stars" at the night sky as part of the telescope's adaptive optics system. (Image credit: ESO/P.Horálek)

The Unit Telescope 4 of the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile fires its "laser guide stars" at the night sky as part of the telescope's adaptive optics system.

Unit 4 is one of four separate 8.2-meter telescopes that make up the Very Large Telescope, which in turn is part of the European Southern Observatory high up in Chile's Atacama Desert. The telescope's adaptive optics system users powerful lasers as guide stars to help its adaptive optics system correct for the distortion of the Earth's atmosphere in astronomical observations.

Enceladus up-close

This global infrared mosaic of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, was made using data from the Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. This image shows five different infrared views of Enceladus, the moon's Saturn-facing side, its trailing side and its North and South pole.  (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/LPG/CNRS/University of Nantes/Space Science Institute.)

This global infrared mosaic of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, was made using data from the Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. This image shows five different infrared views of Enceladus, the moon's Saturn-facing side, its trailing side and its North and South pole.

Flowering stellar wind

Stellar winds from the star R Aquilae form a number of shapes, coming together to resemble flower petals. This image was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array in Chile as part of the ATOMIUM project.  (Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Decin et al.)

Stellar winds from the star R Aquilae form a number of shapes, coming together to resemble flower petals. This image was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array in Chile as part of the ATOMIUM project.

Orion spacecraft

This is the first Orion spacecraft that will fly to the moon, sitting in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This craft will fly as part of NASA'a Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the lunar surface in 2024.  (Image credit: NASA)

This is the first Orion spacecraft that will fly to the moon, sitting in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This craft will fly as part of NASA'a Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the lunar surface in 2024.

Tarawa Atoll from space

The Tarawa Atoll, a remote Pacific nation in the Republic of Kiribati, can be seen from space in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.  Kiribati is an independent island nation spreading out 1351357 square miles (3.5 million square kilometers) of the ocean with a total land area of just 309 sq miles (800 sq km).   (Image credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

The Tarawa Atoll, a remote Pacific nation in the Republic of Kiribati, can be seen from space in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.  Kiribati is an independent island nation spreading out 1351357 square miles (3.5 million square kilometers) of the ocean with a total land area of just 309 sq miles (800 sq km). 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

  • Non-Lurker
    On the Space.com Amazing Images of the week site, an artist's depiction of Enceladus has been mislabeled as being that of a photo of two storms on Jupiter merging and as having been taken by Juno. Don't get me wrong. I have always enjoyed the space photos and images of the week.



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