Earth-observing satellites watch a volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean, the 'Godzilla' dust plume is spotted moving across the Atlantic Ocean and the Hubble Space Telescope observes a feathery-looking galaxy. These are some of the Top Photos this week from Space.com.
'Godzilla' crossing the Atlantic Ocean
Satellite observations made this summer by the European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show a massive plume of dust making its annual trip, starting from the Sahara Desert on the African continent and traveling westward across towards the Caribbean Sea and South America. A lot of the dust in the plume, which got the moniker 'Godzilla,' usually sinks in the ocean. There it feeds tiny microscopic organisms called plankton. But when it reaches land, the dust particles can act as a fertilizer.
Comet NEOWISE seen from space
On July 3, the icy comet NEOWISE made a close encounter with the sun and survived. As it heads back to the outer part of the solar system, NEOWISE has put enough distance between itself and the star to be seen by observers on the ground and in space. This hunk of space ice could be seen by crewmembers on the International Space Station, and Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner captured its sight in this photograph shared on July 4.
Empire State Building and Eclipsed 'Buck Moon'
In this image, the full "Buck Moon" of July 2020 rises over the Empire State Building in New York City. The July 4 full moon featured a subtle discoloration caused by a total penumbral lunar eclipse, which is created when the moon passes through the outer part of Earth's shadow in space.
This image of Jupiter, taken by amateur astronomer Clyde Foster of Centurion, South Africa, reveals a new storm (now called Clyde's Spot) just below and to the right of the Great Red Spot on May 31. The timing of this discovery coincided with the 27th scheduled flyby of NASA's Juno spacecraft, which occurred a few days after Foster shared the finding. Juno loops around Jupiter on a highly elliptical orbit and makes a close pass once every 53.5 Earth days.
Volcanic activity in the Pacific Ocean
Two NASA satellites have been watching the volcanic eruption on the Pacific island of Nishinoshima. The volcanic activity on this island, located about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Tokyo, Japan, has been increasing since late-May, according to a statement from NASA Earth Observatory. This view from NASA's Landsat 8 spacecraft shows either steam from the volcano or lava from vaporizing seawater.
Electric blue clouds
Atmospheric and Space Physics and analysis courtesy of the MLS team and V. Lynn Harvey/CU/LASP.)
Electric blue streaks through the upper regions of Earth’s atmosphere every summer in the Northern Hemisphere. They usually swirl above the Arctic in the mesosphere (about 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface), but sometimes they form lower in the atmosphere and show up in other places across the globe.
This image shows an image of noctilucent (or night-shining) clouds on June 23. The image, made using data from NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) craft, is centered on the North Pole.
The X-ray universe
Scientists have created a new, detailed map of the universe, showcasing the cosmos in X-ray radiation. The map uses over a million X-ray sources observed by eROSITA (Extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array), an instrument on the German-Russian satellite mission Spectrum-Röntgen-Gamma, or Spektr-RG.
A fluffy-looking spiral galaxy
This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, showcases the fluffy (or flocculent), feathery features of the spiral galaxy NGC 2275. The galaxy is located 67 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer.
Luminous clouds from space
Cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, who is currently on board the International Space Station, snapped this stunning new of luminous clouds on Earth from the station. Luminous clouds are the highest cloud formations in Earth’s atmosphere and they appear at an altitude of 43-59 miles (70-95 kilometers).
A brilliant molecular cloud
In this image, you can see a piece of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, created using data from the European Space Agency’s Herschel and Planck space telescopes. The bright streaks in this picture show the emission by interstellar dust grains in different wavelengths. The draping pattern of lines shows the magnetic field orientation.