A weather satellite captures a solar eclipse from space, an orbiter circling Mars gets a bird's-eye view of a Chinese lander and a spacecraft gets a close look at Jupiter's largest moon. These are just some of the top photos this week from Space.com.
Solar eclipse from space
The brown-tinged spot on Earth's upper right side is the moon's shadow during Thursday's (June 10) "ring of fire" annular solar eclipse. This incredible satellite view also shows that the event occurred in the early morning skies of North America, as the night and day boundary is just to the left of the eclipse shadow. This incredible sight was captured by NASA's GOES-East satellite, an Earth-observing weather probe.
Ingenuity's 7th flight
NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity snapped this image of its own shadow during its seventh flight. This is Ingenuity's first return to the Martian sky since it suffered an in-flight anomaly on May 22. The Tuesday (June 8) maneuver kept the chopper aloft for 63 seconds, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the project. Fortunately, there were no problems this time around.
Bird's-eye view of China's Mars rover
The HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this photo of China's Mars rover Zhurong and its landing equipment on June 6, 2021. The bright spot on the lower left of this image is the parachute and backshell that helped Zhurong safely descend to the Red Planet's surface.
The rover is located near the top of the image. "Clearly visible are what we interpret as the lander surrounded by a blast pattern, and the rover itself a bit to the south after it descended from the lander," HiRISE team members wrote in a description of the photo published on Thursday (June 10).
Shuttle Motion Simulator
This image shows the inside of the simulator of a space shuttle's flight deck, which arrived back at NASA's Johnson Space Center earlier this month (June 3). The Shuttle Motion Simulator will be restored and then head off to the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Airport, where it will be on permanent display.
Also known as the Motion Base Simulator, this device was unique because it was able to move. It functioned as a platform supported by hydraulic legs that could pitch the cabin forward and back, side to side, or lift up and down.
Cargo Dragon heading to ISS
In this image taken on June 5, 2021, the SpaceX CRS-22 Dragon cargo ship approaches the International Space Station (ISS). This vehicle is the second SpaceX cargo ship to autonomously dock itself with the space station. The vehicle delivered more than 7,300 lbs. (3,311 kg) of supplies to the orbiting laboratory. It will remain attached to the ISS for a month, then release and ultimately splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
Partial solar eclipse in Delaware
In the early morning hours of Thursday (June 10), places across North America with unobstructed views of the horizon offered a dazzling view of a solar eclipse. This view of the partially eclipsed sun rising over the Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse was taken by Aubrey Gemignani, a full-time photographer and photo archivist at NASA.
A "ring of fire" solar eclipse was visible along a path that cut through parts of northeastern Canada, Greenland and eastern Russia. Otherwise known as an annular eclipse, the moon's shadow covers the center of the solar disk. The moon changes its distance from Earth during its orbit, and annular solar eclipses occur when the lunar shadow is farther from our planet than average. The "ring of fire" was only visible in high northern latitudes, but observers outside that narrow band enjoyed a beautiful partial eclipse instead.
Juno’s first close-ups of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede
Wednesday, June 9, 2021: Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, can be seen in one of the first close-up images captured by the Juno space probe during its closest flyby at the moon to date. Surface features including craters and terrain discolorations along tectonic faults can be seen in the images captured on Monday (June 7) by Juno’s JunoCam camera. During the flyby, Juno was about 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) from Ganymede’s surface, the closest any spacecraft has been since the Galileo mission in the early 2000s.
NASA released this preliminary image taken through JunoCam’s green filter on Tuesday, June 8, one day after the closest approach. Juno scientists will now process the images, stitching together the three images taken separately through the camera’s green, read and blue filters. -- Tereza Pultarova
SLS core stage lifted ahead of booster integration
The core stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will pave the way for humankind's return to the moon, has been lifted out of its stand ahead of integration with solid rocket boosters.
The 212-foot (65 m) tall stage arrived at Kennedy Space Centre in late April this year after a series of tests at Stennis Space Centre. Engineers will now integrate the core stage with the mobile launcher platform and the twin solid rocket boosters. Together, the stack will provide more than 8.8 million lbs of thrust to launch the unmanned Artemis I mission to the moon in November this year, testing the Orion space capsule ahead of future missions with astronauts. -- Tereza Pultarova
Sunrise adds more magic to solar eclipse
Thursday, June 10, 2021: The giant crescent of the sun rising during the partial solar eclipse on Thursday (June 10) photographed by Samuel Smith from Middletown, Delaware, the U.S.. Observers on the U.S. West Coast couldn’t see the full annular eclipse, a type of eclipse that occurs when the moon is too far away from Earth and doesn’t cover the solar disk completely, leaving a “ring of fire” around as it passes in front of the sun.
Still, the combination of the partial eclipse and the sunrise (the eclipse peaked at about 6:14 AM Eastern Day Time) provided spectacular opportunities for skilled photographers. In some places, however, cloudy weather complicated or even ruined the event. -- Tereza Pultarova
Dragon cargo ship arriving at space station
Monday, June 7, 2021: European astronaut Thomas Pesquet took a picture of the approaching Dragon Cargo capsule shortly before its docking at the International Space Station (ISS) on June 5, 2021. Pesquet, who arrived at the orbital outpost in April as part of Crew-2 on board of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour has posted the image on Instagram, commenting that the cargo ship disrupted the crew's usual Saturday cleaning routine as astronauts had to focus on unpacking the freshly delivered supplies. Pesquet added that technology has advanced since his previous stay at the orbital outpost in 2016 as back then the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle had to be attached to the station with a robotic arm instead of doing it autonomously. -- Tereza Pultarova