Space can be a wondrous place, and we've got the pictures to prove it! Take a look at our favorite pictures from space here, and if you're wondering what happened today in space history don't miss our awesome On This Day in Space video show here!
A Tiny Meteor in the Milky Way
Monday, August 19, 2019: Can you spot the meteor in the Milky Way? After taking this photo of the night sky over Mount Rainier in Washington state on July 30, astrophotographer Tony Corso was surprised to find a tiny trail of a meteor near the center of this image. Look for the short streaker on the right edge of the Milky Way's dusty band.
The meteor was likely a member of either the Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower or the Alpha Capricornids, both of which peaked at the end of July. It could have also been a Perseid meteor, although that shower didn't peak until about two weeks later. — Hanneke Weitering
An 'Inky Abyss'
Friday, August 16, 2019: In this new image from the Hubble Space Telescope, what looks like a top-down view of a jellyfish glowing in deep space is actually the planetary nebula NGC 2022. The cosmic orb of ionized gas was expelled from a dying red giant star located at its center. As the star sheds material into space, its core shrinks and grows hotter while emitting ultraviolet radiation that illuminates its gassy shell. — Hanneke
'Diamond Ring' Over Argentina
Thursday, August 15, 2019: In this timelapse image of the Great South American Eclipse on July 2, the sun sets behind the Andes mountains as the moon crosses directly in front of it, creating a stunning "diamond ring" effect in the evening sky. Astrophotographer Chirag Upreti created this composite using images he captured from Bella Vista, Argentina.
"Totality occurred about 11 degrees above the horizon, and it was emotionally exhilarating to the naked eye, especially because it formed a beautiful connection with the Earth being so close to the horizon," Upreti told Space.com. — Hanneke Weitering
Andromeda and the Perseids
Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Two meteors dart across the night sky near the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbor, in this starry image captured by astrophotographer Omid Qadrdan during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Andromeda's tiny satellite galaxy Messier 110 is also visible in this photo, appearing as a fuzzy "star" above and to the left of the galaxy's bright core. — Hanneke Weitering
Fire and Fireballs Over Macedonia
Tuesday, August 13, 2019: Several bright Perseid meteor dash across the sky near a wildfire in Macedonia in this fisheye view by Stojan Stojanovski. He captured this photo during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower last night. In the center of what appears to be a ring of smoke, the Milky Way galaxy is faintly visible behind four bright meteors, and one smaller meteor can be seen in the distance. — Hanneke Weitering
Milky Way Shines Over VISTA
Monday, August 12, 2019: The arc of the Milky Way galaxy sparkles above the European Southern Observatory's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile in this colorful night-sky photo by astrophotographer Petr Horálek. Barely visible on top of a mountain peak in the background is ESO's Very Large Telescope array. — Hanneke Weitering
A 'Seagull' in Space
Friday, August 9, 2019: Flying through the cosmos some 3,400 light-years away from Earth is a bird-shaped cloud of dust and gas known as the Seagull Nebula, or Sharpless 2-296. The European Southern Observatory's VLT Survey Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile captured this new view of the cosmic seagull, which is rich with new star formation. — Hanneke Weitering
The Cat's Paw Nebula
Thursday, August 8, 2019: In honor of International Cat Day, today we share an iconic image of the Cat's Paw Nebula, or NGC 6334, a cosmic cloud of dust and gas with three distinct features shaped like "toe beans." Astronomers with the European Southern Observatory created this image of the nebula using data from the second Digitized Sky Survey back in 2010. You can see more photos of the Cat's Paw Nebula here. — Hanneke Weitering
Reflections in NASA's Webb Telescope
Wednesday, August 7, 2019: During a recent test of NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, an engineer snapped this photo of the telescope's enormous primary mirror reflector off its smaller secondary mirror. If you look closely, you can see part of the secondary mirror reflecting off the gold panels that make up the telescope's primary mirror. This photo was taken while NASA engineers were performing a test run of the mechanism that deploys the secondary mirror's support structure. After the telescope launches into space, it will have to perform a series of maneuvers to "unfold" all of its parts. — Hanneke Weitering
Happy Birthday, Curiosity!
Tuesday, August 6, 2019: NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars seven years ago today, took this selfie while making its way up Mount Sharp, a 3-mile (5-kilometer) peak located in the middle of Gale Crater. When Curiosity arrived at the Red Planet in 2012, it touched down inside that same crater. It has since traveled more than 13 miles (21 km), stopping to drill the Martian surface here and there along the way. In this photo, you can see two drill holes near the rover's base. — Hanneke Weitering
Storms Churn on Jupiter's Horizon
Monday, August 5, 2019: Jupiter's Great Red Spot and a stream of smaller Jovian storms swirl across the planet's south equatorial belt in this new view from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Citizen scientist Kevin Gill created this view using data collected by the spacecraft's JunoCam imager during a close flyby on July 21. At the time, Juno was about 26,697 miles (42,965 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops. — Hanneke Weitering
A Spiral Galaxy's Edge
Friday, August 2, 2019: What looks like a long, narrow stretch of stars in this Hubble Space Telescope image is actually a spiral galaxy just like the Milky Way. From our position in the cosmos, we view this galaxy edge-on. Named NGC 3432, this galaxy is located about 45 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Leo Minor. — Hanneke Weitering
A Commemorative Coin Returns to Space
Thursday, August 1, 2019: A medallion from the European Astronaut Centre floats in microgravity in front of an Earth-facing window of the International Space Station. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano tweeted the photo from space this morning. The medallion launches with all European astronauts, Parmitano said, adding that this tradition started after his first mission in 2013. He returned to the orbiting laboratory on July 20. "I took it with me – proudly – for the first time," he said. — Hanneke Weitering