Space pictures! See our space image of the day

Space can be a wondrous place, and we've got the pictures to prove it! Take a look at our favorite space pictures here, and if you're wondering what happened to today in space history don't miss our On This Day in Space video show here!
 

SpaceX's Mighty Starship Super Heavy

A top-down view of SpaceX's mighty Starship Super Heavy booster during an engine test.

(Image credit: SpaceX)

Tuesday, July 16, 2024: SpaceX's mighty Starship Super Heavy booster, which boasts 33 Raptor engines (28 more than NASA's Saturn V moon rocket first stage) roars to life during a static fire test at the company's Starbase test site near Boca Chica Beach in South Texas on July 15. Unlike the Saturn V rocket, which launched NASA's Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon 55 years ago today, the Starship Super Heavy booster is designed to be fully resuable, flying back to its launch site to be captured by two "Chopsticks" of its "Mechzilla" launch tower. 

Read more: SpaceX test-fires Super Heavy Starship booster ahead of 5th flight (video)

Ariane 6 has entered the game.

(Image credit: ESA-YPSat)

Monday, July 15, 2024: Europe's new Ariane 6 rocket has finally taken flight, carrying the hopes of a continent on its broad back. The Ariane 6 launched for the first time ever July 9, lifting off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 3:01 p.m. EDT (1901 GMT). There was a lot riding on this debut: It came a year after the retirement of Ariane 6's predecessor, the workhorse Ariane 5, left Europe unable to launch big satellites on homegrown rockets.

Ariane 6 successfully deployed nine cubesats to orbit about 65 minutes after liftoff, as planned, including the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Young Professionals Satellite, YPSat. Following fairing separation, YPSat captured this image of the sun and Earth, as the Ariane 6 earned its place among today's operational launch vehicles.

Read more: Europe's new Ariane 6 rocket launches on long-awaited debut mission (video)

Dragons sleep among the stars

(Image credit: NASA)

Friday, July 12, 2024: SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour is seen docked to the forward port of the International Space Station's Harmony module. In the background, the arm of the Milky Way reaches from below, filling the black abyss with stars. 

Endeavour carried NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, Jeannette Epps and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin to the orbiting lab for a six-month stay as a part of SpaceX's Crew-8 mission for NASA. Crew-8 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 3, and docked March 5th. The crew is scheduled to return sometime mid-August, following the arrival of the Crew-9 astronaut rotation.

Sprites from space!

(Image credit: Matthew Dominick/NASA/X)

Thursday, July 11, 2024: NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick snapped this photo of the rare red sprite phenomenon from the International Space Station earlier in the year, and the results are stunning. "Super lucky a few weeks ago when shooting a time-lapse of a lightning storm off the coast of South Africa. One of the frames in the time-lapse had a red sprite,"  Dominick wrote on X after reviewing his photos last month. 

Red sprites, also known as red lightning, occur during some extremely intense thunderstorms. Most lightning flashes move down from the clouds to the ground, a sprite goes in the opposite direction: up, into the upper atmosphere. These sprites are very brief, lasting only for about a millisecond, which makes them difficult to observe even with professional equipment from orbit. That said, they can be very large, sometimes spanning as large as 30 miles (48 km) across.  — Elizabeth Howell

Read more: Astronaut photographs rare red lightning phenomenon from ISS

Gateway habitat assembly underway

(Image credit: Thales Alenia Space)

Wednesday, July 10, 2024: Lest anyone be surprised in a few years when the first completed module of the lunar Gateway for NASA's Artemis program launches, Thales Alenia Space has shared another progress photograph of the HALO (Habitation and Logistics Outpost) module's base assembly component as it undergoes testing at the company's facility in Turin, Italy. NASA has contracted Northrop Grumman to construct HALO, which is one of four modules where Artemis astronauts will live, work and ferry to and from the moon's surface. 

Firefly lights up the sky

(Image credit: Firefly Aerospace / Trevor Mahlmann)

Tuesday, July 9, 2024: Late in the evening, just after sunset last week, Firefly Aerospace's Alpha rocket launched from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base on the "Noise of Summer" mission, carrying eight cubesats to orbit as a part of NASA's Cubesat Launch Initiative, which aims to help pave a path to space for satellites developed at U.S. colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations. The cubesats were developed by teams at the University of Arizona, the University of Kansas, the University of Maine, the University of Washington, a nonprofit called Teachers in Space, and two NASA facilities — Johnson Space Center in Houston and Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. 

Read more: Firefly Aerospace launches 8 cubesats to orbit on 5th-ever launch (video)

Russian modules above Earth

(Image credit: NASA)

Monday, July 8, 2024: Today's space image of the day is this long duration photograph taken aboard the International Space Station. Orbiting the Earth above the Pacific Ocean, this image shows Russian segments of the space station, including the Rassvet module on the left, with the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft docked with the Prichal segment attached to the Nauka science module on the right.

Copernicus captures a crater

(Image credit: Copernicus Sentinel data (2024), processed by ESA CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Tuesday, July 2, 2024: Imaging satellites from the European Space Agency (ESA) captured this picture of Barringer Crater, in Arizona. The Copernicus Sentinel-2 spacecraft are a pair of twin satellites that circle the Earth in a polar orbit. The duo orbits at an altitude of about 490 miles (786 kilometers), and captured the data used to process this image while flying over the southwest United States. 

Barringer Crater is nested in the Arizona desert with a depth of 570 feet (174 meters) and 4,100 feet (1.25 kilometers) across. The impact is estimated to have occurred between 49,000 and 50,000 years ago, and is believed to have been caused by an iron-nickel meteorite, about 130 feet (40 meters) wide.

Beryl barreling through!

(Image credit: NOAA)

Monday, July 1, 2024: Satellites are monitoring Hurricane Beryl as it dumps destructive rain and winds on the Caribbean island of Carriacou in Grenada, where it made landfall on Monday (July 1) morning as "an extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm.

NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured nearly real-time views of Beryl multiple times over the weekend as it closely tracked the powerful storm's progress in the Atlantic ocean. The footage, taken from the satellite's position about 22,236 miles (35,785 kilometers) above Earth's equator, shows the storm battering a group of islands in the Atlantic's Caribbean Sea known as the Windward Islands, which include Grenada, St. Vincent, Martinique and a cluster of small islands called the Grenadines. — Sharmila Kuthunur

Archives

Check out our Image of the Day Archives for more awesome photos.

Image of the Day 2020 Archive

(Image credit: Josh Dinner)

Image of the Day 2019 Archive

(Image credit: Christina Koch/NASA)

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  • The Exoplanets Channel
    The images are truly breath-taking.
    Reply
  • rod
    The Exoplanets Channel said:
    The images are truly breath-taking.

    The Exoplanets Channel, what star and reddish exoplanet is shown in your picture, looks like about 8" angular separation? I use this site as my canonical reference to exoplanets, The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia Currently 4150 exoplanets are listed.
    Reply
  • spaceguy
    yes they are
    Reply
  • swiggly
    The Exoplanets Channel said:
    The images are truly breath-taking.

    My Comet Image:

    Neowise
    Reply
  • rod
    swiggly said:
    My Comet Image:

    Neowise
    This is a very good image here. In enjoyed some recent views of NEOWISE using my 90-mm telescope at 40x early, shortly after 0415 EDT. Bifurcated tail obvious too.
    Reply
  • Helio
    The IOD image for yesterday of the Veil nebula is stunning! The graphics are such that it's almost as if it has an oil film on top. It has both 3D and texture feel to it.
    Reply
  • Jack Colter
    The was no Artemis 13 mission. It was Apollo.
    Reply
  • Astro.Letizia
    I hope they start posting these daily again! I always start my day off with the newest image but it's been a couple of months now :(
    Reply
  • Helio
    APOD is a another great source for astro eye candy.
    Reply
  • Astro.Letizia
    Helio said:
    APOD is a another great source for astro eye candy.
    Thanking you!
    Reply