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!
 

NASA astronauts dedicate Artemis 1 moon tree

An American sweetgum sapling grown from a seed that was flown around the moon during the Artemis 1 mission is seen during a moon tree dedication ceremony on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at the United States Capitol in Washington. (Image credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

A seed that flew around the moon and back will now grow into a tree at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

On June 4, the four-person crew of NASA's Artemis 2 mission attended a dedication ceremony for an American sweetgum sapling grown from one of the Artemis 1 moon tree seeds. More than 1,000 seeds were among the payloads in the Orion spacecraft on its 26-day test flight mission that launched in November 2022

"It represents so much of our mission," said former astronaut Pam Melroy, NASA's deputy administrator during the dedication ceremony. "It's a mission that touches every one, that everyone can enjoy, that everyone can be inspired by, but also one that we have an obligation to steward and protect to go forward. This is a mission whose impact will last, just like this tree, not just for decades, but for centuries."

Related: 'Most unique tree here:' Artemis Moon Tree planted at US Capitol

Starliner docks with the ISS

A Boeing Starliner spacecraft approaches the the Harmony module of the International Space Station on June 6, 2024. (Image credit: NASA TV)

June 7, 2024: Boeing Starliner made it safely to the International Space Station on June 6.

This photograph shows the last seconds of Starliner's approach while the beleaguered spacecraft was autonomously piloting itself towards docking. Starliner docked with the orbiting lab at 1:34 p.m. EDT (1734 GMT), allowing NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams to begin their eight-day mission aboard the ISS.

The duo received a warm welcome as they floated into the station, receiving well-deserved hugs from the station's seven-person Expedition 71 crew made up of American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts.

Related: Boeing's 1st Starliner to carry astronauts arrives at ISS despite thruster malfunction

Boeing Starliner launches to ISS

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft launches atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on June 5, 2024 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. (Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Wednesday, June 5, 2024: After multiple delays, Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched today (June 5) at 10:52 a.m. EDT (1452 GMT) carrying Starliner and its crew, NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams. 

The pair will arrive at the ISS on Thursday (June 6) around 12:15 p.m. EDT (1615 GMT), where they will conduct a roughly eight-day mission testing their spacecraft while aboard the orbital lab before returning to Earth in Starliner.

Read more: Boeing's Starliner launches astronauts for 1st time in historic liftoff (photos, video)

Auroras from space!

An aurora swirls above the Indian Ocean on May 29, 2024 in this photograph from the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)

Tuesday, June 4, 2024: Auroras from space!

This photograph of the southern lights, or aurora australis, was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station as the orbital lab was some 266 miles (428 km) above and due south of Australia's island state of Tasmania.

Like the northern lights, the southern lights are created when charged particles from the sun interact with Earth's atmosphere. Our planet's magnetic field directs these particles towards the poles, which is why aurora phenomena are most often seen at higher latitudes near the Arctic and Antarctica.

Related: We may have just witnessed some of the strongest auroras in 500 years

Planetary alignment on June 1

Astrophotographer Josh Dury captured a planetary alignment on June 1, 2024 from Crooks Peak in Somerset, England.  (Image credit: Josh Dury)

Monday, June 3, 2024: A planetary alignment visible on the morning of June 1, 2024 made for some excellent astrophotography.

Josh Dury captured this image from Crooks Peak in Somerset, England, taking multiple exposures and combining them into this one composite photograph.

"On Saturday morning when I captured this photograph, I was amazed to see Saturn, the moon and Mars. I needed to capture separate exposures in order to capture the fainter planets as well as Jupiter, Uranus and Mercury closer to the glare of the sun; this image is therefore a composite to capture this perspective," Dury wrote.

"It is quite amazing in taking a moment to step back and appreciate the sheer scale and perspective of our place in the universe," he added.

Related: Will a 'rare' lineup of planets be visible to the naked eye in the night sky on June 3?

Space debris lands in North Carolina

A piece of space debris suspected to be from the reentry of part of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which brought the Crew-7 astronaut mission home from the International Space Station. (Image credit: Future/Brett Tingley)

Friday, May 31, 2024: A large piece of space debris was found on a hiking trail on a luxury campground in the mountains of North Carolina last week by groundskeeper Justin Clontz.

"It landed directly in the middle of the trail," Clontz told Space.com. "It was just wild. It was crazy-looking. I really didn't know what to think."

The debris is suspected to be a piece of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft left over from the reentry of the Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station. Space.com's Brett Tingley went to see the debris for himself.

Read more: Space debris from SpaceX Dragon capsule crashed in the North Carolina mountains. I had to go see it (video)

Another huge solar flare!

An X-2.9 solar flare erupts from the sun on May 27, 2024. (Image credit: NASA / SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams / helioviewer.org)

Tuesday, May 28, 2024: Old sunspot group AR3664, the most active sunspot region of the current solar cycle — the one responsible for the May 2024 solar storms, announced its return in explosive fashion. Yesterday (May 27), a powerful X-class solar flare erupted from the sun's southeastern limb, peaking around 3:08 a.m. EDT (0708 GMT). 

Though sunspot group 3664 remains hidden from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory's view — scientists can track the sunspot's progress across the sun's far side by observing how it affects the sun's vibrations or seismic echoes, using helioseismology data. One full rotation of the sun takes 27 days. — Daisy Dobrijevic

Read more: Colossal X-class solar flare suggests return of sunspot group that fueled May's epic auroras (video)

Ghostly view of an infant sun

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Duchene (Universite de Grenoble I); Image Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America))

Monday, May 20, 2024: Like a young version of our own sun, HP Tau, an infant star is seen at the top of a trio of glittering stars in Hubble's latest image. These stars sparkle from within a hollow cavity in a billowing cloud of gas and dust, which itself shines a soothing blue by reflecting starlight in its thick swirls, much like how a street light illuminates the fog around it.

At just 10 million years old, HP Tau is the youngest of its siblings. It resides roughly 550 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus, and hasn't yet kicked off the nuclear fusion process upon which it will soon come to rely on for its energy, and for its light. — Sharmila Kuthunur

Related: Enchanting new Hubble Telescope image reveals an infant star's sparkle

A giant scoop out of the Red Planet

(Image credit: ESA/TGO/CaSSIS)

Thursday, May 16, 2024: A massive Mars impact crater dominates a new view from the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO). 

The result of an ancient asteroid impact, the crater is located in Mars' Utopia Planitia. That's the largest known impact basin in the entire solar system, with a diameter of roughly 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers), or  twice the size of Earth's Sahara Desert from north to south. Interesting ice-related features on and below the surface of the crater lend insight on the Red Planet’s watery past.  — Samantha Mathewson

Flying carpet of space dust

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, L. Kelsey)

Wednesday, May 15, 2024: A new Hubble image highlights the intricacies of a distant galaxy glowing with a bright white core surrounded by complex dust structures. 

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope captures the sharpest view yet of the lenticular galaxy NGC 4753. The photo, released on Monday (May 13), offers a nearly edge-on view of the galaxy, revealing its bright central bulge. Lenticular galaxies are a cross between spirals and ellipticals; they exhibit an elliptical shape but have ill-defined spiral arms. Given NGC 4753's low-density environment and complex structure, this particular galaxy provides astronomers an opportunity to study different theories surrounding how lenticular galaxies form.  —  Samantha Mathewson

Auroramania!

(Image credit: Daisy Dobrijevic)

Tuesday, May 14, 2024: Lest you think we forgot about all the auroras! Last Friday night and into the weekend, magnificent aurora could be seen at unprecedented latitudes across the globe. Sky watchers in all 50 of the United States and countless countries worldwide were witness to dazzling colors in a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. 

Space.com's References Editor Daisy Dobrijevic covers solar flares and aurora extensively, but, like many, never dreamed of seeing them outside her front door. "I may write about them a lot but I never once imagined I’d get a northern lights show of this magnitude above my hometown, Nottingham, U.K.," she wrote. Daisy snapped this photo with just her cell phone, a testament to the amazing ubiquity of the auroras over the weekend, as all of humanity looked up at the sky and gazed in wonder.

Salt lakes form Sentinel-2

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

Monday, May 13, 2024: The European Space Agency's (ESA's) Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite recently captured this false-color image of salt flats and lakes in southwest Bolivia, nearby to the Andes Mountains. Red portions of the image highlight vegetation dispersal in the arid region towards the southern end of the Altiplano. 

Sentinel-2 and the Copernicus program are a project run by the European Union (EU) and ESA that builds and manages a fleet of Earth-observing Sentinel satellites. Eight missions have been launched to date, providing data about changes occurring to the oceans, land and atmosphere of our planet.

Decisions, decisions

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Friday, May 10, 2024: The Curiosity rover on Mars has reached a crossroads. This photo was captured by Curiosity's Left Navigation Camera after a long treck over rocky terrain. Curiosity recently completed its survey of of Pinnacle Ridge, an area of upper Gediz Vallis ridge where the rover has been investigating. NASA operators had to choose whether the rover should continue along the south side of Pinnacle Ridge to collect additional science on the Gediz Vallis ridge rocks, or continue its path through the Gediz Vallis channel, towards a planned crossing spot. They chose to venture onward into the unknown. 

Our galactic neighbor, Andromeda

An image of the Andromeda galaxy. Dust is traveling toward the center of the galaxy, where a supermassive black hole lurks. (Image credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech; image processing by IPAC/Robert Hurt)

Thursday, May 9, 2024: What you see here is a magical view of the Andromeda galaxy, our Milky Way galaxy's cosmic neighbor. It's an image constructed with data from the now-retired Spitzer space telescope, and indicates streams of dust around the central region of Andromeda are getting swept within. Inside the central region? A supermassive black hole lurks.

"It turns out these streams can help explain how black holes billions of times the mass of our Sun satiate their big appetites but remain 'quiet' eaters," a NASA statement explains.

And beyond all that -- it's also a stunning corner of our cosmos to admire for just a moment.

An X-Ray eye

(Image credit: X-rays, NASA/CXC/CfA/J.Wang et al.; optical, Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma/Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope; radio, NSF/NRAO/VLA)

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: This galactic eye staring at you from the infinite abyss is actually spiral galaxy NGC 4151. The galaxy lies about 43 million light-years from Earth, in the Cane Venatici constellation. According to NASA, the supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 4151 contains more than 20 million times the mass of our own sun.

This image is a composite created using the different spectral capabilities of three different high-powered telescopes. The central region, in blue, was captured with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. They red gasses surrounding the center are areas of hydrogen detected with radio observations from the Very Large Array, in New Mexico, and the yellow regions within show visible spectrum data of regions of recent star formations, and were captured using the 1-meter Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope on La Palma, in the Canary Islands.

Astronauts ready for flight

(Image credit: Ron Brecher)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024: NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams stand side by side in front of Boeing's Astrovan II, which drove them to the launchpad for last night's Starliner launch to the International Space Station. The two had just exited the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they got into their blue spacesuits ahead of their departure.

Unfortunately, last night's Starliner launch was scrubbed. About two hours before liftoff, launch operators detected problems with an oxygen relief valve on the Centaur Stage of the Atlas V rocket. Now, the launch is currently scheduled for no earlier than May 10.

It's not odd, it's irregular

(Image credit: Ron Brecher)

Monday, May 6, 2024: This photo of the irregular galaxy NGC 4449 was submitted by Space.com reader Ron Brecher, who captured this image using his Celestron 14″ EDGE HD telescope. 

The dwarf galaxy NGC 4449 is the first dwarf galaxy with an identified stellar stream . The star stream represents the remains of a smaller satellite galaxy merging with NGC 4449.

This isolated dwarf galaxy is about 12.4 million light-years away, and is classified as a "starburst galaxy," meaning it forms young stars at a very fast pace. Researchers have suspected the galaxy's hyperactivity and complexity might be due to it tangling with another galaxy.

National Space Day!

(Image credit: NASA)

Friday, May 3, 2024: Happy National Space Day in the U.S.A.! Observed on the first Friday in May, National Space Day celebrates the accomplishments and benefits from history of spaceflight. The day is largely used to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and inspire people about the cosmos.

Here, ISS Expedition 71 cosmonaut Nikolai Chub gives a thumbs-up during a recent EVA. During Chub's four-hour and 36-minute spacewalk on April 25, he and fellow cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko deployed a synthetic radar communications system and installed experiments to monitor external station corrosion. 

Sunrise from space

(Image credit: NASA)

Thursday, May 2, 2024: The sun peaks through Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, captured here from the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS spans about the size of an American football field, and sits above the planet in low-Earth orbit, at an average altitude of 254 miles (408 kilometers). As a result of this orbit, astronauts aboard the space station are able to witness a sunrise like the one pictured here every 45 minutes. 

As the sun rises from behind our home planet in this photo, the faint light of our star reflects off Northrup Grumman's NG-20 Cygnus spacecraft docked with the station. Cygnus launched to the ISS Jan. 30, delivering over 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms) of supplies and research equipment. 

Barred Spiral Galaxy

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla))

Wednesday, May 1, 2024: A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC 2217 (also known as AM 0619-271), swirling through space 65 million light-years away. 

Called a "barred" galaxy because of the column of light reaching from opposite sides of the galactic center, these "bars" channel gasses from the galaxy's disk into its middle regions. These gasses then can form new stars, or serve as fuel for the galaxy's supermassive black hole. According to NASA, NGC 2217 is about the same size as our Milky Way galaxy, measuring roughly 100,000 light-years across, and can be found in the constellation of Canis Major.

Archives

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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