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Pictures from Space! Our 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 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!
 

Bye Bye, Debris Shield!

The debris shield that once protected NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer from micrometeoroid impacts floats away from the International Space Station after two astronauts removed it and flung it into space during a spacewalk on Nov. 15. European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano used special tools to remove 13 screws and 10 fasteners to release the debris shield, after which NASA astronaut Drew Morgan jettisoned the shield, tossing it toward Earth to burn up in the atmosphere. This was the first of four spacewalks that these two astronauts are conducting to repair the ailing particle detector experiment, which was not designed to be serviced by astronauts in orbit, making these some of the most challenging spacewalks ever.

(Image credit: NASA)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019: The debris shield that once protected NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer from micrometeoroid impacts floats away from the International Space Station after two astronauts removed it and flung it into space during a spacewalk on Nov. 15. European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano used special tools to remove 13 screws and 10 fasteners to release the debris shield, after which NASA astronaut Drew Morgan jettisoned the shield, tossing it toward Earth to burn up in the atmosphere. This was the first of four spacewalks that these two astronauts are conducting to repair the ailing particle detector experiment, which was not designed to be serviced by astronauts in orbit, making these some of the most challenging spacewalks ever. — Hanneke Weitering
 

A Vista Under the Milky Way

(Image credit: B. Tafreshi/ESO)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019: The Milky Way glistens above the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile in this stunning night-sky view by European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi. Located on a rocky mountaintop in the Atacama Desert, VISTA is the world's largest telescope built to survey the sky in near-infrared light. While its surroundings are barren, VISTA's altitude and surroundings are ideal for astronomy, with almost no cloud cover or light pollution to soil the view. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Space Station Selfie

(Image credit: Luca Parmitano/ESA/Twitter)

Monday, November 18, 2019: A view of nearly the entire International Space Station reflects off the helmet visor of European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano in this "space selfie" he took while on a spacewalk last Friday (Nov. 15). He and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan spent 6 hours and 39 minutes working on the complicated repair of an ailing particle detector experiment known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). The duo will embark on the second of four spacewalks on Friday, Nov. 22, when they will continue working on AMS. — Hanneke Weitering

Related: The Best Astronaut Selfies in Space
 

Lunar Halo Over La Silla

(Image credit: B. Tafreshi/ESO)

Friday, November 15, 2019: A lunar "halo" lights up the night sky above the 3.6-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. This phenomenon happens when the moon is at an altitude of about 22 degrees above the horizon, where light refracts through icy cirrus clouds. "Light rays that do this tend to 'bunch up' at the angle that represents the least amount of deviation from their original path. For the particular shape of ice crystal lurking within the cirrus clouds, this minimum deviation angle happens to be around 22 degrees," ESO officials said in a description. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Apollo 12: A Happy Moon Return

(Image credit: NASA)

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad (front) Richard Gordon (left) and Alan Bean (center top in background) walk out to the Astrovan for the trip to the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of their Nov. 14, 1969 launch. The launch of Apollo 12, 50 years ago today, kicked off NASA's second crewed moon landing mission, and the first pinpoint lunar landing. Conrad, the mission's commander, and Bean as lunar module pilot landed their Intrepid lander within a short moonwalk of NASA's Surveyor 3 spacecraft. — Tariq Malik

Related: Celebrate NASA's Apollo 12 50th Anniversary with These Webcasts
More:
Apollo 12: How a Passionate Scientist's Keen Eye Led to the First Pinpoint Moon Landing 50 Years Ago
 

Goodbye, Ryugu!

(Image credit: JAXA)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019: Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft departed from the asteroid Ryugu last night to begin its journey back to Earth. This is one of the photos Hayabusa2 took of Ryugu shortly after its departure. The spacecraft will continue to do "farewell observations" of the asteroid as it drifts farther away in space. It will arrive back on Earth at the end of next year with samples from the asteroid's surface. You can see the latest images from Hayabusa2 here. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Tiny Mercury Transits the Sun

(Image credit: ESA/Royal Observatory of Belgium)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019: Can you spot the teeny-tiny planet Mercury in this photo of the sun? The European Space Agency's Proba-2 satellite captured this image of Mercury's transit yesterday at 10:43 a.m. EST (1543 GMT), about half an hour after Mercury passed the halfway point in its 5.5-hour journey across the sun's disk. The planet appears as a black dot just above and to the right of the sun's center. Still struggling to see it? You can find more photos of the rare Mercury transit in this gallery. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Mercury's Transit Begins

(Image credit: NASA/SDO/HMI/AIA)

Monday, November 11, 2019: The tiny planet Mercury scoots across the sun's hot corona and onto its bright disk to mark the beginning of the planet's rare transit this morning. The transit began at 7:35 a.m. EST (1235 GMT), when Mercury made its way across the sun's edge. It will spend 5 hours and 28 minutes traveling across the face of the sun today, and you can watch it live online. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Hubble Spots a Cosmic Kaleidoscope 

(Image credit: NASA/ESA/E. Rivera-Thorsen )

Friday, November 8, 2019: When the Hubble Space Telescope turned its gaze toward the remote galaxy known as the "Sunburst Arc," it saw not one but 12 separate images of the lone cosmic object. That's because there's a massive galaxy cluster in the foreground warping the light with its intense gravitational pull. This illusion is known as gravitational lensing, a phenomenon that Albert Einstein first described in his theory of general relativity. "This 'funhouse mirror' effect not only stretches the background galaxy image, but also creates multiple images of the same galaxy," NASA officials said in a statement. — Hanneke Weitering
 

A Jovian Marble

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)

Thursday, November 7, 2019: Jupiter looks like a big, swirly space marble in this composite image from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Citizen scientist Kevin Gill processed this image using data collected by Juno during its 23rd close flyby of Jupiter, called a perijove, on Sunday (Nov. 3). — Hanneke Weitering
 

S.S. Alan Bean Arrives at the Space Station

(Image credit: NASA)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019: The International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm grapples an incoming Cygnus cargo spacecraft in this photo taken by an Expedition 61 astronaut. The Cygnus spacecraft, named the S.S. Alan Bean, arrived at the orbiting laboratory on Monday (Nov. 4) carrying about 8,200 lbs. (3,700 kilograms) of supplies and science experiments for the six-person crew. — Hanneke Weitering
 

A Glimpse of the Cosmos

(Image credit: B. Tafreshi/ESO)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019: The Milky Way galaxy peeks through the opening of the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) in this image captured from inside the observatory by European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi. Located at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, VST is the largest telescope on Earth that observes the sky in visible light, or wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that are visible to the human eye. Pictured front and center in this view is the OmegaCAM instrument, which can capture wide-field images of up to 256 million pixels. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Starliner Aces Pad Abort Test

(Image credit: NASA JSC/Boeing)

Monday, November 4, 2019: Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule floats back down to Earth above the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico following a successful pad abort test this morning. Today's mission was an uncrewed test of the spacecraft's abort system, which would bring astronauts to safety in the event of an anomaly during launch. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Hubble Eyes a 'Lonely' Galaxy

(Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble)

Friday, November 1, 2019: The spiral galaxy NGC 1706 may look a bit isolated drifting through the cosmos in this Hubble Space Telescope image, but this lonely galaxy has no shortage of neighbors. NGC 1706 belongs to a group of dozens of galaxies, all of which are held together by their mutual gravitational pull. It is located about 230 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Dorado, the Swordfish. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Ghost Nebula Wishes You a Happy Halloween!

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA)

Thursday, October 31, 2019: Happy Halloween from space! This ghoulish space cloud is known as the "Ghost of Cassiopeia." The nebula lurks some 550 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia, where powerful radiation from a nearby star is slowly causing its clouds to dissipate. Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to captured this image, which was released last year just before Halloween. (This year, Hubble scientists released another special Halloween image of a more creepy-looking space ghost.) — Hanneke Weitering
 

Antares Rocket Preparing for Launch

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019: The Antares rocket that will launch the next cargo shipment to the International Space Station this weekend is pictured shortly after its arrival at the launch pad on Tuesday (Oct. 29). Topped with a Cygnus cargo spacecraft, the rocket will lift off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 2, with about 8,200 lbs. (3,700 kg) of supplies and science experiments for the Expedition 61 crew. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Moonrise at Sunrise

(Image credit: Christina Koch/NASA/Twitter)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019: A tiny sliver of the crescent moons gleams above Earth's blue horizon just before sunrise in this stunning view from the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Christina Koch shared this image from space on Monday (Oct. 28), one day after the moon reached its new phase. — Hanneke Weitering
 

InSight's 'Mole' Hits Another Snag

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Monday, October 29, 2019: New images from NASA's InSight Mars lander released over the weekend show the spacecraft's heat probe, an instrument known as the "mole," has hit a snag while attempting to burrow into the Martian soil. The mole, which is attempting to probe a target depth of 10 to 16 feet (3 to 5 meters) into the ground, recently received a helping hand from a scoop on InSight's arm after it got stuck in the dirt, and that operation helped get the mole moving. However, the new images from InSight's instrument deployment camera show the heat probe appears to have jumped out of the hole and is now leaning to the side. NASA plans to provide an update on the mole's situation sometime today. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Curiosity Rover Snaps a Selfie

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Friday, October 25, 2019: NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars for the last 7 years, took a new selfie on the Red Planet this month. The image is a panorama combining 57 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a camera on the end of the rover's robotic arm, and the rover's arm isn't visible in all of the frame that make up the composite. When Curiosity made this selfie on Oct. 11, it was exploring an area called "Glen Ative" inside Gale Crater, where it recently drilled two holes that are visible on the left. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Star Trails and Lightning Over Earth

(Image credit: NASA)

Thursday, October 24, 2019: In this photo from the International Space Station, star trails circle above the Earth while bright lightning flashes and city lights illuminate the  planet's surface and skies. The image is a composite that combines more than 400 photos captured by NASA astronaut Christina Koch over the span of 11 minutes, when the space station was traveling from Namibia toward the Red Sea. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Paranal Observatory by Moonlight

(Image credit: G. Hüdepohl/ESO)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019: A full moon glows over the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile in this view captured by astrophotographer Gerard Hüdepohl. The observatory is located on top of Cerro Paranal, a mountain with an elevation of 8,500 feet (2,600 meters), and it is home to several telescope facilities. The Very Large Telescope (VLT) array and the VLT Survey Telescope are both visible at the top of the peak in this photo, on the left, and four smaller auxiliary telescopes are on the smaller peak to the right. — Hanneke Weitering
 

'Space Selfie'

(Image credit: NASA)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019: NASA astronaut Jessica Meir pauses to take a selfie during her historic first all-woman spacewalk together with Christina Koch on Oct. 18. In the reflection on her spacesuit visor, you can see parts of the International Space Station's exterior and planet Earth. — Hanneke Weitering

Related: The Best Astronaut Selfies in Space
 

A Jovian Jet Stream

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson, CC NC SA 3.0)

Monday, October 21, 2019: A new view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft shows a swirling jet stream in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. This dark belt of swirling clouds is known as "Jet N4," and Juno captured this close-up image of the feature during a flyby on Sept. 11, when the spacecraft was about 7,540 miles (12,140 kilometers) from the planet’s cloud tops. Citizen scientist Björn Jónsson created this enhanced image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Milky Way Over ALMA

The Milky Way glistens above four antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a telescope array in northern Chile. The antennas, which are located at ALMA's Array Operations Site near on Chajnantor plateau, are at an altitude of about 16,400 feet (5,000 meters), and it's the second-highest facility in the world.

(Image credit: José Francisco Salgado/ESO)

Friday, October 18, 2019: The Milky Way glistens above four antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a telescope array in northern Chile. The antennas, which are located at ALMA's Array Operations Site near on Chajnantor plateau, are at an altitude of about 16,400 feet (5,000 meters), and the facility is one of the highest human-made structures in the world. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Astronaut's View of the First Quarter Moon

(Image credit: NASA)

Thursday, October 17, 2019: The first-quarter moon rises over Earth's thin, blue atmosphere in this photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. One of the six Expedition 61 crewmembers on board captured this view on Oct. 5, when the moon was waxing. It became full on Sunday (Oct. 13), and the moon will once again be half illuminated on Monday (Oct. 21) when it reaches its third quarter phase. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Asteroid Zips Across the Crab Nebula

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA/M. Thévenot)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019: While capturing an image of the Crab Nebula, the Hubble Space Telescope inadvertently also caught a view of an asteroid in our solar system passing through the foreground. The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant located approximately 6,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. An asteroid, designated 2001 SE101, can be seen streaking across the frame from the bottom left toward the top right of the image. Citizen scientist Melina Thévenot from Germany discovered the asteroid photobomb in this 2005 Hubble image as part of the European Space Agency's "Hubble Asteroid Hunter" citizen science project. — Hanneke Weitering
 

A Feathered 'Photobomber' at La Silla

(Image credit: ESO)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019: A mysterious bird and its seemingly huge talons photobomb an all-sky camera's view of the cosmos in this lucky shot from the La Silla Observatory in Chile. The all-sky camera constantly streams live views of the Danish 1.54-meter telescope, allowing online spectators to see the telescope in action, observe the Milky Way — and occasionally catch a glimpse of the local wildlife. Officials with the European Southern Observatory, which operates the telescope facility, have not yet been able to identify the species of the bird that perched on this all-sky camera, but they suspect it was a nocturnal bird of prey. — Hanneke Weitering
 

A Dusty Spiral

This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3717, a dusty swirl of stars about 60 million light-years away.

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019: This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3717, a dusty swirl of stars about 60 million light-years away. The galaxy is located in the direction of the constellation Hydra, the Sea Serpent, and is tilted in this view so that Hubble gets a sense of its spiral shape, but not an edge-on view. — Tariq Malik
 

Say Cheese!

NASA astronaut Drew Morgan poses for a photo by fellow astronaut Christina Koch (visible in the reflection of Morgan's visor) during a spacewalk on Oct. 6, 2019 outside the International Space Station.

(Image credit: NASA/Christina Koch via Twitter)

Monday, October 7, 2019: Now here's an office with the ultimate view. NASA astronaut Drew Morgan poses for a photo during a spacewalk on Sunday, Oct. 6, to kick off an epic 10-spacewalk marathon to swap out old batteries on the station's solar array grid with new ones. 

Morgan wasn't alone on the spacewalk. NASA astronaut Christina Koch ventured outside with Morgan as the EVA (extravehicular activity) lead. She wore a red-striped spacesuit and actually took this picture! (You can see Koch taking the photo in the reflection of Morgan's visor).

Read our full story here for a wrap up of the spacewalk. The next EVA in the series is on Friday, Oct. 11. — Tariq Malik
 

Welcome Home!

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

Friday, October 4, 2019: Three space station crewmembers, including the first Emirati astronaut, parachute back down to Earth in their Soyuz spacecraft in this aerial view by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls, who joined the search and recovery teams in a helicopter. On board the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft were NASA astronaut Nick Hague, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and first-time astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates. They touched down in Kazakhstan on Thursday (Oct. 3) at 6:59 a.m. EDT (1059 GMT or 4:59 p.m. local time). — Hanneke Weitering
 

Enceladus in Saturn's E Ring

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Kevin M. Gill)

Thursday, October 3, 2019: Saturn's icy moon Enceladus is pictured with the planet's faint E ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The E ring is one of Saturn's outermost rings, and scientists believe that it is made up of icy water droplets that have been spewing from the geysers and plumes on Enceladus. Cassini captured the data for this image on March 15, 2017, precisely six months before its mission ended with an epic plunge into Saturn. Citizen scientist Kevin Gill recently processed this image using red, green and blue filtered images from Cassini's narrow-angle camera. — Hanneke Weitering
 

Cosmic 'Bubbles' Bursting With Stars

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019: In a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, giant "bubbles" of dust and gas are bursting with new star formation. According to NASA, each of these bubbles contains hundreds of thousands of stars. These cosmic bubbles get their shape from stellar winds radiation emitted from massive young stars, which can push the cloud's material outward, causing it to "inflate," or expand. 

Citizen scientists helped NASA map out these bubbles as part of The Milky Way Project, which is mapping star formation throughout the Milky Way galaxy. You can find an annotated version of this image that points out all the different bubbles here.  — Hanneke Weitering
 

A Cosmic Jellyfish Swims in Deep Space

(Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), P. Jachym (Czech Academy of Sciences) et al.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019: A spiral galaxy with gassy "tentacles" swims through the constellation Triangulum Australe in this new image from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The galaxy, named ESO 137-001, is being stripped of hot gas as it moves through space, where clouds of intergalactic gas tug the material away from the galaxy through a process called ram-pressure stripping. This creates a long trail behind the galaxy that stretches across 260,000 light-years. — Hanneke Weitering
 

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