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!
A yearn for Earth
Friday, February 16, 2024: From aboard the International Space Station, circling the planet in low Earth orbit, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli snapped this view of the newly-arrived Cygnus cargo vehicle and Canadarm2 with a dark Earth behind, swirling with wondrously green aurora borealis. Moghbeli posted the photo on X, formerly Twitter, voicing enthusiasm for the chance to get to live an work in space, while also recognizing the beauty of our planet and her excitement to explore the Earth once she returns firmly back on the ground. In her own words...
Sometimes I can’t believe this is our planet, OUR home. How lucky we are to live somewhere so spectacular and alive. I will definitely miss these views, but I look forward to exploring more of our planet and the beautiful views from the ground. #AuroraAustralis pic.twitter.com/2lbIUJFfKrFebruary 15, 2024
Stage separation to the moon!
Thursday, February 15, 2024: The fiery tear in the rich, dark blue of the night sky in this photograph captured by Trevor Mahlman is SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, captured during the moments of stage separation as the vehicle's main booster burns back toward Earth and the second stage streaks onward to space.
The launch occurred early Thursday, lifting off at 1:05 a.m. EST (0605 GMT) from Pad 39A, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. The payload is Intuitive Machines' "Odysseus" Nova-C moon lander, which has the potential to make history as the first successful commercial mission to touchdown on the lunar surface.
Mahlman, a rocket photographer based in Florida, shot this 495-second exposure using a 200mm lens from Cape Canaveral.
Clouds from the Space Station
Wednesday, February 14, 2024: These fading wisps of cloud blending in with the black of the sky were captured not from the Earth, but from space. Shot by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), this view of noctilucent clouds is illuminated through Earth's upper atmosphere by the setting sun, already tucked behind the dark horizon.
Noctilucent clouds are rarely occurring clouds that form high in the atmosphere. They can only be seen under specific conditions, appearing as thin wispy blue/silver streaks during summer months, after sunset.
Hubble's Scorpius view
Tuesday, February 13, 2024: This stunning nebula view was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope during an observation of a star-forming region called IRAS 16562-3959 in the constellation Scorpius in our own Milky Way galaxy.
The nebula sits about 5,900 light-years from Earth and is revealed in different colors due to the filters used by the Hubble telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 filters, which captured specific wavelengths of light to build the image. At the center of the nebula is a massive star about 30 times the mass of our sun that is still forming. The giant protostar is belching off a powerful jet that has cleared away dust, Hubble officials wrote in an image description.
A cosmic bird soars
Monday, February 12, 2024: Tucked away in the Vela constellation is the Vela supernova remnant, the remains from a massive star's explosion 11,000 years ago that is visible as a ghostly bird-shaped cloud of gas and dust to powerful telescopes. This image was captured by the Very Large Telescope's Survey Telescope at the Paranal Observatory of the European Southern Observatory in Chile's Atacama desert.
"Pink and orange filamentary clouds swarm around in this picture, resembling the ghostly shadow of a cosmic bird with wide orange wings, a long pink body, and a bright pinkish star as an eye. A myriad of stars are sprinkled all over the image," ESO officials wrote in an image description.
A Dragon's Perspective
Friday, February 9, 2024: Through the window of SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endurance, the Crew Dragon Freedom is seen docked to the International Space Station (ISS). At the time this was published, Freedom is currently on its way back to Earth, carrying the Axiom-3 crew members from a two-week stay aboard the ISS, completing Axiom Space's third privately crewed mission.
Endurance launched to the ISS in August, last year, with an internationally diverse group of astronauts on the SpaceX Crew-7 mission for NASA. Crew-7 will board Endurance for their own ride back to Earth about a week after Crew-8 arrives at the space station, which is currently slated for later this month.
Thursday, February 8, 2024: The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) is reflected in the waters in this photo taken at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), in Florida. KSC resides on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to over 350 types of birds, dozens of other wildlife, and more than a thousand varieties of flora on the grounds.
The space center exists harmoniously on the refuge's 140,000 acres, where tourists can visit the KSC Visitor Complex and Saturn IV Center, while NASA, the U.S. Space Force, SpaceX and other companies conduct regular launches from the cape.
The VAB stands 525 feet (160 meters) in height, and is the tallest single-story building in the world. It has been home to NASA's Saturn V rocket during the Apollo program's missions to the moon, the space shuttles and, most recently, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launch NASA's next astronauts to the moon as part of the space agency's Artemis program.
Splash down, thumbs up
Wednesday, February 7, 2024: NASA astronaut Victor Glover gives a thumbs up from the pool in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Glover will serve as pilot on NASA's Artemis 2 mission, which will launch four astronauts around the moon in September 2025.
Launching on a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from NASA's historic Launch Complex 39-B, at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, the Orion capsule carrying the Artemis 2 crew will fly a loop around the moon before returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Glover is pictured here practicing some of the recovery procedures involved with Orion's return, wearing the same IVA (intravehicular activity) suit that Artemis 2 crew will wear during their mission.
Humans for scale
Tuesday, February 6, 2024: The four tiny humans in this photo are the members of SpaceX's Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station, standing before the booster that will launch them there. The Falcon 9 rocket will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, and NASA astronauts Michael Barratt, Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon later this month.
Galactic tug of war
Monday, February 5, 2024: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has zoomed in on one side of a cosmic tug-of-war that will rage between two galaxies for tens of millions of years. Frustratingly, this is one competition in which a clear winner may never emerge, as the two galaxies could well be drawn together to merge into one at the end of this gravitational contest.
The galaxy imaged by Hubble is the spiral galaxy NGC 5427. Along with its opponent, the similarly sized spiral galaxy NGC 5426, the galaxy makes up the pairing Arp 271, located around 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Virgo.
A centuries-old solar eclipse painting
Friday, February 2, 2024: Though this painting may not be a classic Hubble Space Telescope image or International Space Station view that we typically attach to the term "space photo," it is a cosmic portrait nonetheless.
It feels striking that artist Ippolito Caffi depicted a solar eclipse through his artwork in the 1800's, attempting to capture the eeriness of our moon crossing between us and the sun. But, moreover, it's touching to see that a major aspect of this image involves onlookers at the bottom, most of whom are admiring the scene. It's a beautiful painting and a beautiful sentiment. We've always loved to watch solar eclipses.
Earth's golden glow
Thursday, February 1, 2024: A golden glow illuminates Earth's horizon in a stunning new image from the International Space Station.
The atmospheric glow, or airglow, captured in the new photo occurs when sunlight interacts with atoms and molecules within Earth's atmosphere. The new photo, which NASA shared on Jan. 21, shows a bright golden glow arching above Earth, along with an auburn-colored band against the dark contrast of a starry sky backdrop.
The photo was taken at an altitude of 258 miles (415 kilometers) as the orbiting lab flew over the Pacific Ocean northeast of Papua New Guinea, according to a NASA image description. — Samantha Mathewson
Oh no! A black hole spaghettified some of Space.com's Images of the Day, and there aren't any pictures from January!
Check out our Image of the Day Archives for more awesome photos.
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Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.
The images are truly breath-taking.Reply
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.
yes they areReply
The Exoplanets Channel said:The images are truly breath-taking.
My Comet Image:
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.swiggly said:My Comet Image:
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
The was no Artemis 13 mission. It was Apollo.Reply
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
APOD is a another great source for astro eye candy.Reply
Thanking you!Helio said:APOD is a another great source for astro eye candy.