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 On This Day in Space video show here!
It's the great pumpkin, Hubble!
Oct. 30, 2020: Just in time for Halloween, the Hubble Space Telescope spotted a "pumpkin patch" made up of two galaxies just starting to collide, spanning 109,000 light-years across. The galaxies, NGC 2292 and NGC 2293, are pumpkin-orange in color because of the aging stars in the galaxies, which appear red.
Exploring at the space station
Oct. 29, 2020: This photo shows the Canadarm2 robotic arm at the International Space Station which continues to orbit around Earth from 254 miles (409 kilometers) away. The robotic arm, a collaboration with Canada, helps to make repairs on the space station and astronauts have used it complete activities on spacewalks outside of the space station.
Kate in space
Oct. 28, 2020: Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins floats on the International Space Station where she'll be living, working and researching as part of a myriad of science experiments alongside her crewmates. Rubins launched to the space station Oct. 14, 2020 alongside two Russian cosmonauts.
Orion gets ready
Oct. 27, 2020: NASA's Orion spacecraft is one more step closer to being completed and launched to the moon. Here, three spacecraft jettison fairings are prepared to be installed and secured around the Orion craft. Orion is set to fly as part of the agency's Artemis program and will fly the first woman and the next man to land on the moon.
A galactic waterfall
Oct. 26, 2020: Galaxy NGC 2799 (on the left) and galaxy NGC 2798 (on the right) form a "galactic waterfall," which stands out in this image snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope. These are interacting galaxies, which influence each other and may eventually even merge.
Chris Cassidy returns home
Oct. 23, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy landed back on Earth Oct. 22, 2020 after a stint aboard the International Space Station. Cassidy can be seen here outside the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that he and his crewmates, cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin, landed in near the town of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
Collecting an asteroid
Oct. 22, 2020: In this 16-image series, you can see NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft using its 11-foot robotic arm TAGSAM taking a sample from asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20, 2020. The arm's "head" briefly touched down on the asteroid's surface, where it emitted a puff of nitrogen gas. This gas stirred up asteroid material that was then collected into a container in TAGSAM.
A free-floating stellar nursery
Oct. 21, 2020: The Hubble Space Telescope, which celebrated its 30th year of exploration and discovery earlier this year, snapped this image of the star-forming nursery formerly known as J025157.5+600606. This special type of stellar nursery is what's known as a "Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules" or frEGGs.
Juice grows a pair of wings
Oct. 20, 2020: The ten solar panels for the European Space Agency's Juice (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) spacecraft are ready to be turned into solar wings. The panels arrived at Airbus Defense and Space in the Netherlands and, with five solar panels on each side of the spacecraft, the panels will fold up inside the launcher and then eventually deploy like wings for the probe.
Stars of Orion twinkle over ALMA
Monday, October 19, 2020: The constellation of Orion, the hunter sparkles above the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile's Atacama Desert in this image by European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Yuri Beletsky. Two of the 66 radio telescopes that make up ALMA are shown in this view. Located on top of the 16,000-foot (5,000 meters) Chajnantor plateau, ALMA's location provides the dark, dry skies that are crucial for observing the cosmos in millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. — Hanneke Weitering
BepiColombo swings by Venus
Oct. 16, 2020: Yesterday (Oct. 15), the European-Japanese probe BepiColombo swung by Venus, one of its nine gravity assist maneuvers, on its long winding journey to Mercury. At Venus, the craft snapped a number of photos with the cameras aboard its Mercury Transfer Module. The probe is set to eventually arrive in Mercury's orbit in 2025.
Thomas Pesquet trains for space
Oct. 15, 2020: European space agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet trains at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in preparation for his 2021 mission to the International Space Station. Here he is training for the Time experiment, which was first run in 2017 and which explores the hypothesis that time speeds up in microgravity.
Astronauts blast off to space
Oct. 14, 2020: This morning at 1:45 am EDT (0545 GMT), NASA astronaut Kate Rubins launched to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan along with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. After a speedy arrival at the space station, the trio will begin a six-month stay living and working on the orbiting lab.
The Laguna San Rafael National Park from space
Oct. 13, 2020: The European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission spotted the Laguna San Rafael National Park in Chile from space. This orbiting satellite has five instruments onboard that allow it to not only observe Earth below, but also monitor atmospheric conditions like temperature and humidity.
Lost in space: A Mars probe camera
Oct. 12, 2020: A tiny camera tumbles out into deep space after being ejected by China's Tianwen-1 Mars probe 15 million miles from Earth. The image, released Oct. 1, was captured as Tianwen-1 heads to Mars. The camera was able to snap photos of Tianwen-1, which carries a Mars orbiter, lander and rover that are due to arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021.
Sunset captured from space
Oct. 9, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, who is currently stationed aboard the International Space Station, posted a photo to Twitter that shows what sunset looks like from space. His photo shows the sunset a video camera is capturing as the station's robotic arm maneuvers around the Cygnus spacecraft.
James Webb has passed another test
Oct. 8, 2020: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has completed a set of milestone tests, enduring shaking and rattling created to simulate the conditions it will experience when it launches to space. The tests are more formally known as "acoustic" and "sine-vibration" testing, and were completed in two separate facilities at Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in California.
Oct. 7, 2020: The Expedition 64 prime and backup crew members pose together on Oct. 6 before the prime crew launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 14. From left to right are the prime crew NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos and then the backup crew members Petr Dubov of Roscosmos, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.
SpaceX's 13th Starlink batch
Oct. 6, 2020: This morning (Oct. 6), SpaceX launched its 13th batch of Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit. The 60 satellites launched atop the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This takeoff followed a two-week launch delay that was caused by bad weather. Read the full story!
A spiral in Lupus
Oct. 2, 2020: The spiral galaxy NGC 5643, which rests in the constellation of Lupus (the Wolf) stands out in this image by the Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy lies about 60 million light-years from Earth and recently was home to the supernova 2017cbv.
SpaceX attempts to launch
Oct. 1, 2020: Twin SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets can be seen in this single shot, taken at Kennedy Space Center before the company's latest Starlink launch attempt Oct. 1, 2020, which was scrubbed. SpaceX continues to launch batches of its Starlink satellites, working to build a constellation of satellites to provide internet service here on Earth.
ExoMars moves to France
Sept. 30, 2020: Last Sunday (Sept. 20), the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission was moved from the Thales Alenia Space facilities to Cannes, France. The mission includes the Rosalind Franklin rover, which has a specialized drill to gather samples from beneath the Martian surface.
Expedition 64 prepares for flight
Sept. 29, 2020: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov are the three astronauts set to launch Oct. 14 to the International Space Station as part of Expedition 64. Here the astronauts can be seen during a fit check inside the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Dark matter in the Great Bear
Sept. 28, 2020: On the tail of the Great Bear in the Ursa Major constellation, the spiral galaxy NGC 5585 can be seen here, as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy is made up of stars, dust and gas clouds and an abundance of dark matter.
Tarawa Atoll from space
Sept. 25, 2020: The Tarawa Atoll, a remote Pacific nation in the Republic of Kiribati, can be seen from space in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. Kiribati is an independent island nation spreading out 1351357 square miles (3.5 million square kilometers) of the ocean with a total land area of just 309 sq miles (800 sq km).
Sept. 24, 2020: This is the first Orion spacecraft that will fly to the moon, sitting in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This craft will fly as part of NASA'a Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the lunar surface in 2024.
Flowering stellar wind
Sept. 23, 2020: Stellar winds from the star R Aquilae form a number of shapes, coming together to resemble flower petals. This image was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array in Chile as part of the ATOMIUM project.
Sept. 22, 2020: This global infrared mosaic of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, was made using data from the Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. This image shows five different infrared views of Enceladus, the moon's Saturn-facing side, its trailing side and its North and South pole.
Sept. 20, 2020: The Unit Telescope 4 of the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile fires its "laser guide stars" at the night sky as part of the telescope's adaptive optics system.
Unit 4 is one of four separate 8.2-meter telescopes that make up the Very Large Telescope, which in turn is part of the European Southern Observatory high up in Chile's Atacama Desert. The telescope's adaptive optics system users powerful lasers as guide stars to help its adaptive optics system correct for the distortion of the Earth's atmosphere in astronomical observations.
Jupiter's striking storms
Sept. 18, 2020: This new, stunning image of Jupiter, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, was captured on Aug. 25, 2020 and shows the planet's turbulent, swirling storms. In the photo, you can see the ripples in the planet's atmosphere, Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot and the planet's striking colors.
Reflecting radio beams
Sept. 17, 2020: This metal-mesh antenna reflector was created as part of the European Space Agency's AMPER (Advanced techniques for mesh reflector with improved radiation pattern performance) project. Researchers are developing this mesh reflector technology to advance the performance and capabilities of large antennas.
The Amazon river from space
Sept. 16, 2020: The Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite captured this image of the Amazon River snaking its way through the Amazon rainforest in South America from space. The colors in this image come from two polarizations from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar mission which have been merged into one image.
West coast wildfires
Sept. 15, 2020: The massive amount of smoke billowing out from California in the U.S. can be seen from space, as you can see in this image taken Sept. 10 by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite. There are as many as 100 wildfires currently raging in California and they have additionally spread into Washington and Oregon.
A serpent's eye
Sept. 14, 2020: The spiral galaxy NGC 2835 sparkles out in the head of the constellation Hydra, as seen in this photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy is is about half as wide as the Milky Way and has a supermassive black hole millions of times more massive than our sun at its center.
Sept. 11, 2020: These "galactic fireworks" are the colorful stars which make up the globular cluster NGC 1805, as seen in this photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This cluster of thousands of stars is located out at the edge of the large Magellanic Cloud.
A spacecraft's backbone
Sept. 10, 2020: This structure is the skeleton, or the frame and base, for the European Service Module that will be part of NASA's Orion spacecraft, which, as part of the agency's Artemis program, will return humans to the moon. This "backbone" for the Orion spacecraft was built in Turin, Italy at Thales Alenia Space.
Sept. 9, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy took this photograph of Typhoon Haishen from aboard the International Space Station. The typhoon has led to seven million people being ordered to evacuate and, after hitting Japan it reached the Korean peninsula.
A tilted galaxy
Sept. 8, 2020: The Hubble Space Telescope spied the blue and orange stars of the faint, tilted galaxy NGC 2188, which is estimated to stretch about 50,000 light-years across. The galaxy, thought to be about half the size of the Milky Way, sits in the constellation Columba (the Dove).
Earth from space
Sept. 4, 2020: This image shows the Gulf of Kutch, also known as the Gulf of Kachchh, an inlet of the Arabian Sea along India's west coast. The photo was snapped by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, which is made up of two satellites. Each satellite of the mission has a high-resolution camera on board to allow the satellites to track changes in bodies of water on Earth.
The Nereidum Mountain Range
Sept. 3, 2020: This color-coded topographic view shows the Nereidum Mountain range, which lies on the surface of Mars in the planet's southern hemisphere. The image shows a region within the mountain range which is a part of the large Argyre impact basin, one of the biggest impact structures on the entire Red Planet.
Sept. 2, 2020: The Helicon Plasma Thruster, developed by the European Space Agency by SENER in Spain, completes a test firing in this image. The thruster, which uses high power radio frequency waves to turn propellant into a plasma, is designed to propel small satellites and maintain large megaconstellations of satellites.
Riding a blast wave
Sept. 1, 2020: This brilliant streak of light is a small section of the Cygnus supernova blast wave, as spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope. The blast, which is about 2,400 light-years away, was from a supernova explosion that tore apart a dying star 20 times more massive than our sun between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.
SpaceX nails another launch and landing
Aug. 31, 2020: Saturday (Aug. 30, 2020), SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying the SAOCOM 1B Earth-observation radar satellite for Argentina and two small rideshare payloads. This was SpaceX's 15th launch of the year, successfully lifting off at 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT). Soon after launch, the booster's first stage landed perfectly back on Earth.
Aug. 28, 2020: In this image, which combines data from the Advanced Camera for Surveys (which is installed on the Hubble Space Telescope) and the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, you can see a cosmic tail emerging from the spiral galaxy D100.
A spectacular, diffuse nebula
Aug. 27, 2020: This image, snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the enormous, fluffy-looking nebula NGC 595. The nebula, located about three million light-years away from Earth in the Triangulum Galaxy, is made up of ionised hydrogen.
Hurricane Laura from space
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2020: Hurricane Laura looks fearsome in the Gulf of Mexico from orbit in this view from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy.
Cassidy captured this view on Aug. 25 as Laura reached hurricane status while making its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast. The storm is expected to make landfall Thursday, Aug. 27, as a powerful Category 3 storm. -- Tariq Malik
The Barred Method
Monday, Aug. 24, 2020: The double-barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is seen by the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. It's known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy.
NGC 1635 is located 56 million light-years away in the Fornax galaxy cluster. Its twin bar structure is rare, according to ESO, and is thought to be caused by both the galaxy's rotation and the intricate dynamics of its stars. -- Tariq Malik
Aug. 21, 2020: The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular, cosmic fireworks show in this image of the galaxy NGC 2442, nicknamed the Meathook Galaxy because of its unusual shape. This galaxy held the white dwarf star supernova SN2015F, which was first discovered in March 2015.
Aug. 20, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy shared this photo of Hurricane Genevieve snapped from the International Space Station. The storm, which is enormous and swirling on in the Pacific Ocean, has grown into a Category 4 hurricane.
A spectacular galactic cluster
Aug. 19, 2020: This image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2597 was spotted by NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory. In the image, you can see a cloud of hot gas with two dark "ghost cavities" resting about 100,000 light-years from its bright center. The ghost cavities are thought to be the ancient relics of an eruption from around a black hole.
Crew-1 ready to roll
Aug. 18, 2020: SpaceX's Crew-1 mission, its first fully crewed, fully operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, is gearing up to launch no sooner than Oct. 23, 2020. This is the SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with the full mission crew. From the left you can see NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
A sparkling star cluster
Aug. 17, 2020: The Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 snapped this image of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae. In this image there are about 35,000 stars near the cluster's center. In this picture you can see the natural colors of the stars, which allow scientists to determine things like how old the stars might be and what they could be made out of.
Saluting the sun
Aug. 14, 2020: After four months of total darkness, on Aug. 11, the sun finally rose at the Concordia research station in Antarctica. Here, you can see ESA-sponsored medical doctor Stijn Thoolen (left) and engineer Wenceslas Marie-Sainte (right) celebrating the sunrise. The pair are part of a 12-member crew spending a year working, living and researching at the station.
Aug. 13, 2020: The astronauts who will fly as part of SpaceX's Crew-1 mission, Crew Dragon commander NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, pilot and NASA astronaut Victor Glover and mission specialist, fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and mission specialist and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The four will launch with this mission aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle to the International Space Station.
Mauritius oil spill
Aug. 12, 2020: The Copernicus Sentinel-2 captured this image on Aug. 11 of the island of Mauritius, which has declared a "state of environmental emergency" following an oil spill, from space. In the image, you can see the vessel MV Wakashio, which was reported to be carrying about 4,000 tons of oil, stranded near an important wetland area.
Aug. 11, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy snapped this breathtaking shot of the Galapagos Islands from his current post aboard the International Space Station. Cassidy recently bade farewell to fellow astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley who successfully and safely made their way back to Earth and, in doing so, completed the SpaceX Demo-2 mission.
Red sky observatory
Aug. 10, 2020: The setting sun created an array of colorful clouds above the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile, which is home to the Very Large Telescope. In addition to the beautifully hued clouds, you might be able to spot a "sun pillar" in the upper left of this image. A sun pillar is a bright column of light created when tiny particles of ice in the atmosphere reflect ambient light.
Saturn in striking detail
Aug. 7, 2020: This image of Saturn, snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, reveals the planet's swirling, turbulent atmosphere and striking, signature rings. You can even see the planet's mysterious "hexagon," the hexagonal storm constantly swirling at its north pole, right on "top" of the planet.
A successful splashdown
Aug. 6, 2020: On Sunday (Aug. 2), NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley splashed back down on Earth inside of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, successfully completing the SpaceX Demo-2 mission to and from the International Space Station. This was the first splashdown landing for the U.S. in roughly 45 years.
A space butterfly
Aug. 5, 2020: This stunning image, taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the "space butterfly," the planetary nebula NGC 2899. The nebula's gases, forming the shape of a cosmic butterfly, stretch out to a maximum of two light-years from its center. The striking structure glows brightly in the Milky Way galaxy.
Bringing a Dragon home
August 3, 2020: Yesterday (Aug. 2), NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made their way home to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour which they rode to space on May 30. With the successful splashdown, SpaceX's Demo-2 mission is complete and the company will move on to its first operational crewed Crew Dragon mission, Crew-1.
Training for the Dragon
July 31, 2020: NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough can be seen in this image, which McArthur shared to Twitter, at SpaceX, practicing how to fly the company's Crew Dragon vehicle. The pair will make up half of the crew that will fly to the space station with SpaceX's Crew-2 mission, slated for 2021.
July 30, 2020: Today, NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover successfully launched from Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The mission has been smoothly continuing as it begins a seven-month journey to Mars' Jezero Crater, where it is set to land Feb. 18, 2021.
Training for space
July 29, 2020: ESA astronauts Matthias Maurer and Thomas Pesquet are at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas to train for missions to the International Space Station. Pesquet is set to join the crew for SpaceX's Crew-2 mission which will be the second fully operational, crewed mission with the company's Crew Dragon vehicle. Matthias is training for his first flight to the space station. The details about this mission, however, have yet to be released.
July 28, 2020: The star cluster NGC 2203 dazzles here in an image by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The cluster contains a number of interesting features including stars about twice as massive as our sun. In studying this cluster, astronomers hope to better understand the timeline and lives of stars.
July 27: NASA astronaut Bob Behnken snapped this incredible photo of Hurricane Hanna (now classified as a tropical storm) from the International Space Station this past Friday (July 24.)
A comet and a space station
July 24, 2020: This striking photo showcases both comet NEOWISE and the International Space Station. This 10-second exposure image shows the space station's movement as a straight, yellow line and the comet as a diffuse, glowing object seemingly falling from the sky. Comet NEOWISE made its closest approach to Earth yesterday (July 23).
Rosalind Franklin gets ready for Mars
July 23, 2020: Today, the European Space Agency, along with a number of partners, will analyze how ready Rosalind Franklin, the ExoMars robotic craft named after the groundbreaking chemist who discovered the double helix structure of DNA, is for a trip to Mars set for 2022.
Earth from above
July 22, 2020: NASA astronaut Doug Hurley snapped this incredible shot of the Sobradinho Reservoir and São Francisco River in Brazil from the International Space Station and posted it to Twitter on July 21. Hurley flew to the space station May 30 aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle Endeavour as part of the Demo-2 mission and is set to return to Earth on August 2.
A supernova remnant
July 21, 2020: While it might look like a cosmic, space brain, this is actually an image of G292.0+1.8, a young, oxygen-rich remnant from a supernova that scientists think has a pulsar at its center, surrounded by outflowing material. The image, taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory
Observations using Chandra have created strong evidence that there is a pulsar in G292.0+1.8. Using observations like this, astronomers can study the connection between pulsars (a magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits electromagnetic radiation) and massive stars.
In this image, you can see a shell of expanding gas 36 light-years across. The gas contains elements including oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon and sulfur.
A sparkling sea of galaxies
July 20, 2020: A sparkling galaxy shines in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy, known as PGC 29388, glimmers amidst a sea of more distant galaxies. It is a dwarf elliptical galaxy, named as such because it is “small” (relatively speaking) with “only” about 100 million to a few billion stars.
July 17, 2020: This images shows the twin tails of Comet NEOWISE, as they appeared on July 5. The image, created by processing data from the WISPR instrument on NASA's Parker Solar Probe, shows a larger comet tail made up of dust and gas and a thin, upper ion tail. The comet came into view this month and skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere have enjoyed observing the comet.
July 16, 2020: The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter spacecraft swooped by the sun and, with its Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), took these images of the sun on May 30, 2020. This was the probe's first view of the sun, released today. In these images, you can see the sun's upper atmosphere at a wavelength of 17 nanometers, which is in an extreme part of the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Minotaur 4 poised for launch
July 15, 2020: A Minotaur 4 rocket is scheduled to liftoff today from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The mission will launch the secret NROL-129 payload made up of four top secret spy satellites into orbit for the U.S. Space Force.
"This will be our first U.S. Space Force mission and the first dedicated NRO mission from Wallops," said the Space Force's Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, chief of Launch Small Launch and Targets Division at the Space and Missile Systems Center, in an Air Force statement. "We look forward to continuing to launch national priority satellites for our NRO partner."
Science in space
July 14, 2020: In this photo, taken last week and posted to Twitter July 13, 2020, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy works on a piece of equipment aboard the International Space Station. In the image, Cassidy works on the equipment, a deployer known as the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer, on the Japanese Experiment Module slide table.
A stunning spiral galaxy
July 13, 2020: This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the spiral galaxy NGC 7513. The galaxy, which is about 60 million light-years away, is located in the Sculptor constellation and moves at an astounding 972 miles (1,564 kilometers) per second away from planet Earth.
Electric blue clouds
July 10, 2020: Electric blue streaks through the upper regions of Earth’s atmosphere every summer in the Northern Hemisphere. They usually swirl above the Arctic in the mesosphere (about 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface), but sometimes they form lower in the atmosphere and show up in other places across the globe.
This image shows an image of noctilucent (or night-shining) clouds on June 23. The image, made using data from NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) craft, is centered on the North Pole.
The X-ray universe
July 9, 2020: Scientists have created a new, detailed map of the universe, showcasing the cosmos in X-ray radiation. The map uses over a million X-ray sources observed by eROSITA (Extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array), an instrument on the German-Russian satellite mission Spectrum-Röntgen-Gamma, or Spektr-RG.
A fluffy-looking spiral galaxy
July 8, 2020: This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, showcases the fluffy (or flocculent), feathery features of the spiral galaxy NGC 2275. The galaxy is located 67 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer.
Luminous clouds from space
July 7, 2020: Cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, who is currently on board the International Space Station, snapped this stunning new of luminous clouds on Earth from the station. Luminous clouds are the highest cloud formations in Earth’s atmosphere and they appear at an altitude of 43-59 miles (70-95 kilometers).
A brilliant molecular cloud
July 6, 2020: In this image, you can see a piece of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, created using data from the European Space Agency’s Herschel and Planck space telescopes. The bright streaks in this picture show the emission by interstellar dust grains in different wavelengths. The draping pattern of lines shows the magnetic field orientation.
A Martian landing site
July 2, 2020: This elevation map of Jezero Crater on Mars shows the site in a rainbow of colors, with lighter colors representing higher elevation. This Martian crater is the chosen landing site for NASA’s Perseverance rover, previously known as the Mars 2020 rover, which is set to launch to the Red Planet this summer.
Prepping for a spacewalk
July 1, 2020: In this image, Expedition 63 flight engineers NASA astronaut Doug Hurley (middle left) and cosmonaut Ivan Vagner (middle right) helped to prepare NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy for a spacewalk on June 26, 2020. Cassidy and Behnken stepped out for a spacewalk in which they replaced aging nickel-hydrogen batteries on the space station with brand new lithium-ion batteries. The pair embarked on another battery swap spacewalk today (July 1.)
A stunning Dragon view
June 30, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy snapped this photo of SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle docked with the International Space Station and with Earth's curvature in the background during a spacewalk with Bob Behnken on Friday, June 26, 2020. During this spacewalk, the pair of astronauts swapped out aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with brand new lithium-ion batteries on the space station.
The knife edge galaxy
June 29, 2020: This new image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the incredible stretch of the galaxy NGC 5907, also known as the Knife Edge galaxy. This is a spiral galaxy, much like our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Though, you can’t see the galaxy’s brilliant spiral shape in this image as this image was taken facing the galaxy’s edge.
A flapping space bat
Friday, June 26, 2020: In this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released June 25, 2020, you can see the star HBC 672, nicknamed "Bat Shadow." The strange feature got its name because it looks like a large, shadowy wing. But its name has even more meaning as, with new Hubble observations from a team led by Klaus Pontoppidan, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, it appears as if the "bat wings" are "flapping."
A space station solar transit
Thursday, June 25, 2020: This composite image shows the International Space Station as it transits in front of the sun. Made up of six different frames taken from Fredericksburg, Virginia, this image shows the space station moving at approximately 5 miles per second on June 24, 2020. Five astronauts are currently onboard the space station, including Expedition 63 NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.
Cloud art from space
Wednesday, June 24, 2020: Veteran NASA astronaut Doug Hurley, who launched to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon craft as part of the company's Demo-2 mission on May 30, snapped this incredible photo from the space station. Hurley's view from space shows striking cloud formations over the South Pacific Ocean. "Cloud art in the South Pacific," Hurley wrote alongside the image which he shared on Twitter.
Stitching together a space station
Tuesday, June 23, 2020: Author, journalist and researcher Lee Brandon-Cremer created this panorama of the International Space Station using three images taken from aboard the station by European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.
"For every spacewalk there are thousands of images taken. Sometimes a few images jump out at me,” Brandon-Cremer said in an ESA statement. “One day I realised I could stitch these images together to expand the scene and show what the astronaut sees in a broader sense.”
Spotting a "ring of fire"
Monday, June 22, 2020: With annular solar eclipses, the moon doesn't cover all of the sun. Instead, it leaves a brilliant "ring of fire" visible around its edge. The 2020 annular solar eclipse occurred on June 21, 2020. In this image, you can see the eclipse as it appeared on June 21, 2020 from Xiamen, Fujian Province of China.
The stunning Butterfly Nebula
Friday, June 19, 2020: The Butterfly Nebula, also known as NGC 6302, is depicted here in a brilliant image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This nebula lies about 3,800 light-years away from planet Earth in the constellation Scorpius. The striking butterfly shape of the nebula stretches out an incredible distance, over two light-years. — Chelsea Gohd
Juno spacecraft swings by Jupiter
Thursday, June 18, 2020: This stunning image of Jupiter was taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft as it performed its perijove 27 flyby of the gas giant. Perijove is the spot in a probe's (like Juno) orbit of Jupiter closest to the planet's center. Citizen scientist Kevin Gill processed the image using data Juno collected during the flyby which took place on June 2, 2020. — Chelsea Gohd
Space station's "storm hunter" turns two
Wednesday, June 17, 2020: The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM), which monitors Earth's thunderstorms from the International Space Station, celebrated its second anniversary this week. ASIM, which is mounted outside the European module of the space station, launched in April 2018 and began science operations on June 14, 2018. The payload looks for electrical discharges in Earth's upper atmosphere — known as red sprites, blue jets and elves — which appear as bright flashes of lighting that extend upward and into space. Because these events happen above thunderstorms, they are difficult to study from the ground, but airplane pilots have reported seeing them during flight. — Hanneke Weitering
A stargazer under the Milky Way
Tuesday, June 16, 2020: Under a sea of stars, a skywatcher points to the beautiful arch of the Milky Way Galaxy in this 360-degree panorama from the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The stargazer in this shot is European Southern Observatory (ESO) photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi, and on the left are the telescopes that make up ESO's Very Large Telescope array, which consists of four boxy Unit Telescopes and four smaller auxiliary telescopes. The image was recently featured as ESO's Picture of the Week. — Hanneke Weitering
Auroras and airglow over Earth
Monday, June 15, 2020: Green and purple auroras shimmy above the orange airglow of Earth's upper atmosphere in this colorful view from the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy captured this image while the space station was orbiting above the Indian Ocean, between the continents of Australia and Antarctica, on June 7. — Hanneke Weitering
A stellar photobomb
Friday, June 12, 2020: The spiral galaxy NGC 2608 gets "photobombed" by two stars inside our Milky Way galaxy in this new image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Bright Milky Way stars in the foreground of Hubble's deep-space images often appear as lens flares, like the one visible in the bottom right corner of this image. Another is just above the center of NGC 2608. All the other specks of light that pepper the black abyss around the galaxy are not stars, but thousands of other distant galaxies. "NGC 2608 is just one among an uncountable number of kindred structures," Hubble scientists said in a statement. — Hanneke Weitering
Webb telescope passes critical test
Thursday, June 11, 2020: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope just passed another key milestone ahead of its planned launch in 2021. In a recent test at a Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California, the new observatory deployed and extended its Deployable Tower Assembly. This component of the telescope separates its iconic gold mirrors from the spacecraft's scientific instruments and propulsion systems. Having that space there will allow the telescope's cooling systems to bring its instruments "down to staggeringly cold temperatures required to perform optimal science," NASA said in a statement. — Hanneke Weitering
Waning "Strawberry Moon" seen from space
Wednesday, June 10, 2020: The waning gibbous moon rises over Earth's blue horizon in this photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station on Sunday (June 7), two days after the Full Strawberry Moon passed through Earth's outer shadow, causing a subtle penumbral lunar eclipse. An Expedition 63 crewmember captured this view as the space station was orbiting above the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the African nation of Angola. — Hanneke Weitering
Eclipsed 'Strawberry Moon' rises over Portugal
Tuesday, June 9, 2020: The Full Strawberry Moon rises over Ponte da Ajuda, a historic bridge near the border between Portugal and Spain, during the penumbral lunar eclipse on Friday (June 5). Astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição created this composite image of the rising moon from Elvas, Portugal, at the end of the eclipse. During this subtle lunar eclipse, the moon passed through the faint outer part of Earth's shadow, known as the penumbra, causing its surface to appear slightly tea-stained. "It can be seen that the moon was born with a more intense reddish pink color and started to whiten as it rose," Conceição told Space.com in an email. — Hanneke Weitering
Crew Dragon spotted over Turkey
Monday, June 8, 2020: SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in this photo captured by an astronaut on board the orbiting lab on May 31, shortly before the spacecraft docked with the station. When the image was taken, the space station was orbiting above southwestern Turkey, including the coastal city of Demre, seen here as a grey area below the Crew Dragon. — Hanneke Weitering
Orange airglow over La Silla
Friday, June 5, 2020: The starry night sky is ablaze with orange airglow in this stunning, fulldome view of the La Silla Observatory in Chile, captured by astrophotographer Guillaume Doyen. This soft, orange luminescence is the result of solar particles interacting with Earth's atmosphere, causing the air to emit visible light.
"Airglow on this night was especially intense, with the strong emissions of orange and red light rippling across the sky visible with the naked eye, even after the sun had set," officials with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which operates telescopes at La Silla, said in an image description. ESO's TRAPPIST-South telescope, which famously discovered the TRAPPIST-1 system of Earth-size exoplanets, is visible in the foreground of the image. — Hanneke Weitering
Star cluster 'snowflakes'
Thursday, June 4, 2020: Sparkling stars shine like cosmic snowflakes in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows the globular cluster NGC 6441 13,000 light-years from the center of our Milky Way galaxy. While hard to count, together the stars in this cluster would weigh 1.6 million times the mas of our sun. This image was released by the European Space Agency's Hubble science team on June 1. — Tariq Malik
SpaceX's Falcon 9 returns to Florida
Wednesday, June 3, 2020: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster that launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend returns to shore on the company's drone ship, called "Of Course I Still Love You." After launching the Crew Dragon capsule from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the rocket stuck an upright landing on the drone ship, which was stationed a few hundred miles off the Florida coast. It arrived in Florida's Port Canaveral on Tuesday (June 2). — Hanneke Weitering
Crew Dragon approaches the space station
Tuesday, June 2, 2020: SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board in this photo captured by an astronaut inside the orbiting lab on Sunday (May 31). In the foreground of the image is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) robotic arm, which is attached to Japan's Kibo laboratory module. The Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the station’s Harmony port on Sunday at 10:16 a.m. EDT (1416 GMT), while both spacecraft were flying about 262 miles (422 kilometers) above the northern border of China and Mongolia. — Hanneke Weitering
SpaceX makes history
Monday, June 1, 2020: A false-color, infrared exposure shows SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and first Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts on board lifting off from NASA's historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The historic launch on Saturday (May 30) was the first commercial flight to orbit and the first time NASA astronauts launched from the United States in nearly a decade. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely arrived at the International Space Station Sunday morning. — Hanneke Weitering