Space Image of the Day Gallery (January 2017)

Comet-Like Galaxy Shows Off a Starry Tail

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Monday, January 30, 2017: Galaxy NGC 4861 lies 48 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, also known as the Hunting Dogs. Frederick William Herschel, a renowned German-British astronomer, discovered it in 1785, but astronomers have yet to decide on a classification for this oddly shaped galaxy. It has the physical properties of a barred spiral galaxy, but its comet-like tail of shimmering stars give it a shape more consistent with an irregular dwarf galaxy. — Hanneke Weitering

Two Planets Greet the Moon

Greg Diesel Walck

Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Venus and Mars will form a triangle with the moon in the evening sky tonight. Astrophotographer Greg Diesel Walck caught this view of the trio through trees in coastal North Carolina on Feb. 20, 2015. — Hanneke Weitering

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