Space Image of the Day Gallery (April 2017)

Image of the Day Archives

NASA, ESA and Orsola De Marco (Macquarie University)

For older Image of the Day pictures, please visit the Image of the Day archives. Pictured: NGC 2467.

Saturn's 'Earhart' Propeller

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Monday, April 3, 2017: Embedded within Saturn's rings are several mini-moons, or moonlets, that create propeller-shaped gaps in the ring material. NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this close-up view of one of these propellers, informally named Earhart, in Saturn's A ring on March 22. To the right of the propeller is the 200-mile-wide (320-kilometer-wide) Encke Gap, a space in Saturn's rings caused by the orbit of a moon called Pan, which is about 1,000 times more massive than Earhart. If Earhart were as big as Pan, it might have enough gravity to clear a similar gap. But the moonlet is only massive enough to create this small, propeller-shaped opening. — Hanneke Weitering

Cyclone Debbie

Thomas Pesquet/ESA/NASA via Flickr

Tuesday, April 4, 2017: As Cyclone Debbie prepared to pummel the northeastern coast of Australia last week, astronaut Thomas Pesquet captured this view of the swirling storm from the International Space Station, flying a safe distance of 250 miles (400 kilometers) overhead on March 27. The deadly storm was nearly the size of Texas when it made landfall in Queensland the following day. — Hanneke Weitering

Falcon 9 Lands Again

SpaceX

Wednesday, April 5, 2017: After a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the SES-10 communications satellite into orbit on Thursday (March 30), the reusable rocket booster stuck a historic second upright landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk named the autonomous ship "Of Course I Still Love You" after a starship in the sci-fi novel, "The Player of Games" by Iain Banks. — Hanneke Weitering

Shane Kimbrough on a Spacewalk

ESA/NASA

Thursday, April 6, 2017: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, commander of Expedition 50 at the International Space Station, carries a bundle of heat shields before stowing them outside during his sixth spacewalk on Jan. 13. During his next spacewalk with Peggy Whitson on March 30, one of these shields was inadvertently lost to the void of space as the astronauts worked to install them over an exposed docking port at Node 3, or the Tranquility module. — Hanneke Weitering

A Jovian Ying-Yang

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/ Roman Tkachenko

Friday, April 7, 2017: This image of Jupiter taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft shows storms swirling on both sides of a border where light and dark bands in the planet's atmosphere collide. The darker region on the left side of the image, known as the South South Temperate Belt (SSTB), hosts one of eight egg-shaped storms known as Jupiter's "string of pearls." On the lighter side of the border is a massive, long-lived storm named STB Spectre. — Hanneke Weitering

Welcome Home, Expedition 49/50!

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Tuesday, April 11, 2017: Three astronauts returned to Earth yesterday after spending 173 days at the International Space Station. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and flight engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos undocked their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft at about 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT) and touched down near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan at 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT). — Hanneke Weitering

Celebrating 56 Years in Space

NASA

Wednesday, April 12, 2017: On this day in 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to enter outer space. In the photo on the left, Gagarin is seen heading to the launchpad in his orange SK-1 spacesuit. After launching atop a Vostok rocket, his Vostok 3KA space capsule completed a single orbit around the Earth and reached an altitude of 203 miles (327 kilometers) during the 108-minute spaceflight. — Hanneke Weitering

'Pink' Moonrise over Boston

Thursday, April 13, 2017: The full "pink" moon rises over Boston in this photo taken by Chris Cook on Wednesday (April 11). April's full moon isn't actually pink; it's named after the wild ground phlox, one of the first flowers to bloom in spring. Cook said the full moon appeared red-orange that evening due to "the thick atmosphere, dust, haze and pollen in the air." — Hanneke Weitering

Saturn's 'Flying Saucer' Moon

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Friday, April 14, 2017: NASA's Cassini orbiter just got the closest view yet of Saturn's "flying saucer" moon, Atlas. The spacecraft flew by Atlas from a distance of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km) on Wednesday (April 12) and took dozens of photos during the approach. Atlas orbits just outside Saturn's outermost A ring and measures about 19 miles (30 km) across. — Hanneke Weitering

'Black Marble'

NASA/Suomi NPP VIIRS/Miguel Román/Joshua Stevens

Monday, April 17, 2017: NASA is releasing new, high-definition satellite images of Earth's "night lights" and using them to study how patterns of human settlement have changed over time. This composite image of the Earth as a "black marble" shows Asia and Australia in 2016. Joshua Stevens, a data visualization expert at NASA's Earth Observatory, used data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite to create full-hemisphere views of Earth by night. — Hanneke Weitering

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