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Space Image of the Day Gallery (June 2017)

A Small Galactic Neighbor

SSRO/Warren Keller/Steve Mazlin/Mark Hanson/Rex Parker/Tommy Tse/Pete Proulx/David Plesko

Thursday, June 15, 2017: Can you spot the second galaxy in this picture? What looks like a big, bright star to the left of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1512 is actually a much smaller, lenticular galaxy named NGC 1510. This violently interacting galactic pair is located in the Dorado Group about 40 million light-years away from Earth. A team of astronomers at the Star Shadows Remote Observatory near La Serena, Chile imaged the distant galaxies in 2016. — Hanneke Weitering

Saxophone in Space!

Thursday, June 22, 2017: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet plays his saxophone in the Cupola observatory at the International Space Station. The instrument was delivered to the space station as a surprise birthday gift for the astronaut, who returned to Earth on June 2. — Hanneke Weitering

Looking for 2014 MU69

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Henry Throop

Monday, June 19, 2017: Scientists with the International Occultation Timing Association joined with NASA's New Horizons team watch an occultation of the Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 from the Karoo desert in South Africa on June 3. During the occultation, the icy space rock passed in front of a distant star and was visible with a telescope for about two seconds. The Horizons spacecraft will fly past it on New Year’s Day 2019. — Hanneke Weitering

Three Neighboring Nebulas

ESO

Tuesday, June 20, 2017:Three clouds of cosmic gas and dust glow in this deep-space image from the European Southern Observatory's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile. The Omega Nebula on the left shines brighter than its two neighbors, the iconic Eagle Nebula (center) and the faint, glowing cloud of gas called Sharpless 2-54 (right). — Hanneke Weitering

Happy Solstice!

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Today marks the first day of summer in the Northern hemisphere, where the sun's rays will light up the sky for a longer period of time than any other day of the year. Celebrate the extra sunlight today with this gnarly image of the sun taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 14. The satellite captured some solar activity on the sun's surface, with dark, cool streaks of plasma interacting at the sun's edge. — Hanneke Weitering

Saxophone in Space!

ESA/NASA

Thursday, June 22, 2017: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet plays his saxophone in the Cupola observatory at the International Space Station. The instrument was delivered to the space station as a surprise birthday gift for the astronaut, who returned to Earth on June 2. — Hanneke Weitering

Into the Testing Chamber

NASA/Chris Gunn

Friday, June 23, 2017: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) entered a testing facility at Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday (June 20), where it will spend the next three months in a freezing-cold vacuum. The facility, named Chamber A, will simulate the environment of space with a temperature of minus 393 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 236 degrees Celsius). JWST will replace the Hubble Space Telescope as the most powerful space telescope ever built. It is slated to launch in October 2018. — Hanneke Weitering

Rolling Out the Solar Array

NASA

Monday, June 26, 2017: Earlier this month, NASA engineers used the Canadarm2 to test out their new Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA), a flexible and compact solar panel design that launched to the International Space Station on SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship on June 3. — Hanneke Weitering

The California Nebula

Tuesday, June 27, 2017: This long, faint cloud of interstellar gas and dust is the emission nebula NGC 1499. Because of its shape, astronomers nicknamed it the California Nebula. It lies about 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Perseus. — Hanneke Weitering

The Iris Nebula

Wednesday, June 28, 2017: The beautiful, blue Iris Nebula shines brightly in a cloud of interstellar dust in this image by astrophotographer Terry Hancock. A central hot star named SAO 19158 illuminates the entire nebula as its brilliant light scatters on the surrounding dust particles. — Hanneke Weitering

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