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Space Image of the Day Gallery (January 2018)

Casting an Astronomical Giant

SCHOTT/ESO

Wednesday, January 17, 2018: The first hexagonal segments for the main mirror of the European Southern Observatory's Extremely Large Telescope are seen being cast by the German company SCHOTT in this image released Jan. 9. When complete, The ELT will have 798 segments. It will be the largest optical telescope on Earth when it begins operations in 2024. - Tariq Malik

Saturn's 'Belly Button'

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Kevin M. Gill

Thursday, January 18, 2018: Saturn's south pole looks like a linty, cosmic belly button in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Cassini captured this view on Sept. 10, 2008, and citizen scientist Kevin Gill processed the raw data to create this stunning color image. Saturn's south polar vortex looks a lot like a hurricane on Earth, with a round eye at the center surrounded by towering clouds. — Hanneke Weitering

To Pluto, and Beyond!

NASA/Ken Thornsley

Friday, January 19, 2018: Twelve years ago today, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft launched on a mission to Pluto. After a nine-year trek through the solar system, New Horizons flew by Pluto in 2015 and is currently on its way to an even more distant destination, a Kuiper Belt Object named MU69. — Hanneke Weitering

Underway Recovery Test 6

NASA/Bill White

Monday, January 22, 2018: A test model of NASA's new Orion crew vehicle, which will eventually carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, is pulled into the well deck of the U.S.S. Anchorage during Underway Recovery Test 6 on Jan. 18. This type of testing is done to help NASA improve recovery procedures and spacecraft hardware before Orion's next flight, Exploration Mission 1, after which it will splash down in the Pacific Ocean. — Hanneke Weitering

Snowcapped Mountains Seen From Space

Roscosmos/Twitter via @SergeyISS

Tuesday, January 23, 2018: Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky captured this photo of the Himalayas as seen from the International Space Station. "The largest mountain range in Asia - the Himalayas - extends more than 2400 km," Ryazansky tweeted on Monday (Jan. 22). Ryazansky returned from the space station in December after spending 128 days aboard the orbiting laboratory. — Hanneke Weitering

Solar Arrays for Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

Wednesday, January 24, 2018: Engineers at Lockheed Martin's clean room in Littleton, Colorado test out the solar arrays for NASA's next big Mars mission, the InSight lander. During the test yesterday (Jan. 23), they made sure that InSight's solar arrays could fully deploy and that its panels could successfully convert light into power. InSight is scheduled to launch in May. — Hanneke Weitering

Spacewalk Selfie!

Mark Vande Hei/NASA

Thursday, January 25, 2018: NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei snapped this selfie outside the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of 2018 on Tuesday (Jan. 23). He will head out for a second spacewalk together with Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai on Monday (Jan. 29). — Hanneke Weitering

Storms Swirl Near Jupiter's North Pole

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson

Friday, January 26, 2018: A view from NASA's Juno spacecraft reveals commotion in Jupiter's clouds near the planet's north polar region. Juno captured this image during its tenth close flyby on Dec. 16, 2017. At the time, Juno was about 5,600 miles (8,787 kilometers) away from Jupiter's cloud tops. Citizen scientist Björn Jónsson processed this color-enhanced picture using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager, which is publicly available online. — Hanneke Weitering

Norishige Kanai Preps for Spacewalks

JAXA/Twitter via @Astro_Kanai

Monday, January 29, 2018: Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai works inside the Quest airlock at the International Space Station. To his left and right are two spacesuits that two of his Expedition 54 crewmates wore during a spacewalk on Jan. 23. Kanai will wear one of these suits on his first spacewalk in February. The spacewalk was originally scheduled for today but was postponed over the weekend due to technical issues. — Hanneke Weitering

Twilight Haze on Titan

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Tuesday, January 30, 2018: The atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan glows with colorful, hazy layers in this newly released image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. When Cassini acquired this view, it was approximately 20,556 miles (33,083 kilometers) from Titan, facing the night side of the moon's north polar region. The spacecraft ended its mission by crashing into Saturn last September. — Hanneke Weitering

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