Pictures from space! Our image of the day, ,

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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!

Blue Dunes

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

April 8, 2021: While it might look like a painting or a still from a science fiction film, this is actually an image of dunes on the surface of Mars. This image shows dark dunes surrounding Mars’ northern polar cap. The scene is colorful, but these are false colors with cooler temperatures showing as blue and warmer areas seen as yellowish. The scene, created from images taken from 2002 to 2004 by the Mars Odyssey orbiter’s thermal emission imaging system instrument, was released as part of a series of images celebrating Odyssey’s 20th anniversary. — Chelsea Gohd

Ready to launch

(Image credit: SpaceX)

April 6, 2021: The crew for SpaceX’s upcoming Crew-2 mission is all smiles as we get closer to launch. The four astronauts are set to launch to the International Space Station April 22 and there will meet up with the Crew-1 astronauts who have been living up on the orbiting laboratory. From the left is European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. — Chelsea Gohd

The veil nebula

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Z. Levay; CC BY 4.0)

April 5, 2021: This Hubble Space Telescope image of the Veil Nebula is seriously one to behold. While this is an older photo, new processing techniques have more recently been applied to the image to bring out even more detail and highlight the absolute brilliance of this sight. The Veil Nebula can be found about 2,100 light-years from Earth, nestled in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan), and in this photo you can see just a piece of the magnificent, expansive nebula. — Chelsea Gohd

Uranus X-ray emissions

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXO/University College London/W. Dunn et al; Optical: W.M. Keck Observatory)

April 2, 2021: This composite image of the planet Uranus shows X-rays that astronomers have detected being emitted (the X-rays emissions are depicted in pinkish purple). Astronomers detected these X-rays being emitted from the planet using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2002 and 2017 and detailed their observations and these strange emissions in a new study. — Chelsea Gohd

Practicing capturing spacecraft

(Image credit: NASA/Bob Hines Twitter)

April 1, 2021: This snapshot shows NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti practicing capturing visiting vehicles like a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station.

Hines and Lindren have been announced as part of the crew for SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission, which will send astronauts aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the space station. The next SpaceX Crew launch is Crew-2, which is set to launch in April, 2021. — Chelsea Gohd

Magical hour with the moon

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi shared this view of the squashed moon that he captured from the International Space Station on March 31, 2021.

(Image credit: JAXA/Soichi Noguchi/NASA via Twitter)

March 31, 2021: Astronaut Soichi Noguchi shared this view of the squashed moon that he captured from the International Space Station in a Twitter post today.

“Magical hour – 17th moon rise over Earth atmosphere,” Noguchi, an astronaut with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, wrote.

The squashed view of the moon is an optical illusion created as the moon was rising over edge, or limb, of the Earth as viewed from the space station. From Noguchi’s perspective, the moon looked squashed, but the distortion was by the interference of the Earth’s atmosphere between the astronaut and the moon. — Tariq Malik

Inspiration4 is ready

(Image credit: SpaceX)

March 30, 2021: Today, the full crew for the upcoming Inspiration4 mission was announced. The crew, led by commander and billionaire tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, will include physician assistant and childhood bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaus as well as Lockheed Martin employee and U.S. Air Force veteran Christopher Sembroski and Sian Proctor, a geologist, analog astronaut and artist who is a professor of planetary science at the South Mountain Community College in Arizona, both of whom were announced today. The mission will see the crew spend about three days orbiting the Earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle, which Isaacman has chartered. — Chelsea Gohd

A bright spiral galaxy

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.; CC BY 4.0)

March 26, 2021: In this image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see the brilliant spiral galaxy NGC 7678. The galaxy, which was discovered in 1784 by astronomer William Herschel, is located about 164 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Stretching about 115,000 light-years across, the galaxy is about the same size as the Milky Way galaxy. — Chelsea Gohd

Satellites map floods

(Image credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA/NASA MODIS)

March 25, 2021: Satellites captured this image across New South Wales, Australia, where devastating, record-breaking floods have forced thousands to evacuate their homes. The image was captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, which is helping to map flooded areas to support relief and rescue efforts. The image was created from two separate images captured by Sentinel-1 on March 7 and 19, and you can see the flooded areas in dark blue. — Chelsea Gohd

A polarizing black hole

(Image credit: EHT Collaboration)

March 24, 2021: Astronomers have revealed a new view of the black hole at the heart of M87. In 2019, astronomers with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration released the first-ever image of a black hole. Now, they’re showing the object in M87 in polarized light, shedding light on how magnetic fields behave close to black holes. — Chelsea Gohd

Expedition 65

(Image credit: NASA/GCTC/Irina Spector)

March 23, 2021: The astronauts making up the Expedition 65 crew all wave together at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. From the left, we see NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. The trio is set to launch to the International Space Station April 9, 2021 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. — Chelsea Gohd

A re-energized planetary nebula

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Guerrero; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt)

March 22, 2021: An unusual planetary nebula known as Abell 78 can be seen here in this image by the Hubble Space Telescope. The nebula lies about 5,000 light-years away in the Cygnus (the Swan) constellation and is a type of nebula often referred to as a “born again star.” While nebulas often form from the gas and dust thrown off of dying stars as they exhaust their fuel and collapse, the star that formed this nebula stopped burning fuel and a thermonuclear reaction at its surface flung material away. — Chelsea Gohd

A hot, hot fire

(Image credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

March 19, 2021: This billowing plume is coming from the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket during a second hot fire test yesterday (March 18). The test, which took place on the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, lasted for almost 500 seconds (or over 8 minutes), far surpassing the 4-minute goal that the team set for the test. Hot fire tests ignite a rocket’s engine, making sure it works as intended, without the rocket actually taking off anywhere. — Chelsea Gohd

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, and N. Habel and S. T. Megeath (University of Toledo))

March 18, 2021: Researchers using previously collected data from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the ESA’s Herschel Space Telescope to study 304 developing stars in the Orion Complex, which is the closest star-forming region to Earth. In this new study, they looked at the star-forming process as, when hydrogen clouds collapse into new stars, there is a ton of leftover gas. Previously, scientists thought that the hot gas leaves young stars in outflowing jets and intense winds which stops its growth, but this new study finds fault in this explanation. — Chelsea Gohd

The Emerald Isle

The Emerald Isle, otherwise known as Ireland, is seen here from space, imaged by NASA's Aqua satellite. The image, shared by NASA's History Office on Twitter for St. Patrick's Day, shows the nation's signature feature, visible all the way from space: the lush and rolling green hills that cover the Island which lies in the North Atlantic just to the west of Great Britain.

(Image credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System)

March 17, 2021: The Emerald Isle, otherwise known as Ireland, is seen here from space, imaged by NASA’s Aqua satellite. The image, shared by NASA’s History Office on Twitter for St. Patrick’s Day, shows the nation’s signature feature, visible all the way from space: the lush and rolling green hills that cover the Island which lies in the North Atlantic just to the west of Great Britain. — Chelsea Gohd

Faint threads

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario; Acknowledgment: L. Shatz)

March 16, 2021: Hubble spotted this lenticular galaxy, a cross between a spiral and elliptical-shaped galaxy, known as NGC 1947. The galaxy, which was originally discovered over 200 years ago, can only be viewed from the southern hemisphere and can be found in the Dorado (Dolphinfish) constellation about 40 million light-years away from Earth. — Chelsea Gohd

Martian dunes

(Image credit: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

March 15, 2021: This picturesque scene, captured by the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, is a red, Martian dune field striped by wispy clouds. The landscape is located in the Lomonosov crater in Mars’ northern hemisphere. The orbiter, which launched in 2016 and began full science operations in 2018, uses four instruments to take detailed images of Mars and study atmospheric processes. The data collected by the orbiter has aided in the scientific investigation of methane on Mars. — Chelsea Gohd

A bird’s eye view

(Image credit: JAXA/Soichi Noguchi)

March 12, 2021: This striking image captured by JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi shows Olympic National Park in Washington State along with Vancouver in Canada. The astronaut snapped the photograph from the International Space Station and shared the colorful view on Twitter. The photo shows the blue of the water separating the blocks of land, most of which is speckled and coated with a thick billowy layer of clouds. — Chelsea Gohd

Hydrogen in the Triangulum Galaxy

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Durbin, J. Dalcanton, and B. F. Williams (University of Washington))

March 10, 2021: Stretching 1,500 light-years across, the ionized hydrogen in the Triangulum Galaxy shines bright in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy, more formally known as NGC 604, is a major area of star formation as this gas (most of which is hydrogen), collapses over time due to gravity, creating new stars. — Chelsea Gohd

A big, beautiful galaxy

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, V. Antoniou; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt)

March 9, 2021: This big, beautiful and blue galaxy is formally known as NGC 2336. In this image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see the barred spiral galaxy, which lies about 100 million light-years away in the constellation Camelopardalis (the Giraffe), stretching across the cosmos, with a “wingspan” measuring about 200,000 light-years. — Chelsea Gohd

ExoMars undergoes testing

(Image credit: Thales Alenia Space)

March 8, 2021: The European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2022 mission undergoes testing at Thales Alenia Space’s facilities in France. The spacecraft is half of ESA’s ExoMars mission, which began in 2001 and in 2016 launched an orbiter, the Trace Gas Orbiter, to Mars. The second half of this mission is this spacecraft, which contains the Rosalind Franklin rover in addition to the Kazachok surface platform, a carrier module and a descent module all destined for Mars. — Chelsea Gohd

Planet-hunting with Plato

(Image credit: ESA-Matteo Apolloni)

March 5, 2021: The European Space Agency’s exoplanet-hunting spacecraft Plato has crossed another hurdle, with critical technology for its mission passing tests at the ESTEC Test Center in the Netherlands. The spacecraft will one day study and observe the cosmos from over 900,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth. — Chelsea Gohd

Capturing Mars from space

(Image credit: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS; Acknowledgement: P. Grindrod)

March 4, 2021: This image from space, captured by the ESA-Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter, shows NASA’s Perseverance rover, its back shell, heat shield and descent stage in Jezero Crater on the surface of the Red Planet. Perseverance landed in this ancient lake bed (a site that includes an ancient river delta) successfully on Feb. 18. The Trace Gas Orbiter watching from space captured this moment using its CaSSIS camera a few days after landing on Feb. 23. — Chelsea Gohd

Honoring with a name

(Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

March 3, 2021: Recently, NASA named its headquarters building in honor of Mary W. Jackson, the agency’s first African American female engineer. Here, Artist Tenbeete Solomon (AKA Trap Bob) (on the right) presents her artwork honoring Jackson to Wanda Jackson, Mary W. Jackson’s granddaughter during the naming ceremony. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, lead programs promoting the hiring and promotion of women in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields at NASA. — Chelsea Gohd

A “black eye” galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4826, which can be found 17 million light-years away from Earth. The galaxy, which lies in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair), is often called the "black eye" galaxy because of the dark band of dust and gas sweeping across it, which you can see in this image.

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt)

March 2, 2021: The Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4826, which can be found 17 million light-years away from Earth. The galaxy, which lies in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair), is often called the “black eye” galaxy because of the dark band of dust and gas sweeping across it, which you can see in this image. — Chelsea Gohd

A comet and Jupiter

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, B. Bolin (IPAC/Caltech); CC BY 4.0 )

March 1, 2021: This image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the comet P/2019 LD2 as it swoops closely to the Trojans, the ancient asteroids trapped near Jupiter by the planet’s gravitational pull. This is the first comet that astronomers have observed near these ancient asteroids and the image reveals the comet’s dust and gas tail trailing away from its glowing center (or nucleus). The comet was discovered in June 2019 and is likely among the comets journeying towards the Sun after escaping the Kuiper belt. — Chelsea Gohd

A baby star

In this image, snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see two Herbig-Haro objects, which are created when thin, stringy jets of ionized gas shooting out of stars collides with nearby clouds of gas and dust. The Herbig-Haro objects here, HH46 and HH47, were spotted in the constellation Vela (the sails), a whopping 1,400 light-years from Earth.

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, B. Nisini)

Feb. 25, 2021: In this image, snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see two Herbig-Haro objects, which are created when thin, stringy jets of ionized gas shooting out of stars collides with nearby clouds of gas and dust. The Herbig-Haro objects here, HH46 and HH47, were spotted in the constellation Vela (the sails), a whopping 1,400 light-years from Earth. — Chelsea Gohd

Volcanic eruption

(Image credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO )

Feb. 24, 2021: In this image taken from space, you can see Mount Etna in Italy, one of the most active volcanoes in the entire world, erupting. The image was captured Feb. 18 by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, which is made up of two different orbiting, Earth-observing satellites. The volcano erupted twice within less than 48 hours, spewing ash and spouting a fountain of lava, erupting Feb. 16 and then again Feb. 18. — Chelsea Gohd

Falling to Mars

(Image credit: NASA)

Feb. 23, 2021: This still is from a video NASA released yesterday (Feb. 22); the first video from its Perseverance rover, which landed in Jezero Crater on the Martian surface Feb. 18, 2021. Using cameras from the rover in addition to cameras on the supersonic parachute and “Skycrane” that helped to slow down and lower the craft to the Red Planet’s surface, NASA was able to show us back on Earth what it was like for Perseverance to actually land on Mars. — Chelsea Gohd

A spectacular docking

(Image credit: Soichi Noguchi/JAXA/Twitter)

Feb. 22, 2021: Early this morning, at about 4:40 a.m. EST (0940 GMT), JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi captured the Cygnus cargo vessel, which launched to the International Space Station on Feb. 20. Noguchi snapped this photo as the craft neared the space station. The Cygnus NG-15 cargo ship, also dubbed the S.S. Katherine Johnson, is named after Katherine Johnson, the trailblazing NASA mathematician and “hidden figure” whose calculations made John Glenn’s historic first orbital flight possible. The craft carried 8,200 lbs (3,719 kilograms) or cargo including crew gear, food and scientific equipment to the seven astronauts currently living and working on the station. — Chelsea Gohd

Making history on Mars

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Feb. 19, 2021: A camera aboard the descent stage on board NASA’s Perseverance rover snapped this still image as the craft barreled towards the surface of Mars during its historic landing yesterday (Feb. 18). A suite of several cameras captured video and images of the touchdown. In this shot, you can see the rover attached to the Skycrane that is lowering it to the surface. The Skycrane lowered the rover to the ground after a supersonic parachute slowed the rover down from searing speeds as it came barreling through the Martian atmosphere. — Chelsea Gohd

Valentine Island

(Image credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Feb. 16, 2021: Valentine Island in northern Western Australia is a swirling mix of blues and reddish browns, as seen from space by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. The mission, which is made up of two satellites, imaged the tiny island for Valentine’s Day. Valentine Island is just about 1 mile (1.60 kilometers) long and 0.15 miles (250 meters) wide and can be found in the King Sound, a large gulf that has one of the highest tides in all of Australia. — Chelsea Gohd

On the edge of a crater

(Image credit: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Feb. 11, 2021: In this image, taken by the Color and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) onboard the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, shows the southeast wall of a small crater on Mars. The crater is found just about a couple hundred miles away from Hellas, a giant impact crater on the planet’s surface. This smaller crater stretches about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) across. The orbiter’s photo shows a wide range of colors, which indicate the presence of different minerals in the planet’s surface material. — Chelsea Gohd

Tianwen-1 arrives at Mars!

(Image credit: CCTV/CNSA)

Feb. 10, 2021: Today, China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission entered orbit around the Red Planet after a 202-day ride through space, as depicted in this animated rendering, captured from a video. Tianwen-1 consists of three major components: an orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover. The mission is the second to land on Mars this week, following the UAE’s Hope spacecraft, which entered the planet’s orbit yesterday (Feb. 9). NASA will land its Mars craft, the Perseverance rover, as part of the agency’s Mars 2020 mission next week on Feb. 18. — Chelsea Gohd

A strange galaxy lies in “The Dove”

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee; Acknowledgement: Leo Shatz )

Feb. 9, 2021: Both a starburst galaxy and a spiral galaxy, NGC 1792 can ben spotted in the constellation Columba (The Dove). In this photo, snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, we can see the details of this strange galaxy, with blue ribbons running through it, insinuating the presence of young, hot stars and swaths of orange showing the presence of older, cooler stars.

In starbust galaxies, stars can form 10 times faster than in galaxies like our own Milky Way and when those starburst galaxies have large amounts of gas (like NGC 1792 does) these phases of rapid star production can be sparked by things like cosmic mergers. — Chelsea Gohd

Ringing in the Martian new year

(Image credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Feb. 8, 2021: Happy (Martian) new year! A new year on Mars began yesterday Feb. 7, 2021 and these images show the planet shifting over into the new year. The image on the left was taken Feb. 6 and the image on the right was taken Feb. 1, both captured by the Visual Monitoring Camera aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiting probe.

Years on Mars last about 687 Earth days, as the planet takes almost twice as long to orbit the sun. This new Mars year is designated Mars Year 36. — Chelsea Gohd

Let it snow

(Image credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Feb. 5, 2021: The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission snapped this chilly photo of New York City on Feb. 4, 2021 showing the city blanketed in snow. This recent snow storm was classified as “major” and affected a majority of the Northeast United States, with New York declaring a state of emergency for both the immense snowfall and blistering winds.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 is an Earth-observing mission made up of two satellites: Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B. The pair monitor and image our planet, orbiting it from space. — Chelsea Gohd

Space selfie

(Image credit: Mike Hopkins/NASA)

Feb. 2, 2021: In this out-of-this-world selfie, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins held his camera out and snapped a photo of himself during a spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover on Feb. 1. “Ever wonder what an astronaut sees when out on a spacewalk? This selfie shows my view reflecting off of my visor. Takes your breath away!” Hopkins wrote on Twitter, where he shared the space selfie. — Chelsea Gohd


(Image credit: NASA)

Feb. 1, 2021: NASA astronaut Victor Glover can be seen outside the International Space Station on Jan. 27 on his first-ever spacewalk. Today, he joined NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins for his second spacewalk, during which they completed a variety of tasks including installing a lithium-ion battery adapter plate on the port 4 (P4) truss. This was the final installment in a long series of battery-replacement spacewalks that began as early as January, 2017. — Chelsea Gohd

Ready for testing

(Image credit: ArianeGroup/ Frank T. Koch / Hill Media GmbH)

Jan. 29, 2021: The first complete upper stage of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle from the European Space Agency is seen here packed into a container to travel from ArianeGroup in Bremen in Germany to the DLR German Aerospace Center in Lampoldshausen, Germany. There, it will undergo hot fire testing, or tests during which all engines are ignited while the launch vehicle remains stationary. These tests, which will take place in near-vacuum conditions, will help to prove that the vehicle is flight ready. — Chelsea Gohd

Simulating space on Earth

(Image credit: ESA-Nuno Dias)

Jan. 28, 2021: In this photo, a scientist at the European Space Agency’s Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory at the ESTEC technical center in the Netherlands works on essential mission work. Most ESA employees continue to work from home due to concerns regarding the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, but certain activities are still happening on-site. This lab is supporting a variety of work including the development of new radiation-resistant coatings, which are tested by exposing them to ultraviolet and vacuum-ultraviolet light. — Chelsea Gohd

(Image credit: NASA)

Jan. 27, 2021: Today, NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins are stepping outside the International Space Station for Glover’s first spacewalk, or extravehicular activity (EVA). In this photo, you can see Glover preparing for the spacewalk, which will be his first. During the EVA, the pair will install a new antenna on the Columbus module on the outside of the space station. — Chelsea Gohd

Preparing for ColKa

(Image credit: NASA EVA NBL)

Jan. 26, 2021: NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover will be stepping outside the confines of the International Space Station for a spacewalk tomorrow (Jan. 27, 2021) during which the pair will install European payloads outside the station. In this image, you can see European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen installing the Columbus Ka-band (ColKa) terminal, one of the things to be installed during the upcoming spacewalk, during a test at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab. — Chelsea Gohd

An aurora from space

(Image credit: International Space Station/Twitter)

Jan. 25, 2021: These images, taken from the International Space Station, show Earth’s glowing, colorful aurora alongside lights coming from the cities on our planet’s surface down below. Aurora is a natural phenomenon in which colorful lights in the sky, which often appear as green, red, yellow or white, are displayed when electrically-charged particles from the sun interact with gases like oxygen or nitrogen in our planet’s atmosphere. — Chelsea Gohd.

Science and spacewalk training

(Image credit: NASA)

Jan. 22, 2021: NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins flashes a big smile in a photo posted by the International Space Station on Jan. 21, 2021. The photo shows Hopkins with some other crew members and a pair of spacesuits in the background, surrounded by equipment, working on science experiments and training for an upcoming pair of spacewalks. — Chelsea Gohd

A barred spiral galaxy

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, G. Folatelli)

Jan. 21, 2021: NGC 613, a barred spiral galaxy 67 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Sculptor, shows its stunning stellar markings in this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy, which was first discovered in 1798, is most recognizable by its long “arms,” that spiral around its nucleus clearly. — Chelsea Gohd

(Image credit: ESA)

Jan. 20, 2020: A sign reading “do not touch” labels this Matiss experiment on board the International Space Station. The experiment tests the antibacterial capabilities of hydrophobic (water-repelling) surfaces on the space station. With experiments like this, researchers can learn more about how microscopic organisms like bacteria live in space and how the crew can keep the station clean of illness-causing microorganisms. — Chelsea Gohd

The Sahara from space

(Image credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Jan. 19, 2021: This stunning, sandy, sienna-hued landscape is the Tanezrouft Basin (a desolate region of the Sahara Desert) as seen by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 from space. The extremely arid plain is home to scorching temperatures, little water and vegetation and has even been nicknamed the “Land of Terror.” This image was captured as part of Copernicus Sentinel-2, a two-satellite mission that is part of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus program. — Chelsea Gohd

Space Launch System lights up

(Image credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

Jan. 18, 2021: NASA’s first Space Launch System megarocket ignites its four main engines for a critical hot-fire test on Jan. 16 at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, apparently scaring some nearby birds in this stunning photo from NASA photographer Robert Markowitz.

During the test, the final trial of a series of tests called the Green Run, the SLS rocket fired its engines for just over 1 minute, less than the 8 minutes NASA had hoped for to replicate a full launch into orbit. But despite its shorter-than-planned duration, the test offered a dazzling sight to onlookers (and birds) at the test site. NASA engineers are analyzing the results of the test. — Tariq Malik

Spotting a supernova

(Image credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Banovetz and D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University); CC BY 4.0)

Jan. 15, 2021: The Hubble Space Telescope spotted a growing, gaseous supernova remnant, known as 1E 0102.2-7219, from a supernova explosion that occurred 1,700 years ago during the fall of the Roman Empire. The star that exploded in the event was from the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy located about 200,000 light-years away.

At the time of the supernova event, people living in Earth’s southern hemisphere would have been able to see the light coming from this blast, though there are no known records of the event from humans on Earth. — Chelsea Gohd

Microbes and asteroids

(Image credit: NASA)

Jan. 14, 2021: The “BioAsteroid” payload from the University of Edinburgh runs aboard the European Space Agency’s Kubik facility in the Columbus module on the International Space Station. The miniature laboratory contains asteroid-like rocky fragments and microbes (a mixture of bacteria and fungi). Scientists hope to use this experiment to understand better how these microscopic little organisms interact with the asteroid-like material, which could later inform asteroid mining efforts. — Chelsea Gohd

Watching the weather from space

(Image credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Jan. 13, 2021: In this view from space captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite, you can see a heavy blanket of snowfall over much of Spain. The image, snapped at 5:40 a.m. EST (1040 GMT) on Jan. 12, shows most of the country covered in snow following storm Filomena, which brought the heaviest snowfall that Spain has seen for 50 years.

Copernicus Sentinel-3 is a two-satellite mission that, with a variety of instruments, observes and monitors Earth’s surface from above. — Chelsea Gohd

Pool practice

(Image credit: NASA EVA NBL)

Jan. 12, 2021: Astronauts practice for spaceflight here on Earth in a number of unique ways, including underwater. In this image, astronauts practiced a maneuver designed for the International Space Station underwater at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, which is operated by NASA. At this testing facility, astronauts get completely suited up as if they were about to go out on a spacewalk and perform spacewalk tasks underwater on a mock space station.

Later this month, NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins will put their training to the test as they will embark on a spacewalk during which they will install a small, fridge-sized device on the outside of the space station’s Columbus module. — Chelsea Gohd

Neon lights

(Image credit: ESA/XMM-Newton, L. Oskinova/Univ. Potsdam, Germany)

Jan. 11, 2021: This strange, green glow is actually a new type of star that, until recently, hadn’t been observed in X-ray light. Scientists think that this star formed when two white dwarf stars (the leftover stellar cores of stars like our sun) merged into one another, forming a new object that emits X-ray light instead of being destroyed in the collision. — Chelsea Gohd

Galactic fireworks

(Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Leroy, K. S. Long; CC BY 4.0)

Jan. 8, 2021: The galaxy NGC 6946, nicknamed “the Fireworks Galaxy,” can be seen in this stunning image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy got its explosive nickname because, while our Milky Way galaxy has an average of just 1-2 supernovas per century, NGC 6946 has had 10 in the last century.

“The Fireworks Galaxy,” the structure of which is somewhere between a full spiral and a barred spiral, can be found 25.2 million light-years from Earth on the border of the constellations Cepheus and Cygnus. — Chelsea Gohd

Reflecting on the sun

(Image credit: ESA/Royal Observatory of Belgium)

Jan. 7, 2021: What might look like an artistic mosaic from afar is actually 366 images of the sun throughout the year 2020, taken by the European Space Agency’s Proba-2 satellite. Proba-2 continuously monitors the Sun and, in this collection of photos, there is one image selected for each day (the “extra” day is from February 29, 2020 which was leap day). These images, which were taken by Proba-2’s SWAP camera (which captures ultraviolet wavelengths to show the Sun’s extreme atmosphere), have a number of “easter eggs” including partial solar eclipses visible on June 21 and December 14. — Chelsea Gohd

Space radishes

(Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Jan. 6, 2021: This up-close photo shows a radish grown to perfection. These radishes serve as a control crop for the radishes currently being grown as part of the Plant Habitat-02 (PH-02) experiment in the microgravity environment onboard the International Space Station. This crop of radishes was grown in the Advanced Plant Habitat inside the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. — Chelsea Gohd

A new year in space

(Image credit: Victor Glover/Twitter)

Jan. 5, 2021: The astronauts currently living and working on the International Space Station posed for a festive photo to ring in the new year as 2020 became 2021. NASA astronaut Victor Glover shared the photo on Twitter with the caption “God bless you and this new year! I pray for renewed strength, compassion, and truth and that we can all be surrounded by family and friends…” Glover flew to the space station as part of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, the company’s first fully operational crewed mission to space. — Chelsea Gohd

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