Incredible Space Photos of the Week (Aug. 5-9)
Aug. 5 marked 12 months since NASA's Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet, touching down inside Gale Crater. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers on Curiosity's entry, descent and landing team are shown here celebrating as the signal came from Mars indicating the mission landed wheels down in 2012.
ESA/Hubble & NASA
Hubble captures the light from a star being born inside the dark cloud LDN 43 -- a massive blob of gas, dust, and ices, gathered 520 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer).
A view to the east from La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile, after the sun had set. The orange glow of the sunset can be seen against the 1.8-meter VLT Auxiliary Telescopes, and the moon is behind. Also in shot is an atmospheric phenomenon called "the Belt of Venus" -- a dark grey/blue hue over the horizon. The dark hue is the Earth's shadow. The Paranal facility is managed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted this shot of Houston, Texas, at night from the International Space Station. But the space station isn't the only thing flying above the Texan skies. To the left, the unmanned Japanese resupply spaceship HTV-4 can be seen approaching the station, green and red lights shining in the dark.
The following day, Nyberg posted this impressive shot of the HTV-4 as it gets closer to the station, fluffy clouds below.
On Aug. 9, the HTV-4 had caught up with the space station and the orbital outpost's astronauts commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to berth the cargo ship. When posting this photo to Twitter, Nyberg highlighted the international collaboration that went into this endeavor: "Our view. Japanese #HTV4 ready for capture w/ Canadian #Canadarm2 by American astronauts."
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Aug. 3 to begin preparations for its November launch.
D. Nidever et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF and A. Mellinger, Leiden-Argentine-Bonn (LAB) Survey, Parkes Observatory, Westerbork Observatory, and Arecibo Observatory
This week, astronomers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the true nature of the mysterious Magellanic Stream. The long ribbon of gas that reaches across the Milky Way is now known to originate from the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy of our galaxy -- the ribbon's gas was likely stripped from the SMC some 2 billion years ago.
Two star-forming regions -- red-hued NGC 2014, and its blue neighbour NGC 2020 -- inside our Milky Way's satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud have been imaged by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile. The reason for their strikingly different hues? Both clouds contain different chemicals causing them to glow different colors as baby stars form inside.