Pictures from space! Our image of the day

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!

SpaceX makes history

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

Monday, June 1, 2020: A false-color, infrared exposure shows SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and first Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts on board lifting off from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The historic launch on Saturday (May 30) was the first commercial flight to orbit and the first time NASA astronauts launched from the United States in nearly a  decade. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely arrived at the International  Space Station Sunday morning. — Hanneke Weitering  

Hubble eyes a star cluster with a dustless heart

(Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble Heritage Team/STScI)

Friday, May 29, 2020: The massive star cluster Westerlund 2, seen here in a new image from the Hubble Space Telescope, is filled with young stars surrounded by dense clouds of interstellar dust that’s in the process of forming baby planets. But the stars in the center of the cluster don’t have the same planet-building supplies as their neighbors near the cluster’s outskirts, Hubble observations have revealed. The absence of dust in the center of Westerlund 2 is caused by “blistering ultraviolet radiation and hurricane-like stellar winds” coming from the biggest and brightest stars of the cluster, which congregate in the cluster’s core, eroding and blasting away all the dust, Hubble officials said in a statement. — Hanneke Weitering

Crew Dragon at sunset

(Image credit: SpaceX)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020: The sun sets behind a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time before the rocket’s planned launch of two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 rocket, topped with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, is set to launch the Demo-2 mission from this historic launch pad today at 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT), weather permitting. On board will be Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will become the first NASA astronauts to travel to the International Space Station in a commercial spacecraft. SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted this photo on Tuesday night (May 26). — Hanneke Weitering

Clouds roll in over Crew Dragon

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020: Dark clouds loom over a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in this photo captured on Monday (May 25), just two days before the rocket is scheduled to launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on its first crewed test flight to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will become the first people to launch to orbit from U.S. soil in nearly a decade after they lift off in the Crew Dragon on Wednesday (May 27). SpaceX and NASA officials completed the final launch readiness review on Monday and declared the mission “go” for launch, but officials are keeping an eye on some potentially troublesome weather that could push to launch to this weekend (May 30-31). — Hanneke Weitering

Behold, SpaceX’s Demo-2 Crew Dragon

(Image credit: SpaceX/Elon Musk via Twitter)

Monday, May 25, 2020: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket stand atop Launch Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center amid a dazzling twilight sky in this view released by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Sunday, May 24. The spacecraft is poised to launch the first astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil since 2011 under a commercial crew contract with NASA. Read our full coverage here. — Tariq Malik

Crew Dragon arrives at the launch pad

(Image credit: SpaceX)

Friday, May 22, 2020: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule sits ready for launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On Wednesday (May 27), two NASA astronauts will launch to the International Space Station for the first crewed test flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft. The Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket reached the launch site on Thursday (May 21). — Hanneke Weitering

A cosmic selfie

(Image credit: Petr Horálek/ESO)

Thursday, May 21, 2020: Surrounded by telescopes, European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Petr Horálek basks in the light of the Milky Way galaxy in this cosmic selfie. The panoramic image shows Horálek standing among the many antennas that make up the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Atacama Desert in Chile. — Hanneke Weitering

Tropical Cyclone Amphan hits India

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin/MODIS/EOSDIS/LANCE/GIBS/Worldview/GSFC)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020: Tropical Cyclone Amphan, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal, approaches eastern India and Bangladesh in this view captured by NASA’s Terra satellite on Tuesday (May 19). The storm made landfall today near Sagar Island in West Bengal, India, near the border with Bangladesh. — Hanneke Weitering

Milky Way meets the zodiacal light

(Image credit: M. Zamani/ESO)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020: The dusty arc of the Milky Way galaxy stretches across the night sky in this circular fisheye view. European Southern Observatory (ESO) photo ambassador Mahdi Zamani captured this image from Cerro Armazones, a mountain in northern Chile. “Thanks to the exceptionally clear and dark skies, the thousands of stars and dusty clouds that make up the Milky Way Galaxy are visible,” ESO said in an image description. The elusive zodiacal light is shown in the top right while a faint orange airglow lights up the entire night sky. — Hanneke Weitering

A galactic duet

(Image credit: ESO)

Monday, May 18, 2020: Two spiral galaxies collectively known as Arp 271 look like they’re getting ready to collide. The two interacting galaxies, NGC 5426 and NGC 5427, have formed a bridge of material where new stars are beginning to form. If the galaxies do end up crashing into each other, the collision will trigger a wave of new star formation over the next few million years, according to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). This same type of interaction may happen to our own Milky Way galaxy when it collides with the Andromeda galaxy in the next five billion years or so, ESO said. — Hanneke Weitering

Crew Dragon splashes down after drop test

(Image credit: David C. Bowman/NASA)

Friday, May 15, 2020: A mockup of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule with two crash test dummies inside splashes into the water during a drop test at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. SpaceX conducted a series of these drop tests in March 2019 to find out how different wind and parachute dynamics affect the capsule during a splashdown, and to make sure its astronaut occupants can safely return to Earth. Less than two weeks from now, a real Crew Dragon will launch astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time. — Hanneke Weitering

A galactic bridge in Abell 2384

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/ESA/XMM-Newton/V.Parekh, et al.; Radio: NCRA/GMRT)

Thursday, May 14, 2020: A few hundred millions years ago, two distant galaxy clusters collectively known as Abell 2384 collided, passing through each other and creating a “bridge” of hot gas between the clusters that spans more than 3 million light-years. A new composite image of Abell 2384 has revealed that a supermassive black hole lurking at the center of one of these galaxy clusters is shaping this galactic bridge by blasting it with a powerful jet of energetic particles. 

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