Talk about getting a piece of rock: NASA's OSIRIS-REx arrived at the Bennu asteroid near Earth earlier this week. Bennu, which orbits the Sun, is seen here covered with earth, smaller stones and occasional stones. After two years and a journey of 1.2 billion miles, OSIRIS-REx was only 11 miles off the surface when it took this photo that almost filled the picture. Eventually, the spacecraft will collect a sample of the asteroid to bring back the search of the primitive solar system. For now, it is necessary to map the surface for about a year before selecting which spot a little less rocky should be searched.
The Juno spacecraft sighted a dolphin-shaped cloud in the temperate southern belt of Jupiter a few weeks ago. The atmosphere directly below also has the appearance of cresting waves, making this quite the ocean scenery for a giant gaseous planet. The clouds and storms of Jupiter are always something to be seen, but this swimming dolphin seems to have been drawn in porpoise.
This image contains multitudes – more than 1,000 galaxies are specific. The Hubble Space Telescope recently studied a group of globular clusters gathered in the so-called Coma cluster of galaxies. Galaxies in clusters are smaller than ordinary galaxies, but this does not mean that they are trivial: these objects are better indicators of gravity distortion in the cluster, and such anomalies point to the existence of invisible mass – dark matter – that is not exactly right understood. And despite being 300 million light-years from Earth and therefore a blast from the past, this coma cluster is finally being examined by scientists thanks to Hubble.
Ever wondered what is the violent outcome of an explosive star? Well, here you go. Hubble captured this photo of a remnant of a supernova called SNR 0454-67.2. These gas tentacles were probably formed by a type 1a supernova explosion, which occurs when a dead white dwarf star begins to steal material from a nearby star – eventually collecting so much mass that it explodes. What remains is this swirl of gas and dust.
Astronauts on the International Space Station are demanding Earth observers with seats in the front row: they are in orbit 400 km away and can see 16 sunrises and sunsets a day. In this angled photo of the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, you can glimpse the telltale lights of civilization on the floor, along with a clear reminder of how incredibly our living-sustaining atmosphere really is, just a few tens of miles above the surface .
Fun in the Sun: This image is constructed from data from the European Space Agency's Proba2 probe, a satellite in Earth orbit that collects data on the appearance of the poles. Now, this image is not exactly symmetrical; is because the Sun's crown is always changing and reshaping. The dark center also reveals the coronal hole on the pole – a great source of solar wind. It's like looking into Sauron's eyes, but at least without danger from the Orcs.