Space Photos of the Week: Morning Light Hits the Southern Lights

Astronaut Ricky Arnold was lucky enough to witness the sun rising over an aurora as the International Space Station passed over the Southern Hemisphere. Space station residents witness a sunrise every 90 minutes; aurora are less common, and when they overlap, it’s like the cookies and cream of celestial events.

Just when you thought Jupiter couldn’t get any trippier. This image was taken by NASA’s Juno Spacecraft at an altitude of about 8,000 miles during Juno’s twelfth orbit of the planet. The high altitude clouds—seen in white, towards the bottom of the frame—pop while the slate-and-dove colored whorls and wavy clouds of Jupiter zig-zag around each other down below.

Scientists were on the hunt for a hidden neutron star when they took this photo using the Hubble Space Telescope. In the center of the image are the blue wispy filaments of a supernova remnant called 1E 0102.2-7219—gas left over from the violent death of a star. The green and pink at the bottom right indicates an active star forming region.

This galaxy cluster called SDSS J0146-0929 is seen here warped by the fabric of space-time. That round feature is called an Einstein ring and it is caused by the mass of the object physically bending the light around it. That distortion bends the light of the objects behind it, and in this case the strips of light are dozens of galaxies.

This is a baby star called IM Lupi. Its formation is complete, but the disc of dust and gas that surround young stars like this one lingers on, material that will eventually form planets. As small particles of ice and rock impact and fuse, they slowly get bigger and bigger, until, over millions of years, the clumps form planets like those in our own solar system.

This Martian crater called Ismenia Patera is one of many mysterious spots on the red planet. There are two plausible events that could have created it—a volcano might have imploded on itself, leaving behind this massive scar. Or the planet could have been struck by a large meteorite.

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