Space photos: The most amazing images this week!

Image Collected

 The Hubble Space Telescope observes an intergalactic gravitational dance, NASA's Perseverance Mars rover starts up again after a two-week hiatus and scientists pull out samples of asteroid Ryugu to study in a lab. These are some of the top photos this week from

Perseverance Mars rover is back

NASA's car-sized Perseverance rover has emerged from a blackout and has resumed its work on Mars. This disruption lasted two weeks and occurred when the Red Planet slipped behind the sun from Earth's perspective. The sun's location between both planets can corrupt commands sent to Perseverance, so NASA doesn't take the risk.

This image shows the floor of the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater, where Perseverance and its helicopter Ingenuity landed back in February. Perseverance captured this landscape on Oct. 22 using one of its navigation cameras.

This is a direct image of 2M0437b, a newly-discovered exoplanet that orbits a star located 417 light-years from Earth. This gas giant planet is a few times the size of Jupiter and it's just a few million years old, making it one of the youngest exoplanets ever discovered.

Scientists using the 26.9-foot-wide (8.2 meters) Subaru Telescope at the summit of Hawaii's Maunakea volcano captured this image. This planet could be photographed directly because of its proximity to Earth. Exoplanets farther away from Earth are spotted using indirect methods, like by detecting the effect that their gravitational orbital tugs have on their parent stars.

The Hubble Space Telescope caught the early part of a star's "cataclysmic demise," according to NASA. The telescope observed a new supernova as its light was just reaching Earth, and this type of observation could help astronomers predict which stars are soon to supernova in the future.

This supernova is called SN 2020fqv. Hubble found it amid a pair of spiral galaxies called the Butterfly galaxies, located roughly 60 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo. SN 2020fqv was first discovered in April 2020 by the Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego, California.+

Galactic dance

The Hubble Space Telescope peered into the constellation Pegasus to observe these two galaxies. The duo includes galaxies NGC 7753 and the much smaller NGC 7752, and they are known collectively as Arp 86.

The two galaxies are interacting in a gravitational dance. Eventually, the smaller of the two will be tossed out into intergalactic space or swallowed by the larger galaxy. Arp 86 is located about 220 million lightyears from Earth.

Full story: Hubble telescope spots a pair of 'squabbling' galaxies locked in

This NASA satellite image series shows a gap in Arctic ice, and it's the first ever to be observed north of Ellesmere Island in Canada. This area of open water is called a polynya, and though these openings have been seen in the past, the location of this one is a surprise to scientists.

"North of Ellesmere Island it's hard to move the ice around or melt it just because it's thick, and there's quite a bit of it," said Kent Moore, an Arctic researcher at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, who led a study about this polynya. "So, we generally haven't seen polynyas form in that region before.

Full story: Huge hole discovered in Arctic's 'last ice'

Creepy photo of a dying star

The Hubble Space Telescope observed a dying carbon star that's been strangely changing its appearance over the past 15 years.

The star, called CW Leonis, is the nearest carbon star to Earth, located only 400 lightyears away. CW Leonis is the so-called Red Giant, a star that has run out of hydrogen in its core and is now collapsing on itself. Because the star was originally very massive, the pressure in its core is now so high that it fuses helium into carbon. This carbon, permeating the star's atmosphere, now provides it with its distinct orange color. In the future, this carbon spread into the surrounding universe might give rise to future planets.

Full story: This creepy photo of a dying star looks like a portal to the underworld

Crew-3 poses with their rocket just before launch pad roll-out

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn, and Europe's Matthias Maurer pose with the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Endurance just before its launch pad rollout. Chari shared the picture on Twitter on Wednesday (Oct. 27).

Crew-3 will launch for their six-month mission to the International Space Station on Sunday (Oct. 31) from launch pad 39 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At the space station, they will replace Crew-2 astronauts NASA's Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, European Space Agency's Thomas Pesquet and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide. -- Tereza Pultarova

A piece of asteroid Ryugu

A tiny piece of the distant asteroid Ryugu retrieved by the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft in 2019 is being studied by scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The precious sample arrived at NASA's facilities in June 2021, being one of the first fragments of the space rock to have been allowed to leave Japan after the Hayabusa2 capsule landing in December 2020.

A team of scientists at Johnson examined the tiny fragment in the Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab, hoping to find hints about Ryugu's formation and evolution. Ryugy is a so-called carbonaceous asteroid, the most common type of asteroid found in the solar system. These small bodies, lacking volcanism and weather processes, provide a unique window into the solar system's past as their geology barely changed over billions of years. -- Tereza Pultarova

SpaceX's brand new crew capsule arrives at launch site

SpaceX's new Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will carry a quartet of astronauts to the International Space Station later this week, has arrived at the launch site for final preparations ahead of the space trip.

The maiden spaceflight of the capsule, dubbed Endurance, will be the third crewed flight operated by SpaceX. The previous two crews travelled on Crew Dragon capsules named Resilience and Endeavour. -- Tereza Pultarova

SpaceX Starship test-fires test engine for 1st orbital launch

SpaceX's Starship prototype fired its vacuum Raptor engine for the first time on Thursday last week ahead of a possible debut orbital flight in November.

The test took place at the company's Starbase facilities near the South Texas town of Boca Chica. The 65-foot-tall (50 meters) Starship prototype called SN20 fired one of its two Raptor engines, which is designed to operate in the vacuum of space. -- Tereza Pultarova 


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