With its high-powered lenses, the Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the spiral galaxy Messier 77, a large group of stars 45 million light-years from Earth. The colors of the spiral in this image released March 28 reveal that new stars were formed in the red and blue areas. The overall glow indicates that the entire system is rich with ionized gas.
After it docked with the International Space Station last month to deliver supplies, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully detached from the station to return to Earth, as pictured in this image taken March 26. SpaceX was the first private company to successfully link a spacecraft with the ISS, which is collectively run by a coalition of countries.
Gullies on the surface of Mars, likely formed by defrosting carbon dioxide, offer clues about its past and about the presence of water that may have once run over the red planet. NASA scientists use a high-resolution camera, called the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to capture detailed images.
As it passed over the Indian Ocean on March 11, NASA’s Aqua satellite snapped this photo of clouds moving from northwest to southeast. The Aqua satellite was launched in 2002 as part of an ambitious effort to study Earth’s water cycle. As it circles the planet, the satellite observes oceans, cloud layers, and ice, as well as soil moisture and atmospheric vapor.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image on March 16 as a solar prominence broke apart several thousand miles above the surface of the sun. The image, captured in ultraviolet light, shows a cloud of particles that hovered near the eruption before fading away into space. Guided by the sun’s magnetic field lines, solar prominences can hover over the surface of the sun for days or weeks before erupting. The eruptions can take minutes to hours.