A ‘purely magical’ view of the Andromeda Galaxy wins a top photography prize, scientists study the rose-shaped patterns of some nebulas and satellites keep a vigilant eye on the wildfires raging across the U.S. West Coast. These are some of the top photos this week from Space.com.
Stellar wind ‘rose’
The raw material that forms the rose-like pattern seen in this image comes from the star shining at the picture’s center. The star, R Aquilae, is a cool red giant star, and these stars constantly produce a stellar wind. This cosmic gust is a flowing stream of particles that sends the star’s mass out into space, and neighboring objects like a stellar companion or planets may be what creates the floral pattern of nebulas such as this one.
‘Purely Magical’ Andromeda galaxy
This refreshing view of the Andromeda galaxy won the top prize in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition. French astrophotographer Nicolas Lefaudeux captured this image in Forges-les-Bains, Île-de-France, using a 3D-printed custom camera attachment to achieve the tilt-shift visual effect seen here. One judge described this picture as ”purely magical.”
The Green Lady
This picture, called “The Green Lady,” was captured by photographer Nicholas Roemmelt. The majesty of the northern lights in the skies over Norway dominates the image, with snowy mountains appearing low on the horizon. It earned the ”Aurorae Winner” prize in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition
A view of Hurricane Sally from NASA’s Terra satellite, as seen on Tuesday (Sept. 15). One day earlier (Sept. 14), the National Hurricane Center announced that it was monitoring five tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin (including Sally). This tied a record set in 1971.
DSCOVR views wildfire smoke
The unrelenting wildfires raging across the U.S. West Coast are releasing so much smoke that the sooty clouds are visible from way up above the planet. An instrument aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft captured this photo last week (Sept. 9), and it doesn’t take long to spot the grand expanse of billowing smoke coming off the West Coast. DSCOVR, which is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), used its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) to capture this global view.
This picture taken last week (Sept. 3) shows SpaceX’s SN6 Starship prototype performing a 500-foot-high test hop over its South Texas facilities near Boca Chica, Texas. The Starship program is being created to fly a wide variety of missions to many different destinations, including the moon and Mars.
A serpent’s eye
The spiral galaxy NGC 2835 sparkles out in the head of the constellation Hydra, as seen in this photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy is is about half as wide as the Milky Way and has a supermassive black hole millions of times more massive than our sun at its center.
West coast wildfires
The massive amount of smoke billowing out from California in the U.S. can be seen from space, as you can see in this image taken Sept. 10 by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite. There are as many as 100 wildfires currently raging in California and they have additionally spread into Washington and Oregon.
The Amazon river from space
The Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite captured this image of the Amazon River snaking its way through the Amazon rainforest in South America from space. The colors in this image come from two polarizations from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar mission which have been merged into one image.
Reflecting radio beams
This metal-mesh antenna reflector was created as part of the European Space Agency’s AMPER (Advanced techniques for mesh reflector with improved radiation pattern performance) project. Researchers are developing this mesh reflector technology to advance the performance and capabilities of large antennas.