A Martian solar eclipse, swarms of sizeable sunspots, and a pink moon rising behind a moon rocket. These are some of the top images this week from Space.com.
The sky gets a little darker at Mars
In between hunting for ancient signs of life on Mars, the Perseverance rover did a side quest for science: looking at the moon Phobos passing across the face of the sun. Looking at the doomed moon during situations like this allows researchers to better understand the orbit of Phobos around Mars, as well as the Red Planet’s structure.
Full story: Wow! Perseverance rover captures gorgeous video of solar eclipse on Mars
Clusters of sunspots promise flaring action
The sun, which has been roaring out storms for several weeks now, has two immense swarms of sunspots hinting at more potential action for Earth. These monstrously large features are called “active regions” 2993 and 2994 (AR2993 and AR2994). If they eject charged particles directly towards Earth, we might be in for more aurora.
Full story: New swarms of sunspots are so gigantic they could devour Earth whole
Lunar rocket backdropped by its ‘pink’ destination
While Artemis 1 is back inside a launch facility to fix some technical issues, just before that happened we had a more rosy view of its destination. Photographer Michael Seeley captured the image of a pink moon, along with of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, on Saturday (April 16) from a boat off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean
Full story: Stunning pink moon sets behind Artemis 1 just before it rolls off the pad
A dusty Mars lander is just visible from orbit
The dust buildup on the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s InSight Mars lander is severe enough to see from orbit. The agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. captured the buildup of regolith over more than three years in a high-definition image acquired April 9. InSight is likely nearing the end of its mission due to dust choking off its solar power supply.
Full story: NASA’s InSight Mars lander spotted from orbit, covered in dust
Yes, a hologram doctor did visit the space station
In a real-life moment that feels like a typical “Star Trek” episode, a team of hologram doctors was “holoported” to space to visit astronauts living aboard the International Space Station, NASA has revealed. The hologram teams, led by NASA flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid and Fernando De La Peña Llaca, CEO of software provider Aexa Aerospace, were the first humans to ever be “holoported” from Earth to space.
Full story: Hologram doctors beamed to space station to visit astronauts
Hubble’s birthday postcard is a galactic gravitational ‘dance’
The nearly 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope caught five galaxies in action as they gradually merge into a single entity. The collection, known as Hickson Compact Group (HCG) 40, should become one object in roughly a billion years from now, Hubble officials said in a statement. This image is just a sampling of the telescope’s decades-long work in galactic evolution.
Full story: Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 32nd anniversary with gorgeous gravitational ‘dance’ photo
‘Galactic wings’ shine in image of ongoing collision
Speaking of Hubble and galaxies, a beautiful new image from the observatory shows a pair of “fluttering wings” made due to an ongoing collision between two distant galaxies. The galactic wings are part of the VV689 system, nicknamed the Angel Wing. The image emerged via a citizen science project called the Galaxy Zoo.
Full story: Stunning Hubble Space Telescope image shows ‘galactic wings’ from ongoing collision
Alaskan northern lights glow in green
A photographer witnessed a powerful auroral punch, generated by the sun, resonate for more than four hours in a remote Alaskan location. “It was more active than normal, although I did see similar last winter,” photographer Lee Kirkum wrote in an e-mail. “They usually aren’t this showy. I usually see all streaks, but this time — at one point — it had the whole sky, except the extreme southern sky.”
Full story: Haunting northern lights glow in green in images taken from Alaska (photos)
‘Flying whirlpool’ came from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
A “night spiral” or “flying whirlpool” was generated within view of the Subaru Telescope on Sunday (April 17). But the high-sky phenomenon had a rather Earthly explanation. The spiral was actually a dying SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stage that created the stunning show over Hawaii.
Full story: Shimmering ‘night spiral’ captured above Hawaii is actually a dying SpaceX rocket
The sun keeps sending huge flares to Earth
The sun kicked off the week with a literal blast, unleashing a major solar flare during the Easter holiday weekend, that created radio blackouts. Dozens more flares after this event, all the way up to the most powerful X-class, occurred as the sun enters a more active stage of its 11-year-cycle.
Full story: Huge explosion on sun unleashes major solar flare on Easter
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