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Space Photos of the Week: Even Geriatric Mars Rovers Know How to Snap Selfies

A few weeks ago we saw a selfie from the Curiosity rover on Mars. This image captures a different subject: the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. In this image we can see its “eyes” and two of its wheels against the rubble of the Martian surface, where it’s exploring a region called ‘Perseverance Valley’ to search for evidence of past water.

Galaxy NGC 3344 is ready for its closeup. This rare face-on view of the spiral galaxy shows off how brilliant and complex these structures can be. Captured by Hubble, this image shows the long arms shining in different colors; the blues are newer regions of stars, while the pinks and reds are older stars with less activity.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been studying the planet Neptune for two years—particularly a large storm on its surface that appears to be shrinking. Since 2015, this dark storm has shrunk from 3,100 miles across to 2,300. Scientists are perplexed by this storm’s behavior; they expect it to move up towards the equator of Neptune, but instead it’s moving towards the south pole and dying in the process.

This barred spiral galaxy is called NGC 1559, and it’s full of young stars in the early days of formation—seen in the blues. While there are many stellar nurseries in this galaxy, scientists used the Hubble Space telescope to study NGC 1559 because it’s a hot spot for supernova activity, the violent explosion of dying stars.

Black holes have quite a bad reputation. They suck up mass and material that gets too close, so powerful that even light can’t escape. Now, astronomers have found that the galaxies that host supermassive black holes aren’t big enough to contain their rapid growth spurts. Using the Chandra and Hubble telescopes, new research suggests that these black holes are outgrowing their host galaxies faster than we thought, challenging theories that suggest black holes should grow in proportion with the galaxies in which they live.

This image was taken during the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. Seconds after totality, a feature called the Diamond Ring appears; as the sun begins to peek around the moon, a golden band of light seems to appear along with a shiny diamond-like shape.


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