December 30 | 2017
This 2011 view shows a plume of water ice particles and other material spewing from the moon's south pole via fractures in the ice, backdropped by Saturn's rings glowing brightly in the sunlight. The bright speck to the right of Enceladus is a distant star. The Cassini spacecraft took this image during its time at Saturn, which ended on Sept. 15, 2017. While the Cassini spacecraft is gone, an enormous collection of data about Saturn – the giant planet, its magnetosphere, rings and moons – will continue to yield new discoveries for decades to come. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
This edge-on view of a galaxy located about 45 million light-years away, showcases its beautiful arms, which swirl like a whirlpool around its bright central region.
February 04 | 2018
Astronomers took this image as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star – a supernova – near the galaxy’s central yellow core! The star rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars. By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Perdue University)
Darker, cooler areas on the Sun – known as sunspots – have been absent for almost two weeks, as of Feb. 1.
February 06 | 2018
A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features. This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle. Credit: NASA/SDO