Space photos: The most amazing images this week!

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Space photos: The most amazing images this week!
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Gamma-ray bursts might be rare, a partial solar eclipse shines in space, and a white dwarf might have survived a supernova explosion. These are some of the top images this week from Space.com.  

How rare are gamma ray bursts?

A jet escaping from a black hole that forms inside a collapsing star. (Image credit: Ore Gottlieb/Northwestern University)

The first-ever 3D simulation of the formation of a black hole jet suggests gamma-ray bursts might be rarer than astronomers thought. Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest and most powerful flashes of light known to exist in the universe. But we only see a fraction of the bursts with our telescopes; how much is missing to us is an unknown.

Full story: Gamma-ray bursts might be much rarer than we thought, study suggests

Partial solar eclipse in space shines near spacecraft

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted a solar eclipse in space on June 29, 2src22.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted a solar eclipse in space on June 29, 2022. (Image credit: NASA/SDO/AIA/LMSAL)

A sungazing spacecraft captured a solar eclipse in action Wednesday (June 29). Visible only from space, the moon covered 67% of the sun at the event’s peak and the mountains of the moon were backdropped by solar activity. 

Full story: NASA sun mission spots stunning solar eclipse in space

White dwarf is a survivor of its supernova explosion

SN 2src12Z, seen in the galaxy NGC 13src9 by the Hubble Space Telescope. The inset images show the progenitor system before the explosion, and the light of the failed supernova after the explosion.

SN 2012Z, seen in the galaxy NGC 1309 by the Hubble Space Telescope. The inset images show the progenitor system before the explosion, and the light of the failed supernova after the explosion.  (Image credit: NASA/ESA/C. McCully and S. Jha (Rutgers University)/R. Foley (University of Illinois)/ Z. Levay (STScI))

A white dwarf managed to survive its own supernova, raising questions about how this happened. “Nobody was expecting to see a surviving star that was brighter,” Curtis McCully, an astrophysicist at the Las Cumbres Observatory headquartered in California, said in a statement. “That was a real puzzle.”

Full story: White dwarf seen to survive its own supernova explosion

Martian polygons litter the surface

Polygons crack across the Martian surface as hidden ice expands and contracts with the seasons.

Polygons crack across the Martian surface as hidden ice expands and contracts with the seasons. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona)

Icy polygons are sprouting during springtime on Mars, a new image from the orbiting High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HIRISE) camera shows. The March 30 image (released this week) shows white zig-zags cracking across the Mars soil at high latitudes, amid a complex formation history.

Full story: Bizarre ‘polygons’ are cracking through the surface of Mars

Mercury gets a cratered closeup

An annotated image showing part of the BepiColombo flyby on June 23, 2src22.

An annotated image showing part of the BepiColombo flyby on June 23, 2022. (Image credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

A video from the European Space Agency (ESA) released Monday (June 27) shows Mercury’s pickpocked, crater surfaced as captured during a super close flyby of the BepiColombo spacecraft. The joint ESA-Japanese mission is on a seven-year cruise through the inner solar system before entering Mercury‘s orbit in 2025. 

Full story: watch Mercury roll by as BepiColombo probe makes superclose flyby (video)

Hypersonic missile defense program readying 2 prototypes for flight

Glide Phase Interceptor

Northrop Grumman concept art depicting the Glide Phase Interceptor aimed at hypersonic threats. (Image credit: Northrop Grumman)

The Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) picked Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Missiles and Defense for more hypersonic prototype development. The two companies will work on the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI), a planned next-generation countermeasure to defend against hypersonic weapons.

Full story: Hypersonic missile defense program moves toward 2 prototypes

Tidal wave! How neutron star flashes may be signs of forthcoming mergers

An artist's depiction of two neutron stars shortly before merging.

An artist’s depiction of two neutron stars shortly before merging. (Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Neutron stars may give off some telltale signals before their cataclysmic mergers occur. These extremely dense cores of massive dead stars can at times smash into each other, and show off their activity through electromagnetic radiation flashes. Those flashes can serve as an early warning system for impending mergers.

Full story: Flashes from neutron star tidal waves may signal impending mergers

CAPSTONE cubesat launches on pathfinding lunar mission

capstone launch

A Rocket Lab Electron booster carrying NASA’s CAPSTONE CubeSat launches on June 28, 2022. (Image credit: NASA TV)

CAPSTONE launched successfully on June 28 on its long journey to the moon. Its long-term mission is to test the orbital stability of a pathway that NASA’s Gateway space station will one day use. But it’ll be a while before CAPSTONE reaches its destination.

Full story: NASA’s tiny CAPSTONE cubesat launches on pioneering moon mission

Cygnus cargo ship prepares for fiery death after space station mission

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship S.S. Piers Seller with the blue Earth behind it.

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship S.S. Piers Seller with the blue Earth behind it. (Image credit: NASA TV)

A robotic Northrop Grumman Cygnus freighter left the International Space Station (ISS) early Tuesday (June 28) to wrap up its months-long mission with a planned death in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Cygnus — named S.S. Piers Sellers after the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist — arrived Feb. 21 with thousands of pounds (or kilograms) of cargo.

Full story: Private Cygnus cargo ship departs space station for a fiery death in Earth’s atmosphere

NASA sends pioneering sounding rocket aloft from Australia

A Black Brant IX sounding rocket launches from Arnhem Space Center in Australia on June 26, 2src22. On board was an X-ray Quantum Calorimeter experiment.

A Black Brant IX sounding rocket launches from Arnhem Space Center in Australia on June 26, 2022. On board was an X-ray Quantum Calorimeter experiment.  (Image credit: NASA)

NASA successfully lofted a historic Black Brant IX sounding rocket Sunday (June 26) from Arnhem Space Center, in Australia’s Northern Territory, is the first commercial launch by NASA outside of the United States. Two more are coming soon.

Full story: NASA launches sounding rocket from Australia

Join our Space Forums (opens in new tab) to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected] (opens in new tab)

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected]

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